Keep it simple and organized.
You’re excited for a fun day at the beach, you’ve got your cute new swimsuit on and flip flops that match. Now you may be wondering: how can I make sure that this day is enjoyable? The best way to make sure you have an enjoyable beach day is to pack the right stuff.
Some people think they need to pack everything plus the kitchen sink. Our list is by no means small, but we’ve found for a family who likes to keep it as simple as possible there this is just the right amount for a full day at the beach.
After many trips to the beach with our kids we’ve come up with a list of ten items that we always pack for our day trips to the beach.
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Of course, you know that you’ll need towels!
So I’ll keep it quick! My advice would be to pack the lightest towels that you have. They are a much better idea for the beach because they dry much quicker and are easier to pack when either dry or wet. Plus the kids can easily carry a light towel versus a big heavy one.
Last year I invested in a few Tesalte Towels, and we love them. They are lightweight, dry fast, and sand won’t cling to them.
https://www.amazon.ca/Microfiber-Towel-Beach-Travel-compact/dp/B00W22FZ68/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ref_=ast_slp_dp&th=1&linkCode=ll1&tag=saxfam0c-20&linkId=45d74272b75fbca83b351dec541b39d2&language=en_CAAnother great towel option is the Quick Dry Beach Towels made by Dock n’ Bay. They come in lots of fun colours and patterns! Click here to see them on Amazon.
2) Beach Bag
A good beach bag is a must!
Sometimes several beach bags that we end up taking, mostly because I like to keep everything organized.
A good beach bag must be lightweight and relatively big.
Two great options for beach bags are
- Woven Bags: with the hope that half the beach will end up sitting at the bottom of the bag. Also, it will likely get wet from towels, swimsuits, etc. So if it happens to get wet it can quickly dry.
- Large “grocery” tote bags: These bags have so much space for packing everything. It’s easy to grab things in and out. We find them great for towels and beach toys.
These beach bags available through Amazon or ShopBop and would be perfect for holding beach gear.
A good quality sunscreen is a must for any trip to the beach.
There have been lots of discussions lately on whether or not the ingredients inside sunscreens are good for you and the environment.
Creating changes to policy such as the changes made in Hawaii. As of January 2021, all sunscreen containing oxybenzone and octinoxate will be banned throughout Hawaii.
These two ingredients are major contributors to coral bleaching, which results in significant stress to marine life and their environments, particularly coral reefs. (you can read more about it here)
So how do you balance between caring for ocean habitats while making sure you and your family are protected against the sun’s rays?
Here’s a great article that was written by the Mayo Clinic talking about the ins-and-outs of the best sunscreen to use. They recommend:
- A broad-spectrum sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher
- is water-resistant
- while avoiding oxybenzone and octinoxate
Here are a couple of options for Reef Safe & People Safe Sunscreens
We recommend reading the list of ingredients on every bottle. Many brands will have one type of sunscreen that is free of harmful ingredients but add those ingredients into their other sunscreens and products. Don’t assume that all products within a brand are “reef safe”
4) Sunglasses & Hats
After putting on a good quality sunscreen, it’s also essential to wear sunglasses that protect your eyes from the sun.
The number one factor when choosing sunglasses is whether they protect your eyes from both UVA and UVB rays. You should be able to find a tag or sticker right on the glasses that will provide this information.
You don’t need to buy expensive sunglasses, especially for kids, we opt for cheaper sunglasses but make sure they protect their eyes. Amazon has a great selection of sunglasses UV protection. (like these!)
A hat for every person in our family is something that is always in our beach bag.
Don’t pack anything that they won’t mind getting a bit dirty or worn out.
Our son has had a couple of bouts of heat exhaustion in the past, and if we’re not careful, he can feel pretty terrible, quickly. During our last trip to Florida, we didn’t realize that he had too much sun, and he ended up throwing up in the bushes at Epcot. Whoops.
So now I’m extra careful with how we are spending time in the sun and make sure he wears his hat and sits in the shade during his downtime.
Roxy (for the girls) and Quicksilver (for the boys) is one of our favourite places to shop for beach gear. They have an excellent selection of hats that are perfect for everyone in the family.
My favourite beach hat is this simple Roxy Baseball Cap.
5) Beach Umbrella
Every time we’ve left our beach umbrella at home during a trip to the beach, we’ve regretted it almost instantly.
Unless you are lucky enough to find a spot on the beach lined with trees, typically there is very little shade available. Too much sun can quickly turn a fun beach day into a bad situation; a beach umbrella can make your day at the beach much more comfortable and enjoyable.
When looking for a beach umbrella, there are a couple of features you’ll want to look for.
- An umbrella that has at least a six-foot diameter is suitable for a family.
