Last Updated: July 27, 2022

20 Beach Essentials For Toddlers 

Planning a beach vacation with your toddler and you’re not sure which beach necessities to pack? Then you’re definitely in the right place because this guide includes the top 20 beach essentials for toddlers!

Toys, sunscreen, diapers, chairs – we’ve thought of everything so you don’t have to! Keep reading to see which items are absolutely necessary for a beach trip with a toddler, and which items aren’t quite as essential, but might make your life a bit easier!

Top Products


Swim Diapers

Pampers Splashers Swim Diapers Size M 18 Count

You’ll need at least one pack of swim diapers if your toddler is old enough to get in the water. Diapers are a better option than a swimsuit if you want to avoid any potty accidents on the beach, and the best pairs are just as comfortable as a proper swimsuit.

The Pampers swim diapers are some of the best-selling swim diapers on the market, so they’re the safest choice. Unlike most other pairs of swim diapers, these don’t swell in the water so your toddler stays more comfortable in them. They’re also very easy to put on and take off, plus they’ve got a leaf-proof barrier so that everything that happens inside the diaper stays there.

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Mesh Beach Bag

Dejaroo - Mesh Beach Bag, Lightweight Mesh Tote Bag with 8 Pockets For Vacation Essentials, Foldable Beach Bag for Travel, Beach Travel Essentials, 16.5 x 8.5 x 15 inches, Blue with Blue Straps

Beach trips with toddlers mean you’ll need to bring a lot of stuff. Toys, toddler beach shoes, floaties, and a bucket of sunscreen are just a few of the things you’ll need at the beach, so it’s essential that you have something to carry all the stuff in.

A mesh beach bag is a great idea because it has lots of see-through pockets so you can easily see where everything is. It allows you to have all everything you need easily accessible, plus it’s got internal pockets for the things you want to keep just a little extra safe.

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Beach Tent or Umbrella

WolfWise 3 Person Portable Beach Tent UPF 50+ Sun Shade Canopy Umbrella with Extendable Floor

Does your definition of a beach day include spending hours on the beach, or are you the kind of person who just lunges themselves in the water and then packs up after a swim? If you’re used to spending hours on the beach, you’ll need an umbrella or a beach tent, especially if you are going to the beach with toddlers.

The little ones likely won’t want to go home, and you’ll need to create some shelter from the harsh midday sun. A beach umbrella is a good option for concrete blocks and cobblestone beaches, but a tent is the better choice for a hot sand beach. A beach tent offers both protection from the sun and privacy, so it’s great if your kids want to take a nap on the beach sometime during the day.

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Beach Toys

Balnore Beach Toys, Sand Toys for Kids 23 Piece for Kids with Castle Building Kit, Animals Castle Molds Beach Shovel Rake Other Tools Kit ,Sandbox Toys Gift for Kids with Mesh Bag

If you’re going to spend an entire day on a beach with a toddler, you’ll need a lot of things to keep them entertained. Inflatable beach toys are great because you can fit a lot of them in a beach bag and they’re easy to inflate without a pump. An inflatable beach ball is fun for the entire family, but you should also pack some toddler-only toys.

Don’t forget about the sand toys either, especially if you’re heading to a nice sandy beach. Get your toddler a set of sand toys and you might just be able to finish reading an entire chapter without any interruptions!

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Beach Shoes

Crocs Kids' Classic Flip Flops | Sandals for Kids, Navy, 10 Toddler

Beach shoes are another essential that you need to choose wisely. The best beach shoes for your toddler depend on the type of beach you’re going to. If it’s a sandy beach, you’ll want to look for something closed-toe without too many holes, so that the hot sand doesn’t get everywhere inside the shoe. Or just a good pair of flip-flops, but preferably something that’s sturdy enough your little one won’t have a hard time walking – if they know how to walk.

