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30 Baby Beach Essentials: The Ultimate Mom-Approved Packing List

Once you’ve packed your beach bag, trekked to that perfect spot in the sand with your baby, and unloaded all your gear, there’s nothing worse than realizing you forgot to bring that one must-have item for your infant’s day. From a mom of two who loves to visit the shore with our young family, here’s my complete list of the 30 top baby beach essentials — so you’ll never be unprepared for a day in the sand together.

Baby Beach Essentials for Playing and Swimming

If you’re hitting the shore with your family, come ready to enjoy the sand and the water with these seven baby beach essentials for playing and swimming:

1. Swimsuit

Baby Beach Essentials

There’s nothing cuter than a baby decked out in beach gear. Check out affordable swimsuit options from Old Navy and Carters, or opt for a matching family set. Make sure to pack an extra suit so you’re prepared for the dreaded diaper blowout.

2. Beach umbrella

Baby Beach Essentials

Even while your little one is playing in the sand, you’ll want to make sure they’re protected from harmful sun rays. Look for a large beach umbrella or other open-air shade solution that allows your baby to move around while staying in a shady area.

3. Beach toys

Baby Beach Essentials

Once your tiny tot starts to enjoy playing with rattles and toys inside the house, they will love exploring the texture of the sand and experimenting with beach toys. Sets that pack neatly into an included basket or bag make transport easier.

We especially love our set of soft and flexible silicone sand and water toys, which are less likely to cause tears if accidentally stepped on. We always bring a large bucket as well, so that we can fill it with water and nestle it into the sand for our babies to sit next to and splash around.

4. Beach blanket or large towel

Baby Beach Essentials

Before your baby is crawling and walking, it’s helpful to bring a large towel or beach blanket for them to sit and play on. The latter creates a protective barrier from the hot sand, so it’s a great spot to have a snack, take a nap, play with toys, or change a diaper.

5. Sandals or water shoes

Baby Beach Essentials

It’s a good idea to protect your child’s delicate feet from rocky shores or hot sand with high-quality sandals or water shoes. Look for footwear with toe-box protection in the front to help the shoes stay on better and defend against stubbed toes.

6. Baby powder

A toddler-mom friend of mine filled me in on this beach hack during our first summer as parents, and it’s been a lifesaver ever since. When sand gets stuck in those tiny creases under the arms, on the legs, and between the toes, sprinkle the area with a dash of baby powder. It will absorb excess moisture and make the sand easy to brush off, leaving your baby’s skin clean and scratch-free. It even works when the sand is wet!

7. Children’s life vest

Baby Beach Essentials

If your beach trip involves boating or exploring the ocean, keep water safety in mind. Equip your baby with a weight-appropriate personal floatation device so they can stay safe should anything happen on the water. We’ve used our infant life vest from L. L. Bean for both of our babies over the years.

Baby Beach Essentials for Feeding

New parents quickly learn that babies need to feed frequently throughout the day, and a trip to the beach is no exception. Here’s our core list of items to make sure you’re ready for snack time and regular feedings during your day on the sand:

8. Bottle-feeding or nursing needs

Baby Beach Essentials

Your family day in the sun will be easier for everyone if you don’t need to leave the beach every time baby needs to feed. Bring all the must-haves you would normally use for nursing or bottle-feeding, including baby bottles, formula powder, a nursing cover, and a clean burp cloth.

9. Cooler

Baby Beach Essentials

Whether it’s a small cooler bag to keep bottles of formula or breastmilk cold, or a larger one to fit snacks and drinks for the whole family, a cooler is crucial to a successful day at the beach. Taking care of a baby at the shore can be exhausting, so don’t forget to load it up with plenty of water for yourself. We always like to pack some sandwiches for lunch, so we can stay in the sand all day long.

10. Kid’s water cup or insulated bottle

Baby Beach Essentials

If your baby is over six months old and starting to drink water out of a straw cup or water bottle, it’s a good idea to pack one with you for your day in the sun. Let your baby take sips throughout the day or with meals so they don’t get dehydrated in the heat. We usually have our little ones start with the Munchkin Click Lock Flexi-Straw Cups, before moving up to an insulated water bottle or a traditional straw cup.

11. Baby snacks

Baby Beach Essentials

Once your youngster is old enough to start chomping on solid food, bringing snacks along is a great way to keep them happy at the shore. Some of our favorites are baby food pouches, HappyBaby Teether Crackers, Gerber Lil’ Crunchies Snacks, and Gerber Teether Wheels. The most difficult part is rinsing those tiny hands off before snack time and keeping them sand-free while they eat.

12. Baby beach chair

Baby Beach Essentials

If your tot is old enough to sit unassisted, it’s helpful to bring a folding chair for them to relax and have a dedicated meal or snack. We love our lightweight and compact Hiccapop booster seat. Read our full review here!

Baby Beach Essentials for Nap Time

If you really want to enjoy a full family day on the shore, you’ll want to come prepared for your baby to nap at the beach. Not only will it keep them well rested and happy, but it’ll give you a short break to sit back and relax in the sun.

13. Baby tent

Baby Beach Essentials

For parents who are able to put their baby to sleep and transfer them onto the ground, baby beach tents can help protect little ones from the harsh sun, sand, and wind. This Anti-UV Sun Tent by Babymoov has retractable mesh doors, UPF-50 sun protection, and stakes to keep it secured to the ground.

14. Bassinet

Baby Beach Essentials

We’ve frequently had our newborn nap in her UPPAbaby bassinet on the beach. A stroller bassinet allows us to take her for a stroll until she dozes off, then unclip the bassinet from the stroller and move it to a quiet, shaded area while she sleeps.

