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Best Tips for Beach Trips With Babies and Toddlers


UPDATED MARCH 14, 2020


Are you planning to take your baby or toddler to the beach this summer ( or maybe a beach vacation with baby)?

Then you’re in the right place!

The beach can be so much fun for the whole family or it can be a complete disaster because you weren’t adequately prepared (eek!).

Been there!

There’s so many new things for you little one to discover: sun, sand, water, maybe some fishies?

There are so many opportunities for sensory and tactile experiences to help baby learn more about their world and you can actually focus on these things if you prepare well before hand.


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baby at the beach sitting in the sand
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My little guy absolutely loved his first beach trip with his best buds but it taught me a few things about preparedness so hopefully you’ll find this helpful and avoid some of our mistakes.

Packing for the beach doesn’t have to involve tears.

If you want to make sure you don’t forget anything, click over to my other post for the ultimate beach packing list free printable.

This way, you won’t miss any beach essentials that your little ones consider must-haves for the beach.

If you want more amazing ways to spend the summer with kids, check out our 101 summer activities bucket list with, you guessed it, free downloadable bucket list!


1. Proactive Packing


I know, this one sounds like a no brainer but it’s super important for your beach trip with kids.  Doing pretty much anything with kids takes twice as long.

Plan for delays and be proactive.

This means packing whatever you can the night before  and making lists, lots of lists. 

Aim to leave an hour earlier than you actually want to leave, this way you might just leave on time. 


Large Item Beach Must-Haves: Beach Chairs, Umbrellas, Tents


You know what’s annoying?

Trying to cram a bunch of stuff in the car at the very last minute before you have to leave to the beach,all the while, dealing with a screaming baby or toddler. 

I wish I thought of this a head of time.

Anything that can be packed up the night before makes the next day way easier, so load up the car with any items you won’t need in the morning like beach chairs, beach umbrellas/tents, blankets/mats.

Nursing cover up if you breastfeed? 


Beach Bag Items


If at all possible, pack your beach bag and baby’s beach bag ahead of time as well.

Are you using your regular towel or a beach towel?

Set aside extra clothes and underwear along with some plastic bags to store your wet bathing suits later. 

While you’re doing that, get all the things you’ll be wearing to the beach ready and lay them out the night before so you wont forget.

Have you got your bathing suit? Cover up?  Flip flops? Reading material? 


Beach Toys

baby playing with beach toys at the beach in sand


What fun is the beach without any toys? Try to gather up all the toys you’ll need for your little one, pack them up and you guessed it, put them in the car the night before. 

What are you planning on bringing?

I love this beach toy set that already comes pre-packed in a mesh bag.


You really can’t go wrong with classics like 

Pail and Shovel

Water Gun

Sand & Water Wheel

Sand Molds

Beach Ball


2. Beach Essentials For Babies and Toddlrs


First Aid Kit


Safety is obviously paramount when you’ve got little people around.

Always pack a travel first aid kit with your basic items and put them in the car ahead of time so you don’t forget.


Dude, You Got Burned


Another thing to add to that kit: sun burn remedies.

If you forget to reapply your baby’s sunscreen
and end up with a burn, you want to at least make sure you’ve got something on hand to soothe the burn. I love aloe vera gel to sooth minor sun burns. 


Floaties


Nothing will replace your own vigilance when keeping your little one safe from drowning (do you know the signs of dry drowning as well?)

It’s up to us parents to make sure our children are supervised at all times but just to add an extra level of protection, don’t forget your floaties, life jacket or Puddle Jumper.

The coast guards don’t recommend floaties as a reliable safety measure, they recommened the Puddle Jumper, I strongly suggest checking it out.

Make sure to review water and beach safety rules with your kiddos before every beach trip!


3. Don’t Forget the Sun Protection!!


I think this deserved a heading all on its own because its so so important. Babies have such sensitive skin so we can’t forget the sunscreen.

I always have at least 2 on hand.

I pack one in the bag the day before and I have another that I apply before we head out since it’s recommend to apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before sun exposure. 

There are tons of great baby safe sun screens available. 

Don’t forget to reapply every few hours whether you get in the water or not. 

Hot days and sweating means we need to keep reapplying.

I really like the ThinkBaby Safe Sunscreen because its derived from natural ingredients and no harsh chemicals. and it applies with a slight whitish tint so you can see where you’ve applied it and what you might have missed. 

Sunscreen on it’s own isn’t enough though.

Make sure you’re bringing your little one (and yourself for that matter) a sun hat with SPF sun protection. My little guy hates wearing them but I bring one anyway. 

Another great addition is a sun suit with SPF or at the very least a light cotton/ breathable material long sleeve shirt. 

One more great addition for baby is a pair of sun glasses like babiators


4. This Time It’s Okay to Throw (Beach) Shade


You won’t always be guaranteed to find a lovely little spot under the trees or beach umbrellas.

Make sure you’re bringing your own just in case. 

There’s nothing worse than a scorching hot sun and nowhere to hide. Especially for little ones.

I was so glad we brought our portable beach tent.

It was an insanely hot day and that tent made all the difference between a fun trip and being crazy uncomfortable. 


5. Avoid Water Damage


Are you bringing along any items that could be damaged by water?

Like your phone or a camera?

I highly suggest bringing along a couple of zip lock bags or old plastic jars (like peanut butter jars) to keep valuable items from getting damaged or getting water proof container


6. What Are We Eating?


Google, find me family friendly restaurants nearby


Are you planning to pack food for your trip or buy something there?

