If you’re gearing up for a beach trip and find yourself wondering what the best baby beach items are, you’re in the right place! A day at the beach with baby can be fun without having to haul a ton of extra gear. Read on for the best baby beach gear and toddler beach essentials (updated for 2023).
Whether you’re planning a full-blown family vacation or just a short day trip to the beach, having the right baby beach gear can help make the day fun for the whole family.
Our family is lucky to have a family beach home, which means we have been taking our children to the beach since they were infants! Since we don’t live nearby (it’s usually a 10 hour haul for us to get down there), this also means that we can’t load up a zillion different items each time we head down there.
This list is compiled from our own REAL experience wrangling babies at the beach. I still cringe when I think back to the amount of stuff we crammed into our car for that very first baby beach trip down. The majority of it we never even needed!
Read on for my list of must-have baby gear for the beach to make your ocean outings with a breeze. From a baby beach tent to the perfect beach wagon, and everything in between, these items will make this the best baby beach trip yet! The items on this list are also suitable for toddler beach gear too, since we navigate both!
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Baby Beach Essentials
Bringing your baby to the beach can actually be a lot of fun when you have the right accessories! When it comes to your upcoming beach trip with baby, there are some essential infant beach gear that you’ll need to pack to keep your little one safe and comfortable. There are also loads of extra items that can help make the day extra fun for baby, too.
With this in mind, I’ve broken up this list of baby beach essentials into two different sections. The first section contains the items our family has learned from experience you truly need for a successful beach trip with baby. The items on this first list are some of the best baby beach gear out there, and things we ALWAYS take with us to the beach.
The second list contains baby beach supplies that are handy and helpful, but not a true necessity. One of the reasons why I broke this is up is because many of us are navigating carrying little ones while also transporting beach gear. Personally, the less we can take with us the easier it is for our family!
Baby Beach Necessities: Absolute Must Haves for Taking Baby to the Beach
Taking an infant to the beach doesn’t have to be scary! We started taking our boys to the beach when they were under 6 months old, and it’s become one of our most fun family traditions! Read on for the essential baby beach gear you should never leave home without.
Full Size Beach Tent
There’s a reason this is the first thing on our list of the best baby beach gear: a beach tent is one of the best ways to protect your child from the harsh rays of the sun!
A full-size beach tent also gives baby a safe place to sleep, gives you privacy for diaper changes and also creates a great escape for family members of all ages who need a little shade (or a quick nap).
Our family is a big fan of pop up tents. They’re quick and easy to set up, without having to struggle with tent stakes and poles while battling a windy day. We personally use this California Beach Co Pop N Go Baby Playpen. It’s lightweight and has a UV protection shade.
Here’s a great full size tent option that pops up completely on its own, is lightweight and also has fabric with UPF50+ protection. No matter what tent you choose, be sure it has UV protection as well as a way to stake it down on the beach for safety.
If a tent isn’t something you have space for, at the very least try to take a baby beach umbrella like this one.
When my boys were very young, I felt nervous applying a ton of sunblock and fell in love with rash guards! A rash guard is protective clothing that has UV protection and covers more of the body. A rash guard also helps protect baby’s skin from sand, which can really irritate them.
They are absolutely a beach essential, as coupled with baby sunblock and a quality sun hat will work to protect your baby’s ultra sensitive skin from the dangerous rays of the sun and other elements that might irritate his skin.
The best baby swim gear and rash guards have a UPF ratings of at least 30+. If possible, look for rash guards swimsuits or shirts that have long sleeves for extra protection.
I’m personally a really big fan of the iPlay by Green Sprouts line of sun protection wear for children, and it’s the only sun protection line we put Archer in now! Their clothing provides all day UPF50+ protection in stretchy, breathable and comfy options.
It is truly worth it to invest in high quality, protective swim gear for infants, babies and toddlers that meets those minimum UPF recommendations.
Sun hats are another absolute necessity for your little ones at the beach! Their skin is more delicate than we realize, and keeping extra shade on them is so important. Not only does a baby beach hat help keep the sun from beating down on baby’s head, but it also helps keep it out of their eyes (so they can have more fun).
Like rash guards, the best baby sun hats have a UPF ratings of at least 30+.
