kid spreading his arms wide at the beach with seagulls flying around him

Toddler Beach Essentials for a Perfect Day at the Beach

A day at the beach with your toddler can be a delightful and memorable experience, filled with sandcastles, splashing waves, and precious family memories. However, to ensure a safe and enjoyable outing, it’s crucial to pack the right toddler beach essentials. I know I learned that the hard way with my firstborn. To help you navigate the summer fun safely and enjoy the good times with your family, here’s everything you need to know to make your beach day with your little ones a resounding success.

Sun Protection

Sun safety is paramount when taking a toddler to the beach. Their delicate skin is more susceptible to sunburn, so it’s essential to protect them from harmful UV rays. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher, specifically designed for kids. Make sure it’s water-resistant and apply it generously for 30 minutes before heading to the beach. Reapply every two hours, especially after swimming or towelling off.

Also, invest in a wide-brimmed sun hat that shades your toddler’s face, neck, and ears. Make sure it’s comfortable and has a chin strap to keep it securely in place. Look for toddler-sized sunglasses with 100% UVA and UVB protection. Ensure they fit snugly but comfortably.

mother putting sunscreen on her kids face

Beach Swim Safety

Kids swim vests are essential pieces of safety equipment when taking toddlers to the beach and that’s for several important reasons. They are designed to provide buoyancy and help toddlers float in the water. Toddlers are still developing their swimming skills and may not be able to stay afloat or swim on their own. This is where kids swim vests offer added support and prevent them from sinking, reducing the risk of drowning.

What’s more, wearing a swim vest can boost a toddler’s confidence in the water. It allows them to experience the sensation of floating and moving in the water without fear. This positive experience can encourage them to become more comfortable in the water, which is an essential step in learning to swim. 

Plus, knowing that your little one is wearing a swim vest can give you peace of mind while enjoying the beach. It reduces anxiety and allows both you and your child to have a more enjoyable and relaxed experience.

little girl at the beach wearing a swimming vest

Beach Apparel

Your toddler’s beach attire should strike a balance between comfort and sun protection. Opt for a one-piece swimsuit or a rash guard with built-in UPF protection. This will minimize sun exposure and reduce the risk of sunburn. Lightweight cover-ups, such as beach dresses or oversized T-shirts, provide added sun protection when your toddler is out of the water. Protect your toddler’s feet from hot sand and sharp shells with comfortable water shoes that have non-slip soles.

little kid at the beach wearing a cap and a rash guard while holding a maple leaf

Beach Toys

Keeping your toddler entertained is crucial for a successful beach day. A bucket and shovel are classics that are perfect for building sandcastles and digging moats. You can also create fun shapes and animals with various sand moulds. And don’t forget to take a beach ball for gentle tossing, rolling, or even playing catch in the water.

two little kids digging in the sand at the beach

Beach Shade

Toddlers can quickly become overheated, so providing a shady retreat is essential. A portable beach umbrella or sun tent will shield your toddler from the sun’s harsh rays. Make sure it’s securely anchored in the sand. Pop-up beach tents are also a great idea as they provide a comfortable space for your toddler to nap or take a break from the sun.

mother and her children under a beach tent

Cooler and Snacks

Keeping your toddler hydrated and satiated is crucial, especially in the sun. Pack a cooler with plenty of water and some toddler-friendly snacks. Staying well-hydrated helps prevent heat-related issues and will help keep your little bundle of joy happy. Consider healthy options like fruit slices, granola bars, and cut-up veggies.

little girl drinking water at the beach


Appropriate swimwear is essential for a day at the beach. Look for models that are comfortable and provide sun protection. Your safest bet is rash guards – these long-sleeved swim shirts offer UV protection and minimize skin exposure to the sun. Also, if your toddler is not yet potty-trained, swim diapers are a must. They are designed to contain any accidents while still allowing your child to enjoy the water. Beaches can have hot sand, sharp shells, or rocky areas. Protect your toddler’s feet with swim shoes that are lightweight and provide traction.

four little girls holding hands wearing swimsuits at the beach

A Beach Cart or a Baby Stroller

If you have a lot of gear to carry, a beach cart or wagon can be a lifesaver. It makes transporting all your essentials from the car to the beach much more manageable, especially if you’re juggling a toddler as well. For younger toddlers or infants, a baby carrier or a beach stroller can be a great addition. It allows you to keep your child close and shaded while exploring the beach.

father pulling a beach wagon with his kid in it

A Beach Bag and a First Aid Kit

A well-organized beach bag is essential for carrying all your toddler beach essentials. Look for a bag with multiple compartments to keep items like sunscreen, snacks, and toys easily accessible. Don’t forget to bring a trash bag to collect your litter and help keep the beach clean. Also, accidents can happen, so it’s wise to carry a basic first aid kit containing band-aids, antiseptic wipes, and any necessary medications your toddler may require.

A day at the beach with your toddler can be a wonderful experience filled with laughter, exploration, and bonding. Stay sun-safe, keep your toddler entertained, and be prepared for any situation. With the right toddler beach essentials, you’ll create lasting memories of fun and relaxation for your family. 

a first aid kit placed on the sand at the beach