Spending nine years in the Caribbean means we’ve gotten pretty good at the whole beach thing. And while I’d still rather lay by the pool than sit by the sea, heading to the beach is a must in our house. With a five year old and now three month old in tow, packing the perfect family beach bag is essential to having a fabulous, stress-free day.
So here’s my list (and a few tips) of the must-haves for every family beach bag.
I love this mom-invented bag from Bogg! It’s sturdy and stands upright, wipes clean easily, holds so much stuff, and comes in gorgeous colors! It even comes with three different sized small pouches for things like keys and cellphones. While the price may seem a little high at $60, I’ve had this same bag (the one in the pic above) for five years and it’s in still in perfect condition. I get compliments on it all the time and would never head to the beach without it.
#1 most important thing in your bag! Apply, reapply, then reapply some more. Don’t be fooled just because the sun doesn’t feel hot on your skin. Be especially careful if it’s your first real encounter with the sun for the season. We’ve had too many friends arrive and get burned their very first day at the beach. A painful way to start a vacation=(
Tip: Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to the tops of your feet and ears. Also, if you plan to have a part in your hair (e.g. pigtails, side part), don’t forget to apply lotion to the part line. It too can get burnt!
first aid kit
A small, travel sized first aid kit usually is all we need to handle any cuts and scrapes.
The ocean is unpredictable, but so too are kids. Even though my five year old is a great swimmer, she’s still required to wear a life vest when she goes in the ocean. This one from Speedo is great! It’s not bulky and perfect for packing in a beach bag.
Tip: If you plan to be at the beach for several hours, I recommend wearing a rash guard and shorts with any life vest. If worn for a long time, it can rub along the arms and in between the legs.
For sticky little fingers and mouths.
hats and sunglasses
A must-have for the whole family.
bottles of water
Even though we’re almost always at a beach that has a restaurant/bar, I like to bring at least one bottle of water, but usually two. We don’t ever carry a cooler, because we already have too much in hand, but that’s an even better option. If you can manage the cooler, pack it full of water and your favorite beverages.
Tip: I always bring an extra bottle of tap water with me. We almost always have an instance when my daughter comes crying and screaming to me that her eyes are burning from either the salt water or sand. So I use the bottled tap water to rinse her eyes (and quiet the screaming) just enough that she can handle the walk to the nearby shower for a proper and more thorough rinse.
We always bring at least one snack for each person in the family. Swimming in the ocean can create quite the appetite.
Whether it’s beach toys, boogie boards, magazines, or a music playlist, we like to bring something to keep us all entertained. While my husband takes my daughter in the water to play, I usually flip through my favorite book.
For your wet clothes, especially if you plan to change, and dirty diapers.
Seriously, Little Swimmers is the best beach baby item ever, and a must if the little one plans on getting his/her bum wet. Wet diapers are a nightmare, and incredibly heavy! So load up on some disposable swim diapers!
blankets and towels
I love this water resistant blanket from Tuffo! It even comes with a cute carrying bag. It’s great for the beach, park, or wherever the kids need to play.
Did you know that baby powder helps get rid of sand?
Tip: Next time your little ones are grabbing for a snack with sand-covered hands, shake a generous amount of baby powder on their hands and be amazed at how the sand just comes right off.
jug of water
Lots of beaches have their showers conveniently located next to a clean sidewalk that leads right out to the car. But not all…
Tip: Keep a jug of water in your car to help rinse the sand from your feet before getting in. It’ll save you from an unnecessary vacuuming session.
Are you headed to the beach this summer? What’s in your beach bag?