Remember when hitting the beach meant throwing a towel, a water bottle, and your phone into a cute straw bag and spending the day relaxing in the sun and sand?

These days, going to the beach with little ones in tow can be a bit more…complicated. But we think it can also be a lot more magical, too. There are few things more memorable—or more adorable—than watching your babe dip their feet into the ocean for the first time or crawl happily through the sand. And although they might not be as relaxing as they once were, even science has proven that vacations make your kids happy long after they are over.

We’ve found the best way to conquer a beach day with our babes is to always come prepared. So if you’re hitting the beach with your baby this year, mamas, don’t stress—we’ve got you covered!

From the perfect bag to cart all the sand toys to a 100% foolproof beach tent, these are thebest beach essentials for families, guaranteed to make your summer adventure a success.

Best baby beach essentials

baby sunscreen

Mineral-based sunscreen for baby


We love mineral-based sunscreens for their safety and coverage, but they can often be tough to apply. Not the case with this one from Bare Republic! The baby-friendly applicator ensures that it goes on easily and is perfect for sensitive baby skin. Water-resistant for 80 minutes, it’s also reef-safe and protects babies and kids from both UVA and UVB rays.

PopChose Beach Blanket

Water-resistant beach blanket


Super easy to wipe clean and perfect for setting up a sand-free spot on the beach, these oversize blankets have countless other uses when you’re not spending the day at the sea. They’re incredibly compact and lightweight–a bonus when you’re likely bogged down with 400 pounds of other stuff! And don’t worry about fighting the wind. They’ve got four loops and ground stakes to keep them in place.

little girl wearing a hat by a pool

Sun bonnet


A sun bonnet is a must-have for your day at the beach, and this one from iPlay by Green Sprouts is perfect for not only keeping the sun out of baby’s eyes but offers 50+ UPF protection and comes in tons of great colors. (Looking for more choices? Check out our round-up of the best sun hats for babies and toddlers!)

plastic beach toys

Beach toys


If you’re looking for a one-stop shop, the Hape beach toy essential set is it. Not only does it include 11 high-quality BPA-free sand toys, but they’re all conveniently packed up in a mesh backpack that even a toddler can carry. (And if you need more, check out our sand toy round-up!)

SupMLC Mesh beach Bag


Mesh Beach Bag


Or, if you’ve already amassed a crapload of beach toys, this is the bag you’ll want to corral them all. It opens up super wide to make loading and unloading a breeze while leaving the sand on the beach where it belongs.

baby sunglasses

Virtually indestructible sunglasses


Worried about what will happen if you hand your toddler a pair of sunglasses? With these shatter-resistant + ultra-flexible frames from Weefarers, you won’t have to. They’re not only great at keeping your little one’s eyes safe from the sun’s harmful rays, but they’re virtually impossible to break. (We know, we tried!)

Beach tent

Super easy beach tent


Finding a shady spot for baby is key to a great day at the beach, but we’d be lying if we said we hadn’t struggled with finding a beach tent that doesn’t require an engineering degree to set up. Until we found this cabana—it’s light, easy to carry, and 100% foolproof. (Check out more options in our beach tent round up!)

Veer basecamp




Another product we love for safely containing little beachgoers is the Veer Basecamp.  This durable kid-sized hangout offers a place to play, chill and hide out with enough space for a few kids to lounge comfortably. (And reprieve from mosquitos as well!) Mesh sides and roof make it easy to keep an eye on their antics, and a removable UPF 50 sun shade provides protection from the rays. The best part? Opening and closing is a total breeze–one motion to open and close, without any complicated twisting and shoving. And when it’s not in use, all seven pounds pack into a convenient included carry bag. Whether you’re camping, hitting the beach or just hanging in the backyard it’s a summer must-have.

hiccapop omniboost


Onmi Boost


An Amazon #1 Best Seller and dubbed “the best $35 you’ll spend this summer” by Motherly’s Trending News Editor, it’s safe to say the hiccapop OmniBoost has fans. And even though this is technically a portable high chair, the foldable camp chair-esque design makes beach days with babes so much easier! (If you’ve ever tried to keep snacks and sand separate, you know the struggle!)

