Before I tell you some of my favorite beach bag essentials, there is one large difference between the beach and a pool:



miles and miles and miles of SAND.


Because of the sand, I pack differently for the beach than I do for the pool. This likely isn’t surprising, but is worth noting if you are used to the pool and find yourself on the sandy shore. The main difference is that the beach gets two (sometimes three) bags while the pool gets one bag.

**I know that some of you reading this might be going to the beach solo, or at least without tiny humans. If this is you, there is likely an easier way but for those with small, sand loving creatures, you really have to think ahead in order for everything to not become a big, sand filled mess.

**I also want to note that we live 20 minutes from the beach. Because of this, we often go for a half day or just the morning. Obviously if we lived further we would likely need a larger cooler and more food. Also, I am not including chairs. Obviously you might need those too 😉



The first bag I pack will never go near the actual beach.

I use one of our Scout bags for this; they are super light, have a ton of sizes, and the outside is waterproof. It contains our dry changes of clothes and 2-3 towels for everyone to share for drying off. There is nothing worse than leaving the beach and finding that every single towel is bogged down with muddy sand. Or, that while you were on the beach your hungry toddler took everything out of the bag to look for a snack and in the process got everyone’s clean clothes completely wet and sandy. In the Scout bag:

  • all clean clothes
  • 2-3 clean towels for everyone to dry off post beach
  • a wet brush


The second bag is a snack bag:

This is usually a reuasable grocery bag or soft cooler with some ice packs, depending on how long we are going for

  • 1 gallon ziplock filled with easy snacks (fig bars, goldfish, pretzels, etc.); sometimes we also have sandwiches if we are going for a long time
  • Everyone’s water bottle (we love these simple modern water bottles with the straw lid for the kids)
  • This giant 64 ounce water bottle: Oh my goodness I started this last summer and it is a lifesaver. The kids tend to get thirsty and drink a ton of water. This lightweight bottle filled with an extra 64 ounces of water is able to refill the kids and keep them from drinking all of my water. 
  • a zip up picnic blanket: this thing is awesome! It lives in the back of my car and washes so easily. Also waterproof. I couldn’t find the exact one we have (it is over 8 years old!) but linked one similar.


The third bag is our Bogg bag:

This bag was made for the beach! (But sadly are often sold out). You can hose it out easily and its super lightweight/durable. This bag holds most all of the beach things we need. I will say, while I love this bag for the actual beach, it is not nearly as large as the Scout 4 boys bag I linked above. In the Bogg bag:

  • 2-3 towels: Our kids are still so young that no one is laying out on a towel. These are solely for drying purposes. I swear by these target towels for all things beach and pool! They are super lightweight, dry fast, and don’t take up a ton of space.
  • 1 clear mesh bag with all the sunscreen products. I get mine at the target dollar spot and they are perfect for corralling all the sunscreens. They also can be rinsed out easily if you need to do so.
  • Sunscreen: I love the thinkbaby sunscreen stick and the Beautycounter sunscreen spray or Thinkbaby sunscreen. Beautycounter also has a stick that is awesome, the Thinkbaby is just a better price point.
  • 1 clear mesh bag that contains a few clean swim diapers and wipes.
  • 1 mesh bag that contains the goggles. Again, this corrals them all together and the mesh allows them to get air and dry after being used.
  • Kids’ sun hats: we love these; they last for years and fit all the head sizes
  • Kids’ swim goggles: we like these speedo ones because they have a soft strap that doesn’t pull their hair
  • Body Glove Puddle Jumpers: they have a vest which is KEY to your kids not taking the puddle jumper off. Trust me. I will never buy one again that doesn’t have the vest feature. John Robert no longer has to wear a puddle jumper but if he’s out in the waves we often have him wear his swim trainer vest
  • A roll up sun visor for me: this isn’t anything special, but it has amazing coverage and always stays in the beach bag. Or, this high coverage sun hat. It is a fav!
  • Sunglasses I love but am not too attached to: because kids, the giant ocean, sand, and really nice sunglasses are a terrible combo. Another pair I love; the orange is so fun!
the body glove puddle jumper


the sun visor



And that’s it. A list of all the many things we pack and take for a morning at the sandy shore. Hope this was helpful! If you have anything you swear by please leave it in the comments!

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