Beach Hacks with Babies

Living in the beautiful sunshine state means getting to go to the beach almost whenever you want. However bring along your little ones and all their “accessories” can be a huge pain in the butt! We’re talking diapers, wipes, sunblock, snacks, towels, tents, sand toys (of course), water, and that doesn’t even include the stuff you want to bring for yourself.... tanning oil, more water, hats, more towels. Where does it end? And if you have a tiny little one who can’t walk yet... it’s overwhelming. But in the two short years my kiddo has been around I think I’ve mastered the beach haul without even needing one of those bulky wagons with the off-roading wheels. Don’t get me wrong, those wagons seem really helpful but they’re also really expensive and they look so heavy. All the things I bring to the beach are easily collapsable and fit in my tiny trunk so well. 

For our stuff
I usually carry one big tote filled with a couple diapers and a pack of wipes. I can always run back to my car and get more diapers later but if I’m being realistic.... it’s a beach, lots of moms just take the diaper off and let that baby run wild and free! I’m not that mom, but if you are I say go for it. So I always have a diaper or two on me and leave more in the car. In my big tote I also carry snacks. I like to pack goldfish or crackers of some kind because they don’t need to stay cold. Cheerios in a little snack size bag works as well. I also store my sunscreen and tanning oil in my tote. (It’s a magical tote given to me for free by the tote gods at Victoria secret because they are always impressed by how much money I spend there).

For our bottoms
I don’t typically bring a bunch of towels to the beach because honestly they’re bulky and I would need so many for everyone. Even when we go in the water I usually dry off from the sun pretty quick. I might keep one or two in my car to sit on during the ride home. But for the most part it’s not really necessary. Instead I use a picnic blanket. It’s a multipurpose blanket that folds and zips into a really easy to carry bag. When it’s folded up it even has a little side pocket where I slide my flip flops in when I reach the sand. I carry it across my shoulder like a messenger bag and let it hang low on the back. I put this on me before I pick up my tote. When we get to our spot on the beach it’s so easy to unzip, unfold and sit all three of our bottoms on it. Sand doesn’t stick to it like it does towels and it’s machine washable. Even my dogs like to lay on it, although I yell at them to get off because they only get on it after I wash it and I’m trying to fold it up. Silly pups! 
My Little Man sitting on our beach blanket

For the sun
Keeping a baby out in the hot sun all day is usually not recommended so I usually bring an easily totable (see what I did, referring to my tote again?) small pop up tent. I found this tent on Amazon and bought it for my little one’s very first beach trip. Ever since then it’s been wonderful. We even set it up in the yard sometimes. It’s super easy to unfold and it pops right up. It comes with the steaks and they usually hold in the sand rather well. As long as the little ones aren’t playing really rough in/on the tent then it should hold fine. The floor rolls out and it has a mesh side in the back to let the breeze come through. I like to keep our phones and our cooler inside here too, when possible, because it keeps it from getting too hot. My little one has even taken a nap in this tent! It’s not a huge tent but it’s enough to keep the kids cool. It folds up small enough that it’s also really easy to carry. I even let my son carry it (now that I don’t have to carry him too) It’s a lot less bulky than those umbrella tents.  

For our cold stuff
As I mentioned before we bring lots and lots of water. But lots of water gets really heavy. This is by far the heaviest thing I bring to the beach. I have an insulated cooler bag that holds more drinks than I can carry. More drinks than I can even drink in one beach trip! But I pack it up with what I think we’ll need, fill it with some ice and add any sandwiches or cold foods we are planning on eating. I don’t usually bring a lot of cold food. I find that we don’t get super hungry at the beach. We mostly just snack here and there. 

When my son was a year old it was a hassle trying to carry him and all of our beach stuff. I felt like I had to keep everything on me at all times, like tons of diapers and a few outfits. I wanted to always be prepared. But nobody needs that many outfits at the beach. Now, I know that as he gets older he needs less stuff but really, I’ve just learned to carry only the essentials. When it comes to walking from a parking lot down to a beach (and don’t forget how far you have to walk to find a good spot with some space) the last thing you want to do is haul all your stuff in the hot sun. It will tire you out before you even get to sit down. Now that my son is older he walks on his own and keeps up the pace pretty well. We even let him carry his beach toys. I’ve tried the wagon to haul it all but honestly it’s so difficult to pull a super heavy wagon through that soft fluffy sand. I’ve tried splitting it in to smaller loads and making multiple trips but again that walk is hot and tiring. I only want to do it once. I feel that now we are at a good place with carrying compact, easily totable items. It really makes our beach day more enjoyable. 

Got any good beach hacks? Share them in the comments below!! 

Danielle Crawley is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to


  1. This was such a helpful read! We're getting ready to go to the beach this month and kinda clueless. Love the tip about a beach blanket vs towels!

  2. Thanks! I'm so glad it could help!! Have a great time at the beach!!


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