I love spending a day at the beach with my family. For us, there’s nothing more fun and entertaining than splashing in the sea, building sandcastles, exploring rock pools, and of course eating ice cream at the end of the day.

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However, to make sure the excitement lasts, it’s necessary to get prepared. And trust me, a day at the beach with young ones requires a lot more preparation than simply grabbing your good ol’ sunnies and a nice book like you were probably used to before kids. Below is a list of the essentials beachgoers need to pack for a successful day out with the family.

Swim Goggles

This is an example of indispensable equipment for little ones because it’s designed to protect their eyes in the salty water. What are the best swimming goggles to buy? Those that are comfortable. When buying stylish and practical goggles for kids, comfort should be your number one priority. It may not seem like an important property when used short-term, but when spending the whole day at the beach, it goes a long way in helping children enjoy their time in the water.

Size has a lot to do with how comfortable they’re to wear. If your kid’s eyelashes are touching the inside of the goggles when they blink, this is a sign you need a bigger size. Make sure the goggles aren’t too wide either, as they may leak water if they stretch too wide around the corners of your kid’s eyes. 

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You’ll also want to consider the material of the seal. Seals are often made from silicone, rubber and plastic. They’re parts of the kids goggles that are in contact with the skin around the eyes and create pressure around the sockets. Generally, silicone and rubber seals are the best options because they create a good suction around the eyes, and as such keep water out.

My favourite choice of the two is silicone, but it tends to be a bit pricier. A word of caution is to keep in mind there may be other materials used sometimes, like latex, and some kids are allergic to latex. If your kid is one of them, check with the manufacturer to ensure the pair you’re getting is free of it. 

While straps don’t have much to do with the seal, they’re imperative for holding the goggles in place. Note that when worn too tight, they add pressure to the sensitive part of their eyes. Many goggles for kids have split straps which are better at holding them in place. 

Beach Towels

It goes without saying you’ll need to pack towels. I discovered Turkish towels a couple of years ago and they’ve easily become my favourites. What’s not to love about them? They’re lightweight and flat-woven thus they take up a lot less space in the bag than their terry-cloth counterparts. Trust me, they’re still soft enough to make kids feel cosy after a dip. 

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Beach Toys

Beach and sand toys go hand in hand, so you can’t forget to pack some. My kids would start bawling if they didn’t find their buckets, shovels and castle moulds in their backpacks. I’ve learnt this the hard way, but you can save yourself the trouble and include some simple lightweight toys on your checklist for kids. Playing in the water and sand with their toys is the best beach activity for them!


This is one of the most important things to pack since being out in the sun all day without sunscreen is dangerous for your child’s sensitive skin. Different types of sunscreen products are available on the market. Which one you choose will depend on your personal preference, but it’s worth researching exactly what you’re buying. Important things you should check on the label are ingredients, SPF, protection against UVA rays, and water-resistance.  

I always buy sunscreen products with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that have at least SPF30 or higher, are broad-spectrum, and water-resistant. They’re mineral sun blockers rather than chemical sunscreens, which are safer both for us and the environment. I always get everyone coated up in their first layer of sunscreen before we head to the beach and reapply it every few hours when the kids spend a lot of time in the water. In case of sunburns (which is rare), I apply a mix of lavender oil with essential carrier oils for relief.

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In terms of texture, you’ve got options like creams, gels, sprays, and sticks. Creams are best for dry skin areas, sticks help around the eye area, and gels are good for areas with hair, like the scalp. The problem with sunscreen sprays is they can make it hard to know if you’ve applied enough, and there’s a chance kids could breathe in the fumes. Some sprays are also flammable, so they’re an option you want to avoid having around your little ones. 

Dermatologists recommend using 30ml (shot glass) of sunblock to cover the exposed areas of the body. Remember that sunscreen isn’t recommended for babies younger than 6 months. Babies should never stay in the sun for too long and must be dressed in lightweight clothes that cover their arms and legs. Don’t forget the hat either, and if you plan on being in water with them too, get their pairs of swimming goggles for kids!

Beach Canopy

If space allows, a beach canopy is one of the best ways to really up your game for a full day at the beach. With kids, it’s always good to have things that maximise sun protection. Many beach canopy designs are available on the market these days – from small pods made for infants to sleep in, to full-size canopy tents and giant umbrellas.

We have a family-sized camping tent that we’ve found to be best on a calm sunny day. Although they come with anchoring points, they’re still quite susceptible to the wind. If you decide to take the umbrella route, keep in mind you’ll need something to keep it secured in the sand.

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Snacks and Water

Some kids can do without toys, but not without snacks. Even when going to the beach post-lunch, it’s advisable to bring along some healthy and delicious snacks in a cooler. And, most importantly, don’t forget to pack plenty of water to keep them well hydrated throughout the day. 

A Beach Bag

Snacks and water, canopy, sunscreen, toys, towels, and goggles for kids – check, now all you need is help in the form of a bag to carry them and keep the family organised for the big beach day. Chances are your bag won’t look as stylish as your leather bag – so yes you may have to give up a little style for practicality. With the wide range of these bags available on the market, you should be able to find one with plenty of pockets that suits your storage needs. 

Once you begin organising everything on your list of essentials, you’d be surprised at how much packing you have to do. It would be great if everyone could carry their own stuff, yet the reality is, we parents are the ones who do most of the hard work. But, it’s all worth it in the end!