Going To The Beach With Toddlers (Essential Checklist)

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So, you’re headed to the beach with a toddler. It might be their first time and you want to make sure they have a great experience. You’ll need an essential checklist to make sure you don’t forget anything.

Once you’re on the beach there won’t be shade and there won’t be much to eat or drink. Your toddler will be exploring the sand and sea while you check the sand and the current.

The beach is a wide open place with great visibility so chances are your family will have a great time. At the same time, the heat and the sand can cause problems if not monitored.

This article provides an essential checklist for taking your toddler to the beach. Make sure you don’t forget the little things like sunscreen and nappies. After reading the checklist we’ll discuss some of the most important things to consider while at the beach!

Checklist For Taking Toddlers To The Beach

Diaper BagFoodToysYour Items
NappiesPlenty of Water and/or JuiceSandcastle BuildingKeys
WipesSnacks for Kids and AdultsKids booksSunglasses
Towel (for changing)Sunscreen
Trash BagHat
Moisturizer/LotionUmbrella or Pop Up Tent
Children's SunscreenStroller or Wagon
Rash guard and Hat (extra sun protection)Towels
Sandals or ShoesBeach Chair
First Aid ItemsCamera to capture your toddler at the beach

Going To The Beach With Toddlers: Be Prepared

In general, going to the beach is a minimalist activity but there are some essential items for toddlers. You’ll be outside with fresh air, sun, and sand so you won’t need much.

If you’re taking a toddler you’ll want to have a few extra items for protection. Paramount is sun protection.

Adults can do without shade but your toddler can’t. A pop up tent is a simple lightweight item to take, as is an umbrella.  I find the pop up tents are more lightweight than a bulky umbrella and are easier to set up.

Pop up tents may seem like a hassle, but they literally “pop up” with taken out of their bag.  The provide much more reliable sun protection than an umbrella as well because umbrellas constantly have to be adjusted based on the sun.

Sunscreen for toddlers is also important. Make sure the sunscreen doesn’t have harsh chemicals and is made for babies or toddlers (read my article about the best sunscreen for babies).

Floppy hats are another way to protect the skin of babies.  Don’t think that a hat is all they need.  The ocean tends to reflect the sun so even if your child is wearing a hat they will still need sunscreen on their face.

Spending a day at the beach also requires adequate hydration. Make sure you have water for your family. Juices and soda are fine, however, they contain high amounts of sugar which may lead to more dehydration.

One trick I use is to take frozen bottled water and use them as ice packs to keep food and snacks cold.  As the water bottle thaw out they can be consumed as a refreshing drink.

Take plenty of snacks and a few plastic bags to use throughout the day for trash. Snacks that work great are fruits, bars, and trail mix, but make sure you have food that fits with your baby’s age and diet.

What will your toddler do while at the beach?  Will they sleep or run around in the sand or water?  Make sure you have some items to keep them busy.

Toy shovels and buckets can help them explore the sand and water.  Playing in the sand won’t be a threat as long as they don’t eat it or bury themselves in it.

Lastly, you’ll need a good way to get to and from the beach. A stroller is difficult to use on a sandy beach (if you’re staying on the boardwalk it will be fine). If your stroller has oversized wheels it may work well on the beach but more than likely you’ll have to walk with it on the sand.

A wagon works great because you can put all your beach gear in the wagon and pull it across the sand. There are wagons that are made for the beach (I like this beach wagon on Amazon).


A checklist can be helpful when planning a day at the beach with toddlers. In addition to your diaper bag full of the usual items you’ll want to make sure you have sunscreen, a hat, and shade (umbrella or pop up tent). Also make sure you have water to keep the whole family hydrated.

The beach is one of the best places to take a toddler because there’s nowhere to hide; plenty of visibility.  Toddlers will enjoy the sunshine and fresh air and you’ll enjoy getting a tan!  It’s a win-win for the whole family.

Don’t stress, the beach will be fun for your toddler and he/she will have much to explore. There’s nothing like a first trip to the beach so make sure you get great photos of your toddler on the sand and in the water!