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The 15 Ultimate Family Beach Bag Essentials For a Perfect Day at the Beach

15 beach bag essentials for families

The 15 Ultimate Family Beach Bag Essentials For a Perfect Day at the Beach

Posted on 2018-06-25 at 08:25
Last updated on April 15th, 2019 at 01:49 pm

Few things get us more excited than preparing for a trip to the beach or the pool.  Maybe it is because we live in Utah, where we spend half of the year buried under snow and freezing temperature inversions, just yearning for summer!  Whatever the reason, we love a good beach or pool day. Being properly packed and prepared for time at the beach is a must! So we have rounded up the 15 ultimate family beach bag essentials…especially if you have little people in tow! Read on to learn one of our most requested family travel tips: family beach bag essentials!

The bag!  Firstly, the bag.  I always purchase a cute and FUNCTIONAL beach bag.  For me, this means it must be large enough to hold everything that we need to pack, isn’t bulky, but folds up flat and compactly and doesn’t take up too much room at the bottom of my luggage.  Make sure it has zippered pockets where you can safely store keys, money, identification, phone and other small loose items you don’t want to end up getting buried in the sand. A good beach bag is key.

If you like this family travel tip you might also like our Long-Haul Flight Survival Kit for Parents!

The 15 Ultimate Family Beach Bag Essentials

1- Sunscreen

Be sure that your sunscreen is 30 SPF or higher and blocks both UVA and UVB rays.  Make it a water-resistant one. I prefer a spray and find that the kids do too. I have also found that the spray sunscreens feel less sticky when applied (I personally can’t stand sticky lotion).  Also, apply sunscreen before even stepping foot in the sand… it is much easier to apply evenly before the little cherubs become sand encrusted:) and it has time to really soak in. To keep the nasty burns away, don’t forget the ears or the top of the head (especially the part).

2-Lip Balm

Don’t forget to pack this little kiss of protection.  Sunburned lips are no good and lips are a common place for skin cancer.  Choose a balm in a flavor your kids will love and there will be no problem getting them to wear it.  There are even tinted balms or glossy glosses:) and make sure it has at least 30 SPF.


Whatever your brand or style sunnies are a must for a successful (and safe) day in the sun.  Polarized glasses help block the glare from the water, sand and cement- just the things you will surely encounter at the beach or the pool.  Just make these a must even for the tots and we think make them CUTE:)


Baseball, wide brim, bowler, bucket, straw, wizard, witch or cowboy style (just kidding but you get the picture)…nobody cares as long as you have one.  Function here above style (unfortunately). I always struggle in the hat department…

5-Ziploc Bags

No need to go to the expense of purchasing waterproof pouches…just use Ziploc bags.  They are cheap and disposable and waaaay less mess. Ideal for wet swimsuits, diapers, garbage you may need to carry out with you, and protection for your iPhone or anything else that needs it.  These just help keep the mess to a minimum. Bring a few different sizes. Easy Peasy.


Make sure you pack enough snacks for the littles AND yourself.  Remember that bringing chocolate or anything that melts to the beach or the pool is going to be a disaster. I do love chocolate but its best to leave that home.  Opt instead for crackers, granola bars, gummies and whole fruit like bananas, apples, and oranges.

7-Water Bottles

Staying hydrated at the beach or pool is key.  That sun is hot and often times the breeze is too.  So to keep the crew from becoming a hot mess, pack refillable water bottles to make sure no one becomes too parched.

8-Water Resistant Speaker

Bring one of these along and turn up the FUN with a splash-proof speaker.  Find one that is small in size but big on sound! What a blast:)

We love this one! Sony Water Resistant XB10

9-Outdoor Blanket or Beach Mat

Use whichever version of this you prefer.  Again, pack one that is easy to fold, is compact,  and is easy to clean and shake off. Just make sure it will keep the sand off of the towels.  Many times, if we are traveling to a destination, rather than pack these, we purchase them for a few dollars each at a local tourist shop before heading to the beach.  


This is a no-brainer but make sure you have at least one per person.  Sometimes we throw in a few extra just for good measure. Another handy tip is for each person to have his/her own distinct towel.  This avoids all squabbles over whose wet towel is whose (we’ve had plenty of those over the wet towels).

11-Beach Ball and Sand Toys

Yes, these items may take up plenty of room in the beach bag (although the inflatable options don’t), they are worth their bulk in gold.  A small assortment will keep the littles (and the bigs) giddy for hours. We have many a happy memory building sand castles as a family on the beach.  A few sand toys are a necessity.

12-Good Book

A good read for the beach or the pool is thumbs up.  Nothing beats a great read for that lazy day lounging at the beach or the pool.  Mom and Dad, just make sure to keep one eye on the kids!

13-Wet Wipes

These ALWAYS come in handy for sticky little fingers and to wipe off sand or sunscreen that is close to the eyes of your little angels.

14-Wet Brush

Miracle in a brush for sure.  These brushes gently glide through tangles without breakage, pain or tears. My life was changed forever with the discovery of the wet brush!!!

