Going to the beach with a toddler (or baby) is a whole different ball game than when Craig and I would head to the beach on a whim just the two of us. Last summer we didn’t get in many beach days (mainly due to Covid) but also because Marin was so little and her wake window between naps was pretty short. This year we’re taking full advantage of the beach every chance we get. Our summer is SO short and it always flies by so we’re making the most of it. Here are my top family friendly beach day essentials.
Family Friendly Beach Day Essentials
I bought this beach umbrella from Land and Sand Essentials last year. I really like it because it’s lightweight, easy to travel with and made from recycled plastic. It has UPF 50+ protection and it’s very easy to assemble. The white one we have is sold out but they have some other colors. My only complaint is the umbrella does not tilt, not a huge deal but just wanted to note that. I did find this one that’s very similar and has that capability.
I always get questions about our Tommy beach chairs from Business & Pleasure Co. They were a major splurge for me but I was really sick of buying beach chairs that would break after one or two summers and were not comfortable or easy to transport. The frame is made from a waterproof World Forestries-certified hardwood and rust-resistant stainless steel fittings. The seat is a UV, mold, and water-resistant woven umbrella canvas. It has padded backpack straps and a back pocket. They’re really comfortable and of course I love how they look.
The one thing that’s important to know is they’re pretty heavy. I rode to the beach with one on my back and it was not fun. If you have a beach cart or don’t have a far walk to the beach it’s fine, but something to know if you typically bike to the beach or have a long walk to your destination.
Beach Cooler and water bottles
Hands down the best beach cooler we have is the Yeti backpack cooler. It fits a ton of stuff and keeps everything cool for hours. It’s also a backpack which makes it incredibly convenient to transport. We bring it out for boat days too. If you don’t want to spend that much on a cooler I also really like this sustainable cooler bag from Out of the Woods. It doesn’t keep things cool the way a Yeti does but it’s durable and super easy to clean. Just throw some ice packs in there and it’s a great option.
I got the Large Zip Top L.L. Bean Tote for Marin as an Easter gift and it was such a good purchase. We use it pretty much everyday for everything but it makes a great beach bag. It can fit all of our stuff and I had it monogrammed so when she starts daycare it has her name on it. The L.L. Bean totes are amazing quality and last forever. I highly recommend.
To be honest I’ve been looking for a beach cart/wagon for over a year and I still have not made a purchase because I’m afraid it will break based on reviews (if anyone has one they love please add in the comments!). For now we’ve been using our Gorilla Cart (you can find them at most hardware stores). The nice thing about it is it doesn’t collect sand. We can throw all of our beach stuff and Marin on it which makes bringing the gear down to the beach from the car a lot easier.
Beach Towels and blankets
I got a few Pendleton beach towels years ago and they’re my favorite. The quality is fantastic and they’re big and soft. I got this one from Pottery Barn kids for Marin and had it monogrammed so she can use it in the future for daycare/camps, etc. For beach blankets I use printed tablecloths because they’re lightweight, easy to wash and easy to transport. I’ve collected some over the years from various shops and keep them on hand for beach days.
Most of our beach toys are hand-me-downs which is awesome. I did buy this little beach toy set made from recycled plastic.
Beach Hats & Bathing Suits
My favorite bathing suits for Marin are from Hanna Andersson, Pearl Street Swim, and Monica & Andy. I shared some of my favorite sustainable one piece bathing suits here, the one I am wearing in these photos is the fish-print from Fisch (I’d say it runs a little small). She has a Patagonia sun hat that I can sometimes get her to keep on her head and Babiators for sunglasses. I really like this trucker hat I got from Heidi Merrick especially to wear in the water.
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Beach Day Essentials
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