Closed-toe beach shoes are the safest bet if you’ve got a small toddler that can barely walk without falling down. If you’ve got a bigger toddler who rarely stops running around, a pair of Crocs is a good idea. Crocs are amazing flip-flops for adults and kids of all ages, and they’re so awesome that every family member needs a pair.

They’re textured on the inside so it’s harder to twist your ankle when your feet are wet, they’re extremely comfortable, they’re supportive, and they offer plenty of grip and traction outside.

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Baby Powder

Johnson's Baby Naturally Derived Cornstarch Baby Powder with Aloe and Vitamin E for Delicate Skin, Hypoallergenic and Free of Parabens, Phthalates, and Dyes for Gentle Baby Skin Care, 4 oz

Every parent knows you can’t leave go anywhere with your little one without baby powder. Whether it’s because you have to change their diaper eventually or to help them deal with a rash, baby powder is an essential item in every parent’s bag, even a beach bag.

Baby powder will especially come in handy if your little ones spend a little too much time in the water with swim diapers. Preventative use will help ensure they don’t get a diaper rash no matter how much time they spend playing in the water, and it will certainly help keep them comfortable when you finally change them out of the wet clothes.

When it comes to types of baby powder, it’s really a matter of personal preference. Johnson’s is one of the more popular affordable brands, but there are dozens of other baby powders that work just as well. Just make sure to pick up something fragrance-free and talk-free, especially if you’ve got a child with sensitive skin.

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Beach Towels

NovForth Kids Beach Towel for Boys Girls, Hooded Bath Towel Wrap, Toddler Pool Towel with Hood (24'X24' (1-6 Years Kids), Shark+Pink Mermaid)

Toddlers need their own beach towels and there are so many cute and fun designs out there that it’s best to just let them choose what they like. It can be a classic beach towel in a toddler size or one of those wearable towels that usually sport a very fun design.

Wearable towels are a good option if your toddlers are going to spend a lot of time sitting around on the beach. The towel will shield them from the sun and wind, but only if you can actually get your child to wear the beach towel. A classic beach towel is not a bad idea if your kids love to spend time in the water – they dry quickly and they’re more suitable for just lounging.

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Beach Blanket

Do yourself a favor and get a massive beach blanket, especially if you usually spend time on sandy beaches. Beach blankets are waterproof and stain-resistant, and they provide the necessary barrier between your bare feet and the hot sand.

They’re also great for just reserving your slice of the beach – instead of having to spread towels around and hoping that no one will move them, one beach blanket immediately takes up enough space for six people. The best beach blankets have concealed pockets so you can hide your most valuable items, and they pack down into a tiny pouch that easily fits into your favorite beach bag.

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Beach Wagon or Stroller

PA Beach Wagon Heavy Duty Collapsible Wagon with Big Wheels for Sand Foldable Wagon Garden Cart with Removable Mesh Cover Easy Fold Up, Grey

Unless you’ve got a premium travel stroller that works on all terrain, you’ll likely need a stroller or a wagon specifically for the beach. Let’s make one thing clear – there’s no such thing as a beach stroller, only high-end strollers with wheels that are suitable for any terrain. These are usually pricey ($300+), so if you can’t afford a premium all-terrain stroller, pick up a beach wagon instead.

They’re more fun for the kids anyway, and they might make them feel a bit older. They’re not as safe as strollers though, but that shouldn’t be a big issue since you’re not supposed to use them instead of strollers anyway. It’s just to transport your kids (and the tonnes of gear that come with them) from the parking lot to the beach and the other way around.

The major advantage of a beach wagon over a stroller is that you can use it to carry all your stuff too, in addition to the kids.

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Beach Chairs

Tommy Bahama Backpack Beach Chair-New 2022 Designs-5-Position Classic Lay Flat-Insulated Cooler Towel Bar-Storage Pouch (Sailfish and Palms)

Beach chairs are essential for comfortable beach days. You can sit in the chair while your kids play around and you’ll be a thousand times more comfortable than if you’re just lying on a thin sponge on the sand.

