Beach essentials for toddlers: what you need for a day on the beach with toddlers. Day at the beach with toddler packing list.
The beach can be lots of fun for toddlers.
The water, sand and sun are great stimulants for them and there are plenty of opportunities for them to explore, experience and have fun.
You really do not need to pack much for a day at the beach with a toddlers however, a few items come in handy and make your life easier.
These are the beach essentials for toddlers we found most useful and we now recommend.
Please note: this post contains affiliate links and, should you make a purchase through them, we might make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Please note: as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases
Toddler essentials for the beach
Extra Beach towels and beach blankets
A large beach blanket is a beach must-have at any age but with toddlers, I consider it so essential I recommend you bring at least two.
Toddlers are guaranteed to cover your beach towel with sand, possibly even sea water, so if you want to offer them a surface that is somewhat clean for eating or napping, then a spare towel is a great thing to have.
For toddlers, I love towels that are extra soft and smooth like those made of microfibre or bamboo, especially is used for nap time.
Hooded toddler towel
If a beach towel is an essential for sitting on the beach, a clean towel is a beach essential for after swimming.
I like those with a little hood in particular: I keep them in the beach bag until needed so they stay clean and then I hand them to my umbrella to dry after they have done their job.
I find this the easiest way to dry your kids and avoid have them covered in sand as soon as out of the water.
Swimming diapers and swimming trunks
Swim diapers work great for toddlers and I find the best way to use them is in combination with swimming trunks / toddler swimsuits.
As well as looking cuter, the swimsuit protects the outside of the diaper from excessive sand and keeps them comfortable for longer.
Both reusable swim diapers and disposable ones can work and I find which one to go for comes down to what you and your child are more comfortable with.
Reusable diapers are cheaper in the long run and they are more environmentally friendly however, you may need more of them and on any given day and it means you have to then carry them wet at home and wash them.
Disposable ones can just be tossed.
In both cases, I recommend you bring a few more than you think you may need as, once wet, they are unpleasant on the skin so you may need to change them more often than on a normal day at home.
Sunscreen is essential to keep toddlers safe at the beach. I usually invest in good quality ones marked as toddler-friendly and marine life friendly.
For ease of use, I find spray sunscreen the best for toddlers and you don’t have to rub it in and you can apply it even when they are on the move.
However I have read spray ones are less environmentally friendly as they leave more residue so if your toddler accepts standard one, that can be the better option!
Kids rash guard
Rash guards can be an extra layer of protection for kids who are not used to the sun or for prolonged sun exposure.
Good quality ones offer good UV protection, are easy to wash and easy to take on and off however, they don’t fully replace sunscreen. With movement and playing, the rash guard will move and leave some areas of the skin exposed (usually the tummy, lower back especially).
I usually set a reminder on my phone as especially with the rashguard on, it is easy to get a false sense of safety about sun exposure.
Toddler Sun hat
Another important toddler essential for the beach, I like hats that that protect the back of the neck as well as the head as that’s an area that can very easily get sunburnt (All those sand hole-digging exposed their delicate neck skin a lot!)
One more for protecting your toddler from the sun: sun shades! Those my kids tolerated the most were those with a soft elastic band that goes behind the head and keeps them in place
Floating vest / floating devices
Floating vests can be wonderful to help you keeping your toddler safe in water. As much as you can hold them, a vest will give them that extra buoyancy that will make them (and you) feel safe.
Water Baby/Toddler carrier
If you have a very young toddler, a water baby carrier can also be a good idea.
Unlike standard baby carriers, swimming carriers are made to go into the water and are wonderful to give you that extra stability you may need when walking on the beach or getting into the water.
I find them particularly good when you have an active older child and a baby or toddler as they leave your hands free without getting you overly hot.
You can find the list of my favorite water baby carriers here.
Toddler Water shoes
You may not need water shoes on a sandy soft beach however, I always find them handy with kids while we are on the beach and as we leave.
Water shoes will keep them protected from pebbles, rocks and potentially spiky animals and they are the easiest to get cleaned and sand-free when returning home.
You can find my favorite water shoes for kids here.
Toys are a must for all travels with toddlers and beach toys are a must for a toddler day at the beach.
Classic beach toys like buckets and spades, sand shapes, sieves, watering cans, blowup beach balls and kites all work well.
Toddler-friendly beach snacks and food
All my article about toddlers include the tip ‘bring snacks’ and this applies to a day on the beach too!
The best beach snacks for toddlers are nutritious and hydrating, to make up for all the energy and sweating they will be doing while playing on the sand and swimming.
My kids love apples, grapes, raisins, wraps, mini cheese and ham sandwiches, yogurts, and of course tons and tons of water.
No matter how much sun protection you can give your kids, there it nothing like actual shade to give children a break from sunrays.
A sun umbrella from home or the beach club can be all you need or you may want to get a sun tent for you little one (to a bigger one for all of you): this is an easy way to have extra protection and, in some cases, even some privacy for getting changed and naps!
You can find a list with our favorite beach tents for toddlers here
Beach essentials for toddler checklist
Quick and easy checklist to double-check you have all you need to pack for a day on the beach with your little one. Keep scrolling for more must-haves!
Toddler beach essentials checklist: Sun protection
- Rash Guard
- Sun hat
- Sun tent
Beach essentials for toddlers: swimming and water play
- Bathing suit /swim trunks
- Floaties/ floating vest / floating devices
- Swimming diapers
- Water shoes
- Towels / hooded towels
- Sand toys
More must-haves for toddlers on the beach:
- Snacks, snacks and more snacks,
- Beach cooler bag for drinks/ snacks / meals
- Mash bag for toys or beach toy wagon – find nice beach bags for moms here
- Extra bag for wet clothes
- Trash bags
- Clean clothes
- Toddler changing bag – on this note, I recommend you don’t bring your good one to the beach: opt for a portable bag you can easily clean from the sand and easily pack away at the end of the day
- Beach chairs for you and your kids
- Spray bottle with clean water to cool them down
I hope you found this list of toddler essentials for the beach useful and it helped you feel prepared for your beach day with your little one or even your first family beach vacation!
If you want even more tips, you may check out these other articles: