Summer is here! And after what has seemed like an eternal winter, we’re sure you’re ready to get out and enjoy a fresh whiff of ocean air. But if you’re a new parent, you might be wondering how to navigate a beach day with a baby in tow. How much and what do you pack? What baby beach gear do you actually need and what is just nice to have?
Not to mention that a lot of what we might think to take to the beach — ahem disposable water bottles, plastic umbrellas, even sand-soaked towels — could end up being unintentionally left behind. It’s really more common than you might think. When going anywhere with a new baby, it’s easy to forget and/or drop things here and there. Our beautiful beaches are definitely places we want to protect as much as possible, so when drawing up a beach gear list, it can help to opt for eco-friendly or sustainable options where you can. After all, every little bit can help lighten your environmental load.
But don’t worry, if this is your first summer beaching with baby, we’ve got you covered. Check out our baby beach gear that can set you and your little one up for some fun in the sun. Or perhaps shade is a better word in this case, which brings us to our first set of products:
BABY SWIMWEAR + SUNSCREEN
The first necessities of baby beach gear are unsurprisingly tied to sun protection. Not only will you want to apply a natural sunscreen for babies who are six months and older, but you will also want to ensure their delicate skin is protected with the right swimwear. Look for a swim suit that can block UV rays and a wide brimmed sun hat that can protect their perfect little scalp and face.
Classically cute, this summer baby hat is ethically made in Certified Fair Trade facilities. It features 100% organic Egyptian cotton that is certified by GOTS Global Organic Textile Standard.
This baby swimsuit is not only giving off all of the right summer beach vibes, it is also tested for harmful substances.
This adorable rash guard features a zip design for easy changes, blocks 97% of harmful UVA/UVB rays and drys quickly, so you can feel good knowing your baby is protected. Plus it comes in 11 fun prints and colors.
Delicate skin-friendly ingredients that are safe enough for baby make up this safe sunscreen formula. With organic shea butter and organic calendula, it contains both organic red raspberry seed oil (which has the highest naturally occurring SPF value in the plant world) and organic pomegranate seed oil for a cruelty-free boost in UV protection.
Earth Mama products are safe for those with sensitive skin. The active ingredient is non-nano Zinc Oxide. It’s also reef-safe, cruelty-free, and comes in a variety of options for baby (stick or cream), kids, uber sensitive, and more.
If your baby is less than six months old, the visual and auditory stimulation of a new place will most likely be fun enough. But if your little one is six months + or can sit up, grip and move around a bit on their own, you’ll want to pack some beach toys.
A young baby may not be able to shovel sand into a pail, but they can watch you do so. You could also fill the bucket with sea water and let them splash and experience the change in temperature. Any beach toys you purchase throughout these baby days will definitely come in handy next summer when your child becomes a busy bee toddler.
This beach play set is fun for your little one and helps keep plastics out of the landfill.
It includes a bucket, shovel, rake and sand mold that are all made from curbside collected milk containers and contain no phthalates or BPA.
Great for at home or beach play, this set includes four different shapes of molds made of sustainable rubber tree wood and painted with water-based dyes and organic color pigment.
Made from BPA-free PVC and compliant with EN71-8 the European standard for activity toys, this kiddie pool can make for a great baby space at the beach. Set it under an umbrella and fill it with just enough water to keep baby cool and entertained.
This is another great beach toy that’s useful at home and can grow with your baby for the next few summers to come.
*Always supervise your baby when playing near water or with any toys.
When packing for a beach day with baby, you’ll want to ensure your baby beach gear list includes a cooler so that you’ll both stay hydrated and nourished. The sun can take a toll on anyone’s body, so be sure to pack enough water and snacks. If you are nursing, keep a reusable water bottle handy and pack a nursing cover like the Dallas Nursing Cover if you want a lightweight layer for privacy.
This stylish eco-friendly cooler holds 3.68 gallons or twelve drinks. The premium beach umbrella canvas is treated with water, mold and UV coatings and an eco-friendly, stunning printed linings and stylish leather handles to help extend its looks and function for years to come.
Made from 100% biodegradable materials in the USA, Igloo’s new RECOOL cooler was created to provide an alternative to environmentally harmful foam coolers. It has a 16 quart capacity, features cup holders, and an easy-grab handle built into the lid.
The YETI family of insulated drink holders will keep your drinks cold thanks to their stainless steel construction, double-wall vacuum insulation, and No Sweat™ Design. Plus they’re dishwasher safe
BEACH BLANKETS + TOWELS
Of course, an old quilt from the linen closet is both a sustainable and viable option for a beach blanket.
