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Planning a Trip to the Beach with Toddlers
July 5, 2018 11:01 am | by
Tips for taking toddlers on a beach vacation.

Summer travel season is upon us! In a few short months, my husband and I will be packing up our 3-year-old and 1-year-old to go to Florida. It’s our first real trip as a family of 4, and I am sooooo excited to be hitting the beach. I’ve already started mentally planning everything we need to make this a fun trip that has as little stress as possible. I’ve scoured the mom groups and blogs so you don’t have to. Here’s everything I plan on doing to have a successful trip to the beach!

  1. Sunscreen

    This is probably obvious, but I’d rather make sure to pack my sunscreen ahead of time than realize it’s missing when we arrive in Florida. My favorites for the family are Goddess Garden and Blue Lizard.

  2. Shade

    We grabbed a really awesome sun canopy at IKEA about a month ago. I can’t wait to set this bad boy up on the beach! Another great option is the Kidco Peapod. It provides a great place for 1-3 year olds to get some rest, and it blocks the sun and keeps bug away thanks to the mesh. I also bought what we lovingly refer to as “Baby Jail” aka a pop-n-play. We have been testing this out at the pool, and my little guy just loves it. I feel better knowing I have a secure place to set him down as I set up all the other beach stuff. It provides shade and keeps him where he needs to be. You have a lot of options for shade depending on your child’s age.Peapod - provides protection from sun and bugs

  3. Transportation

    Since we are hauling so much to the beach, I need a way to easily transport it. A lot of parents recommend a wagon. I chose to get a collapsible wagon to save room in the van on the drive down there. Many parents suggest getting a wagon designed for the beach with wider wheels that help glide through the sand. To be honest, I got a great deal on mine and it claims to work on “all terrain.” I’ll report back. The nice thing is that it has a little table and cup holders. The downside is that it does not have seatbelts, so we have to keep a pretty close eye on the baby.

  4. Baby Carrier

    I love my water ring sling! Since my baby is more mobile now, he doesn’t like to spend a great deal of time in it. Still, I definitely plan on taking it on vacation. I want him close to me in the ocean, and I know it will be okay getting wet and sandy.Beachfront Slings

  5. Toys

    My kids LOVE the sand! We are taking some sand toys to build castles, dig and just play.

  6. Sand removal

    I hear the baby powder does an amazing job of getting sand off feet. It’s worth a shot!

  7. Sleeping arrangements

    I’m actually a little bit dreading the sleep situation while traveling. We are renting a townhome and my parents are joining us. That means my kids are going to be sharing a room. We’ll try to get the baby to sleep in a pack-n-play, and honestly, envision the 3-year-old sleeping with me. I’m setting low expectations! We will for sure bring a white noise machine and a baby monitor.

  8. Safety

    The townhome we are staying in has 3 floors. I asked the owner if they have baby gates available, and luckily they do! It’s always good to plan ahead for these things. It’s not going to be as babyproofed as home, but thinking ahead helps.

  9. Swimwear

    We’ve got our swimsuits, swim diapers, hats and sandals ready to go! I want to find a cute hat for myself before we go. I better add that to the shopping list!

  10. Stay Hydrated

    We’re going to need to keep our water COLD while we’re out in the sun. We’ll definitely be taking our “good” water bottles. And for the car ride, we’re packing LOTS of snacks! The goal is to drive overnight while the kids are asleep, but we’ll see how it goes!Cheerios Be Snacky

  11. Sand-Free Zone

    Is your baby going to try to eat sand? Place a fitted sheet upside down. Set an item in each corner to secure the sheet. Now you’ve created a place for baby to place that is free from sand! Other people have suggested bringing an inflatable pool for little ones to splash around in.

  12. Be Cool

    If you’re planning your trip for the height of summer travel season, it’s going to be HOT. Keep an eye on your littles and look for signs of overheating. Make sure they have plenty of fluids and take frequent breaks in the AC. One way to help keep them cool is with a portable fan that runs on batteries. You can clip it on to a wagon, stroller or beach chair.
    portable fan

  13. Wet Bags



    Wet bags are one of my packing staples. They help separate clothing for each family member and they are great for toting dirty clothes. At the beach or pool, wet bags are amazing for keeping things dry (like dry clothes) or for storing wet swimsuits and towels. The Weekender is my essential pool bag! It holds everything for my family.


    All sizes of wet bags

Hopefully, you find some of these ideas helpful! Do you have any suggestions for making a trip to the beach with toddlers even more fun? Leave them in the comments!

Top tips for planning a trip to the beach with toddlers.

About the Author

Julia joined Cotton Babies in 2016 as Executive Assistant to Jenn Labit. She’s the proud mama to a toddler and a baby. She and her husband also have 2 dogs, a cat, a turtle and a pet fish. Julia is a diehard Cardinals fan who loves spending time with her family, shopping, crafting, and binge-watching “The Office.”


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