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Summer beach must-haves for kids

With school ending and temperatures soaring, it’s officially time for beach fun. Whether you live near the beach and visit regularly or you have a fun family vacation planned, you need the beach essentials for your kids. From the perfect beach tote to best bathing suits, we’ve rounded up the items you need for your beach visit.

Our family is lucky enough to live in Southern California — very close to the beach. My preschoolers love the ocean. The first time we walked down to the beach, I set my still-crawling daughter down in the sand, right where the waves wash smoothly onto the sand. She began crawling out into the water… and didn’t stop!

Both of my kids can play on the beach and in the water for hours, so we’ve gotten pretty good at packing the perfect beach bag. Check out my summer beach must-haves for kids.

Bathing suit

It’s not easy to find the perfect swimsuit for active kids. I prefer one pieces for my daughter, but they make quick potty breaks difficult. Fortunately, Lands’ End has some great options. My daughter has this cute, bright shirred ruffle tankini top ($25) and bottom ($17). We get the one-piece look with the ease of a two piece. Other girls’ options that I’m eyeing: the skirted tugless tank ($25) and this great rashguard ($29).

The boys’ bathing suit options at Lands’ End are just as great as the girls’! My son looks positively adorable in the floral zip pocket board shorts ($35) paired with the long-sleeve rash guard ($25). The boat races plaid shorts ($35) are also on my wish list, along with the 3/4-sleeve rash guard ($20).

And Mom, don’t forget yourself! Women’s swimsuit options run the gamut — from tankinis and swim skirts for those who prefer more coverage to cute bikinis for moms who want to rock it!


My kids have been great about wearing sunglasses since they were babies. Now that they’re preschoolers, they don’t leave the house without them. Sunglasses are important for protecting your kiddo’s eyes, particularly on beach days when the sun is bright. Babiators ($20) makes darling sunglasses for boys and girls in two sizes: for kids up to 3 years old and for kids 3 to 7 years old. Colors include basics — like blue, red and silver — and fun summer options like lime green. Babiators are very comfortable and high quality sunglasses.

For kids who lose sunglasses often (my kids have lost more pairs in the surf than I can count), try The Children’s Place. Sunglasses for girls and boys are just $3 to $5.

Beach towels

A good beach towel is worth its weight in gold! When kids get chilly after playing in the ocean, your fun can screech to a fast halt. My daughter runs on the cold side — and at 3 years old, cold usually equals a major meltdown — so we always have a big, warm beach towel with us. Our favorite is the hooded mermaid towel ($26) from Stephen Joseph. My son looks equally adorable wrapped up in the pirate towel.

Beach bag

Of course, we can’t forget the perfect beach bag. Without it, your beach necessities will be scattered everywhere! I love the beach tote ($35) from Sarah Janes. It’s large — 24 inches wide and 7 inches deep — but lightweight. You can choose from endless pattern options and even have your (or your child’s) initials monogrammed on the bag.

Other beach must-haves

  • Sunscreen: I know that there’s some controversy over sunscreen, but I always lather my kids up. Read up on your sunscreen options.
  • Sand-Off: Nothing is more irritating that bringing the beach home, so avoid that by using a Sand-Off mitt. Each one is infused with an all-natural, talcum-free powder that wipes away sand.
  • Water: Don’t forget the water! Fill up BPA-free bottles for a safe and environmentally friendly way to stay hydrated.
  • Umbrella: If you’re going to be out for a while, bring a beach umbrella for some refuge from the hot rays.
  • Beach toys: Pack up your kids’ favorite sand and water toys to ensure hours of fun.

Tell us

What’s your kids’ beach must-have?

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