Headed to the beach, but not sure what to pack for your toddler?
I’ve got you covered with this master list of all the beach essentials I brought for my 18 month old on this past week’s beach vacation.
My fiance Casey and I took our daughter Blakely to Edisto Beach, South Carolina with my side of the family for Memorial Day weekend (though, we made a week trip out of it!). We managed to fit in three whole beach days and it was wonderful. It’s safe to say Blakely is a beach girl like her mama!!
We stayed in a house with beach views, but still a walk to get to the beach. Since we had never been to the beach with a toddler, I really didn’t know what we would need. And truly, a lot of the items on this list you probably already have.
But there are a few items I kicked myself for not having that just would have made my life a little easier. So that is why I’m sharing with you all the things I brought (and wish I brought) to the beach with us.
I’m no expert, but I will say that preparing ahead of time will make your vacation a little more stress free.
Toddlers are very much on the go, so I included lots of activities and things you can bring to be prepared for all that energy. I’ve created a list of 12 items (with some life hacks and tips) that will hopefully make your life easier!! Let’s dive into all the beach essentials to help you have a more enjoyable + seamless beach vacation!
TODDLER BEACH ESSENTIALS + TIPS
I know that it is obvious to pack sunscreen for your beach vacation, but I still couldn’t leave it out of this list. Plus, I wanted to share with you which sunscreen is my favorite to use for Blakely. We love to use a mineral sunscreen versus a chemical one, and Baby Bum Mineral Sunscreen with spf 50 is our favorite. They also sell a spray version which can definitely come in handy.
Pro tip: use a beauty blender to apply sunscreen to your toddlers face.. it is MUCH easier and Blakely actually enjoys it.
You do not want to learn the hard way how easily the scalp can burn! Your little babe needs a hat for the beach, especially from the time the UV is highest around 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. We bought my daughter a hat from a souvenir shop that she wore most of the trip, but we also brought two from home. I ordered this striped hat from Ruffle Butts to match her swimsuit, and this one from Zando. I’m so obsessed with this smile bucket hat and really want to get it for her to wear the rest of summer!
This might be something you wouldn’t think of packing for the beach, but I promise it is necessary for the hot sand! We use these Sketchers shoes that are foam so they are perfect to wear in or by the water and for normal day to day wear.
Any beach towel you have will work for your toddler! If you want to order one with a cute fun print, this flamingo one is TOO cute!
Favorite brands for my one year old:
I personally loved the long sleeve rash guard options from RuffleButts to offer more arm coverage… and they are just adorable.
on the go water AND snacks
Each day I brought a large beach tote & a back-pack cooler full of various snacks + water. My go-to beach snacks for my daughter were
- pre-cut grapes in a zip lock bag
- Serenity Kids pouches & puffs (use code ‘COURTFIT‘ for 15% off first time orders!)
- GoGo Squeeze apple pouches
- Stonyfield Yogurt pouches.
Can you see a pouch trend? They’re just so easy!
As for water, it is SO important to pack tons of water for your little one. We love to use a hydroflask because it keeps the water cold all day for her on the beach.
A few days before the trip, I realized we didn’t have a beach tent! I knew I didn’t want to sit in the sun the whole time, and I also wanted a place where Blakely could get a break from the sun without having to go back to the house. We ordered an amazing beach tent off of Amazon that came in just two days later! It worked great for us!!
The set up was seamless after knowing this tip: fill up the four corners with MORE sand than you would think and then lay the tent flat on the ground. Then, take the poles and scoop the up under each corner to stand (we luckily had 4 people – one for each pole). Finally, attach the clip around the ball on top of each pole. Now relax!!
Having to hold a squirmy toddler, a bag full on sand toys, a bag full of towels AND a backpack cooler while walking all the way to the beach and back was not fun. Casey’s arms were full as well with the tent & bags & chairs, so my point is that a beach wagon would have been lovely. This is an item we didn’t bring that I WISH we did. It just would have made both Casey’s and my life easier.
After doing some research, I found some at various price points. Here is a popular more pricey wagon, and here is a more affordable one that still get the job done.
We brought these and barely used them, but I was still glad I had them for her. The sun can be really bright for her little eyes, so I would try to put these cute sunnies (they don’t sell the exact ones but I linked the site) on her to help protect her eyes. Mamas, let me know how you get a toddler to keep these on for more than 5 minutes!
Some kind of toys are a must for toddler entertainment at the beach. A shovel, a bucket, or even regular toys – my daughter played with little animals and little people we brought & just loved the different setting to play them.
On one of the beach days, Blakely met a little friend who was 2 and was playing with this new toy called Surfer Dudes. Basically, you throw them out into the ocean and they always come back. Blakely LOVED them, so that is something that could be fun for your toddler (and you!!) to play with.
Another obvious one, but hey I have to add it for those who’s kids aren’t potty trained yet! I’ve learned the hard way from having a regular diaper fill up with water and turn into a 5lb weight lol. We used disposable swim diapers and just brought a plastic bag to discard them in when we were done.
gathre sand free mats
These gathre mats are so multi-functional and it is yet another thing I wish I brought. They fold compactly, they’re easy to clean (literally just shake off the sand or rinse in the ocean), and also they are so aesthetic. Would be perfect during a snack time or to put down in the hot sand!
That concludes the 12 beach essentials for you toddler! I hope you guys got something from this post that will help you on your next beach vacation. As always, leave any questions or comments below!!
& pin it for later!!
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