Below I present what we were taking to the beach on our holidays last year for two adults and our two Boys, aged then 2 and 4. You can be sure that on our family beach bag essentials list you’ll find only essentials, basics, and no heavy, fancy, unnecessary gadgets because the packing is done by the active mom who is a minimalist for years.
List of active family beach bag essentials
Let’s start with what we take to create our space to sit, lay down or eat, protected from the sun.
1 | woolen blanket
We take the one we use normally at home on the couch
In my opinion, having multipurpose items is a perfect solution. Because if you use for example a normal blanket and a normal towel, when you go to the beach, you don’t need a basement full of staff for one season only.
2 | beach umbrella
I recommend you to look for a good beach umbrella which comes with an easy carry bag (like the one from the photo). The main function of it is creating shade. And when we’re talking about sun protection – if you’re buying a new umbrella, check its UPF protection level.
3 | beach windscreen
We had exactly this windscreen from the photo. It was available for free in the tiny houses one of which we’ve rented.
Such windscreen creates some shades, gives you sime privacy and… it’s good for hanging kids’ wet clothes to get dry.
4 | towel
You probably don’t need it if the water is too cold to play in it and you only soak your feet or legs in the sea. We were on the Baltic Sea coast in June, so… almost no bathing there.
And if you need towels – I envy you! – take just some of your normal bath towels. No need for beach towels. Again: the more multipurpose items, the less storage space needed at home, and the less hours spent caring of items you use only once a year.
We took a full set of beach/sandbox toys for our holidays. But then I thought that as a parent, I have enough tasks and I don’t want to collect so many little toys when we are coming back from the beach. So finally we were taking only four items with us and Boys never complained that they want more. The power of nature, the amounts of sand and water – it’s more interesting to play with than with little plastic shapes. What were we taking?
5 | two buckets and two showels
This is enough to dig, build and play with water for hours and days.
6 | caps with neck protection for Boys
Do I need to convince you that boys’ necks are extremely exposed to the sun? To avoid sun burns and pain, cover their necks. I love these caps with neck protection, and they remind me of people going though deserts. And they know for sure what’s important in the harsh sun.
7 | Dad’s cap and sunglasses
8 | Mom’s beach hat, sunglasses, and scarf for the arms
9 | raspberry seed oil
I’ve written an article about why and how I use raspberry seed oil as our sunscreen. Now it’s the third or fourth year when I use it for my and Boys’ skin. Read it here: Your simple and natural homemade sunscreen.
This year, thanks to a big change in my diet, my skin reacts better to the sun and I use the oil very rarely.
If you’re interested
10 | sweatshirts
Take some warmer clothes for everyone when you’re not sure if it won’t be windy or a bit cold when you’ll stay longer. I put sweatshirts on our Boys also when they want to sleep in the stroller or on the blanket. When you don’t move, you feel like it would be colder.
11 | additional shirts, panties, and pants for kids
In case they get wet. And they do!
12 | socks
for the Younger in case he’d sleep in the stroller.
Food & drink
13 | water
Consider a refillable bottle instead of buying lots of little plastic bottles. I fill our bottles with filtered tap water.
14 | snacks
We usually take some of these: sweet rolls, rice cakes, bananas, apples, dry smoked sausages.
If you’d like some new ideas for snacks and picnic food, check the Healthy Meal Planning Bundle, including more than 1000 recipes for different dietary needs.
Remember to avoid chocolate, icing and other additives that could make a dirty mess in your bag, on other things and your fingers.
15 | a trash bag
A reusable one to take food leftovers.
Having mesh cotton reusable bags is a good idea not only for less waste grocery shopping but also for packing snacks for trips and then for taking food leftover to a trash bin.
16 | kitchen cotton towels or paper towels
Simply to wipe hands or to put fruits in the towel instead of in the cotton bag
17 | mom’s bag
It includes woman bag essentials (phone, money, documents, tissues, keys) and our money and documents, and my Husband’s wallet (men, don’t do it!).
Our trick for multi-purpose family beach bag essentials
mom’s multi-purpose beach scarf
It can cover my arms to avoid too much sun and when she’s in the umbrella’s shade it can be used as a pillow or additional blanket.
This all is packed in a rucksack and bigger items (the windscreen, umbrella, blanket