Older toddlers might appreciate having their own toddler beach chair, especially if they’re not ones for spending too much time in the water. Camping chairs are a great choice for the beach because they’re lightweight and packable, and they often come with a handy transport bag.

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Snacks & Water

Valentines Day Healthy Snacks Care Package Snack Box Grab And Go Variety Pack (30 Count) - Discover a whole new world of Healthy Snacks - Snack Variety Women Men Adult Kid Teens Gift Basket

Going to the beach without your favorite beach snacks is a rookie mistake. All the swimming and running around after the kids will help you work up an appetite rather quickly, and that’s not going to be an issue if your beach bag is full of beach snacks.

Fruit is arguably the best beach snack. You’ll want to skip the stuff that melts easily so anything with chocolate is a no-go, and it’s best to avoid packing anything that needs to be refrigerated if you don’t want to bring a cooler to the beach.

Pack nuts, chips, dried fruit, and some healthy cookies – try to pack mostly healthy snacks that are filling and a late lunch won’t be an issue for anyone. Water is also essential and it’s better to pack several smaller bottles than a big one. It’s also smart to pack a bottle of water not intended for drinking, so you can wash your face and rinse away the sea salt.

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Sun Hat

i play. Toddler Flap Sun Protection Swim Hat, Navy, 2T-4T

Sun hats are essential beach gear for both kids and adults, especially those who spend a lot of time in the sun. They’re great for shielding your kids’ faces and heads from the harmful UV rays, plus they’re a cute accessory to any outfit.

When choosing a sun hat for your toddler, be sure to ask for their input. If you get them something they picked out themselves, it will be easier to get them to wear the hat while they’re playing all day.

One thing to keep in mind when choosing a sun hat is that mesh hats aren’t a good idea for boys and girls with short hair – they don’t offer as much protection for their head, and if they’ve got no or short hair their scalp could burn.

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Rash Guard/Bathing Suit

Simple Joys by Carter's Toddler Boys' Swimsuit Trunk and Rashguard, Blue, Shark, 4T

Rash guards aren’t just for surfers – they’re for everyone who wants additional protection from the sun. They’re great for toddlers if you can get them to wear one, mostly because you won’t have to worry if they’re covered with enough sunscreen as much.

Most rash guards are either one-piece suits that they can wear over swim diapers or a bathing suit, and some are just shirts that can be paired with bikini bottoms or swim diapers. Long-sleeves are the norm for rash guards, but it is possible to find short-sleeved rash guards for toddlers.

If your toddler is potty trained and they don’t want to wear swim diapers, you’ll need to bring them a bathing suit. Pack at least two swimsuits per toddler so they always have a dry one to change into, plus one extra if the original swimsuit gets too dirty.

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Floaties/Life Vest

Chriffer Kids Swim Vest Life Jacket for 22-66 Pounds Boys and Girls, Toddler Floaties with Shoulder Harness Arm Wings for 2,3,4,5,6,7 Years Old Baby

If your toddlers are old enough to swim, you will need some floaties or a life vest. Even if they’ve already learned how to swim, it will be easier for you if they’re swimming around with floaties. But what if you’re dealing with a child who refuses to wear any of the items above?

Try coercing them into picking out floaties they like. There are so many different floaties out there that it’s impossible not to find at least one they like, and if they feel like they’ve chosen something, it’ll be a bit easier to get them to wear the floaties before they get into the water.

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Sunscreen

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-In Milk Body & Face Sunscreen SPF 60, Oil Free Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin, Sport Sunscreen Lotion, Sun Protection & Sun Skin Care, Oxybenzone Free

Out of all the toddler beach essentials, sunscreen is the most important one. Your little one should always be protected from the UV rays, which means reapplying the sunscreen on them (and yourself!) every couple of hours.

Look into water-resistant or waterproof sunscreen options, especially if your toddler is old enough to swim. That way you don’t have to reapply the SPF every time they get out of the water. La Roche Posay Anthelios is a personal preference – I’ve been using it for about two years and I promise you I’ve never burnt when I’ve applied it properly.

