With the summer holidays in full swing, families are packing up their beach tents and swimwear and heading for the nearest seaside destination.

Taking your family to the beach is really exciting. The beach is so perfect children. It’s a big open space for them to run around in, there are lots of new friends to play with and there are different sounds and textures to explore; not forgetting there’s some splashing fun to be had in the sea too.

But, as a parent, it can be a bit confusing choosing what to take to the beach now that you’re no longer single. Whereas before, you only needed a towel and a good book, now you wonder if you should bring along the entire nursery, in case your little ones get bored.

Too many times I see family’s on the beach who have overpacked and are loaded down with toys and non-beach essentials. The sandy hike back to the car can’t be fun and too often toys and belongings get lost, buried or ruined in the sand.

If you can fit everything you need into one bag and forget your pram then you’re winning! Take note; prams are a nightmare to take on the beach as you can’t push them on sand.

As a seasoned beach goer (we literally live opposite), we’ve created a list of the only beach essentials you’ll ever need for your family.

Here’s our top 10 family beach essentials:

10 family beach essentials

  1. Sun Cream* 
  2. Ball
  3. Sun hat
  4. Big bottle of water
  5. Snacks or a packed lunch
  6. Swim costumes
  7. Towels
  8. Bucket and spade
  9. Talcum Powder  – This gets sand off easily when you’re ready to leave the beach!
  10. Tent or wind break (optional)

*When buying suncream, check that the suncream isn’t ‘blue’. Unless you want your child looking like a smurf for an hour. At least Evie was easy to spot when she started to toddle off.


If you are heading to the beach with your toddler sometime soon, check out my post: ‘Beach Survival Guide: Toddler Edition’.

Have you ever taken too much with you to the beach & regretted it? Is there an essential that you’d add to this list? What do you think of our top 10 family beach essentials? Let us know in the comments below.



  1. Mum in Brum
    June 17, 2015 / 8:59 am

    Great list! When we went on holiday with our 4 month old I found the tent a lifesaver, but I’m sure as they start to run around all of those items to keep them entertained become evermore important! Loving the blue sunscreen x

    • June 17, 2015 / 6:38 pm

      Tents are definitely a life saver for babies. They can sleep in there, are protected from the sun, the list goes on! 🙂 We’ve found since Evie’s become a toddler, we sometimes have to leave the tent at home because she just wants to run off all the time. I hope you had a great holiday! 😀 x

  2. June 17, 2015 / 8:13 am

    We just returned from our very FIRST beach adventure with our daughter. It went much better than I had originally thought. Your list of things to bring to the beach is spot on. Especially, when it comes to the sun screen! Thanks for sharing.#MMWBH

    • June 17, 2015 / 6:36 pm

      Oh yay, I’m glad that you had a great time. 😀 What I forgot to add is how hard it is to apply the suncream haha. They’re so wriggly! 🙂 x

  3. June 17, 2015 / 12:08 pm

    Great list. I don’t go to the beach often because I hate sand and the girls aren’t too keen either but when we are there they do enjoy themselves after a while.

    • June 21, 2015 / 4:26 pm

      Sand is the most annoying thing in the world. Haha. It’s such a weird texture & it gets everywhere. But I agree, it does get fun after a while. x

  4. June 17, 2015 / 1:27 pm

    Great list, that’s pretty much what I bring, just the essentials to avoid lugging too much around and my son keeps busy with the bucket, a ball or splashing about at the water’s edge.

    • June 21, 2015 / 4:28 pm

      I’m glad someone else agrees. It’s exhausting when you take loads of stuff then have to haul it back to the car all covered in sand at the end of the day. It’s really not worth taking loads. 🙂 x

    • June 21, 2015 / 4:21 pm

      Yay! 😀 I hope that you have fun. I love Haven. I can’t wait until Evie’s a bit older & then we can go on holidays to here. Have a great time! 😀 xx

  5. simplelifemummy
    June 19, 2015 / 11:50 am

    Great list! Love the blue baby pic ha ha, we just need the nice weather back for more great beach days! Have a good weekend xx

    • June 21, 2015 / 4:13 pm

      Oh we really do need the nice weather back. It feels like summer hasn’t even started yet. I hope you’re having a great weekend! 😀 x

  6. June 22, 2015 / 6:46 pm

    The beach is so fun and so much work at the same time lol #KidsCorner x

  7. June 22, 2015 / 9:06 pm

    Oh the blue suncream!! I have done that haha! Great list! Thank you for sharing in #KidsCorner x