- Make sure it can tilt in different directions. This way, you can change the angle without having to move the umbrella out of the sand.
- Make sure it can hold up to the wind. If a breeze comes up you, don’t want it flying down the beach. A great option is to purchase a Beach Umbrella Anchor.
We’ve had it for years, and it has held up well. It’s large and can fit several people underneath comfortably.
Other beach umbrellas you might like:
6) Beach Chairs
A beach chair isn’t exactly a necessity for everyone. Sometimes it’s kind of fun to sit in the sand. But if you plan on spending a good portion of the day at the beach, your back will thank you for having a decent chair.
They are comfortable and have several fun features like as a cup holder, pillow and cooler. They have backpack style straps making them so easy to carry even the kids can do it!
Other beach chairs you might like:
7) Fun Stuff
Fun Stuff is a pretty broad category. As long as it keeps everyone happy and busy, you’ve done an excellent job!
These are some of our favourite things to bring with us to the beach to keep our kids happy and busy.
The most popular underwater camera on the market today is the GoPro.
We recently purchase a GoPro Hero7 and are really happy with the quality of the photos and videos. It’s so small and compact,
I love using it when travelling. It’s also super durable and can hold up to lots of different conditions.
I love being able to take pictures of my family and not worry about my camera (or cell phone) getting damaged.
This is a picture I took with our GoPro Hero7 during our last trip to Maui.
The newest model, the GoPro Hero8, also takes even more impressive videos and photos both underwater and above. It can go down ten meters / 33feet.
You can check out more information about Hero 8 here.
Another option, if you are looking for a camera that just takes photos, is the Olympus Tough TG-6, which is highly rated.
We have not tried this camera, but the reviews were so good, I thought it would be worth mentioning.
It is excellent for all kinds of adventures. It’s able to go underwater up to 15 metres and won’t have to worry about sand getting into places it shouldn’t
9) First Aid Kit
Being prepared for minor injuries is always a good idea when you are out with your family, and the beach is no exception.
We’ve had a couple of incidents that we’ve needed a first aid kit for when we’ve gone to the beach.
The first wasn’t so severe, but our one daughter stepped on a wasp. She wasn’t bleeding or anything, but sometimes all it takes for kids to feel better is to put a band-aid on. It saved us from having to leave for the day, and she was back to normal within a few minutes.
The second time we needed a first aid kit was when a friend and I were swimming in the ocean in Maui when she accidentally kicked a piece of lava rock underwater. It cut her foot, and she was bleeding.
Minor cuts and scrapes can happen anywhere. It’s smart to come to the beach prepared. Sometimes it can mean saving your day at the beach vs. having to go home to treat a minor issue.
We like this Mini First Aid Kit. It comes in a small plastic waterproof container and doesn’t take up much space in your bag.
10) A Cooler filled with Snacks & Drinks
If you’re planning to spend a day at the beach, you’ll want a cooler that will keep your food and drinks cold all day.
Some of the best coolers available are made by Yeti. They are a high-quality product that you can guarantee your food and drinks will stay cold for hours.
For a day at the beach, the YETI Tundra Haul Wheeled Cooler is perfect!
Unfortunately, these coolers also come with a hefty price tag.
Other coolers that you might like:
Make sure you have lots of water.
When you’re in the hot sun all day, you’ll need to keep yourself hydrated. Water is the best option. At home fill up a reusable water bottle for every person in your family.
Or pack lots of bottled water. Bring a sharpie to write names on the bottles and make sure to recycle them afterwards!
Water is great but chance are everyone will want something fun to drink as well. Pop, iced tea and juice boxes are favourite drinks.
Depending on where your beach is located, chances are you’re not supposed to be consuming alcohol at the beach.
So if this is something you’d like to do, try not to make it too obvious by bringing insulated cups Plus it will help keep your drink cold and keep sand out with the closeable lid.
Snacks are a must!
The kids are so busy running and swimming that they are burning lots of energy. Keep them happy by having foods they like and are easy to grab.
Here are some of the foods we like to pack for a day at the beach.
- Cut up fruit like apples, watermelon, pineapple, etc.
- Cut up veggies
- Chips, popcorn, pretzels
- Beef jerky, pepperoni sticks, sausage
- Chicken wraps, mini croissant sandwiches, lettuce wraps
- Fried Chicken
- Premade salads such as coleslaw, macaroni or potato.
Don’t forget to bring cutlery, plates and napkins if needed. Make sure you have a bag for all of your garbage. Don’t leave anything on the beach!
Want a copy of our day at the beach packing list?
Please feel free to save to your computer and print out.
You might also like
- Resort Review of our stay the Royalton Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa
- Top Five Activities For Families in Maui (besides the beach)