Our Favorite Beach Gear Essentials for Families

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!

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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.

Our mission at SheKnows is to empower and inspire women, and we only feature products we think you’ll love as much as we do. Stanley and CVS are SheKnows sponsors, however all products in this article were independently selected by our editors. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale. 

An Insulated Water Bottle

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

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

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.

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