The best part about summer is packing your family into the car and heading to the beach (if you're lucky enough to live near water, that is!), but you'll definitely want to plan ahead for your day of fun in the sun. And you’ll definitely want to eek out as many beach days as you can as summer winds down. Check out 10 must-have items to bring with you for a day of shoreside chillaxing! 

10. A Carry-All Bag

Credit: Baggu

First on the list? A giant bag to put all your beach gear in. Make sure to find something that can easily be washed, with plenty of compartments for important things like keys and your cell phone. You can find good beach bags on the cheap at Target or Walmart, but we have our eye on this large carry-all from Baggu for $72.


9. Sunscreen

Sunscreen is probably the most important thing on this list, so listen up! Kids can easily get burned after a long day of playing on the beach, so lather them up with SPF every few hours at the least. We love Jason's sunscreen ($9.87) because it's enriched with Vitamin E and green tea extract, plus it's tear-free — which means your kids won't complain if you accidentally get it in their eyes!

8. Tons of Water

Credit: Thinkstock

Keep your family hydrated by packing a few large bottles of water in your bag, plus extra for the trunk of your car (where it will stay the coolest). It also isn't a bad idea to fill up a recycled milk container with tap water for washing sandy feet off once you get back on the road! 

7. Change of Clothes

Credit: Bluefly

Chances are you'll come back from the beach covered in sweat, sunscreen, sand, and the occasional piece of seaweed, so you'll definitely want to pack some extra clothes for the whole family. Of course you don't want anything too bulky, so a light-weight beach cover-up is always a good idea. One of our favorites? This simple number from French Connection –– just $43.54! 

6. First Aid Kit

Credit: Diapers.com

It's vital to have a first aid kit on hand during a trip to the beach. You never know when one of your kiddos will step on glass or — even worse — get stung by a jellyfish, so pack plenty of bandages, antibacterial cream, and alcohol wipes. Me4Kidz compact kit is a great option (it includes a sting relief pad and burn relief cream), and it's small enough to fit into your bag. Buy at Diapers.com for just $5.15!


5. Plenty of Toys

The beach is a great place for kids to run wild with their imagination, but give them a helping hand with some simple beach toys. We love these nesting pails from Melissa and Doug — they're cute, versatile, and they won't take up too much room in your bag. Check 'em out for $9.99.

4. A Radio (And a Good Book!)

Credit: Uncommon Goods Photo: Swansea Beach Radio

If you plan to spend all day at the beach, you might run the risk of getting bored while your kiddos gleefully play in the water and sand. After all, there's only so much tanning a person can do! Make sure to bring along some adult-approved entertainment, like a good summer read and a portable radio. The Swansea Beach Radio is iPhone compatible, and will only set you back $40 from Uncommon Goods

3. Tons of Tasty Snacks

Credit: GoGo Squeez

Many public beaches have snack stands, but unless you want to spend $5 on a hot dog, it's best to come prepared with some non-perishable food to keep your family full. You can always bring crackers and chips, but we suggest you pack at least a few protein bars in case anyone needs an extra boost of energy! Another great option is GoGo Squeez Fast Fruit — it doesn't need to be refrigerated, and you don't need a spoon!

2. Extra Towels + a Blanket!

Credit: Zozi

You can never have too many towels at the beach, so go ahead and jam as many into your bag as can fit. And pro-tip: Bring a few extra to line the seats of your car for the trip back home, otherwise you'll get sand and water everywhere! Meanwhile, a giant beach blanket is a must for any beach trip. Check out this stylish roll-up from Zozi for just $30!


1. Beach Shoes

Credit: Speedo Photo: Speedo Beach Shoes

You never know what might be lurking in the sand at your local beach, so it's a good idea to wear shoes — just in case. You can always buy a pair of flip flops on the cheap, but if you really want to take things up a notch, check out Speedo's Beach Runners ($27). They provide great traction for walking on the sand, and are super fast-drying! 

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