As your child grows their preference for type of hat might change, so it’s a good idea to bring more than one style of baby sun hat so you’re not fighting them on trying to take it off all the time.
It’s crucial that you are protecting your baby’s sensitive skin with baby sunscreen to help protect your little one from sunburn.
While there are many sunscreen options out there, it’s important to choose a sunscreen that is made specifically for baby. We’ve tested out quite a few brands over the past few years, and we personally have found ThinkBaby Natural Sunscreen to be the best baby sunscreen out there.
This water-resistant, broad-spectrum coverage mineral based sunscreen is free of biologically harmful chemicals: no avobenzone, oxybenzone, UV chemical absorbers or known reef harmful chemicals. It’s also the first sunscreen to pass Whole Foods Premium Care requirements and has won more awards than any other line (including Allure’s Best Baby Sunscreen)!
Even if you don’t think your little one is going to want to get into the water, the absolute LAST thing you want is to have a soggy, gross regular diaper on your hands. Not only is that not sanitary, but it’s also a huge pain to have to clean up.
When going to the beach with the baby you need to bring a waterproof beach diaper. Swim diapers are amazing, and come in both disposable versions and washable, reusable ones (which we personally use as they are more eco-friendly).
Wagon with All Terrain or Off-Road Tires
Trust me when I say that a beach wagon is something you don’t want to cut corners on, because without the right wheels you WILL get stuck in the sand and your husband WILL want to kill you for making him drag this wagon out in the first place.
Look for one either specific for the beach, or that has LARGE wheels. It makes it so much easier to just throw everything in the wagon and wheel it out, rather than trying to juggle a million bags and your baby at the same time.
This one by Hauck is amazing. Literally every review I’ve seen has parents singing its praises! It’s for sure on our wishlist. This is the perfect beach wagon for parents!
Mesh Beach Bag
Raise your hand if you’ve tried to take your kids to the beach using a regular bag or diaper bag, only to continue to find sand in it for months to come?
Ain’t nobody got time for that. A mesh bag is the way to go! They take up so little room when it comes to packing, and are super helpful for throwing all of those sandy items into and letting the sand drain on the walk back.
Lightweight Baby Carrier
Another great way to keep the baby off the sand is to wear him. While you may have a go to carrier you already love, you want to be sure that what you bring to the beach is easy to clean, breathable and resilient.
I personally have and love the Baby K’Tan Active Carrier. It’s lightweight carrier that’s incredibly easy to put on and is perfect for not only the hot weather but for wearing my little guy into the water! Made from a breathable hi-tech performance fabric, it wicks away moisture and sweat to keep both of you cool and comfortable. It also blocks over 90% of the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays!
A mesh baby carrier is ideal for hot days, as the material is breathable. You don’t have to worry about baby overheating while in the carrier, which means they’re perfect for taking a short walk on the beach to help put your little one to sleep.
Water-Resistant Baby Beach Blanket
Water resistant blankets are a must when it comes to beach comfort. These things are amazing. The top is soft like a regular blanket, but the bottom is lined with a waterproof material which means it’s much more versatile then the old blankets you have tucked into your trunk.
You can place it under the tent or pool so your baby isn’t sitting on the hot sand, or you can also use it as an easy place to play.
This one is a great choice because it’s not only affordable, but it was made specifically for the beach! It’s sand-resistant, water-resistant and dries quickly, comes with sand anchors for safety and can easily accommodate multiple adults. It also folds up tiny and can be slung over your shoulder!
Most outdoor blankets with a waterproof backing will work great for this, but keep in mind that your baby most likely WILL try to put it in her mouth (so think about that when you purchase one)
Cooler Packed with Snacks and Water
Want to be able to stay out in the sun for longer? Plan ahead with the meals and snack times that will pass while you’re on the beach. Be sure to pack more bottled water and food then you think you’ll need for both adults and the kids. We all know how quickly a good time can be ruined when someone gets hangry or extra thirsty!
This Coleman cooler is a fantastic option because not only does it have a large capacity, it’s also made specifically for the outdoors with extra large wheels, a telescopic handle AND is insulated enough to to keep your drinks cold for up to 5 days (you know, just in case you decide you don’t want to leave)!
Don’t forget to pack extra bottles if you’re not breastfeeding, too!