There may not always be great options for little ones so check ahead of time.

Scout out local restaurants and reviews so you don’t waste time, or worse, find out there’s nothing you like.  Or you can always pack some snacks.


Water


Hot beach trips can quickly lead to dehydration if you don’t stay hydrated.

Buying on the beach can get expensive though.

Bring a cooler and pack some water bottles.

This is also a great way to bring your toddlers milk and make sure it doesn’t spoil. 


Snack Attack


As I was mentioning earlier, its not always easy to find restaurants with baby and toddler friendly meals.

Even if you can, it can be expensive.

Why not pack some snacks yourself?

  You can cut up some fruits, pack some crackers, or even some sandwiches for a beach picnic.

Prepare whatever you can the night before and store everything you need to in one specific area of the fridge for easy grab and go in the morning. 

PRO TIP: Freeze your water bottles the night before and use them as your ice packs in your cooler box or cooler bag.

When they slowly defrost you’ll have an ice cold one and you don’t have to lug around extra ice packs to keep your perishable foods cold. 


7. Go With Baby’s Flow


You probably can’t wait to get your tiny human in the water, I know I couldn’t wait!

But, don’t be overly forceful

There’s a lot of new things going on and its reasonable to expect your little one may be feeling a bit anxious.  


You don’t want to force an unwilling baby into the water and create a horrible first impression.

Instead, have one parent enter the water first and show baby how much fun it is.

Then, slowly bring your little one in but listen to their cues if they just aren’t ready.

PRO TIP: If you have a reluctant toddler, you can actually just make your own personal kiddie pool in the sand by digging a hole, lining it with a plastic shower curtain and filling in the water. 

PRO TIP 2: If you don’t want the physical hassle your of digging, bring an inflatable pool


8. Water Shoes, It’s a Thing


You’re probably thinking that shoes are optional at the beach.

Or maybe your going with flip flops.

Flip flops are fine for you or older kids but try keeping those on a baby.

I highly suggest a pair of water shoes for those itty bitty feeties. 

On hot days, the sand can get extremely hot and become uncomfortable for babies or toddler to handle.

Even I find it too hot at times.

Water shoes are the perfect solution.


9. Swim Diapers


Have you decided what kind of diapers you’ll opt for?

You can get reusable swim diapers or disposable swim diapers.

Keep in mind, swim diapers are intended to catch the poop, not pee.

They aren’t meant to absorb urine so it’ll just leak out.

Don’t put baby in their swim diaper until you get to the beach or you’ll end up with a wet car seat. 


We just opted for the disposable  huggies swimmers and they worked just great.

They didn’t get heavy and soggy after our swim.

Plus, if baby does poop, I wouldn’t want to put the same reusable diaper right back on after tossing the poop out.  So I suggest bringing a spare.

PRO TIP: If you’re opting for disposable diapers make sure to bring along some regular disposable diapers for after baby is done with the water.

Nobody wants to sit around in a wet swim diaper on the drive home.

Swim diapers are a little more expensive than your regular diaper so why waste them. 


10. Leave the Sand at the Beach


Who else hates dealing with the sand after a beach trip?

Once you get home and start unpacking the toys, that stuff gets everywhere!

So annoying!

PRO TIP 1 : you can use a mesh beach bag (or mesh laundry bag, they’re way cheaper)  to transport your toys like we did .

This way, when you’re done at the beach, you can throw the toys in there and give them a good shake so you’re not bringing home all that sand.

Genius, right?

PRO TIP 2: Getting sand off of yourself and baby’s skin can be difficult if you aren’t using the right stuff.

Did you know that when it comes to sand, baby powder is your best friend!

Just rub some on the skin and the sand comes right off.  This makes sense since the point of baby powder is to absorb excess moisture. 


11. Dry and Wash


This may seem kind of counter-intuitive but it works wonders

If you want to ensure your bathing suit isn’t bringing home half the beach give this a try.

Rinse your suit at the beach before heading home as best you can and  squeeze out all the water you can before you throw it in your plastic bag.

Now, when you get home, don’t throw that wet suit and towels in the wash just yet.

We hang our items to dry over night.

The next day, take them out and shake off all the excess sand.

Now, you can give everything a good wash.

Voila, no sand (or very little). 

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The BEST Baby Beach Hacks To Survive Beach Trips With Kids


I hope you find these tips helpful for surviving your next beach trip with you little babes! Being prepared and proactive will ensure you all have a stress free trip to the beach!

Have I missed any tips that you have?

Leave me a comment below 🙂 

SHARING IS CARING!

child running through sprinklers on a summer day
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Jenna Hunter

Tuesday 17th of December 2019

My cousins have been thinking about taking a fun vacation with all of us that are the same age to the ocean or an island so that we can enjoy some family time. We would love to leave some of the younger kids with the teenagers so that the adults could do fun things on our own like swimming with dolphins. Thanks for the tips about how we should listen to the kid's cues if they don't want to get into the water and not to push them and create a bad first impression.

Elizabeth O

Friday 5th of July 2019

I have to say you did a great job with the list. You have put a great selection. Cant wait for a fun time at the beach.

Ukiyoto Vienna

Thursday 4th of July 2019

This one is a great post and I love reading them one by one. Wow

Maysz

Thursday 4th of July 2019

I don't have a baby yet but this totally amazing ideas for babies and toddlers I will share this to my sister in law for her baby :)

Hackytips

Wednesday 3rd of July 2019

VEry informative and well-reaserached article. This covers everything that needs to be taken care of while traveling with babies to beaches.

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