Packing List For A Beach Vacation With Your Toddler + FAQs

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Post author SJ

Written by our local expert SJ

Sarah-Jane has lived in Croatia for 10+ years. SJ, as she is known, has been traveling the Balkans & beyond since 2000. She now shares her passion for traveling with her husband & kids.

Have you ever wondered what a beach vacation packing list with a toddler in tow would look like? Here you go; we’ve prepared one everything you’ll need in one list.

Packing list for a day at the beach with a toddler - 1

Packing for a family vacation can be daunting, and even more scary is knowing what to bring on vacation when you have a toddler in tow – they always seem to need something you forgot to pack.

We’ve found that our best family vacations have always been when we have planned what we need to bring along with us. We live right by the beach and often go with our son,  so we’ve listed the travel essentials you need for a fun day at the beach with your little one.

And, if you’re thinking of coming to Türkiye, Greece, or Croatia, here are some family vacation ideas that include activities for kids.

Vacation Packing List

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Children’s Bathing Suits

When packing for a beach day, especially if you’re taking a beach vacation with toddlers, don’t overlook the importance of a good children’s bathing suit. Look for suits with UPF protection to keep your little ones safe under the sun.

Comfort is key, so choose materials that are soft and quick-drying. Brands like Coolibar and Sunuva offer great options that mix style with sun safety without breaking the bank—expect to pay anywhere from $20 to $50.

For those traveling with a toddler, remember durability for those sandcastle sessions and easy-on, easy-off designs for quick diaper changes. Add a couple of these to your beach vacation checklist to ensure your time at the beach is as fun and worry-free as possible.

Rash Guards

Adding a rash guard to your beach packing list for families is essential for sun safety, especially for babies and toddlers. These UV-protective tops prevent sunburn and skin irritation, making them perfect for any beach day – especially a long-sleeved one.

They come in fun designs that appeal to kids of all ages, ensuring your little ones are both protected and happy. As you prepare for your next beach trip, remember to include a rash guard for each family member.

This simple addition can make a big difference in keeping everyone safe and comfortable, from the beach to the pool.

Kids Beach Hats

Adding a sun hat to your packing list for a beach vacation is a smart move to shield your little ones from the sun. When choosing the right hat, opt for wide-brimmed styles that offer ample shade for the face and neck. Look for hats with UPF fabric to ensure maximum sun protection.

Brands like Sunday Afternoons and Patagonia offer durable and stylish options that kids actually want to wear, with prices ranging from $15 to $30. For those beach days with a toddler, consider hats with chin straps to keep them secure during windy beach adventures or when riding to the beach.

Don’t forget to add a couple of these to your beach essentials checklist, making sure every fun beach day is also a safe one for the kiddos.

N’Ice Caps Unisex Kids Reversible And Adjustable Cotton Twill Aussie Hat

Two Kids Beach Towels Per Child

When you’re compiling your packing list for a beach vacation, especially if it includes a day at the beach with a toddler, don’t skimp on the beach towels—make sure to bring two per child. Here’s why: One towel is to lay on, creating a comfy spot to make a sand castle and eat snacks, and the other is for drying off after splashing around. Plus, if one towel gets soaked or sandy, you’ve got a backup ready to go. 

I personally adore beach towels that come with their own little bags; they’re just perfect for small hands to carry and help your toddler feel like they’re contributing to the beach day prep.

It’s a simple addition to your beach essentials checklist, but it makes everything more manageable and keeps the fun uninterrupted. This approach ensures that everything you need to pack for an enjoyable vacation by the sea is well-organized and easy to handle, even when you’re navigating the joys of traveling with a baby or toddler to another beach destination.

Kids Beach Towel Sets

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Kids Beach Shoes

When plotting your packing list for a beach vacation, don’t overlook the importance of kids’ beach shoes—especially if your family vacation leads you to the stunning shores of Greece or Croatia, famed for its pebble and rock beaches. 

A solid rubber sole is non-negotiable; it not only protects little feet from sharp edges but also guards against the discomfort of scorching hot sand. Beach shoes are an indispensable item on your beach essentials checklist, ensuring your toddler can explore safely and comfortably, whether they’re navigating a rocky coastline or playing on a sandy beach.

This small addition to your gear can make a big difference in your child’s beach experience, turning a potential day of ouches into a day of endless fun.

Children’s Sun Cream

When you’re gearing up to go to the beach, especially with a toddler in tow, selecting the right sun cream should top your packing list for a beach vacation. If you’re uncertain about which brand or SPF level to choose, don’t hesitate to consult your pharmacist for a recommendation.

Through trial and error, we’ve found that the thick, gooey sun creams tend to offer the best protection. They stay on longer, even through splashing and sandcastle building, ensuring your little one stays shielded from the sun’s harmful rays.