15. Baby carrier

Baby Beach Essentials

A soft baby carrier is a surefire way to help babies fall asleep on the beach. Look for a carrier that’s machine-washable so it’s easy to wash off sand and saltwater at the end of the day. We love our Beco Gemini carrier for awake time and for naps on the go. For other options, check out our reviews of the Ergobaby Omni 360 and the Artipoppe, as well as our roundup of the 20 best baby carriers.

16. Reclining chair for parent

Baby Beach Essentials

If that adorable baby falls asleep on you, you’ll want a comfortable spot to lean back and read a book or have a snooze.

17. All-terrain stroller or wagon

Baby Beach Essentials

Putting the kids in the stroller and going for a walk is our go-to for helping them fall asleep at the beach and giving us some down time. While travel strollers with compact frames aren’t practical for the sand, all-terrain strollers and wagons are perfect for these outings.

We use our UPPAbaby Vista if we’re strolling in hard-packed sand and our Thule Urban Glide 2 for tougher terrain. If we need to walk with more than one child in deep sand, we love the Thule Chariot Sport 2 and the Veer Cruiser XL Wagon.

18. Baby’s sleep items: sound machine, pacifier, swaddle, etc.

Baby Beach Essentials

While the lull of rolling waves is the perfect white noise, a small sound machine can help drown out nearby conversation sounds. This is especially helpful for babies who are used to having white noise on when they sleep. Try to recreate their home nap environment as much as possible. Don’t forget to bring a swaddle, pacifier, lovey, or whatever they normally use to soothe themselves during sleep time.

19. Clip-on fan

Baby Beach Essentials

Keeping baby cool and comfortable should be a top priority on balmy days. We use a convenient miniature fan when the weather is especially hot. We can clip it onto the stroller, beach chair, bassinet, or tent.

Other Baby Beach Essentials

From diapering to staying warm and dry to protecting that precious baby skin from the sun, here’s everything else you’ll need for a successful day in the sand:

20. Diaper changing kit

Baby Beach Essentials

There’s nothing you’ll want to keep sand-free more than your baby’s diaper changes. Look for a diaper changing kit that has enough pockets for diaper rash cream, wipes, and a few extra diapers. Kits that include wipeable or machine-washable changing mats are the most practical for use outside and at the beach.

21. Swim diapers

Baby Beach Essentials

Until that little one is potty trained, you won’t want to hit the sand without plenty of swim-friendly diapers for the day. Although Huggies and Pampers both make high-quality disposable swimming pull-ups, we’ve always loved our reusable Green Sprouts swim diapers, which we now have in almost every size. If you want everyone on the shore to melt from cuteness overload, the brand also sells coordinating sun hats to complete the look.

22. Trash bag

Be ready with somewhere to stow those dirty diapers and other trash until your beach day is complete.

23. Sunscreen

Baby Beach Essentials

Protecting that smooth, delicate baby skin from harmful UV rays is always a priority for sunny days outside. Infant skin is thinner than adult skin, making it more delicate and prone to burning. In addition to keeping your tot in the shade as much as possible, talk to your pediatrician about what age you can start using sunscreen.

Look for baby-friendly products with broad-spectrum coverage for the most effective protection. When you’re back home after a day of sun exposure, don’t forget to apply moisturizing cream at bath time to nourish the skin and lock in hydration.

24. Sun hat

Baby Beach Essentials

Baby sun hats help shield the eyes, face, and back of the neck from the sun, all while making your child look extra adorable. Our favorite is our lightweight, quick-dry Green Sprouts sun hat with UPF 50+ sun protection, and adjustable back strap, and a tie under the chin to help it keep in place.

25. Sunglasses

Baby Beach Essentials

Tiny sunglasses are a cute and classic gift for new parents that can make babies significantly more comfortable outside, especially during the midday hours when the sun is high. If you’re having trouble getting your son or daughter to keep them in place, check out our list of tips for getting your baby to wear sunglasses.

26. Baby towels

Baby Beach Essentials

Hooded towels that stay in place are a must for bath time and beach time alike. Most baby towels are small and compact when rolled up, so it can be helpful to bring an extra along in case one gets wet.

27. Coverup

Beach coverups and baby robes tend to stay on more securely than hooded towels, and they’ll keep your baby warm as they dry off after a dip in the water.

28. Warm, dry clothes

Baby Beach Essentials

We’ve learned from experience that even if it’s nice and hot when we head to the beach in the morning, wind can pick up and temperatures can drop quickly later in the afternoon hours. If there’s a chance you’ll be out in the sand all day, make sure you’re prepared with a dry set of long pants and sleeves to keep your baby cozy as the afternoon wanes.

29. First aid kit

We always take the stance that the best way to enjoy a family adventure is to overprepare for everything. Keep a first aid kit accessible in the car or with you in case of sharp shells or other potential hazards.

30. Giant beach bag

Baby Beach Essentials

I never truly appreciated how little I needed to carry with me when we would vacation at the beach before becoming parents. I quickly learned that heading there with a baby requires a huge bag to stash all the gear. We love these zip-top canvas bags from L. L Bean and these waterproof totes from Yeti.


We hope our list of 30 baby beach essentials helps you gear up for a fun day in the sun with your family. Whenever you’re at the shore with little ones, make sure to always prioritize water safety, come prepared for the unexpected, and appreciate those precious memories you’re making with your son or daughter in the sand.

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