Summer Beach Survival Kit for Families

Summer is upon us and if you’re in the UK, the kids have just broken up from school or about to. BattleKid finishes at the end of July but we’ve already started doing one of our favourite summertime activities after school and at the weekend: a family trip to the beach. We generally pack up one of our Cabin Zero Bags and head directly from school or early on a Saturday morning. Our bag always contains a basic kit and, in this post, I’m going to share with you our summer beach survival kit for families with everything you need for an awesome visit to the beach with kids.

Summer Beach Survival Kit for Families - A Checklist with everything you need for the beach

Summer Beach Survival Kit for Families

1 Beach Towels

Let’s face it, no trip to the beach can be done without some beach towels. Whether they are for lying on to read a book, or for drying off after a dip in the sea, you’re going to need a few beach towels with you. And these days you can get them pretty cheap. They start from around £6 in the likes of Primark (that’s Penneys for my Irish readers), and you can even pick them up while on holiday if you don’t want to lose valuable packing space by bring them with you on holiday. We always bring at least 2 and also a poncho towel for BattleKid so we can wrap him up as soon as he comes out of the sea. That said, our summer beach survival kit now contains a Tesalate sand-free beach towel, which I reviewed on the blog.

2 Hats

If you are planning a visit to the beach with kids, then you will need sun hats for them, as well as for yourself. BattleDad always brings a cap and I have a sun hat (which needs replacing soon) but most importantly, we never go to the beach without a hat for BattleKid. It’s needed to protect him from the sun. When he was younger I loved the Legionnaire-type hats which covered his neck as well, but they are not something I’ve come across in the shops in Portugal. If anyone knows any good international seller of them, please let me know so I can get him a few.

Summer Beach Survival Kit for Families - A Checklist with everything you need for the beach
Hats and sunglasses are a must for the beach

3 Sunglasses

With the sun, comes harsh light, so sunglasses must be at the ready. If your kids are anything like BattleKid, they’ll love wearing them, if only to feel more grown up. Just make sure that the glasses you buy your kids have a CE mark on them and if possible, a rating of 3 or 4 for their UV protection. In my last job we tested sunglasses for their UV protection and you wouldn’t believe the amount of children’s glasses we tested with little or no UV protection. Their eyes are just as important as their skin when it comes to protection from the sun.

4 Sun Cream in a Solar Buddies Applicator

If there is one thing you MUST have in your kit, it is a good sunscreen for both you and your children. We use two different ones in our family. BattleKid has factor 50 paediatric sun creams as he is allergic to many of the general children’s sun creams available on the market. Us adults, meanwhile, start with factor 30 at the beginning of the summer and end with a 15, or 6 in BattleDad’s case. Protecting both your children’s skin and your own is vitally important, and you should always ensure your sunscreen has both UVB and UVA protection. Make sure to apply it 20 minutes before you hit the beach, and reapply at regular intervals, especially after paddling or swimming in the sea.

5 Drinks Bottles and Water

Keeping hydrated in the sun is important to help combat dehydration and sun stroke. We bring a large 2L bottle of water and BattleKid’s drinks bottle with us and top him up regularly. Also, make sure your children are drinking plenty of fluids while at the beach. Each time they come back to you, make sure they take a drink. We make a game out of it by making BattleKid drink to the count of 5 before he can run off to play again.

6 Snacks

Drinks and snacks go hand-in-hand when it comes to kids and visiting the beach with children is no exception to this rule. If we know we’re going to be there during and after lunch, we pack a picnic including sandwiches, some fruit and crisps. Fruit pouches or frozen yogurt pouches are another great thing to pack into your bag. Biscuits, crackers and cereal bars also work well as snacks in your summer beach survival kit.

For a great list of toddler beach essentials, check out this awesome post from Baby Can Travel.

7 Buckets and Spades

Families all over the world know there is nothing more important when going to the beach with kids than a bucket and spade. I don’t know about your kids but BattleKid could spend hours digging sand, gathering water, kicking down his castles to rebuild them. Hours of entertainment from something as simple as a bucket and spade. He often ropes in Mum and Dad to help with the construction project. Buckets also make great shell collecting vessels, although BattleKid always makes a beeline for broken shells.

Summer Beach Survival Kit for Families - A Checklist with everything you need for the beach
Buckets and spades provide hours of beach fun

8 Wet Wipes

We never venture to the beach without some wet wipes in our Cabin Zero bag. Although they’re not 100% brilliant at removing sand, they do help with getting little hands ready for eating snacks. They also help clear eyes of sun cream when he insists on wiping his eyes right after we’ve reapplied his sunscreen. Anyone else’s children do that? So, wet wipes are a must for us. We also bring a small packet of tissues to bring to the toilets as they never have toilet paper in the public toilets at our local beach in Portugal.

9 Nappy Bags

For families with babies these are used for the purpose they’re intended for. For families like us past the nappy stage, they make great little rubbish bags. I hate visiting a beach only to see rubbish left behind by other families, so we use a nappy bag to collect all our rubbish to dispose of, either at the nearest bin or at home. It doesn’t take much to collect your rubbish and bring it off the beach with you. Nappy bags are also useful for storing wet swim shorts on the journey home.

10 Bikini, Swim Shorts and Costumes

A no-brainer but some sort of swimming costume or shorts are a must for any visit to the beach. We daren’t visit the beach without them as BattleKid will have a fit if we do. He’ll lose his shizz if he is told he can’t go into the water further than his ankles as we don’t have swim shorts with us. We tend to use a 2-piece suit for BattleKid these days. If his top gets very wet, we take it off as he starts to shiver. We also use ones that have some UV-protection properties, mainly from the likes of NEXT. It’s just an added bit of peace of mind when it comes to protecting his skin.

