Since having a baby, the beach seems to be our go to destination for vacationing. After this winter, Harrison and I were in dire need of a couple weeks in the sun! Although our beach gear mostly stayed the same from the time Harrison was a baby, a toddler does have some different needs. Here’s some essentials we packed! Don’t miss our, Baby Beach Essentials and best Baby-safe Sunscreen posts either! What do you pack for your tot?
Sunscreen: I cannot believe how much we went through in a day this trip! When H was a baby, I tested out every recommended natural, eco friendly sunscreen. However, most of these caused a laundry problem for me because of their “physical” component. Not willing to forgo the benefits to H, I settled with Badger Baby Sunscreen. It rubs in well, is certified organic, and I like the way it smells. For Harrison’s face I always opt for a stick sunscreen. It helps avoid any sunscreen in the eye disasters. We use Badger or Neutrogena.
Diapers (regular and swim): I cannot tell you how many times I have forgotten to bring regular diapers for when we leave the beach. Swim diapers are designed to “contain” #’2s and do not hold #1’s, I can tell you from experience. Bring regular diapers! As far as swim diapers go, I became a huge fan of the Huggies Little Swimmers on this trip. They fit H much better than any other brand we tried.
Snacks and Water: I have never seen Harrison so ravenous than after an hour playing on the beach! I learned quickly on this trip that I needed extra snacks on hand! Mum-Mums are always a good go to, they are individually wrapped and hold up well in case they are dropped in the sand. Although water is important for survival, it’s also handy to rinse out the mouth of a toddler that just ate a mouth full of sand.
Baby Powder: There is nothing I hate more than having sand in the car, in the stroller, in my bag, in the house, my bed… It may be my biggest pet peeve. The best mom trick I ever learned is that baby powder removes sand! The powder absorbs moisture and the sand just brushes off. I keep a huge jug in my beach bag and stroller.
Toys: As a baby, Harrison didn’t require separate beach specific toys. This trip though, he was all about them! He did not let go of his plastic shovel for a second, even when swimming. When traveling, I opt to shop at the local drug store for some cheapo plastic buckets and shovels that I don’t mind leaving behind. Another option is using old bath toys at the beach.
Rash Guard: I try to be diligent about reapplying sunscreen to H, but it’s nice to have reinforcement. Harrison spends a lot more time playing in the sun as a toddler. I highly recommend getting a rash guard as bonus UV protection. Rashguards have become all the rage this year and are available in lots of adorable designs. The brand i play is my go to for most performance sun protection apparel. I am also a huge fan of the ones from Jcrew.
Swim Shoes: When H was a baby we carried him around the beach or he was in the stroller. As a walking toddler I was worried about his feet getting burned from hot sand or scratched on the rocks in the water. His feet even got a little raw from the rough pool floor. These Nike’s worked great for us! I like the sandal style because it allows feet to breath and doesn’t collect sand or water. Most importantly the velcro offers a snug fit preventing the shoe from easily falling off.
Hat: Harrison finally grew some hair, but we still know plenty of two year old baldies! Regardless, toddlers have finer hair that requires a hat. It also adds protection to his face. Although last year we opted for full protection from one of these i play hats, this year we went with a baseball cap, which he will get much more use out of.
Towel Cover: This was the only towel H used on the beach! It kept him so warm when he got out of the water and protected him from the sun with all the sunscreen washed off. It was perfect for eating snacks in and for our trip home! So glad we got one as a gift from our most special friends!
Safety floaties: It is without question we all watch our little ones like hawks near bodies of water but one piece of gear I liked for times when we were near the water was this floatie. Depending on your child’s swim level you may go with more traditional arm floaties but this vest worked well for us. It is a little bit tough to get on but once it is on H seemed comfortable. I took this off for times we were playing in the sand and not really interacting with the water.
Beach Bag: A large tote is a must to hold all above mentioned gear! I am personally a die hard devotee to the LL Bean Tote. Is there anything larger, more durable, or cuter? The monogram is just an added bonus. Their selection is HUGE right now! I have also wanted to try out one of these Mesh Beach Tote. Has anyone used these before? The sand falls right out, genius!!
Tent/Umbrella: Last fall we took a trip with friends to the beach, but the house we stayed at was about a 10 minute walk to the beach. We would go in the morning, set up shop, and stay until afternoon nap time. Our friends are serious beach goers and brought one of these tents with a blanket attached. My first thought was that this seemed overboard, but I quickly realized the necessity. I love the tent and blanket option to a) keep sand off gear and sacks b) it offers some relief from the sun and c) not all children enjoy the feeling of sand and this offers a great refuge.
Baby Pool: We have never done this but I think it’s a brilliant idea. You can bring a baby pool, fill it up with ocean/lake water and stick it under an umbrella. It’s a nice way for smaller babies to enjoy the water in a safe environment as well as keeping them cool in hot temps.
Stroller, Wagon, Buggy: We can usually get away with using a stroller to get H and gear to the beach. On this trip we used our BOB and it did just fine (the beach wasn’t too long). Some trips require a heavy hitter. We usually rent a crib for H on vacation and the rental companies always offer red wagons for the beach. The wheels do great on the sand! If you are lucky enough to live by a beach, I think these buggy’s would be a great investment!
What makes your beach list for your little one?