8 Beach Tips for Toddlers + Packing Essentials

Taking a toddler to the beach may come with unexpected events (like them confusing sand for a snack.) And while you can’t fully prepare for everything, planning ahead will make your vacation easier for your whole family. By packing the right summer and beach essentials for toddlers and making sure to bring an open mind, you’ll only have fun on the horizon. 

Like any trip with a toddler, logistics can be tough. That’s why our team of experts is here with the tips and tricks you need to have a successful summer beach day. 

1. Bring the Shade

Hours in direct sunlight can not only be uncomfortable, but it can also be dangerous for your kid’s skin (and yours, for that matter). Don’t count on being able to perch underneath a shady tree—bring something with you that will allow you to make your own shade. A tent, umbrella or canopy will do the trick.

2. Consider a Kiddie Pool 

For smaller kids who can’t or don’t want to get in the water, a baby pool is a great alternative. You can put your pool in the shade, so kids can have fun splashing in the water without being exposed to direct sunlight. A kiddie pool is also safer than getting in the water. Just don’t forget buckets to fill up your pool with ocean water. 

3. Go At Their Pace

Forcing your child toward the ocean may scare them—especially if it’s their first time. With the waves, crowds, birds and sunlight, time at the beach can quickly become overwhelming. Slowly introduce your kid to the water and let them decide how much time they spend in the waves. 

4. Avoid Going Midday 

Midday is when the beach is busiest—and hottest. Plus, many toddlers take a midday nap, which isn’t exactly possible on the beach. You don’t want to mess up your kid’s sleep schedule while traveling. So, get up and hit the beach early, or go after naptime to enjoy the sunset. 

5. Sunscreen Before Swimsuits 

You should apply sunscreen to children who are six months or older. Then, you should reapply every two hours or immediately after your child gets out of the water. Before heading to the beach, though, apply sunscreen before putting on swimsuits and let it completely dry. This will make sure that your child’s skin is protected all over, even if their suit shifts throughout the day. 

6. Set Timers 

The chaos of the beach can make time seem to move faster. Set timers for snack time, sunscreen time and when it’s almost time to leave. If you set a time for a half-hour before you’re ready to go, you can start getting your kid ready to leave and start packing your belongings. 

7. Bring Extra Food 

Accidents happen. Especially when young kids are involved. When snack time comes, there’s a chance that sandwiches or fruit slices might end up dropped in the sand or washed away in the waves. In those cases, having extra food on hand will make sure your kid is fed and doesn’t get too grumpy. 

8. Be Strategic With Toys 

You don’t need to lug your entire playroom down to the beach. Especially not when the beach comes with sand, water and plenty of other entertainment. Save yourself the hassle of heavy bags and a full cart by bringing multi-purpose toys (like shovels and buckets). 

The Best Beach Essentials for Toddlers 

The best beach essentials for toddlers are multi-use, lightweight and comfortable. Our gear experts rounded up three must-haves for taking your toddler to the beach.

1. Fisher Price On-The-Go Baby Dome

The Fisher Price On-the-Go Baby Dome is a recommended product for new parents even when a day at the beach isn’t on the horizon. But when you are packing items to take, this is a good item that has multiple uses. Your baby can take a nap or have playtime in the dome. And as a bonus: it doesn’t weigh too much. 

Key features:

  • Sun-cover to keep your baby safe from the rays
  • Walls so your kid doesn’t crawl away 

Things to keep in mind: 

  • Area may be small for bigger babies or toddlers 
  • Can’t get wet on the inside, so don’t use it as a baby pool
Fisher Price on-the-go baby dome, Windmill  

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2. All Terrain Folding Wagon

A wagon is a great tool for transporting your items to-and-from your beach setup. Pack your toys, towels and bags in the wagon, then you just have to worry about pulling it. A folding wagon is even better since they are generally more lightweight and can fold up for easy storage. Our gear experts recommend an All Terrain Folding wagon for your beach trip. 

Key features:

  • Wheels that can travel on sand 
  • Collapsible sides that make the wagon easy to store 

Things to keep in mind: 

  • If you’re going to use your wagon at the beach, make sure you get one with big tires that will be good on sand
Creative Outdoor Distributor All Terrain Folding Wagon in red  

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 3. Veer Family Basecamp

A tent or canopy, like the Veer Family Basecamp, will be great for a beach set-up that needs some shade. Inside the tent, you can place your coolers, chairs and other beach essentials with confidence that you’ll be protected from the sun. 

Key features:

  • Big enough surface area to fit multiple chairs and coolers 
  • Light, thin walls so the canopy doesn’t trap heat inside 

Things to keep in mind: 

  • These will have to be erected on the beach, so make sure you or someone in your party knows how to pitch a tent 
  • This is a larger item that could be bulky in your car or wagon
Veer Family Basecamp, (6.5′ x 9.0′ x 5.0′)  

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 Beach Essentials Packing Checklist 

The way you pack will make or break your beach day. A smart, efficient packing job will make sure you have all the essentials without bringing too much unnecessary weight. Consult a packing checklist specifically for a beach day with a toddler (like the one we’ve provided here) to make sure you’ve got everything prepared. 

packing checklist for a beach day with your toddler

A few must-haves for your beach day: 

  • Rash guard
  • Towels
  • Waterproof bag
  • Wagon with large wheels
  • Canopy or tent
  • Baby pool or baby dome 
  • Sunscreen
  • Toys
  • Sun hat 
  • Cooler and snacks (and some extra food!) 
  • Baby powder

Going on a beach vacation is a great summer idea for any family. And when taking your toddler to the beach, you want to spend more time making memories than hunting down your essentials or soothing a meltdown. By packing smart, being prepared and going with the flow, you can make your beach day a breeze. 

Here at GoodBuy Gear, we’re all about making memories as a family. So, when it comes to being prepared, we’ve got you. Shop our consignment marketplace for all the baby + kid gear you need to enjoy a beach vacation with your toddler. 

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