    • June 28, 2015 / 2:05 pm

      Haha they really need a bigger sign on the bottle. x

  8. June 23, 2015 / 8:52 am

    I laughed at the blue sunscreen!But seriously, this list is so helpful. Thank you for sharing! #TwinklyTuesday

    • June 28, 2015 / 2:06 pm

      Haha thank you so much. I’m really glad it’s helpful! 😀 xx

  9. June 23, 2015 / 9:28 am

    Totally agree with this! We’ve been taking Arthur to the beach since he was a week old (island life!!) and have also seen our fair share of over-packers there is nothing worse!!! Toddlers really don’t need much on the beach, especially for entertainment….there’s so much already there to keep them busy!!! #twinklytuesday

    • June 29, 2015 / 12:43 pm

      Oh I’d love to live on an island. Some people do look like they pack their life haha. There is definitely plenty for them to explore without toys. 😀 x

  10. June 23, 2015 / 6:32 pm

    LOL surf that made me laugh in all seriousness though a great list! thanks for sharing on #kidscorner x

  11. Lisa (mummascribbles)
    June 23, 2015 / 8:52 pm

    We’ve been to the beach a few times and I swear it always looks like we’ve packed everything but the kitchen sink. It’s like a blimmin holiday, just to the beach! Simple list here, everyone should take note – but I bet it still looks like you’ve packed the house!! Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

    • June 30, 2015 / 7:42 am

      haha thank you. It does still look like you’re taking the house. I’ve managed to cram all of this stuff into two bags. I tried one bag but it almost broke haha. x

  12. June 24, 2015 / 10:53 pm

    Lol your smurf comment made me chuckle, my friend had that exact suncream last summer and she used to call her baby a smurf! #brilliantblogposts

    • June 29, 2015 / 12:47 pm

      Haha I’m glad it got a giggle. It is so blue! And it’s so hard to get off. x

  13. Jessie, FlusteredMom
    June 25, 2015 / 2:59 am

    I only have one absolute requirement for the beach: Baby Poweder. Must, must, must have baby powder. It takes the sand off a sandy kid like absolute magic!

    • June 29, 2015 / 12:48 pm

      I haven’t tried that. What a brilliant tip. I’m going to take some next time I go to the beach. How cool! xx

  14. June 25, 2015 / 8:43 am

    I find taking the kids to the beach so stressful. We’re the people who can’t control their toddler from running off, running on sand after a wayward 2 year old is so much fun! XO

    • June 29, 2015 / 12:50 pm

      haha Evie is so fast on sand now, she’s so hard to catch. Especially if she picks up seaweed! At least they get a good run around and we get a good workout haha.x

  15. June 25, 2015 / 9:05 am

    Great check list ! I also pack a water spray for any emergency sand situations – a quick rinse goes down well #brilliantblogposts

    • June 29, 2015 / 12:50 pm

      That’s a great idea! I haven’t ever thought of taking water spray before. Definitely an essential for next time. x

  16. June 25, 2015 / 9:26 am

    Spare change of clothes! Inevitably my child ALWAYS gets his clothes wet/sandy/covered in seaweed/sunscreen and requires a complete change before he is allowed back in the car 🙂

    • June 29, 2015 / 12:52 pm

      haha we have spare clothes in the boot constantly. They seem to have knack for getting their clothes covered in muck don’t they! 😀 Sometimes we stupidly put Evie in white. You’d think we’d have learnt by now. x

  17. June 25, 2015 / 2:19 pm

    Great list 🙂 we’re always at the beach so have managed to get our kit down to the bare essentials too. Kind of. You have a very cute little smurf 😉 x

    • June 29, 2015 / 12:53 pm

      Haha sometimes we still panic pack too. Thank you! 😀 xx

  18. June 25, 2015 / 6:12 pm

    Wish I had read this last year. My post this week on #brilliantblogposts also might give you another useful on this list….A plastic toy basket…whip the toys out, put the child in and prevent them eating the beach! Thanks for the tips.

