Summer is coming, which means a trip to the beach for many of us! Be sure to check this list of 15 must haves for your beach bag before you head toward the water!
Having lived in North Carolina all of my life, my summer vacations always centered around going to the beach. As a child it was always Myrtle Beach in South Carolina. But now as a mom and wife, we have also gone to Charleston and our new favorite, Hilton Head!
In fact, we are headed back to Hilton Head in a few weeks and the pre-planner in me has already started thinking about what I need to pack.
And perhaps the most important “item” that will get packed is the one that will get packed and unpacked EVERY single day of our trip – the beach bag! It’s very important you think through what will go in there because:
- You have limited space and don’t want to be hauling around a dump-truck full of stuff.
- Once you are at the beach, all sunscreen’d up and enjoying the waves, the last thing you want to do is load it all back up and go back to your room for something silly!
So here is my list of 15 must haves for your beach bag before you head toward the water!!
(I didn’t include beach toys because for us, they don’t actually fit in the bag! And our kids would never let us forget those!)
1. Sunscreen – Starting with the obvious here but you can never have enough. If my parents knew then what I know now, my fair skin would never have gotten so much sun exposure. As a result, I have already had 4 abnormal moles removed in two years. I keep a combo of Coppertone Babies lotion spray (I love that it is thicker and doesn’t smell), as well as a lotion/cream for the face and a sunstick.
2. Ziploc Bags in a Few Different Sizes – The uses for Ziploc bags never cease to amaze me. I use them to keep cell-phones/ipads dry and away from water and wet clothes. They are perfect for storing half-eaten snacks. And heaven forbid, your baby or toddler has an “accident”…they are good for that too.
3. A Towel For Each Person, Plus One Extra – Yes, towels take up the most space and even if the kids throw them over their shoulder, it’s worth it to pack that extra one. I keep it safe and dry in the bag and use it for when there is sand all over someone’s face. It’s hard to clean sand off your face with a towel covered in sand.
4. Beach Blanket Made of Waterproof Material – Beach towels are great but they just don’t cut it for sitting on the beach, playing and hanging out.
5. First Aid Kit – Make sure that it includes either a liquid antiseptic (we love the Johnson & Johnson No Hurt spray) or a foaming one (like the Neosporin foam). Because it’s virtually impossible to keep a cream formula on a wet, sandy boo-boo.
6. Snacks, Snacks and More Snacks! – Something about the water and swimming just makes kids (and adults) starving! We usually pack a few PB&J sandwiches as well. I know it seems easier to grab the snack packs at Sams, Costco, etc but it is much cheaper to just buy whole bags of chips, popcorn, etc and divvy them up into snack bags. I do this my first day of our trip and grab the bags as we are packing up the beach bag. Don’t forget apple slices, baby carrots and trail mix. It doesn’t need to be all sugary or salty snacks!
7. Plenty to Drink – It think it’s easy for kids to get dehydrated at the beach, because they are so wrapped up in playing in the water they forget to drink any! But it’s very important to keep them drinking. Lots of water! And I usually pack something with a little flavor as well to supplement the water.
8. 2 Bottles of Extra Water – These 2 bottles don’t get drank or unpacked from our bag. I keep them solely for the purpose of washing away sand that may get in someone’s eye. I learned this last year when a woman’s son near us got a huge handful of sand in his eye. Thankfully, my sister had an unopened bottle of sterile water that she could offer and the mom was able to clear the little boy’s eyes.
9. Hairbrush and Hair Ties – I cannot stand to have my hair all knotted up OR flying into my mouth at the beach. Nor can my girls, so we always keep both of these in our bag!
10. Hats – Baseball hats, toddler hats, sun hats – it doesn’t matter. Just have some! It is so difficult to fully protect your child’s exposed, sensitive scalp with just sunscreen.
11. Goggles – No, my kids aren’t looking under the ocean water but they love having goggles on when the salty water starts splashing their eyes.
12. Puddle Jumper or Safety Vest – For any child that is not an independent swimmer, these are a MUST!
13. Vinegar in a Spray Bottle – Use the white distilled kind. We found out the hard way last year when our 2 year old was stung by a jelly fish that the prepared moms with a bottle of vinegar were lifesavers.
14. A Change of Clothes – You will be amazed at what can happen to make you or your kids dirty at the beach! I usually pack something basic and easily folded small. Like gym shorts and a tank for everyone. Often I will pack these into my ziploc bags so I have two things in one.
15. Baby Powder – This stuff is magical when it comes to getting rid of sand. Just rub a little on your sandy arms, feet, legs and watch the sand fall right off!
Now, get to packing and enjoy that water!
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