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What to Pack for a Family Day at the Beach

What to Pack for a Family Day at the Beach

An adults-only trip to the beach is pretty low maintenance. You don’t have to worry too much about planning it out. There’s the freedom to do what you want, come and go as you please, doze off in the sun, get lost in a book, or whatever else. But a beach adventure with kids in tow is a little different. And one of the most important aspects is making sure you appropriately pack for a family day at the beach.

To keep things as stress-free as possible and avoid forgetting something important, make a quick packing list ahead of time and don’t wait till the last minute to get everything together. That way, you can focus on rounding up the kids and your relaxing beach getaway gets off to a good start.

To make things a bit easier, here’s an easy-reference checklist covering the essentials to pack for a family day at the beach. You’ll probably have some items specific to you or your kids, so remember to add those.

Bring These on Your Family Beach Trip

  • Swimsuits, of course! But if you’re going straight to the beach, it’s often easiest for everyone to wear their bathing suits under their regular clothes
  • Flip-flops, sandals, water shoes, or other appropriate beach footwear
  • Enough clean towels for everyone to dry off, and for people to sit on during the car ride home if they don’t change out of their wet suits
  • Plastic shopping bags for wet swimwear and towels
  • Clean changes of clothes; keep them in plastic bags to prevent them from getting sandy, since most beach bags usually end up with a good deal of sand in them
  • Swim diapers if you have a young child who needs them
  • A changing pad if you’ll have to change your baby’s diaper; it won’t be pleasant doing it on a sand-covered beach towel—and don’t forget the baby wipes and a trash bag for dirty diapers
  • Water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15; brush up on important sun protection tips to prevent burns and limit the harmful effects of the sun’s UV radiation
  • Brimmed hats and sunglasses that offer UV protection
  • A beach umbrella for shade
  • Beach towels or chairs for sitting on
  • Books, crossword puzzles, sudoku, or other material for the grown-ups to chill out with
  • Pails, shovels, beach toys, and other stuff for the kids to play with
  • Lots of water—preferably in a cooler—because it’s crucial that everyone drinks continuously throughout the day to stay well hydrated in the sun
  • Healthy snacks that can handle being out in the heat, like fruit, trail mix, whole grain crackers, or protein bars (ideally without tons of added sugar)
  • Some cash, just in case an ice cream vendor goes rolling by and the kids start begging (there are lots of situations where you might need a little cash on hand at many beaches)
  • Quarters; speaking of cash, you don’t want to get caught unable to pay if you have to feed a meter to park at your beach destination
  • Aloe vera gel in case anyone starts developing a sunburn
  • Some first aid products, like a topical antibiotic and adhesive bandages, since cuts, scrapes, and other minor injuries do happen
  • Swim Wipes so you can quickly freshen up when you leave
  • Sand & Surf if you’re going to a hotel or otherwise need to give your family’s bathing suits a quick cleaning before going home

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