It’s official. Our bouncing baby boy is 6 months old. Bring on the sunblock and outdoor activities! My husband is chomping at the bit to get our little family to the beach and there is no better time than now.
Having lived and learned with our 8-year-old, I have definitely perfected the art of packing our beach bag with must-have items and leaving the rest of the nonsense where it belongs — at home!
The Beach Must-Haves
The most important item in your beach bag. For my active 8-year-old and smallest nugget, we are a huge fan of the Coola Mineral Baby SPF 50 Unscented Sunscreen Stick. With a larger application area than your typical sunblock stick, we have these in every bag we own. They make application easy with a few swipes and reapplying is just as easy even if baby’s skin is damp or sweaty. This sunblock also includes a blend of shea butter and cocoa butter as well as avocado and coconut oils to take extra special care of your little one’s (or big one’s) sensitive skin.
Full body coverage in Florida is the only way to go. The only thing worse than a grumpy baby is a grumpy sunburned baby. The Coolibar Baby Beach One-Piece Swimsuit is just one of the amazing products we love from a great company for outdoor sun protection gear. These suits have many great features including UPF 50+, easy on and off snaps, and are chlorine and salt water resistant.
Disposable swim diapers are….well….how do I put this kindly? They are useless. I discovered the ALVABABY Swim Diaper while creating my registry on Amazon and love this product. The diapers have snaps that make them adjustable to grow with your baby. Besides being adorable, they are functional and actually hold “things” rather than leak and make a mess. They are machine washable and come in so many fun prints, you need more than one!
Once again, maximum coverage is a must. The i Play Baby Flat Sun Protection Swim Hat is perfect for our little ones for every day, not just at the beach. They are UPF 50+, breathable, machine washable and wick away moisture from sweaty little ones. This hat covers all the essential areas and helps keep baby cool. It comes in an assortment of colors to suit every baby.
Umbrellas can be a hassle. As the sun moves in the sky, the protection from the umbrella can be unreliable at best. Enter the Monobeach Baby Beach Tent. The perfect solution for infants and toddlers to catch a break from the sun’s intense rays. Ideal for when it is time to eat or rest, this tent folds back up easily unlike some of the others on the market and doesn’t take up much space once back in the storage bag.
Who doesn’t love a cute beach bag? I’ve been through a few and I tell you what, the Scout Deano bag has put all my past bags to shame. Lightweight as well as bright and fun, this bag wipes clean easily, has room for all your necessities and is comfortable to carry on your shoulder. It also folds flat for easy storage.
If you don’t have a collapsible wagon yet, I urge you to buy one STAT. Between beach trips, trips to the fair, walks around the neighborhood, or my oldest’s sporting events, this life-saver has paid for itsself in full many times over. Granted the more you pile in the wagon, the harder it is to drag through the sand. But with thicker wheels than your average stroller or wagon, this sturdy wagon is definitely more help than hindrance without taking up much room in the car on the way to the beach and back. (I bring a garbage bag to tuck the wheels into to keep my car from getting extra sandy.)
A battery operated fan is a mom’s best friend in Florida. We have one that was mentioned in a previous SMB post about newborn baby essentials and we are in love with this product. The SkyGenius Battery Operated Clip On Fan clips on to just about anything including your stroller, pack n’ play, or even a tent. Compact and quiet, this fan is definitely a must-have for the beach and every day too.
Eye protection in the hot Florida sun is a must. In my experience, the earlier you introduce accessories such as hats and sunglasses to the little ones, the quicker they acclimate to wearing these items on a regular basis and don’t fight you on the extra level of protection. My son’s coolest accessory? Babiators. These sunglasses have flexible rubber frames and shatter resistant lenses, and offer 100% UVA & UVB protection. They will also help keep sand out of their sensitive eyes. The best part: if you lose or break your Babiators in the first year, they will replace them for free! So worth the investment.
So now that we are ready to hit the beach, what other must-have items are going into my fabulous beach bag?
- Wet wash clothes in Ziploc baggies, perfect for cooling off.
- A cheap dollar store spray bottle full of cold water and stored in the cooler.
- Lots of towels and extra wipes.
- A change of clothes for everyone.
- An old sheet or outdoor blanket that allows for lots of room to stretch out for the whole family.
- Enough water so everyone stays hydrated. (We love to bring a large Coleman water jug full of ice water and is easier than endless bottles of water or travel mugs that will get warm after an hour or so.)
- A few empty grocery store bags for trash and wet clothes.
- Baby powder for easy removal of sand from dry skin.
My favorite beach tip?
Bring a gallon of tap water. You can even refill a clean empty milk jug or a second large water jug. Why? My oldest son always complains about sand and shells in his swimsuit. By the end of the day playing hard in the surf and sand, it looks like he’s trying to take home half the beach in his pants. A jug of water is perfect for rinsing off feet, legs or even “private” areas to prevent chaffing. We usually handle this near the car between two opened car doors behind the privacy of a stretched out towel. Otherwise, he is miserable on the car ride home. Most of our favorite beaches have showers but not all. It’s better to be prepared in my book.
A few other ideas to consider:
A baby carrier or sling. A small blowup pool so baby can cool off and splash safely. Toys to keep the little one busy that are easy to rinse off. Baby food in squeezable tubes that are easy to seal up and store when you are done; just squeeze into a spoon, serve and put away flat. A small baby-safe flotation device to give our arms a break from holding the baby in the water. Ziploc bags for pacifiers, spoons, cell phone; to keep all your essentials sand-free and dry.
The most important things to bring is your patience and sense of adventure. You never know how the baby will like the beach so just try to make the most of it and snap lots of pictures!