What to Bring to the Beach with Toddlers
Growing up in Rhode Island, the majority of my childhood summers were spent at the beach. I have amazing memories of spending the entire day at the beach. We would get there super early in the morning and bring a picnic lunch. Sometimes we would run down the road to get clam cakes and chowder for dinner, go for an evening swim, and return home after dark. Those were the best days! As a teenager, I spent many days at the beach, and they were very lowkey. I’d bring a chair, towel, sunscreen, book, and that’s it. When my husband and first got married, we lived in Florida and had many lowkey beach days as well. We didn’t really prep for them and didn’t bring much at all.
We moved to Ohio during our second year of marriage and were there for the first four years of parenting. This past year we moved to Rhode Island and I was SO EXCITED for summer beach days. As the weather got warmer and I started thinking about going to the beach with my children. As a stay-at-home-mom, I plan on taking them during the week on my own, and it hit me… with three small children, I need to be prepared and I had no idea what I need to have a successful beach trip!
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Luckily, my mom had plenty of experience doing just that, and she was a wealth of information. I also asked some of my friends for help and set about researching what to bring to the beach with toddlers.
A Beach Cart
Once my children are older, I definitely plan on having them help carry things. However, while they are still so little, I need to be able to get it all onto the beach by myself. Beach carts are the way to go and I remember my mom using them when I was a child. The wheels are specifically designed to pull on the sand easier than a stroller or a wagon.
This is the cart that I purchased. I love that it has a cooler for our lunch, and a mesh bottom so that the sand will fall right out instead of collecting and dumping out in my van. It’s super easy to fold up and has more than enough space for all of our stuff.
Mesh Beach Bag
A Mesh Beach Bag is perfect for things that get wet and sandy. It will dry quickly and the sand will brush right off.
This bag is an extra large size and perfect for beach toys!
Before we went to the beach for the first time, I thought we could manage without beach chairs. I was so wrong, haha! My kids got sand allll over our beach blanket. They didn’t grasp the concept of don’t walk on it with your wet, sandy feet. Then, when they ate lunch, they constantly were resting their hands between bites and their sandwiches were getting covered with sand. It was so gross! I also decided I need to take a chair for myself so that I can sit somewhere out of the sand.
I love that this chair has a cupholder and a carrying bag. They also make chairs that come with umbrellas, but I’m not about to set up umbrella chairs for three kids! I also think that if you are making a quick visit to the beach and not eating there, chairs aren’t a necessity.
Beach Umbrella or Sun Tent
You will want something to give you some shade. If you are lucky, you can get your toddlers to lie down and take a nap!
This umbrella is perfect because it combines an umbrella with a tent, is super lightweight, and folds up into a carrying bag.
Don’t forget the sunscreen!!
You don’t need any fancy beach toys. Children are perfectly content with a bucket and shovel and will entertain themselves playing in the sand for hours on end.
Toddlers don’t look where they’re going so they need water shoes to protect their feet from rocks, shells, etc.
Puddle jumpers are excellent life jackets. Just make sure that your child meeds the weight requirements.
Even if you do your best to cover your child with sunscreen, their scalp can burn easily. Prevent this by putting a sun hat on them.
Keep some corn starch or baby powder (talc free!) in your car. Just brush some over sandy body parts and the sand comes right off.
This is an essential if you are outnumbered with small children. Since I have a 4-year-old and two-year-old twins, I need a way to safely get from the parking lot to the beach.
On our first beach trip, Theo did an amazing job of holding the twins hands walking through the parking lot. I wasn’t nervous because the parking lot was empty and even if one of them bolted, I’d be able to get to them in time. However, moving forward, I will need to use these to ensure that we all get through the parking lot safely. If I had another adult there to help me, I wouldn’t use them.
There you have it! I hope this helps you to know what to bring to the beach with toddlers. I’ll update this list as we continue to go to the beach this summer. Happy Beach Days!
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