It’s got a wide, stable base that makes it perfect for use at the beach or on grass–or even grandma’s living room floor. In addition, it comes equipped with straps to secure it to a chair and use at the table. The fabric is washable, it sets up in seconds, and it’s easy-peasy to clean.

Smyrna Turkish Towel

The (super gorgeous) towel


Smyrna’s line of easy-breezy Turkish towels are exactly what you want to bring to the beach with you this summer. Woven from Turkish cotton, the towels are super soft but also dry fast. And with their on-trend tassels, you’re gonna be the hippest mama on the sand.

stainless steel water bottle

Stainless steel water bottle


You know what will set off a baby tantrum fast? Sun-warmed water in their sippy cup. Keep a stash of icy cold H20 for the whole family in Hydroflask’s non-toxic BPA-free 40-ounce water bottle, which keeps liquids cold for 24 hours. (And if you’re looking for a bottle that’s all theirs, these are our favorite stainless steel water bottles for little ones.)

Yeti Tundra Haul Cooler



Feeling like you want to transport your fridge to the shoreline… just in case? We hear you, babies are demanding and fickle—sometimes they want grapes, sometimes they want yogurt, sometimes they want cheese sticks! Be armed with all of the possibilities by bringing Yeti’s Tundra Haul cooler to the beach with you. Yeti is the granddaddy of luxe coolers and this newest version has two ultra-tough, puncture-proof wheels that can take on sand, rocky terrains, rugged trails and more—all while keeping up to 45 cans of beer (er, juice boxes and bottles) or 55 pounds of ice at freezer-esque temps.

Evenflo Pivot Xplore Wagon, one of Motherly's favorite wagons for 10-month-old baby development

Wagon to get the kids from point A to B


Even if it fit all your gear, your average stroller isn’t cut out for sand travel. On the contrary, here’s where many stroller wagons shine! Throw your towels, totes, buckets—and, oh yeah, your babes!—in here and your trip from the car to the sand will be smooth sailing. Bonus: The canopy has a UPF of 50, so nap time is made in the shade.

hooded towel

Comfy and absorbent hooded towel


If wrangling your little one into a towel doesn’t sound like a fun way to spend your beach day, a hooded poncho is the perfect solution. These bamboo and cotton beauties are ultra-soft, ultra-absorbent, and quick-drying, so your littles will be warm in no time.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt In Milk Body & Face Sunscreen SPF 60

The best sunscreen for parents


When you go to beach with baby, you’re not likely to spend much time sunbathing. But you still need a superior sunscreen to protect you from the harsh rays and La Roche Posay’s Anthelios Melt-In Sunscreen Milk is one of the safest on the market. With an SPF 60, it consistently racks up a perfect score from Consumer Reports, comes highly recommended by dermatologists, and best of all can be used on your entire body–face included. No need to carry two different formulas!

swim diapers

Reusable swim diaper


Although disposable swim diapers are certainly an option, reusable ones are arguably the better bet for both the environment and for your wallet. (They’re pretty darn cute, too.) This one from the basics masters at Primary features snug-fitting legs to prevent leaks and comes in an assortment of great colors.

Huggies Little Swimmers

Disposable swim diapers


That said, sometimes you’ve got to go the disposable route. After all, few things are less fun than scraping poop out of a sandy wet diaper. Huggies Little Swimmers are a go-to when you want to keep leaks under wraps and avoid a 75 pound waterlogged bum. They’ve got a convenient resealable side and are totally fragrance and paraben free!

waterproof bags

A wet bag (or two)


Wet bags are perfect for storing drenched, sandy bathing suits, but they’re also great for containing snacks, packing an extra set of clothes, or more. We like to have a few in our beach bag for whatever the day may bring! This version has two compartments one for wet and one to keep dry things safely tucked inside as well.

baby powder

Classic baby powder


#Momhack alert: Rubbing sandy skin with baby powder is an easy, effective way to remove sand from your skin! We always stash a bottle in our bag for a day at the beach, especially when there are sand-loving littles in tow.

This was originally published June, 2019. It has since been updated.