Beach season is around the corner! While many people usually don’t have ideal weather until after Memorial Day, our beach season in Florida is alive and well. For my kids, our playground is the sand and Gulf water splashing on our toes. We’ve already been to our local beach a couple times, mostly to watch the sunset, but this past weekend was our first legit, bathing suit, beach day and the kids had a blast!
At some point, I think parents started thinking they needed to take everything but the kitchen sink in order for their kids to enjoy a full day at the beach. When I was growing up, my grandmother took us down the shore almost every weekend and I can assure you we only took what we could each carry. Same goes for my kids. You won’t see us setting up large tents or taking multiple trips from the car to unload. The sand, water, and people around you are your entertainment!
If you’re tired of taking all the things to the beach, then this minimalist beach packing list is for you! You’ll feel so liberated and free. Guaranteed!
The Simplest Beach Packing List for Families
My kids know that I’m not taking a wagon full of toys to stumble through the sand with. Sorry. They each get their own set of toys in a bag to carry. If they can’t carry it, it doesn’t come with us. Guess what?! They’re perfectly fine with that! They end up spending 80% of their time wading through the water anyway!
Drinks and snacks are a must. There’s no getting around that. We’ll take a small soft-sided cooler or lunch bag with fruit, dry snacks and PB&J (if we don’t plan on eating at the concession stand). These are our favorite thermos cups for keeping water cold all day long. Freeze a couple extra bottles of water to use as ice packs and replenish cups later.
Sunscreen + Protective Beachwear
Spending even 20 minutes on the beach requires sunscreen. But first we start with protective SPF 50 swimwear for the kids. SwimZip has been a favorite of ours for a few years now. The designs and styles of the swimwear is functional, affordable and so darn cute! (You can read our previous review of SwimZip Rash Guards.)
Approximately 1 in 4 people will have cancer before they turn 50. That is shocking to me that so many people will go through this. With this statistic in mind, it’s even more important to me to keep my own family safe and protected.
Follow these simple tips from the AAD (American Academy of Dermatology) for applying sunscreen:
- choose a sunscreen that is 30 SPF or higher (above 50 SPF is not beneficial)
- must be water resistant
- look for broad spectrum coverage (protection from UVA and UVB rays)
- apply generously BEFORE going outdoors as it takes approx. 15 minutes for the skin to absorb
- apply to all exposed skin areas including ears, neck, face and tops of feet
- reapply at least every two hours and after extreme sweating or swimming
Towels + Beach Chairs
Bring two towels per person, leaving one in the car to change smaller kids and line your seats to prevent dampness. Typically I forgo beach chairs and just opt to sit on a towel since I know I’ll be in and out of the water with the kids. Save beach chairs for older family members and those with bad backs.
Even though we pack coolers, sometimes we decide to grab hot dogs or ice cream from the carts/concession stand. Your local beach may even require cash parking.
Along with the extra towel to leave in the car, we bring a change of clothes for the kids. Stash wet bathing suits in a wet/dry bag which easily folds up small in your beach bag.
Beach Tote Odds + Ends
- baby powder (great for removing sand from skin!)
- aloe or DIY coconut oil + lavender to relieve sunburns
That’s it! We keep our beach packing list super small which keeps things less hectic and more fun for all! Are you an over-packer or minimalist? I’d love to know some of your beach must-haves for the kids!