There is nothing quite like a day at the beach. The sun, the waves, the kiddos running free and, of course, the gear. Oh yes, the GEAR! While we all wish we could be one of those parents that can pop into the car with just our bathing suits in tow, sometimes the more gear does, in fact, mean the merrier. Sun protection, sand toys, bathing suits, towels, and snacks. Being prepared for it all can ensure that a beach outing is all the more enjoyable and one you and your family will want to repeat!

In an effort to help you sift through the plethora of options on the market, we have compiled the best beach gear for babies and toddlers: 

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The BEST Baby Beach Gear | Thrifty Littles

 

SUN PROTECTION

This is first on our list because it is the most important! Making sure that everyone has a place to go and grab some shade will keep them all happy and from getting one of those ever dreaded sunburns, a sure way to cut a beach day short or put a damper on this family activity altogether. Be sure to combine a high-quality, water-resistant sunscreen with a wide-brimmed sun hat to ensure your child’s time under the sun is protected. 

BBLÜV NIDÖ MINI 2-IN-1 TRAVEL & PLAY TENT ($69.99)

This pop-up travel tent sets up in seconds and is the perfect way to protect your baby from the sun, sand, wind, and bugs while they play or nap at the beach. It provides SPF 50+ coverage, has a retractable mesh cover, and comes with a travel bag.  BUY IT HERE.

SWIMZIP WIDE BRIM SUN HAT ($16.99)

The highest rated UPF 50+ sun protection fabric and wide brim make this hat the best coverage option for babies and kids. It has an adjustable head strap and chin strap to achieve a secure fit, and will float if dropped in the water. BUY IT HERE.

MONOBEACH BABY TENT WITH POOL ($29.99)

Your baby will be so happy playing around and cooling down in this baby beach tent with built-in splash pool! It provides UV50+ protection, pops up in seconds and comes with a handy travel bag.  BUY IT HERE.

THINKBABY SPF 50+ SAFE SUNSCREEN ($23.99)

Don’t forget about the sunscreen! Thinkbaby is a top choice for babies as it’s received the highest possible safety rating from EWG. Bonus: it smells great and rubs in well. (There’s also a stick version here.)  BUY IT HERE.

PACIFIC BREEZE EASY UP BEACH TENT ($69.99)

Sometimes it makes sense to have a tent that fits your whole crew, providing the perfect lunch locale or napping station. This one is a breeze to set up and pack away at the end of the day, plus it’s super lightweight which is critical when you are in charge of lugging the gear.  BUY IT HERE.

 

BEACH TOYS

Let’s be honest, entertainment for the little ones is crucial! Not only will this allow you to perhaps kick back and relax (maybe even crack open that beach read you have been eyeing!), but it can also help foster creativity in a new environment. I am sure you can recall the days of your childhood spent building castles in the sand, the hours of unstructured play time!

GREEN TOYS SAND PLAY SET ($21.99)

When it comes to beach toys, the simpler the better! This set from Green Toys includes everything your toddler needs to have fun in the sand, and once your day is done all the pieces fit inside the bucket for easy storage and transport.  BUY IT HERE.

QUUT SCOPPI BEACH SHOVEL ($21.99)

This Quut Beach Shovel will quickly become your child’s #1 beach tool. It is super durable, making it perfect for even the most industrious of kiddos, and it comes with a detachable sifter, which will up the entertainment possibilities when building forts, moats, and sand castles. The flat design makes it great for travel since it will pack away easily with your other gear. BUY IT HERE.

INTEX SUNSET GLOW BABY POOL ($11.99)

While the best part of any beach day is taking a dip in the ocean, it is also nice to have a place for the littlest ones to play in a more controlled environment. Fill up this baby pool with some toys and water, and let them play and splash around while you relax! BUY IT HERE.

SUMMER INFANT POP N JUMP PORTABLE ACTIVITY CENTER ($69.99)

Activity centers can be real lifesavers! They can furnish hours (ok, maybe not that long) of mom-hands-free entertainment for babies. So why wouldn’t you bring one along on your beach outing? This one has a UV canopy to protect babe from the direct sun and is also easy to set up and easy to transport. BUY IT HERE.

PACKABLE PAILS COLLAPSIBLE BEACH PAIL AND SHOVEL ($19.95)

Beach Pails! These are a must-have item for any successful beach adventure, and this collapsible version makes bringing it along hassle-free. Even if you need three or four, to enable optimal castle making abilities, they will pack up nice and compact for transport. BUY IT HERE.

 

BEACHWEAR

Comfort and safety on the beach and in the water make for a fun day for both child and parent. Rash guards add that extra bit of sun protection while also making sure the suit stays put in the waves. Add in a versatile pair of shoes, ones that can easily go from the pavement to the sand to the water, plus a pair of sunnies, and you have the perfect beach day wardrobe.

PRIMARY BABY ONE-PIECE RASH GUARD ($24.00)

A baby bikini or a cute pair of swim trunks can make for a killer photo, but these one-piece rash guards make a ton of practical sense when running around in the surf and sand. Each suit is UPF 50 with a snap closure at the bottom for easy diaper changes and a zip-up front for easy-on and easy-off.  BUY IT HERE.

NATIVE SHOES JEFFERSON SNEAKERS ($35)

OK, these shoes are not only functional, but they are also super fun! The perforated design allows feet to breathe and the EVA material is antimicrobial and odor resistant. Plus they are just plain comfortable, allowing kids to run, jump and play to their heart’s content while keeping their feet safely protected. BUY IT HERE.

STEARNS PUDDLE JUMPER BASIC LIFE JACKET ($19.99)

Life jackets can be a real buzz kill, especially for those notably enthusiastic youngsters. Keeping them safe, while being considerate of their active play style, makes the Puddle Jumper the most popular choice for parents and children alike. It’s designed for children weighing 30 to 50 pounds and is US Coast Guard-approved. (There’s also an option for infants here.) BUY IT HERE.

