Top 10 Beach Bag Essentials

Summer has officially arrived, and it's time to head to your nearest beach, lake, playground, or park. Mighty Mommy has the 10 essentials you'll need for your beach bag to enjoy the great outdoors.

Cheryl Butler
3-minute read

Whether you live near a beach or lake, or love to head to the playground or park, having a well-stocked beach bag on hand can add to your family’s enjoyment of the great outdoors.

Here are Mighty Mommy’s top 10 beach bag essentials.

#1: Sunscreen and Lip Balm

These should be in your beach bag no matter what!  Stock up early in the season so you will never be without. And don’t forget lip balm - most people remember to cover themselves with sunscreen, but forget their lips. Lips can also get chapped and dried out by the sun. Pack some Chapstick or lip balm to ensure that your whole face is protected.

See also: 10 Sun Safety Tips for Families


#2: Hats and Sunglasses

Protective gear is also a summer bag essential. Our eyes need protection, so let your kids pick out fun sunglasses that they’ll feel cool wearing. Keep an extra pair tucked in your beach bag in case yours should get misplaced when you’re having fun in the sun. Don’t underestimate the protection of a hat during the summer months, either. Scalps can easily get burned, so stow away some caps and bonnets when you’re packing.

#3: First Aid Kit

In case of scrapes, bumps, headaches or other minor mishaps, keep a first aid kit handy.  Make sure your kit includes antibiotic ointment, Band-Aids, gauze, ibuprofen and a pair of tweezers in case someone steps on something sharp in the sand.

#4: Snacks and Drinks

These are a must for families. Kids get thirsty when they’re frolicking, so have non-perishable emergency snacks like granola bars on hand. Bring drinks like water bottles and juice boxes, too, even though they might not be chilled.

#5: Waterproof Plastic Bin

Have a tupperware container available to store phones, iPods, money, or other valuable electronics before an accidental bucket of water should happen to splash on your beach or picnic blanket.

#6: Books and Puzzles

These are always great to have tucked away for those moments that your child actually admits “I’m bored” while sitting poolside. When s/he needs a break from the sun, you’ll have a favorite book or a word search ready and waiting.

See Also: Tips to Encourage Reading With Your Child


#7: Diaper Wipes

These are a parent’s best friend for unsticking little fingers laden with PB&J, or for removing extra sunscreen that's too close to your child’s mouth or eyes.  They’re also cool and refreshing when your cherubs are overheating in the sun.

#8: Waterproof Bags or Ziplocs

Plastic bags are perfect for keeping wet bathing suits away from dry towels.  They’re also great for collecting amazing seashells and other collectibles your kids will be sure to find during family walks along the seashore or on nature trails in the park.

#9: Emergency Cash

I never leave home without emergency money. You can tuck it away in the waterproof plastic bin, hidden in a small bag or envelope, so it’s there in case of an unexpected situation.

#10: Your Sense of Humor

Although most of us long for the lazy days of summer that we get to spend with our families, let’s face it—there are plenty of times when the combination of being overtired and overheated make us cranky and irritable. Sometimes, even a picturesque beach won’t make everyone happy. 

See also: 6 Ways to Savor Summer With Your Family


On days that you’d much rather stick your head in your well-stocked beach bag rather than pull something useful out of it, don’t forget to laugh.  The time you get to spend with your kids during the summer truly is short-lived, so look for as many reasons to smile and enjoy your family this summer as possible.  And when others see you having such a good time, they’re going to want to know what secret ingredient you’re hiding in your beach bag this year!

Bonus Tip:  Once you’ve completed a fun day in the sun, repack your beach bag that evening and have it ready to go. That way, if you have a last-minute change in plans or an impromptu trip to the beach or pool, you’ll be one step ahead!

Do you have an item you never leave behind whe heading to the beach? Tell us in the comments or on Facebook!

Family on beach image courtesy of Shutterstock.

All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own mental health provider. Please consult a licensed mental health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Cheryl Butler Project Parenthood

Cheryl L. Butler was the host of the Mighty Mommy podcast for nine years from 2012 to 2021. She is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. You can reach her by email.