The weather is heating up, which means we’re starting to long for all the sun, sand, saltwater, and fun that a family trip to the beach promises. But as you may recall from previous beach trips, that bucolic seashore can also be where your stress levels hit an all-time high — because, honestly, packing for the beach with kids is a process. And not having all your essentials is a nightmare. Remembering to bring toys, sunblock, sandcastle sets, oh my!
That’s where this list of beach gear and gadgets comes in handy. It has it all, and with all the bells and whistles: sunblock; games; and beach essentials like towels, waterproof bags and more. Once you have all these items checked off, you can lay out, stretch out and relax — even if just for a few minutes.
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An Insulated Water Bottle
People will be green with envy when they see you sipping with the Stanley 22oz IceFlow™ Flip Straw Aloe Water Bottle. It’s a great option to toss in your beach bag seeing as it’s easy to carry and has double-wall vacuum insulation, so you don’t have to worry about your water getting hot while you and the family are splashing around at the beach. Plus, it comes in 17 ounces and a 20-ounce tumbler, so there’s a size to fit every family.
The last thing you want to do is ruin a fun beach day with a painful sunburn after, so you’ll want to stock up on sunscreen to help protect your family’s skin this summer. Our go-to spot to shop for affordable sunscreens is CVS — we recommend adding Neutrogena’s Ulta Sheer Dry-Touch sunscreen to your cart. The lightweight formula isn’t greasy and dries fast. It’s made with Helioplex, which provides protection against and UVA/UVB rays, and broad-spectrum SPF 100+ offers sun protection for your peace of mind. And just in time for summer, CVS is hosting a Women’s Wellness Week event from April 25-May 22 so you can get sun protection and other personal care products for even less. Here’s the deal: When you spend $30 on select products, you’ll get $10 in Extra Bucks to use on other self-care items.
Rio Beach Wave Folding Sand Chair
Any parent could use one (or two) of these for those necessary breaks in between kid-chasing.
Mesh beach bag with insulated cooler
If you forget to bring snacks and drinks, you’re just asking for hangry kids. This cooler that’s zipped onto the bottom is insulated and perfect for beach travel.
The Lakeside Collection easy-up 9-inch-by-6-inch sunshade
If the beach doesn’t have any umbrellas under which to set up camp, you can always bring your own shade. This one from The Lakeside Collection is so easy to set up.
Click N’ Play 18-piece beach sand toy set
What’s a trip to the beach without a sandcastle? With an 18-piece set like this one, kids will stay occupied for hours.
A waterproof dry bag
One of the most impossible-seeming beach tasks is keeping all your items as dry as possible when you’re shored up on land. This sack should do the trick.
Ammsun beach umbrella hanging hook
This hook will come in handy when you’re desperately looking for a place to hang up your sunglasses, camera, heavy beach towels and literally everything else you brought.
Rio folding beach table
No tables? No problem — bring this easy-to-assemble folding option.
‘Sand-proof’ beach blanket
Did you think we’d forget the beach blanket? No way. And this one has it all: sand anchor pockets, zipper pockets for small-item storage, stakes for windy days and, yes, it’s “sand-proof,” whatever that means.
Waterproof phone cases
You don’t have to use these only for your phone. Waterproof all the things! Toss in your money, ID and credit cards — anything you don’t want lost or destroyed on the beach.
Light n’ Go bonfire log
If you’re staying on the beach through sunset and into the evening — and are at a beach that allows the burning of firewood — this nifty, single-bonfire log is perfect. It’s space-efficient, easy to pack and burns independently in a self-contained fire for over an hour.
Dock & Bay compact sand-proof beach towel
Last but not least, the beach towel: Dock & Bay’s towels are not only quick-drying, but they’re also highly absorbent — and sand won’t stick to them.
A version of this story was originally published in May 2018.