The Essential Family Beach Bag Checklist

The Essential Family Beach Bag Checklist - The California Beach Co.

Summer’s not over yet!

There’s still plenty of time left to catch some fun in the sun, but you can’t go without the essentials, and we are here to help you.

For the most relaxing beach day, you’ll need a little more than water, sunscreen and snacks. You’ll need a way to keep the kids safely occupied and engaged, that is where The California Beach Co. Checklist comes in.

toddlers playing on beach

The Big-Ticket Beach Essentials

Let’s start with the “big” stuff…

  • Backpacks for easy, portable storage
  • Coolers to hold your snacks, water and juice boxes
  • At least two large waterproof bags, and keep one empty to store sandy toys and clothes
  • Of course, you can tweak this list as needed. Smaller families may only need one bag, while larger groups should have multiple!

    The Little Things

    All the little things can make a world of difference for a full day at the beach. Here is our suggested list of additional items to pack for a day at the beach:

    • Beach cover-ups
    • Beach hats
    • Beach-ready shoes (also includes water shoes)
    • Beach toys (can’t forget that bucket and shovel!)
    • Blankets (like the plush California Voyager)
    • Bug spray
    • Dry clothes
    • First aid kit
    • Juice Boxes
    • Snacks
    • Sunscreen (SPF 50+)
    • Swimsuits
    • Towels (we recommend the Wise Owl Outfitters yoga towel)
    • Water (and lots of it!)

    But what if you have a little, little one with you?

    What to Bring to the Beach With a Baby

    If you’re hosting a beach-touring tot, you’ll need even more supplies. Again, you may want to bring an extra bag to store used items.

    • Baby carriers
    • Extra diapers 
    • At least 1 change of clothing (if not a few more to spare!)
    • Swim diapers
    • Wipes

    Don’t forget to bring a trash bag or two (or a few grocery store bags) to use for dirty diapers, used wipes, and other trash items until you can find time to get to a trash can.

    A Beach-Ready Playpen

    dad setting up California Beach pop 'n go while family is playing

    You can’t watch your little ones every second of the day; at the bare minimum, you’ll have to blink! And you’d need superhuman senses to snag the right snack from that stuffed cooler without looking.

    Fortunately, a sturdy beach playpen — like the Pop 'N Go outdoor baby playpen — keeps your kids entertained, safe, and out of trouble.

    While we can’t speak for every playpen, the Pop 'N Go is built to last. Its mesh construction prevents overheating without exposing your little ones to excessive sunlight. Pop ‘N Go playpens also feature a locking entry, so these portable play spaces can easily double as a spacious carry bag!

    It’s not just about convenience, either. A well-built beach tent or playpen is a must for safe and healthy family beach vacations!

    The self-contained play area covers the ground, creating a reliable barrier between your little ones and the chemicals, dirt, and debris they may stumble upon as they play.

    The Extras


    We have our basic beach vacation packing list, but it’s not the best collection of goodies.

    Families looking for a truly spectacular beach trip will need more than just the bare necessities, so keep reading to learn about the modern luxuries that will make your next sunny getaway a spectacular hit!

    The Classic Beach Umbrella

    Finally, you’ll need a beach umbrella.

    EEZ-Y blue outdoor beach umbrella

    Much like sporting goods, beach umbrellas are much cheaper to own than to rent. Having your own also gives you more planning freedom; you won’t have to rush out to the beach at daybreak to claim your own!

    Think of them as part of your comfort-oriented beach back essentials. Beach umbrellas, towels (or yoga mats), and sun hats all improve your vacation with their much-needed protection. They keep the hot summer sun at bay, prevent you from overheating, and reduce the amount of sand you’ll be toting back to your room.

    The best beach umbrellas are large, durable, and sturdy. You don’t want a tiny, flimsy umbrella; it won’t give you enough shade and is likely to break before the end of your trip! Instead, look for something like the EEZ-Y 7-foot Pantone blue umbrella.

    Remember, however, that even the nicest beach umbrellas aren’t enough protection for a full day of beachgoing fun! You’ll still need to use sunscreen, so seek out an option with an SPF of 50 or more.

    Sports Equipment

    Looking for more than just lounging around in the warm summer sun?

    glow city tether ball

    More active families should always bring sporting goods with them. Some places rent out these items, but it’s much cheaper to bring your own. As you’re thinking about what to bring to the beach, consider some of these ideas:

    There are many other options to choose from, too. Who knows? That Giggle ‘N Go Polish horseshoe game might bring other families to your hangout, and what’s cooler than making new friends at your family beach vacation?

    Now, families with less active inclinations don’t have to think about these things. It’s perfectly fine to want a chilled-out beach day. Plenty of people do it!

    However, you’ll want to think about the kids! Little ones with less athletic aspirations will love hands-on activities, like old-fashioned sandcastle building and shell hunting. Alternatively, a set of sturdy, kid-proof Thinkpeak binoculars could be the gateway to a lifelong love for birdwatching.

    (As a little tip: You may want to bring or buy some big, pretty shells. Keep a few in your pocket and drop them in the sand if the kids are having trouble finding their own.)

    Get Ready for the Best Vacation Ever!

    family laying on California Beach Co. blanket

    Hopefully, all of that helped you make the most comprehensive beach checklist for your family’s adventure!

    If you’re still looking for more exciting tips to fill your little ones’ lives with fun, check out the rest of our blog. We’ve got ideas for everything — from family workouts to baby toys! You can also find many of your must-haves for your family beach getaway in our store.