Planning on taking your family to the beach this summer? Be prepared for a successful beach outing with these tips from a beach loving mom. Here’s 11 things to pack for a day at the beach with your family. This list will help you prepare for a day at the lake or even the town pool, too.

11 things to pack for your next visit to the beach

Don’t forget to pack these useful items on your next trip to the beach! Photo Credit:Robin Ruehrwein

Here in New England, we only have about three months of summer (if that). Our family loves to spend as much time at the beach as possible while the weather is warm.  Luckily for us, we live right on the coast, so there are no shortages of public beaches where we live. My family lives minutes from Cape Cod, but when it comes to going to the beach, we have been known to head all over New England – from Maine to Rhode Island. We even rent a cottage on the beach every summer so we’re closer to the water.

There’s so Much to Love about the Beach!

The beach is fun for many reasons. The kids can enjoy a day of digging in the sand, splashing in the water or even have a friendly sand castle building competition. The adults can sit back and breathe in some fresh salt air and enjoy a large dose of vitamin D. If none of those things appeal to you, the beach is also a great place to people watch. And who doesn’t love to sit back and do some good people watching?

Beach Going with Kids VS. No Kids

I have always been a beach person.  Before having kids, I would spend all day every Saturday and Sunday at the beach. In May, I would get my season parking pass and head to the beach every chance I got. Now I have kids of my own and we still go to the beach regularly.

Beach-loving boys and things to pack for a day at the beach

These are my beach loving boys, ages 12 & 9 – Robin Ruehrwein

There is a big difference going to the beach with kids versus going without kids, though, and any parent who has ever brought their kids with them for a day at the beach can attest to that. There are so many things you have to lug with you and if your kids are little, there is a lot more for the adults to carry! (Have you ever tried to drag a full sized cooler through the sand?  OUCH!)  My two are a bit older and can help out much more than they could when they were little, which is wonderful!

Through trial and error (and, believe me, I’ve had more than my fair share of errors), I have finally figured out what to pack for a day at the beach so that my family can make the most of our day.

When you pack these 11 essential items for a day trip to the beach don't forget to save room for sand dollars.

Oh, the things you can find when you spend a day at the beach! Photo Credit: Robin Ruehrwein

What to Bring with You to the Beach

Here is a comprehensive beach packing list of what you must have with you to keep everyone safe and happy for a day at the beach:

  1. Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen. And hats. And protective clothing.  Kids’ skin is delicate, especially if your children are fair-skinned. Come home from the beach with sea shells, and maybe some sand, but no sunburns!
  2. More towels than you think you will need.
  3. An extra set of clothing, for a sand-free ride home.
  4. Snacks. Preferably snacks that are bite-size. This way, if some of them find their way on to the ground, you won’t have lost the whole thing. When you bite into your fluffernutter and it’s crunchy, but not because you used crunchy peanut butter, you will be happy that you had something bite-sized with you.  If you do bring a sandwich, cut it into quarters so that if you drop a piece you will still have some left. Fruit is also a wonderfully refreshing beach snack.
  5. Beach Chairs.  They are much more comfortable than sitting or lying on towels. Take it from an experienced beach goer on this one!
  6. Toys that you (and your kids) won’t mind getting dirty or lost.  Stock up on shovels, buckets and sand trucks.
  7. Swim diapers for your toddlers. Bring more than you think you’ll need. Bring plenty of wipes.
  8. Zip-lock bags, the big ones. Perfect for wet clothes, snacks, and anything you don’t want to get sandy or wet.
  9. $20.  You never know when the ice cream man is going to drive up and park right in front of where your family is set up.
  10. A first aid kit. Cuts and scrapes happen, and it is a good idea to have some Neosporin and Band-Aids on hand just in case.
  11. Water. Fill some bottles up and stick them in the freezer so they stay cold longer.

That sounds like a lot of stuff, huh? This beach loving mom packs everything into two beach bags and carry one on each shoulder.  Snacks and water go into a rolling cooler, which can be pulled moderately easily.  I’ve seen other beach goers use laundry carts and even wagons to haul their beach gear.  It all comes down to personal preference.

Watching the sun set on the beach is the perfect ending to a perfect day, especially when you know what to pack for a day at the beach.

I never leave the beach without watching the sun set first. Photo Credit: Robin Ruehrwein

As an avid beach goer, I do have a word of advice for you about going to the beach.  Do not feed the seagulls.  Around here, once you feed them they will be hovering around you for the rest of the day.  I have actually seen seagulls grab food out of people’s bags when they were off in the water, so if you see a lot of seagulls lurking around, be sure to secure your lunch and snacks.

Making a day trip to the beach? Here's 11 things you need to pack - especially when heading there with family.

Making a day trip to the beach? Here’s 11 things you need to pack – especially when heading there with family.

Have a successful beach day!

This may seem like a lot of stuff to haul with you, but you will be glad you came prepared! This list is also good for a day at the lake, park or anywhere where there is dirt, sun and water. Oh, and don’t forget your camera.

Insider tip:  Try keeping all your beach toys in a mesh laundry bag.  All the sand will fall right out and less of it will end up in the trunk of your car.  That’s what I call winning!

What do you pack for a day at the beach?