15-Baby Powder

Bring along a travel size bottle of baby powder.  This works miracles as when you are finished at the beach you simply rub powder on you and the sticky sand falls right off.  This makes the ride (or transport) home so much more enjoyable and ensures that those piles of sand don’t make it into the car or the living room floor once you arrive home.

Now, you are all ready!  We hope these 15 ultimate family beach bag essentials, now get out and enjoy the day with your family and make some great memories!


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what to take to the beach

  • eileen
    Posted at 09:15h, 27 June Reply

    On amazon you can find baby powder sacks that are handy for cleaning sand off hands and feet without the powder going all over (a sock works well for this, too.). That brush sounds handy. But we don’t worry about hair until we get home. A load of conditioner after the beach really helps undo damage from chlorine and salt water.

    • kamree
      Posted at 13:30h, 18 July Reply

      Are you kidding? Baby powder socks!!! Best idea ever!

  • Ina @ Crafty For Home
    Posted at 18:48h, 02 July Reply

    Great list, we also love to bring the beach tent, it is so helpful when we have little baby while we are in the beach.

  • Christina Pilat
    Posted at 13:35h, 03 July Reply

    Okay I have lived in Florida my whole life and I didn’t know that baby powder trick!! I definitely agree with this list and now I want to go to the beach!

    • kamree
      Posted at 13:28h, 18 July Reply

      YAY!! The baby powder trick works WONDERS!!!

  • sarah camille
    Posted at 13:53h, 03 July Reply

    I don’t have kids yet, but we have a lot of similar essentials! I will save this for when I do reach that family stage. Wet wipes sound like a godsend!!

  • kelsi
    Posted at 19:49h, 03 July Reply

    ooooh, i have all of these in my bag but ziploc bags and a wet brush. I’ve never heard of a wet brush… where does one find that, lol.

  • Danijela
    Posted at 03:54h, 11 August Reply

    Useful tips. Even though we mostly bring about 10 of your 15 essentials, I have to say that I’ve noticed that people tend not to bring water, at least I met few who don’t. Cafes and restaurants on the beach are all fine and you can buy few bottles on the way, but it’s essential to pack some. So, your list can come handy to most. :)

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 07:01h, 11 August Reply

    I am finding now that I got a daughter (and another child on the way), beach preparations is a MUST and this is a fantastic list. Have actually printed this out so I dont forget when I hit Cyprus in a few weeks time!

  • Andi
    Posted at 10:51h, 11 August Reply

    I’m not much of a beach person, but these all look handy. But baby powder? Wowza! I NEVER knew that! I am going to make sure I have that on hand – we live in the desert and sometimes when we are hiking we get sand in our feet, this would be awesome!

  • Rosemary
    Posted at 12:49h, 12 August Reply

    Oh…I love this. I just learned a new tip and new use for baby powder. Thank you so much!! There is nothing more frustrating than sand all over the place. Great tip about lip balm protection too. An often looked area :)

  • Holly
    Posted at 18:46h, 12 August Reply

    Believe it or not I haven’t even gotten to the beach this summer yet. I have been focusing on more for sunscreen especially for the face. These are all great essential items.

  • Shruti Prabhu
    Posted at 00:31h, 13 August Reply

    Ziploc bags are so useful and yet underrated. Only when you are wet and covered in sand do you wish that you had a ziploc for your wet swimsuit. Baby powder sounds like a wonderful idea! I am headed to the beach in a couple of days, will try this trick out. Glad to have read your article!

    • kamree
      Posted at 13:29h, 25 August Reply

      Thanks, Shruti!!!!! WE love Ziplocs! WE keep them on us at all times almost. You never know what a six your old is capable of hahahah.

  • Eric Gamble
    Posted at 20:24h, 13 August Reply

    Okay so first of all great list of beach bag essentials for a family or anyone really especially couples. I swear up and down that Darcee my fiance’ always has to bring wet wipes and even a small roll of toilet paper that we smush and put in a baggie because she always has to use the bathroom as soon as we get there. So better safe than sorry.
    I have never heard of a Wet Brush…I am going to have to let her know about that cause she naturally has curly hair. As for the Baby Powder trick, I have never heard of that before. I am 100% going to have to try it because I love the beach, the sand, and everything about it all cept carrying all that sand on my feed in the car!

  • Punita Malhotra
    Posted at 21:51h, 13 August Reply

    You mean a wet brush is different from a regular brush with wide bristles? I should get one of those in any case, beach or not. What a great idea!

    • kamree
      Posted at 13:29h, 25 August Reply

      ITS THE BEST!!!

  • Tami Wilcox
    Posted at 00:16h, 14 August Reply

    The baby poweder is my favorite beach trick. I’m always astounded at how easily the sand falls off after sprinkling baby powder on it! The other thing I always take is my camera. I can’t imagine missing those awesome shots of my grandchildren jumping away from the waves…

  • Debra Schroeder
    Posted at 08:59h, 14 August Reply

    Nice tip about the baby powder. There’s a company that sells something called Sand off or something like that, supposedly it’s more environmentally friendly (and non carcinogenic) than baby powder.

    • kamree
      Posted at 13:28h, 25 August Reply

      I need to get some of that Sand Off Immediately! It sounds awesome!

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