10 Family Beach Essentials You Forgot to Pack

Lauren Tamm

Summer is here! For many military families this is a great time of year to pack things up and head to the beach. Here are a few items you definitely won’t want to forget on your way out the door!

Sunscreen that actually protects your skin.

In order to best protect yourself from harmful UVA/UVB sunrays, aim for at least a 30+ SPF for adults. For kids, you may even want to aim for 50 SPF. While 30 SPF does protect well, every little bit helps when in the sun for long periods of time. You may also want to try a sunscreen stick for the face to avoid sunscreen in the eyes, which is no fun for anybody. If your kids accidentally rub sunscreen into their eyes, wipe the eyes and hands clean with a damp cloth. Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours.

Quality shade.

Outdoor canopy. If you regularly visit the beach you may want to invest in a quality outdoor canopy that can provide shade to an entire family, giving everyone enough space to play, eat and hangout without having to scrunch in tight.

Umbrella. If you have a small family or only one or two people require constant shade, a quality umbrella is typically a less expensive option than an outdoor canopy.  Consider investing in an umbrella that is able to sustain beach winds as well as provide SPF protection. Most umbrellas are labeled with their individual level of SPF protection. A corkscrew umbrella holder is another item that will stabilize your umbrella in the sand, preventing it from blowing away.

Baby tent. One final option to consider is a baby tent, which would provide both shade and a napping area for your littlest one. One benefit of the tent is it also contains a ‘floor’ as part of the tent. The floor serves as a good surface for the baby to play or sleep without the baby lying on sand or seashells. The tent is the most compact option.

Swimwear items that aren’t a swimsuit.

Swim shirt. The more skin you can cover the better. Find a swim/sun shirt with a minimum of SPF 50.

Sun Hat. Shop for a good new or used hat that fits each of your kids well. If the hat flops around a lot the kids are more likely to lose it in the wind or pull it off

Water shoes. Consider buying water shoes to help protect your kids’ feet. The beach often contains sharp pieces of broken seashells that could really hurt.

The best beach toys.

A sand bucket with a shovel is a great place to start, but don’t forget about all the other awesome toys for an outdoor day. Horseshoes and a kite are usually a huge hit for families and get everyone playing together. A few beach balls, inner tubes and body boards are also great items to bring along. 

Draw string mesh bag.

Bring a draw string mesh bag to carry all the sand toys in one convenient place. The mesh bag minimizes sand collection that would occur with a regular bag and also allows for quick clean up. Just spray down the mesh bag with toys inside after you are done at the beach. No need to take the toys out individually and rinse them off. Any remaining sand can be shaken off after the bag and toys dry outside.

Outdoor blanket.

An outdoor blanket is a great item to have on hand for frequent beach goers. Outdoor blankets are made of materials that do not absorb much moisture and do not collect sand. If you get a little sand on the blanket, shake it out, and all the sand will simply slide off.

Blow up baby pool.

If you have a baby, this is an awesome way allow the baby to play in the water, while keeping him in one safe place. Another benefit to the pool is you can keep the pool under a shaded area. Using a very inexpensive blow-up pool can prevent you from chasing your baby up and down the beach, while also keeping your baby away from strong waves and water that’s too deep.

Enough drinks to keep everyone hydrated.

Bring adequate amounts of water, sports drinks or juice to make sure everyone stays adequately hydrated. Being out in the heat and sun, everyone in the family will likely require extra liquids on any given beach day.

Baby powder.

Last but not least, the magic trick of baby powder. It the best friend of anyone at the beach. Baby powder takes the sand RIGHT OFF the skin. I promise – it is magical. Just rub it on the skin and all sand comes off easy peasy!

Beach going is a lot of fun and all of these items can help make everyone’s beach experience all the more enjoyable!


Lauren Tamm is a mother, military spouse, freelance writer, and coffee lover. When she isn't busy chasing a toddler around the house, she loves to blog about  practical parenting, enjoying motherhood and navigating military life.

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