But if you’re looking for something new, sand resistant towels and blankets can make for a great choice when beaching with baby. There’s really no way to exit a beach sans sand, but these options can help get you a few steps closer:
Made with sustainable fabric, this sand resistant towel measures 72″ by 72″, so that baby can have plenty of space to crawl around. It dries quick and folds up to be quite compact and light to carry. And 10% of profits go toward marine conservation.
This sand resistant towel is made from 100% recycled materials and comes in a variety of fun and stylish prints. It boasts a drying time that is three times faster than a standard cotton towel and includes a handy pouch and hook for hanging to dry.
It comes in two sizes, Extra Large which measures 78″ x 35″ and Large at 63″ x 35″.
This beach blanket is made from bamboo to be highly absorbent, very breathable, and ultra-soft. It features weighted corners to hold it down, comes in a variety of prints and is sand-resistant, water-resistant, and heat-resistant.
There’s also a secret zipper pocket for storing valuable items and it packs up into a drawstring backpack in less than 10 seconds for easy transport. Dimensions are 7 x 7.
BABY BEACH GEAR BASE CAMP
When you were hitting the beach solo, a towel and a good book may have been all of the supplies you needed. Well, you’re going to need a few more baby beach gear items now. You’ll want to create a shaded space that you can keep cool. You’ll also want to block the wind and blowing sand with a titled umbrella or play pen designed for on-the-go use.
Now a beach chair isn’t a necessity for everyone, but if you like beach chairs, be sure the one you bring is lightweight and compact. You’ll be bringing more than you are used to when going to the beach with baby, so it’s best to go as streamlined as possible.
The Natural Instinct Beach Chair fits the bill, plus it sits low so if baby is crawling around you can easily reach them.
These play yards include a super useful UV shade cover and feature patented “pop-up and release” technology, so they are simple to set up and pack up. It is one of the lightest and strongest portable pens in the world and is SGS & ASTM safety certified and non-toxic.
It comes in this size as well as the pop and go mini.
We’ll admit this is a bit of a splurge item, but if you’re willing to invest in a posh piece of beach gear, this umbrella should be it. Made from 50 recycled plastic bottles, its lightweight design features an easy three-way tilt, large canopy, promises to be simple to secure, and comes with a carry bag.
BABY BEACH TRANSPORT
If you’re now thinking to yourself, “Well great, how am I supposed to carry all of this stuff and my baby?!” These last few items can help get the above baby beach gear and your little one to the actual sand.
If you already have a baby carrier or sling you love, you’ll definitely want to bring that along. In the market? Check out some of our favorite eco-friendly baby carriers.
Recycled from single use plastic bottles, JuJuBe’s eco-friendly bags turn “waste into want.” This bag is the newest addition to their Eco Collection, and it meets the same standards as their other highly useful and extremely durable bags.
The eco tote will last a long time… and bonus – a portion of the proceeds from each Eco style is donated directly to 5 Gyres.
A wagon with beach-ready wheels can help tote all of the baby beach gear you want or need. Some could even double as a splash pool themselves once parked and emptied. This collapsible utility wagon has a large capacity and heavy-duty frame to allow loads up to 225 pounds.
This wagon will last through years of beach trips, soccer tournaments, and plenty of family fun activities.
As any beach-going parent knows, you just have to love a double duty item like this beach cart and chair combo. It features all terrain wheels, a mesh basket for carrying all of your beach gear and has four adjustable seat positions and head pillow once converted into a chair.
DO I REALLY NEED ALL OF THIS BEACH STUFF?
Sometimes it can be hard to commit to buying so much baby stuff, especially knowing they grow and change so fast. It’s true that your baby will outgrow some baby beach gear, like that cute sun hat and swim suit, but many items on this list can be used summer after summer. That being said, when looking to equip yourself and baby for the beach, consider how often you will go before buying up every item.
It can also be a good idea to do a short trip the first time you go with baby and just bring essentials and then decide what you really want or need to add.
It’s also always a good idea to check local social media groups of parents who may have some insider info. For example, there might be a certain local beach that offers chairs and tents to rent for an affordable price. You can also find some items for free in parent or neighborhood groups. So, see what you can reuse or repurpose before committing to all new items.
When going anywhere with a new baby, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Be sure that no matter how much you bring — or how long you last — you remember to enjoy the moment and soak up every bit of your baby at this stage. Next summer will be here before you know it and you’ll likely be chasing your toddler while they chase sea gulls across hot sand and sharp shells!