 Make sure to add reliable high-SPF sun cream to your beach packing list, as it’s essential for safeguarding your toddler’s delicate skin during those fun-filled days under the sun. This small step can make a big difference in ensuring an enjoyable and safe vacation for everyone.


A day at the beach can work up quite an appetite, not just for the adults but especially for the little adventurers. When you’re compiling your packing list for a beach vacation, snacks are a must-have.

Opt for fresh fruit, which is hydrating and refreshing under the sun, or convenient fruit or vegetable pouches that are perfect for on-the-go nourishment.

Crackers and granola bars also make great snacks, offering the energy boost everyone needs without weighing down your beach bag.

 These snacks are not only simple to pack but also loved by toddlers and adults alike, ensuring everyone stays fueled and happy throughout your ultimate beach day. Remember, a well-thought-out snack selection is crucial for keeping everyone’s spirits high, making it a key item on your printable beach packing list.

Children’s Sunglasses

When you’re heading out for a day under the sun, especially if it involves a toddler on a beach vacation, don’t forget to pack children’s sunglasses on your packing list for a beach vacation. It’s crucial to choose sunglasses that offer real sun protection, not just the cheap, stylish ones that might look good but fail to shield little eyes from harmful UV rays.

 Look for sunglasses that specifically mention 100% UVA and UVB protection. This ensures your child’s eyes are protected, letting them enjoy the beach safely. Remember, when it comes to taking a vacation where the sun’s glare is strong, like at the beach or near reflective surfaces like water, quality children’s sunglasses are a non-negotiable item on your packing list.

Girls’ sunglasses


Insect Repellent

Family, Sj, Mate, Vladimir - Three of us - Milina - Beach

The market is flooded with options, but finding the right one for your child is crucial. It’s a brilliant idea to have a chat with your pharmacist about the most suitable, kid-friendly insect repellent. They can recommend products specifically designed for young skin, offering adequate protection without harsh chemicals.

 Opting for repellents that are specially formulated for children can provide peace of mind as you enjoy your time at the beach, ensuring your little one stays bite-free and happy. Remember, a little preparation goes a long way in making your beach vacation enjoyable for everyone.

Plastic Bags

Adding a few plastic zip-lock bags to your family vacation checklist is a clever move, especially for those days spent at the beach. These handy bags serve as the perfect protectors for your phone, camera, and other gadgets that prefer to stay dry.

They’re not just for electronics, though. Bring along some oversized bags as well; they’re lifesavers for carting home wet swimsuits, towels, and any other damp beach gear.

This simple addition to your packing list every time you hit the beach can save you from the hassle of water damage or soggy car seats, making your beach day smooth and worry-free.

Baby Or Toddler Toys

Beach toys top the list of essentials for ensuring a day at the beach is fun and memorable, especially when it comes to keeping the little ones entertained. At the very least, a bucket and spade are non-negotiable; they’re the foundation of endless sandcastle creations and imaginative play by the shoreline.

Beyond that, consider packing a variety of sand toys, which are readily available at any store and can include everything from molds to diggers, enhancing the beach experience.

If space allows in your car, an inflatable pool can be a game-changer. It offers a safe and manageable spot for toddlers to splash and play under the shade, providing peace of mind while you relax nearby.

Here’s a tip for families traveling a considerable distance with limited luggage space: consider purchasing beach toys at your destination. Not only does this approach save valuable packing space, but it also avoids the hassle of bringing sandy toys back home.

Many beachside shops offer an array of affordable options, and you can always gift them to another family when your beach vacation comes to an end. This strategy ensures your packing list for the beach vacation remains manageable while still promising all the fun of the beach for your little ones.

Packing list for a day at the beach with a toddler - Chasing the Donkey

Beach Umbrella Or Beach Tent

When ticking off items on your packing list for a beach vacation, don’t overlook the significance of shade – enter the beach umbrella or beach tent.

There is no need to dive deep into why; we all know the value of an excellent, shaded spot on a sunny beach day. For those of us with little patience or strength to lug around heavy gear, consider a lightweight, kid-friendly pop-up beach tent.

These marvels are not only easy to carry but set up in seconds, providing instant relief from the sun. This is especially handy when your toddler gets restless and needs a quick, comfortable spot away from the harsh rays or to change diapers on the beach discreetly.

So, while you’re planning which beach toys to pick up at your destination, make sure a pop-up beach tent is also on that list to ensure a comfortable, enjoyable day at the beach for everyone.

Baby Powder

Adding baby powder to your vacation packing list is a pro move that can make your beach day a lot more comfortable, especially when it comes to dealing with the inevitable – sand everywhere! There’s nothing quite as annoying as leaving the beach only to find you’re taking half of it with you, stubbornly clinging to your skin.

