By TMoM Team Member Anna Keller

Spring is (nearly) here, y’all! I mean, it’s doing that typical March-in-North-Carolina thing. You know, where one day you feel certain we’re THERE and everything’s about to burst into bloom, and the next day you’ll pulling out a coat again. But still, it’s close no matter what. And with that warmer weather just on the horizon, you might be starting to plan a trip to the beach (perhaps for spring break, or maybe just a little weekend getaway).

If you’ll be traveling to the beach with kids, there are a few tips to keep in mind to ensure everyone has a good time – and has everything they need:

Beach Bag Essentials

First, start with a list a good week or so before your trip.

This gives you a chance to take inventory of things and make sure you’ve got what you need. Does your daughter need a new swimsuit because she’s outgrown hers from last summer? Do you need to stock up on sunscreen? What about snacks? (You KNOW beach snacks are a must.) If you start early, you won’t be rushing around the day before your beach trip.

Don’t forget the SPF.

This is perhaps the most important item in your beach bag, so don’t leave for the beach without it! (Personally, I love sunscreen sticks for easier application on my kids’ faces. We use lotion or mist on their bodies, but a stick is amazing for the face, the ears, etc.) Tip: Set a timer after you’ve applied sunscreen so you’ll be reminded when it’s time for more! It can be easy to let the time get away from you at the beach, and this helps to avoid sunburn. Our family loves Beautycounter’s sunscreen for kids and adults alike. It’s a safe mineral sunscreen option that works great, doesn’t leave a white cast, and is reef safe, too!

Include a few toys, but not too many.

I feel like this is true for anything when it comes to kids. Too many toys can result in overwhelm for a kiddo – they don’t quite know where to start. (We’ve started toy cycling in our playroom for this very reason.) Take the same approach with your beach bag, and include a few toys you know your child will enjoy, and leave it at that. (This also leaves space for their imagination to kick in and for them to get creative with things they find on the beach – a really good thing!) Here are some adorable sand toy options, and a game like this one could be tons of fun, too!

Grab a cooler

Hydration is SO important when everyone’s out in the sun all day, so make sure you have plenty of water available for the whole family. Our family’s go-to “sparkle water” (as my 4-year-old daughter calls it) is Spindrift. (Of course, you might want to include a few refreshing adult beverages, too! Last summer I discovered hard kombucha, and you’ll definitely find that in my beach cooler again this year…) You know that timer you set for sunscreen reapplication? Use it as a reminder for everyone to have water, too! (P.S. Don’t forget the snacks…)

Consider a portable speaker

After all, hanging out at the beach is even MORE fun with some great tunes to really set the mood. Here’s a great waterproof option!

Towels + a change of clothes for the kids can come in handy.

Towels are a given, but we’ve found that extra clothes can also be really helpful just in case you want to be able to go somewhere right after the beach, etc. Of course, you can use a coverup, too, but often for kids it’s easy to throw on a complete outfit and move on from there. It also means car seats and boosters don’t get damp!

Waterproof bags are also great to include

These can be used to house your phone while you’re at the beach, to throw damp suits into after the beach, etc. I’ve never regretted having waterproof bags on hand, either in my beach bag or in my car, during a beach outing.

What else do you add to your beach bag?