beach with a baby or toddler

Everything you need for the beach with a baby or toddler

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If you’ve stumbled upon this post you’re probably planning to go to the beach with a baby or toddler. I salute you for committing to not only venturing out of the house – but perhaps the state, and into a sea of strangers. The beach with a baby is definitely a challenge, but if you’re prepared, you can still have a day of fun, sand, and surf.

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All the things you need for a great beach vacation with a baby or toddler. What to pack for a fun trip including sun protection, toys, beach tents, and how to prep for a family beach vacation.

The biggest thing you’ll want to do to ensure you have fun at the beach with a baby is to pack appropriately. If you’re used to packing up a wagon and heading to the beach anyway, you might not need to change your habits that much.

I used to throw a towel over my shoulder and put some sunblock in a bag – so my packing changed a lot. This post is a list of things you’ll want to take to the beach with a baby or toddler to make your day more enjoyable.

What you’ll need

Don’t forget to download my newborn and toddler packing list from the resource library! Enter your email below and you’ll have immediate access to go in and grab it. It’s a pre-populated list of everything you need for a newborn, toddler, and mamma for a week on vacation. It even includes estimated quantities of diapers, outfits, etc.

The Packing List


One of the most obvious things you’ll need is sunscreen. Choose a mineral version that’s baby friendly. We love ThinkBaby and Blue Lizzard since they’re non-toxic. If you have questions or concerns about baby and toddler sunscreen, check this out.


You’ll need something to protect your kiddos from getting a burn. While we love fun in the sun, kids (especially babies) shouldn’t be out for hours. Get a full or partial tent or at least an umbrella where your little one can hang out while you’re frolicking in the sun.

Rash Guard

On that note, you won’t want to just rely on the sunscreen or shade. You’ll want a full UPF 50 rashguard to protect both you and your kiddos. Nothing puts a damper on a beach vacation like a day one sunburn that makes the rest of the week miserable. Lather up the sunscreen and then don’t risk it. Rash guard up.

Shovel Set

There is literally nothing cuter than a baby or toddler at the beach with a shovel and bucket. It’s such an amazing thing to watch your little one play in the sand for the first time. If you’re going to be at the beach for more than 10 minutes, you’ll want some toys for entertainment.

Beach Mat/Blanket

I used to be ok with towels when I was just going to the beach for an hour with friends. However, if you’re planning to hang out for a few hours, you’ll probably want a full beach mat or blanket. This will give you more clean space and you can put it under your tent as a place to get out of the sun.

If you’re planning to stay for a while or are giving out snacks, trust me that you won’t want to only have a sand covered towel around.

Beach Chairs and baby holder

Chairs for you, and somewhere to put the baby – also for you. You should try to make your day as relaxing as possible. That doesn’t include worrying about sand blowing in your baby’s eye.

Bring the beach chairs and set them up so you can relax a little and watch your baby or toddler, and bring a safe place to put your baby up off the sand. It’s a win-win for everyone.


If you’re going to the beach in June or July with an infant, you’ll probably want a portable fan. While you might not have worried about overheating when it was just you, you want to do whatever you can to keep your baby cool.


If you’re at the beach with a baby or a toddler you’ll want to bring drinks. Infants can drink breastmilk (it’s very hydrating) but toddlers will need a lot of water. Also, if you’re pumping and not nursing directly, you’ll need cold storage for your breastmilk or if you have pre-made formula.

A cooler is also great for snacks!

Cart to pull everything

Finally, if you actually bring everything on this list, you’ll need something to get it from the house or car to the beach. Here are a few cool carts or wagons to get you on your way.

Where to get all that stuff

Ideally, if you go to the beach a lot and you drive, you can bring the stuff with you in the car. If you’re flying and not renting a house that comes with all the beach amenities included, you can likely rent a ton of the things you’ll need.

When you go to a family friendly destination, you can almost be sure that there will be a rental company nearby. While this does make your vacation a bit pricier, it’s worth the cost to save your sanity sometimes.

The biggest things I recommend renting are the heavy hitters like a crib or pack n play, stroller, high chair, toys, diaper pad, and baby bath.

The sleep solution is obviously 100% necessary, while the other things just make your life easier. If you’re traveling with your stroller you obviously won’t need to rent one. Toys are for your sanity – and they take up a ton of suitcase room. If you can have a set of building blocks, teethers, and 10 books delivered to your beach house, why not?

A high chair, diaper pad, and bath are all big items you can’t pack and are relatively cheap to rent for the week. If you’re already paying a delivery fee for a crib or pack n play, I found it worth it to add in the extras. Many companies will also provide beach toys, tents, etc. for the week.

Examples of rental companies

Here are some links to rental companies so you know what you’re looking for in the area you’re vacationing. If I’m going somewhere new, I just google crib rental and a few options will pop up.

Family Rentals – South Florida

Just for the Beach – Outer Banks

EZ Beach Rentals – Ocean City, MD

It can be a huge hassle to pack up your kiddos and actually go on vacation, but these are the memories you’ll keep for a lifetime. And the good news is, if it sucks, there’s always next year. Make sure to keep your expectations low and have a great trip.

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