Planning a family beach day for a little fun in the sun and surf? Make sure to include these beach essentials in your beach vacation packing list, so you’re prepared for a day making family memories you’ll treasure!
Heading to the Beach with the family is always an exciting adventure. Whether you’re planning a day trip or a week-long vacation, packing the right beach essentials for family beach vacations is crucial for a fun and stress-free experience.
With summer just around the corner, it’s time to start preparing what you need to bring for a good time on your family beach vacation. From toddlers to teenagers, everyone in the entire family needs different beach gear and entertainment options!
Must-Have Family Beach Essentials
Going to the beach unprepared is the recipe for a stressful day! Here’s what you’ll need on your beach packing list to make the most of your time and have fun too.
Sun Protection Beach Essentials
Protecting your family from the sun’s harmful UV rays is essential when spending time at the beach. Here are some sun protection beach essentials to pack for your family trip.
It’s important to remember that UV rays can be harmful even on cloudy days. The last thing anyone wants on a beach vacation is to spend it sunburned! Make sure to apply sunscreen and wear protective clothing even when it’s overcast.
Sunscreen is a must-have for any beach trip! Add a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 (50 is better) to your family beach bag.
Apply sunscreen generously to all exposed skin, and reapply every 2 hours, especially after swimming or sweating.
Consider using a mineral-based (as opposed to chemical-based), reef-safe sunscreen to protect your skin and the ocean’s delicate ecosystem.
Sun Hats and Sun Shirts
A wide-brimmed hat will help protect your face, neck, and ears from the sun’s rays. Look for hats made from breathable materials like cotton or straw to keep you cool on hot days.
Sun shirts (also called rash guards) are the easiest way to provide an extra layer of protection from the sun. They’re available in all sorts of colors and patterns so that everyone can find their personal preference and make long days at the beach even more enjoyable (and even fashionable!).
Sunglasses not only look stylish, but they also protect your eyes from harmful UV rays. Look for sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays.
Lip Balm with SPF
Don’t forget to protect your lips from the sun’s rays. Look for a lip balm with SPF to keep your lips moisturized and protected.
Protecting your family from the sun’s harmful rays is essential when spending time at the beach! Pack these sun protection essentials to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.
Food, Water, and Snacks
No beach day is complete without a selection of tasty snacks and refreshing drinks. Whether you’re spending the day lounging on the sand or playing in the waves, it’s important to stay hydrated and nourished.
Here are some tips on what to pack for your beach trip:
First and foremost, make sure you bring LOTS of water. The sun and saltwater can quickly dehydrate you, so it’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day.
Bring a large water bottle for each member of your family, and consider bringing extra in case you run out.
And consider adding lemon, cucumber, or mint to your water bottle to make it even more refreshing!
When it comes to snacks, think portable and easy-to-eat. If you’re a sports family, the same kinds of snacks that you would take to a baseball game work for the beach!
Fresh fruit, granola bars, and trail mix are all great options.
You can also pack sandwiches or wraps for a more substantial meal. Just be sure to keep perishable items in a cooler with plenty of ice.
|Snack||Why it’s a good choice|
|Fresh fruit||Provides hydration and essential vitamins|
|Granola bars||Portable and easy-to-eat|
|Trail mix||Provides energy and protein|
|Sandwiches or wraps||A more substantial meal option|
|Cheese and crackers||A tasty and satisfying snack|
|Veggie sticks and hummus||Provides fiber and protein|
|Yogurt cups||Provides calcium and protein|
|Oatmeal bites||Portable, easy-to-eat|
|Oatmeal bars||Portable, delicious, satisfying|
|Homemade soft pretzels||Portable, easy, yummy|
In addition to water, consider bringing other drinks to keep you cool and refreshed. Lemonade, iced tea, and sports drinks are all good options. Avoid sugary (like soda) and caffeinated drinks, as they can dehydrate you even more.
Remember to pack plenty of napkins, utensils, and cups for your snacks and drinks. And don’t forget to clean up after yourself – leave the beach cleaner than you found it!
Beach Gear Essentials
When you’re heading to the beach with your family, having the right gear can make all the difference. Here are some essential items to consider packing in your beach bag:
Beach Chairs and Beach Shelter
A comfortable beach chair and umbrella will provide much-needed shade and a place to relax. Look for chairs that are lightweight and easy to carry, and consider a beach tent, beach umbrella, or shelter with UV protection.