I PLAY SNAP REUSABLE SWIM DIAPER ($14)

Reusable swim diapers just make sense. Less waste for the landfill, but also one fewer item to buy over and over again each time you head to the water. These i Play swim diapers are super easy to manage – just dispose of any solid waste into the toilet, wash in cold water, dry and reuse. BUY IT HERE.

IZIPIZI BABY SUNGLASSES ($28)

If you ask me, there is nothing cuter than baby sunglasses. Well maybe baby jeans, but no need for those on a beach day! These Izipizi baby sunglass are category 3, 100% UV protection with polarized lenses. Plus they are designed to be super fun, trendy and perfect for any outing!  BUY IT HERE.

 

CARRY ALLS

If you are anything like me, mom life is all about figuring out ways to carry as much stuff in as few trips as possible. I have even started calling myself the ‘bag lady’ because of my need to contain all the baby items when leaving the house. If there is ever a time to utilize such tools, it’s on a beach day! Going to the beach with a baby or toddler does require quite a bit of gear, and planning out how to get that gear from the car to the beach is key.

LARGE MESH BEACH TOTE ($10.99)

No need to bother with any other over tote bag for beach toys. This one will fit all of them (and then some!), and the mesh design will allow all that pesky sand to fall right through. Plus you can rinse and dry all those beach toys, without even having to unload them. BUY IT HERE.

BEACH TOTE WITH INSULATED PICNIC COOLER ($29.95)

A mesh bag AND a cooler. Why, yes, please! This bag has a compartment to keep snacks and drinks for you and the kiddos cool and gives you plenty of space up above to pack everything you want to bring along for an enjoyable beach day. We spend much of our time making sure we have everything for our little ones, let us not forget about our own beach necessities too!  BUY IT HERE.

MAC SPORTS ALL-TERRAIN FOLDING BEACH WAGON ($110.99)

Although this might seem like a big purchase, it may be worth it if the beach will be a frequent outing for you. Instead of lugging bag after bag of gear from the car, just pack everything (including your little ones!) into this beach wagon and wheel it all in one go. Plus this one has a built-in side table with two cup holders…need I say more?!  BUY IT HERE.

RIO GEAR FOLDABLE BEACH CART ($64.59)

Maybe the beach wagon is more than you need, but you like the idea of being able to haul all your beach necessities in one trip. This foldable beach cart is another great option! It has a removable tote bag, side umbrella holder, and can carry up to four full-size beach chairs and a cooler on the bottom rack. BUY IT HERE.

 

EAT, DRINK, + RELAX

No day at the beach would be complete without snacks, hydration and, of course, a dry place to relax. Set up a place to rest and refuel with an oversized beach blanket and make sure you bring enough towels and snacks to keep everyone happy!

EASY SNORKEL MEGA BEACH BLANKET ($29.99)

At almost 10 feet by 10 feet, this blanket will provide plenty of space for the whole family to take a sand-free break for snacks and maybe even a snooze. It has four pockets on the sides that when filled with sand will help secure the blanket and keep it from taking off in the wind. Then, when you are all done, the whole thing packs right up into its own drawstring bag.  BUY IT HERE.

BUMKINS REUSABLE SNACK BAGS ($6.95)

These reusable snack bags are perfect for a beach day. They are not only food-safe, easy to clean, and long-lasting, they are a much better alternative to single-use plastics. Pack up your toddler’s favorite go-to snacks on the way there and then on the way back they can be filled with all the special shells found on the beach.  BUY IT HERE.

TURKISH COTTON TOWEL ($16.99)

These stylish, handwoven towels are not only easy on the eye, but they are also super absorbent and fast drying. They take up much less room than a traditional beach towel making them perfect for travel and, as an added bonus, they can also double as a nursing cover for mom! BUY IT HERE.

THERMOS FUNTAINERS ($14.99)

Cold water on a hot day…nothing better! Hydration is key for a day out in the sun, so be sure to pack a couple of thermoses’ of water for your day! We also like the Thermos food jars, to keep fruit and veggies cool.  BUY IT HERE.

 

AND DON’T FORGET…

There are always a few items that can make or break an outing and are easily forgotten in the race to get everything put together for a day away from the house. These are a few of those items guaranteed to help make it the perfect beach day.

SKYGENIUS PORTABLE FAN ($19.99)

It can get hot out there playing in the sand. Setting up your beach tent with this rechargeable fan can help cool down those active babes. The clip style makes it easy to move around where needed. The perfect addition to your beach wagon!  BUY IT HERE.

BUMKINS WATERPROOF WET BAG ($10.95)

These waterproof bags are a great way to transport all those wet, sandy swimsuits at the end of the day without getting other things dirty. And once you get back to the hotel or laundry room, you’ll have everything in one place ready for washing.  BUY IT HERE.

MARPAC ROHM PORTABLE SOUND MACHINE ($34.95)

Don’t forget the sound machine! If your baby is anything like mine, having a sound machine helps her wind down and cue her that it is time to take a nap. Important when there is a lot of simulation in a new environment. Tuck your baby into a cozy spot in your portable beach tent, turn on this sound machine and let them rest peacefully!  BUY IT HERE.

BURT’S BEES BABY DUSTING POWDER ($8.99)

Are you ready for a little known, yet super pro mom trick?! Use dusting powder to get all that sticky wet sand off your little ones! It works like a dream. This Burt’s Bees product is 100% natural, so no parabens, phthalates or petrolatum. And it is hypo-allergenic to boot. No more sandy bottoms or toes for that car ride home.  BUY IT HERE.

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The Best Beach Gear for Babies | Thrifty Littles