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Making a list of things for the beach? Here is what to bring along for a perfect beach day……..
I've lived in California my entire life. From the Bay Area to Santa Barbara for college, back to the Bay Area for graduate school, then Los Angeles and now….San Diego. I've lived within 20 to 30 minutes of the beach my entire life, so rest assured a beach trip is a regular thing. I have to admit, I feel like I should take even more advantage of that. This summer? We're visiting the beach a lot more than usual……it's great for getting out of the house and the perfect place to hang out with friends or to do a family day. There are a ton of important things you need for family beach vacations whether you are planning a day trip or a beach destination overnight. This? It a list of the best beach items…..trust me, you'll be happy you have them.
Hopefully, whether its the ocean or a lake…..you'll be getting some time around the beach this summer. And this list? It's the things for the beach that we bring each and every time. Trust me, they're necessities.
A few things for the beach to keep in mind: you'll always need beach towels, water bottles, a beach blanket for the hot sand, and a beach umbrella or beach tent so that you have some shade and a way to block the UV rays during the hottest part of the day. If you want to take your beach gear to a whole new level, one of my favorite things for the beach is a bluetooth speaker so we can listen to music while we sand play, jump waves, or read our favorite books in the perfect relaxing location. And one more thing to keep in mind? A beach chair or lounge chair options. I always complain about carrying them from the car, but then am so glad to have them for the day!
Now, let's talk fun things for the beach. These are my tried and true essential items for a perfect beach day.
Things for the Beach: What to Bring
Mesh Bag: Let's file this under, my mom was right. She always brought a plastic tote basket to the beach when I was growing up (in fact, I'm sure she has the EXACT same one to this day). The holes meant that we didn't bring sand home. And this mesh bag? The same thing. It's sand friendly, and easy to shake out. We use it for all our sand toys. I highly recommend either mesh or acrylic, you want something water resistant for a good beach bag.
Nesting Sand Buckets: There is a reason you'll find a set of sand pails on everyone's list of required beach stuff. I'm always shocked at regardless of age, how kids can play in the sand for hours on end. I can guarantee beach pails are the perfect way to entertain kids (and adults if we're being honest). This set is the PERFECT starter sand bucket set. Great for all ages, and nests together so is super easy to carry (which helps so that you aren't making a million trips to and from the car).
Advanced Sand Castle Tools: We just ordered this set ourselves, and I LOVE IT SO MUCH! It's for advanced sand castle makers, and slightly older kids (or younger kids with some assistance). Here in San Diego, there are a ton of professional sand castle makers who create beautiful pieces on the beaches that last for a week or so, and it's so inspiring to see their work. We've been trying to make fancier castles, and this set? Definitely helped us to upgrade our building (fair warning, we learned the hard way that the sand needs to be DAMP, not wet to hold it's shape with this tool set).
Starter Sand Castle Set: Looking for a simple starter set for sand castles and molds? This is the perfect one to begin with! If you've got younger kids, or you want your family to be able to build castles independently…..a simple starter sand castle set may be the way to go and a good idea for stress free beach days. This one is a great investment, it's super sturdy and will last for YEARS (just don't lose it in the waves)!
Sunscreen Application Sponge: I know, I know. I've been raving about this sponge for years……and I also have a sunscreen roller ball option that I use. But these are the BEST. Makes sunscreen super easy to apply and no greasy hands! Skin cancer is a very real concern for anyone who has even SOME sun exposure, so it's important to reapply throughout the day at the beach. Pro tip? I've found the best way to reapply is to set an alarm in my phone for every two hours. Yes, it seems frequent, but better to be safe right?
Beach Sunscreen: This is our favorite beach sunscreen. It's the kind I bring to Castaway Cay and on trips. We started using it after our trip to Aulani, and it's the BEST. Not greasy, lasts for hours, and isn't sticky. We also bring a spray sunscreen with us (Don't apply to the face, it can easily get in your eyes). We also keep a sunscreen lip balm in a small bag along with a beach cover up and hats.
Beach Umbrella: Now, truth be told….I always roll my eyes when Robbie wants to cart the umbrella all the way across the sand. But, I'm always so happy we have it. You can easily do a beach tent instead (although I personally find them hard to fold back up). Either way, you'll want something that physically blocks the sun, uvb rays, and provides shade during the warmer summer months.
Sand Cloud: These beach towels are the BEST. Somehow, they don't get as sandy and they roll up easily! Whether you want sand cloud towels or traditional beach towels, these are definitely beach bag essentials. I'd suggest bringing more towels than people. You'll need extras for drying things off, wrapping up wet bathing suits, and covering lounge chairs.
Slammo: At the risk of sounding really old…..all the teenagers play this game at our local beaches. And Lydia is OBSESSED. Beach games are great if you're planning full beach days, and this one is portable, fun and perfect for all ages. You can always plan for beach volleyball too, but I like that this one is inclusive for kids and adults.
Beach Ball: No matter the age of your kids? They'll play a good game of beach ball. We usually keep an inflatable ball in our bag, it's easy to blow up and takes up barely any space (it's literally smaller than our cell phones until inflated).
Hair Ties: I always keep extra hair ties in my beach bag, better to be prepared. I'd suggest, hair ties or clips, along with a wet brush and a hat.
What are your favorites things for the beach? What do you always pack?