The simple solution? Baby powder. A quick dusting on sandy areas, and you’ll be amazed at how effortlessly the sand falls away, leaving your skin smooth and sand-free. Opt for a talc-free option to ensure it’s safe for everyone, including the littlest members of your family.

This small addition to your packing list can significantly enhance your beach experience, letting you enjoy the sun and sea without the sandy aftermath.

Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Dusting Powder Talc Free, 4.5-ounce

Beach Blanket

Don’t head out for your beach day without packing a beach blanket—it’s an absolute game-changer. Whether the beach you’re visiting is sandy or a bit on the rocky side, a beach blanket provides a comfortable and solid base to lay your towels on, ensuring a more enjoyable time lounging, playing, or sunbathing.

Plus, it comes in handy at the end of the day when you’re rounding up toys, sunscreen bottles, and the myriad of things that seem to spread out over your beach spot. Just toss everything onto the blanket, gather the corners, and voila—you’ve got an instant bag to carry your gear back to the car.

It’s a simple, efficient solution to keep your beach visit hassle-free and organized.

Try these beach blankets.

Swim Diapers

Swim diapers are an essential item for any beach or pool outing with little ones. Yes, they might seem pricier than regular diapers, but they’re specially designed to not swell up with water, making them perfect for water play.

This design keeps your toddler comfortable and safer in the water. Moreover, in the event of a number 2 situation, swim diapers are a time-saver, making changes quick and less of a hassle.

They’re a smart investment for any beach vacation with toddlers, ensuring that everyone can enjoy their time in the water without worry. So, when you’re putting together your packing list, make sure to include swim diapers—they’re a small price to pay for a smooth and enjoyable beach day.


Don’t underestimate the power of packing plenty of baby wipes for your beach day. Whether it’s cleaning sandy hands before snack time, wiping away sticky sunscreen, or tackling the aftermath of an ice cream treat, baby wipes are your go-to solution for quick clean-ups. So bring lots. 

They are incredibly versatile and can save the day in a variety of beach scenarios, making them an indispensable part of your beach gear. With the inevitable mix of snacks, sand, and sun at the beach, having a generous supply of wipes on hand will keep everyone happy, clean, and ready to continue the fun.

So, when finalizing your packing list for the beach, remember that you can never have too many wipes.

Change Of Clothes

You never know what will happen on family vacations, so pack some extra clothes for the toddler.

Kids Chair

While not strictly essential, adding a kids’ chair to your travel packing list can significantly enhance your beach experience. Besides being incredibly cute, these chairs offer a fun and comfortable spot for your little ones to enjoy their beach day.

Many models come equipped with umbrellas, providing much-needed shade and contributing to sun safety, ensuring your kids can enjoy the outdoors while staying protected from harsh UV rays.

Look for a chair with an easy-to-fold system and a carry bag; not only does this make storage and transportation a breeze, but it also allows your older kids to take part in carrying gear, making them feel more involved in the beach day preparations. A kids’ beach chair is a delightful addition that brings comfort, fun, and safety to your beach outing.

Beach Wagon

Trust me, a beach wagon is a game-changer, especially when you’re going on a beach vacation with a toddler. Think of it as your trusty sidekick, ready to haul everything from sand toys to snacks, keeping your hands free and your back thankful. Not all wagons are created equal, particularly when you’re navigating sandy shores.

Look for models with big, sturdy wheels that can tackle sand without turning it into a workout session. Brands like Radio Flyer, Mac Sports, and BEAU JARDIN get top marks for their durable designs and ease of use on the beach.

Size matters too—opt for a wagon that’s roomy enough to fit your beach trip packing list but still compact enough to pop into your car trunk or store at the beach house. Key features? A foldable design for easy storage, durable fabric that’s easy to clean, and an adjustable handle for comfortable pulling.

Whether you’re packing for a day with your toddler or hauling baby gear, the right beach wagon makes all the difference in making your beach time enjoyable and hassle-free. So, before you hit the beach or finalize your packing list for your beach vacation, make sure to include a beach wagon—it’s essential for a perfect beach day.

Zip Lock Bags

Bring to the beach a few zip lock bags when you’ve got a toddler might be the smartest move you’ll make. Hear me out: these nifty little bags are the unsung heroes of a hassle-free beach day. 

They’re perfect for keeping snacks sand-free, storing wet clothes, or protecting your phone and camera from water and sand mishaps. And when it comes to keeping tiny treasures like shells or rocks your little explorer collects, zip lock bags have got you covered.

Bag For The Beach

Choosing the right bag for the beach is key to a seamless and enjoyable outing. When crafting your ultimate beach packing list, consider the size of the bag first. You’ll want something large enough to fit essentials for the whole family—from sunscreen and towels to baby food and a life jacket—yet manageable to carry.