There are many versions of this sunscreen, so you can go for any level of protection and texture you want. There’s even a formulation for allergy-prone skin and it works really well – it won’t protect you entirely from breaking out if you’ve got a sun allergy, but it does reduce the symptoms.

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Baby Carrier

WaterLand Baby Carrier - Innovative Carrier You Can Use Both in Water & Land - Waterproof Infant Chest Holder with Adjustable Straps, Lightweight Toddler Harness for Pool & Beach (Black)

If you’re going to the beach with a very small toddler or a baby, you will need a baby carrier. Look for a baby carrier that you can go in the water with, so you can safely play with your older child while your smaller child is napping on your chest.

A baby wrap or a sling baby carrier is one of the better options for the beach. It’s a lot lighter than a traditional baby carrier, and it’s going to take up a lot less space in your beach bag.

The WaterLand Carrier is also an interesting option – it’s waterproof, lightweight, and suitable for both moms and dads in the water and on dry land. It’s also very small and packable, so it’s perfect if you’re looking for something portable you can just throw in the bag.

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First Aid Kit

First Aid Only 57 Piece 10 Person First Aid Kit (6060)

A first aid kit in your beach bag might be a bit overkill, but if you end up needing it you will absolutely be glad you packed it. It doesn’t have to be the biggest and best first aid kit money can buy, but you generally want bandaids, some sort of wound cleaner or disinfectant, and some emergency medicine.

You’ll most likely need to deal with cuts and bruises, so you’ll want to pack items that will help with that. Painkillers and probiotics are pretty basic medicine that is always nice to have handy, and it’s a great addition to a first aid kit for the beach.

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Waterproof Bags

JSJSYO 50Pcs Travel Storage Bags Clear Resealable Bags Waterproof Plastic Ziplock Bags Luggage Organiser Pouch Space Saver Storage for Clothes School Trip 8'x11',10'x14',11'x16',13'x18',16'x19'

Throwing a few waterproof bags in your beach bag is always a great idea. Use them to store wet clothes, sunscreen, water bottles – anything that’s either wet or has the potential to spill. That way you ensure your bag is mess-free, and you don’t have to worry about carrying your electronic devices in the same bag as wet towels and bathing suits.

Resealable kitchen bags are a great and affordable option. They can easily hold wet bathing suits, smaller bottles, and dirty diapers, and the only thing they’re not good for is a wet towel. You can also look into wet bags that are made for luggage – they’re reusable so a bit better than the resealable plastic bags, but they’re also the pricier option.

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Sunglasses

Ray-Ban RB3025 Classic Aviator Sunglasses, Gold on Black/G-15 Green, 62 mm

Pack a pair of sunglasses for every person that’s going to be on the beach with you that day. I’m partial here because I can’t get through December without sunglasses, and I can’t imagine leaving the house without my Ray Bans during any other season.

The beach is no exception – if you want to be able to read, check your phone, or do a crossword puzzle while you’re at the beach, you will need sunglasses. If you want to be capable of spotting your child when they wander away from you, sunglasses will be essential.

Your toddler might also appreciate having tiny sunglasses, especially if they’re playing out in the sun. Sunglasses will help them see better when the sun is really harsh, especially if one of your kids is particularly sensitive to sunlight.

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Change of Clothes

Kanu Surf Girls' Jasmine Beach Sport Halter One Piece Swimsuit, Brooke Mango, 12

A Change of Clothes is an essential piece of toddler beach gear. Load up on swim diapers, and extra swimsuits, and don’t forget to pack a change of regular clothes as well. It’s important to change your child out of the wet diaper and into a dry one as soon as possible, so you don’t risk any infections or colds.

The same goes for you, honestly – adults should also change into dry swimsuits and set an example for their children. So, when packing your beach bag with all the toddler essentials that can fit, don’t forget to throw in a change of clothes and a few other things for yourself!

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