I document life chasing three young children, renovating a house, traveling in an Airstream and just being me.

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Family Beach Day Packing List

Family Beach Day Packing List

Going to the beach without children is easy peasy. A towel, sunscreen and a book are all one really needs. If you get fancy some snacks and drinks but really you could just walk to that restaurant down the beach and have a Pina Colada. Once little ones come into the picture your needs have changed and the relaxing beach day becomes an action packed beach day. Here is an easy packing list for a family beach day: 

Light Speed Quick Cabana 

A beach tent is essential for providing much needed shade for littles on the beach. This cabana is super easy to put together and folds up into an easy to carry bag. It has a mat that folds out (they call it a front porch) and provides additional space for the family to chill, not directly on the sand. The sand pockets on the outside are helpful for keeping the tent down on windy days.


This one seems obvious but there are better sunscreens than others. We use Badger brand.  Limited ingredients is key. Angela Jansen over at goes into more detail about what brands she prefers in her article here. 

Rash Guards for the Whole Family

You can find rash guards a zillion different places. We ordered ours from Gap Kids. The whole family has one. The best way to protect yourself is to stay covered. I don't usually wear mine all day but I have it for later in the afternoon.

Snacks and water

This one is important. I promise you will get to the beach later than you had intended. I like to bring lunch so we can stay all day and not worry about hungry littles. We have a Yeti cooler but any cooler will do. Fill it with easy to pack nutritious items: cheese, peanut butter, nuts, crackers, fruit. Bring some of your favorite beverages and always bring water! 

Beach Toys 

We like a simple bucket with basic toys. Nothing fancy. These will allow you to make sand castles and will also provide a distraction for the children. My kids love to find hermit crabs and put them in the buckets for just a bit to watch them. (Don't worry we always release them.) 


Don't forget the towels. 

Beach Blanket

I prefer to put our beach blanket over the plastic material in the bottom of the Quick Cabana. It is a little softer and I can feel the sand less.

Speaker for Music

If you are going to stay all day it is nice to bring a portable speaker for some tunes. Make sure it is sand proof, water proof, can't be easily broken or you won't be bringing it back home.   

Baby Powder

This is an older southern trick. To get the sand off before going back in the car simply sprinkle baby powder all of the kids and dust them off with the towel. The baby powder helps the sand release from the moist skin. 

Beach Chairs

This is a take it or leave it thing for some people but as I get older I simply prefer to have my beach chair to hang out in than to sit on the ground all day. They don't have to be anything fancy, just something to elevate me off the ground a little. 

Other ideas: When heading to the beach some people like to bring a kiddy pool for infants and/or these collapsible baby chairs. That always got a little cumbersome to me but I have been at the beach with a non-walker and the baby pool kept him very happy in his little bit of water with toys. I also have friends who like to use fitted sheets to keep the sand out. I find this works alright for Florida sand. Most of the sand comes in attached to the little one's feet vs being kicked in but it can't hurt if you don't have a better blanket option.

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