For a family beach vacation packing list, a durable, water-resistant tote or a backpack with multiple compartments is ideal, allowing you to organize items for babies, big kids, and you.

Brands like YETI and Lands’ End are praised for their quality and functionality, offering spacious options that can withstand the sand and sea. Look for features like waterproof pockets for electronics, insulated sections for snacks, and easy-to-clean materials. Remember, when heading to the beach, especially if your trip involves beach and pool time or vacationing with a baby, the right bag can simplify your experience, making packing and accessing your gear effortless.

Whether it’s your next trip or a regular visit to your favorite beach, a well-chosen beach bag is an investment in stress-free, fun-filled days by the water.

So, I think that’s about it. Have a fun (sun-safe) day at the beach with your toddler. What else should I add to this beach vacation packing list?

Pack For A Beach Vacation FAQS

What should I pack for a beach vacation with a toddler?

When planning a beach vacation with a toddler, your packing list should include toddler beach essentials like sunscreen, hats, swim diapers, a sippy cup, water shoes, and toys that your toddler will love. Don’t forget to pack extra clothes and a beach bag to keep everything organized. A beach wagon can be incredibly helpful for carrying all your beach gear and essentials in one go.

How can I ensure a smooth trip to the beach with my toddler?

To ensure a smooth trip, make sure to pack everything you need for a day with your toddler at the beach. This includes a beach tent for shade, a comfortable beach mat, snacks, and plenty of water. Consider bringing a lightweight stroller or a beach wagon for easy mobility. Water shoes are essential for protecting little feet from hot sand and sharp objects.

What are some must-have beach items for toddlers?

Must-have beach items for toddlers include water toys, beach balls, a UV-protected swimsuit, water shoes to protect their feet, and a sippy cup to stay hydrated. Additionally, pack a lightweight beach towel or a quick-dry poncho towel for after swim time. A beach umbrella or a pop-up beach tent can provide the necessary shade to keep your toddler cool.

Are there any toddler beach hacks I should know about?

Yes, a great list of toddler beach hacks can make your day with your toddler even more enjoyable. Sprinkle baby powder on sandy skin for easy clean-up, use a fitted sheet as a sand-free play area by placing bags or coolers at the corners, and always have a few ziplock bags handy for wet swimsuits or to protect your phone. Also, consider a portable fan to keep your toddler cool during peak sun hours.

How can I keep my toddler entertained on the beach?

To keep your toddler entertained on the beach, bring along a variety of beach toys that they can use at the beach or pool. Sand toys, inflatable beach balls, and floaties can provide hours of fun. Also, a toddler beach day isn’t complete without building a sandcastle, so don’t forget a bucket and shovel. For a unique activity, bring washable paints and let your toddler paint rocks or seashells.

What should be on my beach packing checklist to ensure an ultimate family beach vacation?

Your beach packing checklist for the ultimate family beach vacation should include beach essentials like sunscreen, beach towels, swimwear, and a first aid kit. For toddlers, add swim diapers, a hat, UV-protection swimwear, and a floatation device to your list. Pack a cooler with snacks and drinks to stay hydrated and energized. Lastly, remember your camera to capture the memorable moments of your time on the beach.

What should I pack in my beach bag for a day with a toddler?

In your beach bag for a day with a toddler, pack sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, a change of clothes, swim diapers, and a waterproof bag for wet items. Include a few favorite toys, water shoes, and a sippy cup or reusable water bottle. Snacks that won’t melt or spoil in the heat are also essential. Don’t forget a small first aid kit for any minor scrapes or stings.

More Packing List Help Is Here

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Comments (16)

  1. If you are not lying about the baby powder….than it is quite possible you have JUST CHANGED MY LIFE!! how did I not know about this? how many times have I taken my son to the beach only to go back home COVERED in sand looking like a fried cutlet and dragging it in everywhere.

    Seriously. BEST tip and list ever!

  2. Very useful post. We have a new addition to our family: a 6 months-old grandson. I’ll give my daughter-in-law your post for future reference. I’m sure she could use the information. Very good ideas.

  3. When our children were young and we travelled the world we always used to say as long as we don’t forget the baby everything else is not that important.

    1. Guess I need more than the baby to have a good time. I like order and hate having to try and hunt down sunscreen at tourist prices at the beach when I can pack it my bag.

  4. Argh, stop making me think of summer! It was -30 in Fairbanks the other day, and I do better at convincing myself I love all this winter if I’m not looking at pictures of sunny beaches.

    1. Oh man, sorry Jess. It’s freezing here too, but not that cold. So, never fret I too am cold.

  5. I’ve heard about the Baby Powder tip, but I’m always remembering it once I’m already at the beach with my twins. grr! Next time. Hopefully!

  6. Great list! I will be traveling to Goa with a toddler (just turned 2) and am excited but a bit nervous as well.

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