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Summertime is for going to the beach. At least it is in our household!

Whether you are an avid beach goer like us, or just getting your feet wet for a family vacation, I am positive this list of beach essentials will not only improve your experience but get you doing more than laying in the sun.

In this post, we will talk what to pack for the beach. Everything you need from the right cooler, the best tunes machine, and some fun toys in between!

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10 Beach Essentials for a Perfect Family Beach Trip


1) The perfect beach tent

I am going to go straight into the most important item you will bring to the beach, and that’s your sun protective tent. There isn’t a worse way to ruin a perfectly good beach vacation than a horrific sunburn.

 Related: Best home remedies for sunburns

We NEVER go to the beach without cover. But who wants to drag some heavy tent all the way across the hot sand to make a claim on your piece of paradise?

That’s why you need the Neso tent. This thing is so light, but provides ultimate protection from the intense sun.

The Neso tent literally packs down so small, you can throw it in your beach bag. The company has two sizes of this tent available and we have taken it to the beach on the windiest of days and it never blew away!

Related: Best baby beach tents for the littlest members of the family

2) A portable speaker with a long lasting battery

I don’t know about you but music is always a part of our beach days. I love feeling the warmth on my skin, the breeze in my hair, and daydreaming while we listen to Jack Johnson.

Sometimes I forget to charge my portable speaker ahead of time, but this speaker will last an entire day on the beach. Not only that but the sound doesn’t get muffled by the wind.

If I was ever to recommend a portable speaker for the beach, it would be this Bose speaker. Plus it is just so cute!

3) Coral reef safe sunscreen

Yes we brought our awesome beach tent! But we aren’t going to spend the entire day under it. Nuh uh, we are getting in the water!

When you are out there in the sun, you want to make sure the sunscreen you are wearing is safe for the marine life. Some states (like Hawaii) even mandate this.

Either way, be a nice person and protect our oceans so our grandchildren can enjoy them too. Get this sunscreen before you hit the sand!

 4) Training Kite

Have you ever been at the beach and seen those big kites out in the water with little strings that seem to be pulling a small human? Those kiteboarders look like they are having so much fun using the power of the wind to propel so eloquently through the waves. (This is actually how I met my husband!)

But those of us who aren’t so cool to know how to kiteboard can still enjoy flying a kite with our feet still safely on the sand.

You can get a trainer kite and practice manipulating it in the air. On a really windy day it will even pull you forward a bit which is such a fun feeling.

5) Cooler backpack

I always love watching those super dads farmer’s carry a gigantic cooler in one hand, 4 beach chairs in the other, and somehow still manages to pick up their kid when the sand is too hot for their little feetsies.

By the time he gets to his chosen beach area he is panting and definitely looking a bit pale.

Icemule has done a great job designing a cooler backpack that is durable, well-insulated, and perfect for the hands-free carrying of beach snacks/drinks.

What I love about this product is it’s so much cheaper than other brands but still high quality.

6) Portable Cornhole

An obvious fan-favorite, and for good reason. What is better than a cold bubbly drink and mindlessly throwing sacs back and forth on a gorgeous beach day?

I honestly can’t think of a better beach essential than a lightweight portable cornhole board!

This baby literally weighs one pound, so it won’t be a thang to throw in the beach bag for some extra family entertainment.


7) Inflatable Stand-up Paddleboard

We have lived by the beach for the past decade and I can say without a shadow of a doubt, the most exhilarating thing to do at the beach is to ride a stand-up paddleboard on a calm day.

There has been many mornings that I woke up with the sun and was able to paddle next to dolphins, sea lions, and yes, even sharks! I did this without paying for an expensive boat or tour.

All you need is an inflatable stand-up paddleboard to have some of the best memories ever at the beach. The cool part is these can be deflated, making them easy to pack in your car for your beach trip.

8) Eagle Nest Outfitters Hammock

It wouldn’t be a complete vacation without a hammock. Can I get an Amen?

We love the ENO hammock because it packs down to almost nothing and they come in so many gorgeous colors.

These hammocks are STRONG, and they can be set up in trees that are close together or far apart because you can adjust the straps.

9) Sand-free Beach Blanket

If you have ever been to the beach with kids you know it’s near impossible to keep sand of your beach blanket.

Well now you won’t have that problem with this sand free beach blanket. 🤯

Related: We spent a week in the Bahamas for only $600! Here’s how…

My goal as usual is to have as many beach essentials as possible fit in one bag so this beach blanket is also very collapsible.

10) Insulated cup

If you are on one of those beaches that decided people shouldn’t be allowed to drink adult beverages, this is the time to ditch the oh-so-obvious red solo cup and break out the fancy insulated cup.

I remember when we moved to San Diego and I learned that you weren’t allowed to bring alcohol on the beach.

The only way around this was to drink “selzer water” in my fancy new cup. To be stealth but practical, grab this fun insulated cup before your beach vacation!

Other things to pack for the beach

If you are going to the beach with the family, make sure you bring extra food and snacks.

I can’t tell you how many times I packed everyone a sandwhich and piece of fruit for lunch and it was gone within the first hour.

It is also helpful to pack long-sleeve SPF shirts for kids. You can apply and reapply sunscreen all day, but if your skin is seeing sunshine for the first time all winter, you are going to burn! If you can find one with a hood it’s even better!

We actually got a full body SPF bathing suit for our son so we could minimize his exposure.

We also love to bring volleyballs, beach chairs, a change of clothes for the kids, towels, and sand toys!

I hope this list of beach essentials helps you pack for the perfect beach day! Let me know how it went in the comments.