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what to pack for our first toddler beach vacation?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

So we're super excited to be flying to a beach vacation...I can think of obvious stuff (sunscreen, hat, extra cute sundress) but I'm sure I'm not thinking of everything and I'd also love some suggestions that are just for fun.  DD is about 13 months old.


Will her little feet need some shoes on the beach?  Will she hate me forever if I don't bring a plastic shovel and a bucket? 


Thanks in advance!   smile.gif

post #2 of 11

We are going in June, I'm looking for some good advice too . . .  smile.gif

post #3 of 11
post #4 of 11

yes to some shoes, sand can get really hot and shells can be sharp.  depending on how much you want to travel with.  at such a young age, your child will be happy putting shells in a plastic grocery sack and using a plastic cup as a shovel.  so no need to go out and buy stuff.


i went the cheap route with dd1 sand toys.  i often saved those plastic kids cups for restaurants.  this way you don't have to worry if something gets lost.  plus it's easy to share with other kids at the beach and not have to ask for the "toys" back when you need to leave.

post #5 of 11

We live in a beach town. DD was around 13 months when we arrived here and in the summer we are at the beach several days a week. I think it depends upon what kind of beach you are going to be visiting. That first summer, all we really needed were a good hat, lots of sunscreen, bathing suit (two piece for easier changing), and a cover up/towel (and sunglasses if she'll wear them.) A simple shovel/bucket set is nice. They are easy enough to pack since you can pack clothes inside the bucket. We have the Green Toys sand play set and it's perfect. At 13 months, I would just take the bucket and shovel. I love water socks at the beach!!! DD doesn't like the feeling of sand between her feet and sandals but she needs something on her feet if the sand is too hot, or it's rocky, or we're walking from the parking lot, so water socks are great for protecting her feet when necessary. Iplay makes some:




I think Speedo does as well... They are a fabulous investment!


iplay also makes reusable swim diapers. I would pack up a small pack of disposables even if you are thinking of going reusable since we once lost a reusable on vacation unable to clean it properly after a major stomach upset...


They don't make them anymore, but once upon a time, Lands End made a one piece infant suit that had snaps like a onesie. It was so wonderful for beach diaper changes. I wonder if you could still find them on eBay?


Anyway, those are just a few things off the top of my head. Hope you have an incredible vacation.










post #6 of 11

We go to the beach many days each summer and love it!  I imagine since you are going on a vacation, this is not something you'd want to own, but I would definitely look into the possibility of renting a beach umbrella.  I always feel so exposed to the sun, even with sunscreen, hats, etc.  It's nice to have shade for you and for your DD.  It's really helpful for naps too.  My DS will sometimes nap on a blanket under the umbrella.  I wouldn't worry about having a blanket to sit on though - I think a few towels should do.  Our blanket quickly becomes a pile of sand - DS walks all over and it and often shovels sand right on top! 


We have slowly accumulated a lot of beach toys, but a simple bucket and shovel were a hit at your DD's age.  I am also a huge fan of the long sleeve swim shirts for sun protection - even the strongest sunblock isn't enough sometimes.  I know you didn't ask, but for sunscreen, we love California Baby.  It's really expensive but works great and DS doesn't react to it like other brands.  It tends to stay on really well too, even with trips into the water. 


Have a fun vacation! 

post #7 of 11

We had Christmas at the beach in Australia, and my mum got a poncho-style hooded beach towel. We have the wrap around kind with the hood on one corner, but this one had a hole in the center with the hood sewn in, so kiddo could run around in the towel and it didn't fall off. It was great for getting out of the water and staying warm.

post #8 of 11
My DS does love the sand toys (especially a plastic rake) but he is just as content with some sticks and shells and rocks.

We do bring an umbrella and also plan to go somewhere shaded during the hottest part of the day (not just for his sake -- DH & I can't take the hot sun). Most of our beach time is mornings and late afternoon/evening, with other activities planned (or a nap indoors) during midday.

Extra clothes, they somehow get wet and sandy even if you're just strolling along the water's edge watching the sunrise (er.... sunset if you're in the west!) and extra towel to dry off since the one you're sitting on will be sandy!

We use pocket diapers and just remove the insert to serve as a 'swim diaper'...


Sweatshirt if it gets cold (beaches around here can get very cold especially at night and I always forget the sweatshirt!!)

And an insulated lunch bag or cooler for snacks...

That's all I can think of, my biggest advice is don't overpack!! You should've seen us on our first trip when DS was ~4mos... We brought a stroller, a bouncy seat, jumperoo, and the co-sleeper... um we didn't use those things at home, why on earth did I think we needed them on vacation??? And we brought huge bags full of toys and books and practically every outfit he owned... I thought since he was high-needs that vacation would be a challenge too but he loved it and it's one of (if not THE ONLY) happiest memories of his early life lol.

I think that's it
post #9 of 11

I would bring at least a large yogurt container because it is super fun to slash in a bucket of water, duno it out, fill it up, dump it out, fill it up.... you get the picture.  It doesn't have to be a bucket and shovel, but honestly if you bring it it will get a lot of action.  Have fun!


edit to add: bring a warm sweatshirt and pants for post sundress cold wet toddler change.

post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the great suggestions.  I can't wait to change a little tired cold wet girl into some snuggly warm fleecy things at the end of a hardcore beach play day.  :D


Love the look of those shore sock shoe things.  May have to get some.  Definitely bringing a big yogurt container.  Gah, I am so excited!

post #11 of 11

Have fun!  We love exploring the beach. 

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