Reusable Wet Bags
If you’re not on the reusable wet bag train, you need to check them out! Think Ziplock bags, but reusable, which means they are perfect for storing wet and dirty items that you don’t want leaking and are better for the environment.
I love having a few of these in the car in case of an accident, but they’re also perfect from wrangling wet beach clothing or dirty shoes while on vacation. Plus there are a ton of patterns and sizes out there for whatever your needs!
Baby Beach Toys
The last thing you need is to bring all this awesome stuff down to the beach and have your baby get bored. Be sure you pack at least a few baby beach toys!
If you forget to pack them, you can usually snag plenty of great options at a local big box retailer or even the dollar store.
Plenty of Beach Towels
Don’t forget beach towels! While you might be used to bringing just. one beach towel per person, it’s a smart idea to pack extra when you are going. to the beach with a baby. You might need to dry him off multiple times, or even use them as a blanket if it gets too windy that day.
Handy Extra Baby Bear Gear
This next section includes items that aren’t baby beach gear essentials, but for sure make that beach adventure easier.
When you’re already throwing everything but the kitchen sink into your vehicle to head to the beach with your little ones, the last thing you want is a bulky stroller taking up a ton of room.
If you’re looking for something very compact, this stroller is a DREAM. It’s racking up award after award, and for good reason. It’s lightweight, easy to navigate, but most incredible: it folds down to the size of a shopping bag!!
I hope you found this list of The 10 Absolute Must Haves for Taking Baby to the Beach helpful! Do you have a beach vacation planned this year? I’d love to hear about it!
Portable Baby Bassinet
Having a portable baby bassinet for the beach ensures that your little one is safe, cozy and protected while snoozing.
Small Baby Beach Pool and Bath Toys
I loved using a small baby pool when our boys were super young! With how strong the waves can be, we wanted somewhere safe that allowed them to enjoy being in the water without having to worry about the danger of getting knocked down while holding them.
Just infant the pool, add a little ocean water and baby is ready to play! Add a few of baby’s favorite bath toys for extra fun.
Spout Adapter for Water Bottles
Have you ever forgotten a bottle at home and had to cut an outing short? With these easy spout adapters, you can transform a regular plastic water bottle into a baby-friendly bottle in just seconds!
I recommend parents grabbing these in general to keep in your diaper bag, even when you’re not at the beach! They come in so handy when you need them, and are really simple to use.
It can be tough to find the best infant sunglasses for your own little one, but they make a trip to the beach so much more enjoyable. Baby sunglasses come in a few different styles, so try out a few to see what your baby likes best.
Baby Beach Shoes
If your baby is walking (or starting to), I recommend snagging a pair of baby water shoes. These are super important. to protect baby’s feet, especially if your beach has sharp shells, rocks or coral.
Click here for a selection of affordable baby beach shoes
Best Baby Beach Accessories List
Here’s a quick recap of the best baby beach gear we covered
Essential Beach Supplies for Baby (the must-haves you should pack):
- Beach Tent
- Rash Guard
- Sun Hat
- Baby Sunblock
- Swim Diapers
- Mesh baby carrier
- Water-resistant blanket
- Cooler with snacks
- Wet bags
- Mesh beach bag
- Baby beach toys
- Beach towels
Nice to Have Extra Baby Beach Gear:
- Travel stroller
- Portable bassinet
- Small inflatable pool with bath toys
- Spout adapter for water bottle
- Water shoes
- Baby Sunglasses
Related Family Fun Posts
The Best Baby Beach Gear for 2022
I hope you found the items on this list helpful as you plan your beach trip with baby. Remember that this list is meant to be used as a guide: you absolutely do NOT need to bring every single one of these things to the beach!
Spend some time thinking about your own family, how much space you have and what baby beach gear you can pack without feeling overwhelmed. Needs vary from family to family, especially when it comes to your baby’s age. Parents of babies under 6 months will have different needs than parents of babies who are older and more mobile. Start with the most important things and go from there. Parents of older kids will have much different needs too. If you’re traveling with big kids, check out the best holidays for teenage families!
Do you have any other suggestions of what to bring to the beach for a baby that we should add to our list? If you found this article helpful, please take a minute to share it so more families can benefit from this information, too. Wishing you a perfect beach day!