Skip to main content

Family Beach Bag Essentials for a Trip with the Kids


From Becky Mansfield, Your Modern Family

Anyone who knows me knows that when we aren’t at home, we are visiting Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. It is like our second home, so we’re there as much as we can be during summer. While deciding what to pack for a beach trip with the kids can seem like a chore in and of itself, through trial and error we’ve finally narrowed down a list of a few family beach bag essentials for our trip to Hilton Head.

Becky Mansfield and her family at the beach

1. The Beach Bag Basics: Of course, we never head out without the basic beach essentials stashed safely in our bag: hats, sunglasses, towels, snacks, beach toys and books. But beyond these staples that we all know, we also always bring a few items that we’ve come to depend upon, as well.

2. Sunscreen: This is a basic, too, because it is SO important, especially for our kids. Be sure to apply it 15 minutes before you let the kids head out into the sun and reapply it 80 minutes after swimming or sweating. I use it every time that we go out.  I learned that lesson the hard way.  Last summer, at the beach, we hadn’t expected to stay too long, so we didn’t use sunscreen on the kids.  Well, an hour later, Beau’s shoulders were as red as could be and it pretty much ruined the next two days for him.  I’ll never make that mistake again!  Be sure to reapply every two hours, as well!

Several Neutrogena® sunscreens for kids

We LOVE NEUTROGENA® Pure & Free® Baby Sunscreen Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 50 for our kids. We also like to use a water-resistant spray like NEUTROGENA® Wet Skin Kids Sunscreen Spray Broad Spectrum SPF 70+ (water-resistant for 80 minutes). It contains Helioplex® Technology and is specifically formulated to work with wet skin. It instantly cuts through water, providing broad spectrum protection with every application. Don’t forget to reapply after 80 minutes of swimming or sweating, immediately after towel drying and at least every two hours! (For external use only. Do not use on damaged or broken skin. Keep out of eyes. Keep out of reach of children.)

3. An Extra Swimsuit or Outfit:  We bike to and from the beach, so riding back in a sandy, wet swimsuit makes it pretty hard. Right before you leave the beach, the kids rinse off, then head to the bathroom to change into a dry swimsuit for the ride back. They can choose to jump right into the house-pool when we get back, and they won’t have to worry about getting sand in the pool!

Kids playing in the sand at the beach

4. Large Re-sealable Plastic Bags: I can’t stress enough how important having re-sealable plastic bags are. You can use them for wet clothes, sandy toys, snacks and more.  (P.S.- pack some baby powder or corn starch to get the sand off of your skin).

5. Inflatable Pool: It doesn’t quite fit in our beach bag, but we always bring it with us, because it’s perfect for younger kids. Just fill it up with buckets and buckets of ocean water! The filling of the pool keeps the kids busy for so long, but then they play in it, which keeps them busy (and right near mom) even longer.

In collaboration with National 4-H Council. Visit for more tips, ideas and activities for the entire family.

Becky Mansfield is a paid spokesperson for the HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® Program.

Sunscreen vs Sunblock

Sunscreen vs. Sunblock

Ever wonder what the difference is? Both protect your skin from the sun, but they work in different ways. Learn the advantages of each.

How to keep mosquitoes at bay

4 Ways to Keep Mosquitoes at Bay

Mosquito bites aren’t just annoying, they can also be a health risk. Here's how to help keep them away.

How to choose the right sunscreen for your baby

How to Choose the Right Sunscreen for Your Baby

Here's what to look for when you're in the aisle at the drug store.

Swimming pool safety

Swimming Pool Safety

Six tips to help keep kids safe this summer while swimming.