Tips for Taking Your Toddler To The Beach

Friday, May 13, 2022

We just got back from our summer beach trip to Newport Beach, California. Last year we stayed in Dana Point, which was also an amazing trip but so much further to get to the sand. I'll go through why it was better to stay closer to the beach and what we packed to make life easier.

I mentioned last year we stayed in Dana Point, which we loved the area, but we had to drive to the beach every day. The one thing I really loved was the Baby Beach. 


Tip #1 - Put On Sunscreen First

It was easier for us to put the sunscreen on before we went outside, knowing she'd be too excited to stop once we hit the sand. Another tip is to buy a makeup brush to apply face sunscreen, we didn't do this but it might've worked better than the stick.

Remember to put the swim diaper on RIGHT before you leave, since it doesn't hold pee. This worked for us since we were steps from the beach, but when we had to drive we wouldn't put the swim diaper on until we got there. Otherwise you'll have a puddle in the car seat when you arrive. 

Disposable Swim Diapers - this brand worked best for us. There's also reusable options if that works better for your lifestyle. For us the disposable is great since it was always full of sand. 

Babyganics Sunscreen - I love that this brand is clean! We used the SPF 50 to rub on her body and we also used their Face Stick (note, this is a little difficult to put on but it works). Another awesome clean brand is ThinkBaby Sunscreen if your store has it in stock!

Sun Bum Lip Balm - we forgot this the first day and quickly ran out to buy some! I haven't found any brand specific for baby lip balm, but this is another good clean brand. 

Tip # 2 - Long-sleeve Sun Protection Swimsuit or Rash Guard

To keep your baby protected from the sun, make sure to bring a sun protection swimsuit. I found a few cute options at Old Navy, Target and Cotton On Kids. If you're putting a cute bikini on your babe, then grab a rash guard to throw on top! I've also listed some coverup options which was nice to protect from the chilly wind. 

Cat & Jack Pink Ruffle Rashguard

Carter's Blue Gingham One Piece Swimsuit - perfect for July 4th!

Old Navy Long-Sleeve Rainbow Stripe Swimsuit

Old Navy Hooded Coverup

Old Navy Bucket Hat

Cotton On Long-Sleeve Floral Swimsuit

Tip # 3 - Beach Toys & A Shower Curtain

You heard that right - bring a shower curtain liner! This was probably our best hack. Last year Merloe couldn't walk, but this year she was running into the ocean (which can be quite scary for a first time mom!) But get this, as soon as we (my husband) dug a hole, placed the shower curtain on top and then filled it with water - she didn't want to get out! It became her own mini baby beach. She had water, sand and plenty of toys that kept her busy. 

Shower Curtain Liner - only $3!

Beach Toys - we bought our set from Costco but Merloe loved the water tower, floating boats, shovel and bucket the most! The bucket was perfect for collecting seashells in the morning. 

Pink Beach Toys - cute all pink option!

Tip # 4 - Water & Snacks

Make sure to bring plenty of snacks or pack a lunch if you're going to be out for a while. We used her Bentgo lunchbox and brought water in her insulated water bottle to keep it cool.

Tip # 5 - Beach Chair & Umbrella 

We brought Merloe's white beach chair from our house, which was a bit of a pain since it doesn't fold up easily but she still loved using it. She even used it at the beach house. The week we spent at the beach wasn't too hot, honestly it was more on the chilly side so we didn't need much shade but we did bring an umbrella. Last year we brought the California Beach Co. Tent and it was perfect for a crawling baby, but now I think Merloe is too active to be stuck in a tent so we didn't use it.

Toddler Beach Chair

Collapsible Toddler Beach Chair  - comes with a tray to serve food or snacks, too!

California Beach Co. Tent  - this pop n go play tent is easy to pack and quickly pops up! Again this works great for smaller babies, offers them a safe space to play or nap and even comes with a shade cover. In my opinion you don't need the playpen mattress, but up to you! We put down a beach towel and it worked well.


Hopefully this helps you plan for your next beach trip with your toddler. Overall, remember to have patience! Going to the beach with a toddler is not easy (or relaxing), just prepare and bring what's needed to have the best experience. We also rented a beach wagon, it didn't work that well in the sand but was still helpful carrying our stuff. You'll create many lasting memories and don't forget to take a family photo of everyone together! 

What other tips or questions do you have? Did I miss your must have beach item?

Let me know in the comments!

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