Beach Blanket and Towels
A sand-free beach blanket can help keep sand from getting everywhere, and quick-drying towels are a must-have. Look for a beach towel that are absorbent and lightweight for easy packing.
A sturdy beach bag (or beach tote) can hold all of your essentials and keep them organized. The best beach bags are made of mesh so that they don’t hold sand.
Consider adding a dry bag or plastic bags to your beach essentials list to keep your electronics and other items protected from water and sand.
No beach trip is complete without some fun beach toys. From sand shovels and buckets to frisbees and footballs, there are plenty of options for sand toys for all ages.
Don’t forget floaties, boogie boards, and a kids snorkel set for little ones.
Swimwear and Shoes
Make sure everyone has the appropriate swimwear and shoes for the beach. Water shoes or flip flops can protect feet from hot sand and sharp rocks, while life vests and reusable swim diapers can keep little ones safe in the water.
Practicing water safety is just as important at the beach (or even more important) than at the pool.
A life jacket is a MUST-HAVE for anyone who’s not a strong swimmer. And even small children who are strong swimmers should wear a life jacket in the water in case they get tired.
Beach Cart or Wagon
Unless you want to make 4 or 5 trips to the car and back to your spot on the beach, you’ll need something to carry your supplies and food! This awesome cart transforms into a chair, or a beach wagon (especially one with wide wheels for rolling over sand) is perfect too!
Beach Essentials – Entertainment
Bring along some entertainment for when you need a break from the sun and sand. A portable Bluetooth speaker (make sure it’s a waterproof speaker) or headphones can provide music, or a good book can offer a relaxing escape.
And don’t forget toys and an inflatable float (or boogie board) for the kids, who seem to almost never want a break!
Beach Essentials – First Aid and Personal Items
It’s always a good idea to have a first aid kit on hand for any minor injuries or accidents as part of your beach necessities. Don’t forget insect repellant and protective gear like a straw hat or cover-ups. And bring along personal items like a portable charger and baby powder for added convenience.
It’s good to bring a little portable fan (even a fan that sprays mist) to help cool down anyone who is sensitive to heat.
Beach Essentials – Cleanup
Be sure to include a trash bag as part of your beach accessories to keep the beach clean and leave it better than you found it. And don’t forget a portable cooler for snacks and drinks to keep everyone refreshed throughout the day.
With these must-have beach essentials, you’ll be ready for a fun and stress-free day at the beach with your family.
Planning Your Family Beach Vacation
Planning a family beach vacation can be exciting, but it can also be overwhelming your first time. With so many beaches to choose from, it can be hard to know which one is the best fit for your family. Here are some tips to help you plan your next family beach vacation.
Choosing the Right Beach
When choosing a beach for your family, consider the age of your children and their interests. Some beaches are better suited for families with young children, while others are better for families with older children. For example, if you have young children, you may want to choose a beach with calm waters and a gentle slope. If you have older children, you may want to choose a beach with more waves and water activities.
Road Trip or Flying to Your Beach Destination
If you’re road-tripping to your beach destination, make sure to plan your route ahead of time and pack plenty of snacks and entertainment for the car ride.
If you’re flying, consider packing a small bag with essentials like sunscreen (use sunscreen wipes if you’re flying because TSA will confiscate lotion), swimsuits, and beach towels in case your luggage gets lost.
Choosing the Right Time to Visit
The best time to visit the beach depends on your family’s schedule and preferences. If you’re looking for a quieter beach experience, consider visiting during the off-season. If you’re looking for a more lively beach experience, consider visiting during peak season.
Keep in mind that the weather can also affect your beach experience, so check the forecast before you go.
Keep A Close Eye On Your Family
It’s essential to be vigilant and watch young children closely – especially if they’re in the water. If they’re very young, get in the water with them or don’t let them do deeper than their knees.
Older kids can easily go out too far and get caught in riptides. Educate your kids about the ocean and keep a close eye on them.
Protect Your Devices
The beach is all about sand and water. That’s GREAT for fun and relaxation – NOT so great for electronic devices. Place your phone into a protective bag so you can still check your email (if needed) and take pics without it, thanks to water and sand.
Planning a family beach vacation can be a lot of work, but with a little planning, it can be a fun and memorable experience for your whole family.
By choosing the right beach, packing your favorite beach essentials, and planning ahead, you can ensure that your family beach vacation is a success.
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