The Best Beach Gear for Kids

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Now that we live just blocks from the beach we go a lot, in case you had not noticed from my Instagram! The Gulf Coast of Florida has beautiful white sand beaches that almost make me forget how much I hate sand! Regardless of my feelings, the Littles love heading to the beach. We can nearly go year round here for some amazing sand play. With the right gear though we are all happy to spend a morning or afternoon on the beach.

We have a large bin of beach gear that lives in the back of the minivan, enabling a quick beach stop nearly any time we are out and about. We’ve honed in on our favorite items that make beach-going so much fun. And the tote keeps all the sand inside – and out of my minivan’s carpet.

Beach Blanket

Instead of hauling a million towels down to the water we just bring one and our Wellax Beach Blanket. It’s large enough for our family of five to all comfortably sit on it plus the friends we’ve inevitably brought down to the beach with us. The Wellax Beach Blanket stuffs into a small stuff sack for transport and the corners fill with sand (or use the included beach stakes) to keep the blanket from washing away. It also has an underside zipper pocket for keeping your phone and keys out of sight. It is made out of parachute-like material so sand brushes right off – perfect for when the kids run across it.

The greatest testament to this blanket though is that we had it on a soundside beach when a barge went by, sending a huge wave across the beach. The blanket stayed put as the sand and water washed over it. It kept our keys and phone dryish. (They were inside a plastic bag inside the hidden pocket but the bag appeared to be dry.) The blanket was covered with sand so we rinsed it out in the ocean and put it back on the beach and it was dry moments later.

Beach Tent

Once we learned how to put up the Nesso Beach Tent it became our must bring beach accessory. It is large enough to cast a huge amount of shade on a sunny day, so the kids can play in the sand without direct sun. The Nesso Tent packs up small enough to have it travel with you.

(I would advise watching the “how to” video online. We initially thought this tent couldn’t stand up with much wind, but it turned out to be user error.)

We also love having a little pop up tent. They are great for the kids and provide a home base of sorts. We usually create a whole little space on the beach with the toys and pop up tent.

The pop up tent is nothing fancy but it can be used on the beach or anywhere else you go outdoors, making it perfect for picnic stops on a road trip. We typically put the kids’ toys near it and they migrate in there to play. Sand just brushes out of the tent when we pack it up.


I’m a little bit obsessed with our LuvBug Towels. I was tired of lugging around four towels (five if Jeff is with us). They are heavy and take up so much space! The LuvBug Towels are made of a thin fabric, which also happens to protect you from UV rays. They roll up nice and small and are sand free, even when they are wet! I love the hooded ones for the kids. I can easily wrap them up and sit them down to keep them warm and dry. They dry quickly. When the kids want to head back to the water they are dry when they get back.

I also have a wet bag from Luv Bug. All three towels fit in the wetbag, which also has a second zip pocket. These are our new go to towel/wetbag, and they are small enough to pack along for a trip.

Sand Toys

A bucket and a pail are always a win. We always make sure to have one bucket and one shovel per kid since they are the quintessential beach toys. If we are just making a quick stop or are on a nature walk the kids can bring just these along with them. We’ve amassed a collection from birthday parties and hotels, but the dollar store has high quality ones as well. We’ve seen people with fancy collapsible buckets, but have not tried them ourselves.

Haba has a whole line of sand toys that we just adore. They are always the first things to be pulled out of the sand toy box. Plus, Haba guarantees all their toys for 5 years! Haba’s Shovel and Sand Roller is perfect for building sand creations. The Littles use the roller to make roads or fill in holes.

The Haba Sand Drill is a huge hit with the big kids. You can use it to make a hole for your umbrella, but our Littles love to use it to start their sand holes or making beach designs in the sand. It is super easy to turn and when you lift it out the hole is empty.

The Shovel/Excavator is one of our favorites because it does double duty as a vehicle and a shovel. It not only digs up the sand but then you can transport it somewhere else too. The wheels leave a fun mark in the sand too.

Haba’s Spilling Funnel mixes water and sand so you can make designs and build taller castles. The kids love watching the sand mixture come pouring out the bottom. The big kids use it as a foundation for their larger buildings.

The Bilibo Mini Cups have turned out to be one of the most multi-functional beach toy we own. They are always what the babies gravitate toward and are the perfect size for their little hands.

They can hold water and sand or be used to dig like a shovel. They have been used as sand castle molds. The Bilibo cups can also be used as bowls to hold shells and creatures for observations.

Swimming Gear

When the water is warm enough (all summer and fall) your kids are sure to want to go for a swim. In order to manage heading out with all the kids we like to have life jackets or puddle jumpers with us for everyone to use. Even my strong swimmers wear a flotation device when heading out far from shore.

The beach box is also always filled with goggles. The Littles are so much happier when salt water isn’t splashing in their face and they can see under the water.

I have all our beach supplies in a rubber tub that we haul down to the beach, it’s not pretty but it’s very practical. The tub can get wet. All the sand from the toys falls to the bottom and periodically I just dump the whole tub out and then throw the toys back in there – easy!

Here are a few other things I like to keep in our beach tub.

  • Extra Plastic Bags – Ziplock bags are perfect for all those things you don’t want to get wet. Also good for when your Big Little loses a tooth on the beach.
  • Baby Powder – When you need to get sand off the kids nothing works better than some baby powder, it absorbs the moisture and the sand falls right off. If you really want to up your game put the baby powder in a sock so it comes out in the perfect quantity.
  • Sunscreen – Just make sure you check the Environmental Working Group’s Sunscreen Guide to make sure what you are buying actually works.

I hope you’re looking forward to your next beach trip! We are always posting our photos on Instagram, so check us out the next time you are looking for some inspiration.

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Elizabeth is a Type A, Attorney turned Stay-at-Home Mom, who moved her family across the Atlantic for an adventure. She can often be found out and about finding fun things for her littles to do. Elizabeth loves to read, craft and chat with friends. She will try just about anything and loves to share her experiences.

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