11 Flip Flops or Sandals

Well, you’re hardly going to wear boots to the beach, now are you? Not unless you’re my Dad. Flip flops and sandals are the easiest footwear we’ve found when it comes to visiting the beach with kids. They can be slipped off as soon as you hit sand and can be slipped back on if the sand gets too hot to walk on in bare feet.

Summer Beach Survival Kit for Families - A Checklist with everything you need for the beach
Mum’s beach must-haves: hairbands, sarong, hat and flip flops!

12 Camera

Going to the beach, particularly if it’s not a regular thing like it is for us, warrants you bringing your camera. Younger children might not remember that one time you went to the beach and found a huge shell with the sound of the waves in it. But if you bring your camera with you, you can document those precious family moments to look back on together in years to come. Even better if you have a waterproof camera so you can get closer to the kids at the water’s edge without worrying about splashes getting on your camera. We have a waterproof, underwater camera and regularly bring it with us.

13 A Change of Clothes for the Kids

Despite the fact BattleKid wears his shorts and t-shirt to the beach, we always bring a second change of clothes with us, you just never know when you’re going to need them. It’s also advisable, if you’re visiting a beach in the UK or Ireland, to bring a hoodie or cardigan with you to put on them once you’re finished. Kids can feel the cooler evening air faster than us, so popping one on them once they’re dried and dressed will ensure you minimise them getting a chill.

14 A Small First Aid Kit

Where kids are concerned there are always accidents waiting to happen. So popping a small first aid kit into your summer beach survival kit wouldn’t hurt. Make sure you’ve got things like plasters, disinfectant, antiseptic cream and antibacterial wipes and hand gel in it, so you can deal with cuts, scraps or stings as quickly as possible.

15 Talc/Baby Powder

Some of you may have heard of this trick before but, believe it or not, we only started using it after moving to Portugal last year and visits to the beach became a regular occurrence. Talc, or baby powder, is hands-down the best thing for removing sand from legs, arms and hands. Whether the sand is dry or wet, talc is brilliant for removing it AND drying the kids at the same time. It’s great for getting sand off feet before you pop your flip flops or sandals back on too. Just be careful which way the wind is blowing as you don’t want to smother your fellow beach-goers in a cloud of white dust.

Summer Beach Survival Kit for Families - A Checklist with everything you need for the beach

These are all the items we ensure are in our own family summer beach survival kit for enjoyable and smooth days at the beach. Admittedly there are times one or two things get missed during the packing process but nine times out of ten we have these things in our family beach bag. And for our family beach bag I use our red Cabin Zero bags as mentioned in the post. Not only are these awesome travel bags but they made brilliant beach rucksacks too! And the bright red colour means it’s easy to spot!

Summer Beach Survival Kit for Families - A Checklist with everything you need for the beach
Easy to spot red Cabin Zero bag

Is there anything I’ve missed off the list that you think should be included? Share them in the comments below for both me and my other readers.

Cath x

*If you sign up to my Newsletter below you’ll get this Family Summer Beach Survival Kit in a handy downloadable, printable checklist as a welcome gift.

Summer Beach Survival Kit for Families - A Checklist with everything you need for the beach

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33 thoughts on “Summer Beach Survival Kit for Families

  1. It must be lovely to be able to go to the beach so regularly! We love the beach and there are some great tips here, thanks! And yes, my two insist on rubbing sunscreen in their eyes too!

  2. I love the talc trick! I’ve never heard of that but will definitely be using it going forward. Love the idea of a child friendly sun cream applicator too hun.

    1. It was a total game changer for us. I think I heard about it through one of the Irish parent bloggers and was completely sceptical. Not anymore, it really does work!

  3. Great list! We have had a few beach days in this gorgeous weather and found that talc is great for removing sand!

  4. FAB advice! The change of clothes is essential isn’t it? There’s always one spills their ice cream, falls in the sea, ends up covered in wet sand….*sigh*

  5. All those things you mentioned sound like no brainers but the amount of times I’ve forgotten at least one of those items is ridiculous. You’d think after being a parent for 16 years you’d remember to make sure you’re organised but that’s not always the case. I like the idea of having a bag already packed in a cupboard that you just have to add snacks and water to and then you’re ready to go!
    Oh and thanks for the talc tip. We’re off to the seaside next weekend for a couple of days so I’ll be sure to add it to my bag

    1. Having a pre-packed bag sounds like a great idea! I use our Cabin Zero bag for travelling as well so I’d have to get another one or use a different bag. But that’s a great tip!

  6. Wow, it’s like you read my mind (I am sure a lot of minds). I have been looking for a good post about items to take when going to the beach so that I can make a checklist. Thanks for your amazing post xx

  7. What an amazing post! You’ve literally thought of everything! I don’t have kids but I do have nephews. I live by the beach so when they visit there are lots of things to remember! Thanks for sharing, I’ve subscribed to your blog, it’s awesome 🙂 xx

  8. We had a park and playground survival kit while we lived in Berlin. Now that we are back in Scotland within reach of the sea, I’ve been updating it for the beach too 🙂

  9. Flip flops and a camera are the 2 for me. The worst feeling is walking on a concrete path with sand in your shoe; gross.

  10. This is such a great list because I always end up forgetting something like the hats or an extra pair of clothes – so printing this list out so I am always beach ready

    Laura x

  11. Great list, I love those solar buddies, really want to get some after reading your review. I keep hearing about the talc thing so I think I’m definitely going to try it out next tine we go to the beach as sand is a bloody nightmare to get off!xx

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