  19. June 25, 2015 / 7:57 pm

    I don’t go anywhere without snacks or a drink! I love a beach day, we’re hoping to go this weekend x

  20. June 27, 2015 / 9:22 am

    Great list. Never been to the beach with any of mine. Hopefully an option this year and I will think of this list. #thelist

    • June 30, 2015 / 7:26 am

      Thank you so much. I hope you get to go. It’s so much fun with little ones. x

  21. June 27, 2015 / 3:18 pm

    I think my Tot would love blue sun cream – she’s obsessed with putting it on 🙂 We’ve just got a tent for our beach holiday as we’ve also got a baby to keep protected from the sun this year. We can’t wait to get building sand castles! #thelist

    • June 30, 2015 / 7:29 am

      Tents are so good for babies. When Evie was a newborn, the tent was such a godsend. The only unfun part about the blue suncream is that it stains. But our little one loves it too. x

  22. June 30, 2015 / 12:39 pm

    We have only taken Boo to the beach once and it was more of a coats and wellies kind of day! But when the sun is out this looks like a great list!

    • June 30, 2015 / 1:06 pm

      I love beach and welly kind of days. They’re so much fun. x

  23. July 2, 2015 / 10:35 pm

    Fab list here, we’ve been away quite a bit this year and nothing entertains the kids like sand and a bucket. Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogpots x

    • July 3, 2015 / 5:26 pm

      It’s the only way place my little one will play for hours with very little. It’s good to hear it’s still the same when they’re older. It looks like you’ve had some incredible holidays this year. Well earned! Thank you for hosting such a great linky x

  24. July 24, 2015 / 8:42 am

    aww everyone loves baby smurf – im yet to hit the beach with baby Jack and I can only imagine it is going to be a mission 🙂 #PicknMix

    • July 24, 2015 / 6:41 pm

      haha good luck! You can expect lots of sand eating and running towards the sea haha. 😀 x

  25. July 24, 2015 / 8:47 am

    great list, all important, I’m just leaving the toddler years but most of these are relevant even for older kids #picknmix

    • July 24, 2015 / 6:42 pm

      That’s good to hear that it doesn’t change that much. 🙂 I bet it gets so much easier to take them to the beach when they’re older. You can sit down and relax a bit more while they play rather than chasing them and stopping them from eating sand haha. x

  26. July 24, 2015 / 10:51 am

    brilliant! We recently went on holiday (with our 4.5 year old and 22 month old) buckets and spades were the absolute favourite you can’t go wrong with those (us grown ups had fun with them too!) My two are always smothered in sun cream, they are more like little seaside ghosts than smurfs though 😉 x #PicknMix

    • July 24, 2015 / 6:44 pm

      haha you were lucky to not pick up a blue bottle. It must be fun with two of them though. It’ll be so nice for them to have someone to play with all the time as they grow up. Especially when you go on family holidays. 🙂 x

  27. July 24, 2015 / 3:46 pm

    Ooh the beach! Hours of fun just digging in the sand 🙂 make sure you also have a camera to capture those first seaside memories! Oh… And that blue sun cream destroys white baby clothes too!! Aargh! Why??? X MMT

    • July 24, 2015 / 6:45 pm

      It really does destroy white clothes doesn’t it! Although we had one suncream last year that was like a yellowy colour and that was awful on all coloured clothes. Sticking to spray suncream and white suncream from now on, that’s for sure. xx

  28. Jen @ 4,128 miles
    July 24, 2015 / 4:33 pm

    Living on a Caribbean island we are always at the beach! You need baby powder and a soft brush in your kit bag too. Essentials for removing sand before strapping into car seats! #picknmix

    • July 24, 2015 / 6:46 pm

      That’s a genius idea. I don’t know why I forgot to add those to the list. Baby powder is amazing for removing sand. It’s like a little beach hack everyone should know isn’t it. 🙂 x

  29. July 24, 2015 / 5:12 pm

    Great list! Haha love the blue sunscreen – at least you know you’ve covered every area 🙂 #PicknMix

    • July 24, 2015 / 6:47 pm

      haha that’s very true. Probably the only positive, other than a protected baby of course. x

  30. July 25, 2015 / 7:10 pm

    I always try to travel as lightly as possible, and did when mine were this age. Hilarious about the suncream! Thanks for linking up to #PicknMix at http://www.acornishmum.com lovely

    Stevie x

    • July 27, 2015 / 6:22 pm

      We’ve definitely had years of practice from living where we do. 🙂 x

  31. July 30, 2015 / 3:46 pm

    We are off to Devon tomorrow and it will be Ava’s first time on the beach, she’s not quite a toddler but we will be taking similar. I used to always over pack and then struggle to carry it all lol! Thanks for linking up to #PickNMix

    • August 2, 2015 / 4:17 pm

      Oh I hope you have a lovely holiday and I hope that Ava loves being on the sand. 🙂 x

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