The toddler years are some of the best years to take a beach vacation. There are several beach essentials for toddlers that you want to remember to make your trip the most enjoyable.

Especially if it’s your toddler’s first time to the beach, you definitely want to enjoy your time, not stress about forgotten beach items!

Toddlers love the never-ending sand and surf. You have to make sure they have everything they need to enjoy their time.

This list of beach essentials for toddlers will help you not forget important items! From beach chairs to rash guards, we’ve got you covered.

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beach essentials for toddlers

Here are 20 beach essentials for toddlers:

| 1 |

A safe and non-toxic sunscreen is a necessity when packing for your beach vacation with your toddler.  The Adorable Baby Sunscreen Lotion scores at the very top for’s safest sunscreens 

It has proven to be an effective sunscreen– my kids have never burned and we are outside A LOT. 

Make sure to apply sunscreen often, especially if your toddler is playing in the water.

What I love the most about this sunscreen is that it lasts FOREVER!  It takes a long time to finish the tube, which makes me a super happy customer!

| 2 |

With toddlers in tow, I always had my sand mitt ready to go for our beach trips. It actually lived in my car year-round because it was that fantastic.

A sand mitt will wipe the sand off of your toddler’s skin without any fuss.

This is especially useful when you need to reapply sunscreen and your kiddo is covered in sand.

Sand mitt to the rescue!

 | 3 |

Other beach essentials for your toddler are swimsuits and hats that protect them from the sun. 

I always prefer to get the swimsuit that covers the most skin when I’m shopping for my baby or toddler.  A rash guard will fit well on your toddler and provide plenty of coverage.

This limits their exposure to the sun and means less sunscreen that you have to use.

A sunhat will protect your child’s head and ears from the sun. Sunhats are available in many different styles and colors, so you can find one that your child will love.

The best type of toddler sun hat is a lightweight material that provides shade on both the face and neck.

The right toddler beach gear will be essential to enjoying your time at the beach!

| 4 |

Kids’ beach towels are definitely a top-priority beach essential for your toddler.

Even better than regular towel is a sand free towel!

These towels don’t collect sand and they dry super fast.

No more soaking wet, sand-filled towels after a day at the beach with your toddler.

While you can use an adult-sized towel, the kids’ towels have cute designs that kids love.

Plus, having different towels for everyone is a great way to be able to tell which towel belongs to which family member.

I would also suggest getting more than one towel for each child for your beach vacation, since there will be sand EVERYWHERE.

| 5 |

Most toddlers love the sand. One of mine did not.

She wouldn’t look at it, and screamed every time a grain of sand touched her. No lie.

Take my advice, and don’t ruin a beach trip by not taking a beach blanket!

If you have a toddler who doesn’t love the sand, or if they simply need a break from playing in it, one of these sand-free beach blankets is the perfect solution.

| 6 |

If you’re worried about your baby or toddler being in the sun too much on your beach trip, this beach tent is a must.  It’s the ultimate sun protection.

Not only does it provide plenty of shade, but it also has a little “front porch” area, where your toddler can play near the sand, but not in the sand.

This tent is also great for those long days at the beach when your toddler needs a nap.

| 7 |

If you are taking a road trip to the beach you are visiting with your toddler, a beach umbrella is a good idea to have.

Having an umbrella will provide a ton of shade for when your toddler (or you) needs a break.

Most umbrellas are really easy to set up and usually only require one person to put up and take down.

The entire family will enjoy some shade on a hot beach day.

| 8 |

This is one thing you definitely DO NOT want to forget to take along to the beach.

My favorite life jacket/float for my toddlers has always been the Puddle Jumper Swim Vest.

As soon as my kids were big enough to wear a swim vest, they were wearing these swim vests.

The good news is that the swim vests are adjustable, so they last for several swim seasons.

I prefer these over a regular life jacket because they don’t ride up to the child’s chin while swimming.

Plus, they provide an independent, yet safe swimming experience for toddlers.

| 9 |

Trust me on this one, one of the biggest beach essentials for toddlers is a portable fan!

If you are going on your beach vacation when it’s hot outside, you will want a fan to cool off your toddler.

The heat of the day can be miserable for adults and kiddos alike, and this fan will keep the entire family cooled off when needed!

| 10 |

I don’t any kid (big, or small) who doesn’t LOVE sand toys at the beach. They are essential when we go to the beach.

I can’t even count how many shovels, buckets and trucks we have accumulated over the years.

Your toddler will LOVE getting to shovel sand and fill buckets with water.

They provide so.many.hours of fun.

| 11 |

Swim diapers are another beach essential for your toddler. 

You can go for the disposable swim diapers like these, or the reusable swim diapers like these.  

No matter which one you prefer, don’t forget to add them to your beach packing list so you aren’t scrambling on your vacation!  

| 12 |

When you’re enjoying a beach day, having drinks on hand is a must. With a cold drink to stay hydrated, your toddler can enjoy their beach time to its fullest.

I love this stainless sippy cup because not only is it free of toxic plastic, but it also keeps drinks cold for up to 15 hours.

These cups are also non-leak and have a lid. Perfect for keeping sand out!

| 13 |

We like to eat healthy foods as much as possible, and beach days are no different.

In fact, it’s even more important for your toddler to eat well when they’re sitting in the sun all day.

Some of our favorite beach snacks are:
* Jerky: Nick’s Sticks
* Fresh fruit
* Almond Butter Perfect Bars (trust me on this one!)

And for beach excursions, nothing beats the Stainless Steel Bento Box for your snacks.

Throw the whole box in your cooler, and you’re all set.

| 14 |

A backpack cooler is a MUST with a toddler at the beach.

You want to keep your snacks and drinks cold, and be hands free when you gather all of your belongings.

You can also stash other items, like diapers and wipes in the extra pockets.

| 15 |

When your little one is ready for a snack break, he or she will love sitting down in the perfect sized chair.

Foldable chairs are best for the beach because they are easy to haul and easy to set up.

| 16 |

My kids don’t wear water shoes, perse, but they do wear crocs when we are walking on the hot sand.

We have bought several different pairs of mesh water shoes over the years, and my kids complained of them being itchy, so we just went with crocs as water and beach shoes.

They are waterproof and durable and can be worn beyond just the beach.

Overall, they are the best choice for us.

We prefer crocs over flip-flips, because they have a strap around the back of the heel that helps them stay on during running or other activiites.


If you are planning to be at the beach for a long period of time, you may want to bring along extra clothes.

This is just in case your child gets wet or sandy and decides they are DONE.

I like to bring something really lightweight and airy so my kiddo still stays cool.


Finding a great beach bag can be tough, but I’ve got you covered.

The mesh bag featured on this list has 9 different pockets, which is plenty of space for your toddler’s beach gear.

It’s a wet/dry bag so you don’t have to worry about the sand or the water getting to it. Just rinse and repeat each day you need it.


Where we live, you can drive on some of the local beaches, which means that you just park your car and unload.

However, when we have traveled to different places where we walk to the beach, our beach wagon was a lifesaver.

Not only can your wagon pull your toddler, but it will also have room for a lot of beach items.

| 20 |

You never know when you are going to need a first aid kit on your beach trip.

I always figure it’s better to be safe than sorry, especially when you have your toddler in tow.

The entire family (and those around you) will benefit from having a first aid kit around.

These items are essential for your beach packing list!  Make sure to get a head start on packing for your baby or toddler and don’t forget to throw in these awesome things that will make your beach vacation a total success!

Have you gone on a beach vacation with your toddler or baby?  How was it?  What did you bring?