5 Must-Haves for a Baby at the Beach


toddler sitting on beach by water. Baby beach. Des Moines MomWhether a lake or an ocean, I think it’s true what they say; life is better at the beach. Give me the sound of waves rolling in, the sand between my toes, and the warm sun shining and I am in my happy place.

As a mom, these relaxing places can turn stressful when we bring our kiddos along. While I can’t promise you’ll be able to completely unwind I do have some tips to make the beach experience as enjoyable as possible with a little one in tow!

5 must-haves for bringing a baby to the beach

Water Sling

Baby-wearing beach style! I think many moms know how helpful it can be to wear their baby. It frees up your hands for other things (like a nice cold drink?) while keeping baby close and safe. I love using a water sling for beach and outdoor trips. My ring water sling baby carrier is made of a mesh material. This makes it cooler for baby and me when it’s warm outside and allows the material to dry easily when and if it gets wet. I recently took a trip to Panama City Beach, Florida, and wore my 9-month-old in the water sling for a 2.5-mile walk on the beach! It was perfect!

Shade and Fan

The whole point of a beach day is to soak up some rays right? But of course, it’s important to keep baby’s skin protected. Sunscreen is obvious, but shade is a must too. You may get lucky and have a tree nearby but likely not. I suggest making your own shade. There are lots of options here- tents, canopies, and umbrellas- but on our recent excursion, we found an easily packable splash play mat that came with an adjustable canopy. It was awesome! We were able to put some water on the mat for baby to splash in and the canopy blocked the sun. We stepped things up a notch with a battery-operated fan. It has a flexible tripod that’s easy to mount on or around anything and is re-chargeable. It helped me, I mean baby, stay nice and cool!

Swimsuit and Swim Diaper

Aren’t baby swimsuits the cutest? There are lots of options when it comes to a swimsuit for baby but my suggestion- go for practicality and protection. The point is to protect baby’s skin from the sun, not win a swimsuit contest. My baby swimsuit must-haves include long sleeves and easy access for diaper changes.

Our go-to this season (and for the foreseeable future), is the Lake Label Sunsuit. It’s a one-piece with long sleeves, pants, zipper access, and a hood to protect baby’s head and neck from the sun. This means I only have to put sunscreen on her face and feet!

Don’t forget the swim diaper. Important reminder for you- swim diapers do not soak up liquid, that is the whole point! They are to keep number two contained, not one. With this in mind, don’t put the swim diaper on until you are ready to get in the water with baby otherwise, you will have a mess. I prefer to use reusable swim diapers. When I would buy disposable ones it seemed my baby always grew out of the size I bought before using them all up. Reusable ones often are sizable and can be used for a longer period of time!

Baby Powder and Powdered Sunscreen

Have you heard of the baby powder trick to remove sand from hands and feet? It actually works! Instead of using water (which leaves behind sand) sprinkle baby powder and wipe the sand off, it’s magic! And I know sunscreen is obvious but have you heard of powdered sunscreen? It’s exactly like it sounds. You can apply it with a makeup brush similar to a setting powder. Powdered sunscreen is great for the scalp (think your hair part) and face. It provides coverage without being oily!

Low Expectations

This may be the most important “must have”- low expectations. Your baby will probably eat some sand. It’s going to be hot. Someone will get fussy (maybe you?) You’ll have to watch your kids like a hawk around the water. It won’t be a leisurely beach day, don’t even bother bringing a book along. But that’s OK. It is what it is now in this season with little ones. Try to enjoy it and go with the flow. And of course, don’t forget the snacks!

What must-haves are on your list for taking a baby to the beach?

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Casey is an Iowa captive by way of Alabama. She lives in Urbandale with her first responder husband Derek, black lab Dakota, and human daughters Avery (2018) and Nellie (2021). She loves being a mom and is navigating her journey with her own version of what motherhood looks like including shamelessly singing “Baby Shark” on command and eating Oreos during nap time so she doesn’t have to share. Casey works part time in the non-profit field supporting families that are grieving the loss of a child. In her “free time” Casey enjoys baking, specializing in boxed brownies and pre-made cookie dough. She also enjoys reading historical fiction books and watching Netflix. Her preferred forms of communication include sarcasm, emojis and gifs.


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