How to Pack the Perfect Beach Bag for Toddlers

How to Pack the Perfect Beach Bag for Toddlers #familytravel #bigbravenomad

It’s time streamline and pack only the essentials for the beach with kids. If you’re going to the beach with a baby or going to the beach with a toddler, you don’t need a ton of stuff, you need the RIGHT stuff.

We are Florida residents.  We live at one of the most beautiful beaches in America; Pensacola Beach.  Going to the beach is as common as going to the park during warmer weather.  After many trials, I have put together our favorite items for Beach trips with Toddlers (and babies). Don’t get stuck lugging huge gear or 200 bags. SO, let’s streamline and pack the perfect beach bag for the beach with kids!

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What to Pack for the Beach with Kids

1) Hooded Beach Towel (Poncho) For Kids: 

We found these amazing Beach Poncho Towels at Target in 2017.  Our kids wear them over their bathing suits down to the water. It's one less thing in our beach bag & they can dry on the go!  These are different than a hooded bath towel & these will not fall off when the kiddos are walking around. A must have for kids at the beach.

Sunscreen is full of chemicals (some good, some bad), but we know that what goes on, goes in.  Also, with the new findings that most sunscreen is harmful to ocean life, (it's been banned in Hawaii) we are even more conscious of what we are using on our kids.  This sunscreen is Organic & is NOT harmful to sea life and non toxic to humans.  

3) The Best Beach Pail + Toys: 

Beach toys don't have to be complex.  We typically bring a couple buckets, a few small shovels and we let them go crazy.  The beach is already stimulating for small kids, so don't overpack in this department. These are the best beach toys for toddlers; sturdy and environmentally friendly.  ****We've included some links to environmentally friendly beach toys since plastics are a huge contributor to ocean pollution.

Roadtripping or flying to the beach? Check out our guide to the best Apps for Toddlers and Preschoolers!

Stay with me on this one.  Yes, you can go to the beach without one, HOWEVER, it is very convenient to have a small fan at the beach when you have small kids. I like having one with little babies to help keep them cool while they sleep.  For toddlers, it's nice to have one that can blow on them while they eat lunch or take a break out of the sun.  For the adults, it can be nice to have a fan blowing on you while you soak up the sun at the beach.  However you choose to use it, you can't go wrong with a small fan.

BONUS:  This fan clips to strollers, so you can use it on your day to day outings to help keep the kids cool.

We used to use the "Easy-Up" style tents, but I wasn't able to bring the kids, our stuff and one of those huge tents to the beach by myself.  My husband ended up buying me a Cabana and it is absolutely PERFECT.  We are able to sit in the shade, it folds up small , is easily carried & set up by one adult. These are absolutely perfect for any parent at the beach; an essential item for bringing kids to the beach.

5) Reusable Swim Diapers: 

This is an obvious choice for anyone with kids who are not potty trained.  We typically use disposable swim diapers, but reusable ones are so easy to use & are better for the environment. If you are headed the pool with a baby, I strongly suggest putting a reusable diaper over a disposable one to keep poo out of the water!

Don’t over pack when you travel. Check out our guide to Packing Light When Traveling with Kids.

6) The best Wet/Dry Bag: 

We use wet bags for everything from pacifier bags to reusable snack bags, but our very favorite wet bag is our extra large bag.  We keep this in our diaper bag with a set of spare clothes for each kid. If one of our babes spills, has a blow out or we encounter an unexpected splash pad -- we are ready.  The dry clothes come out and the wet clothes go in.  This bag is PERFECT for the beach with kids.  We keep the kids dry clothes in there and exchange them for wet bathing suites when we are done! When bringing kids to the beach, you must bring wet-dry bags!

7) Baby Powder for the Beach: 

One Beach with Kids PRO TIP is to keep a thing of baby powder handy. Baby powder easily gets sand off of skin.  We typically strip the kids down in the back of the car (on a towel) and put baby powder all over them.  The sand slides right off.  This, for us, is definitely a MUST have since both of our kids are going to be strapped into a carseat.

8) The Best Toddler Floaties:

Going to the pool or beach with a baby or toddler means water safety! We didn't think we would use floaties, but our daughter ended up loving her puddle jumper.  We have one for each of the kids.  It gives us confidence when we're all in the water and let's our daughter have a little freedom.  I think these puddle jumpers are much safer than arm floaties and our daughter sits perfectly in the water, leaning forward with her head up. If your child does not know how to swim, you must bring floaties to the beach or the pool.

***NEVER ever leave your child unattended in the water -- even if they have a floatie on.

I have several different bags for the beach, but these days, I need something that can hold everything we need in one bag.  I also prefer a bag there the sand can easily get out and I need to be able to easily carry the bag while shuffling my two kids down to the water at the same time.  The best bag for you will depend on your situation, but the bag we have linked is a great start when it comes to a versatile beach bag.

10: The Best Beach Snack Cooler

It gets SO HOT here in Florida.  We can't go to the beach without plenty of cold water to stay hydrated. We also can't go anywhere ever without hoards of snacks, so finding the perfect beach cooler is important.  We have one we love that holds a few cold drinks plus has a zipper bag for snacks.  The key points for me is that that bag have a long shoulder strap and not be too bulky to carry easily with other bags.

Traveling with a Breastfed baby? Check out my guide on Traveling with Breastmilk!

How to Pack Your Beach Bag Effectively:

  1. Set everything out that you need to pack.

  2. Separate certain things into plastic (or reusable) baggies.

    • Diapers/Wipes

    • Sunscreen

    • Spare Clothes

    • Extra baggie for cell phones/sunglasses

    • Extra baggie for dirty diapers

  3. Tightly roll your beach towels

  4. Place toys in the bottom of the bag

  5. Followed by packed baggies

  6. Then add towels in a vertical postion

  7. Shove anything else in around the towels and in the bag's pockets

I usually have my kids wear their beach towel ponchos down to the beach and I clip their floaties to my bag.  I can easily carry our Cabana, a beach bag, & our snack cooler down by myself and the kids will walk.  When our kids were younger, I wore them on my back down to the beach in our Ergo Baby Carrier. 

It is absolutely possible for one adult to bring multiple kids to the beach!  It doesn't have to be stressful; a little planning ahead can make the trip much smoother.

Do you have any travel hacks for taking kids to the beach?  Let us know in the comments!

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