No matter where in the world we travel to, the contents of my beach bag are nearly always the same. I have it down to a mental checklist.
When did this start? The day we were sitting poolside and Ellia ran up to me excited to plunge into the water. I rummaged through my bag looking for her swimsuit, and as I realized that I most likely forgot it, I started racking my brain on how I was going to explain to my 4-year-old that “Mommy had failed to bring her swimsuit, and that skinny dipping is not appropriate in a hotel pool”. Those eyes, her big brown pouty eyes, were too much to handle. Now I have a mental checklist!
Whether you’re going to your local beach or are vacationing and checking out the “best beach on da island”…
Don’t miss my ultimate beach bag packing guide for a successful time!
WHAT I PACK FOR EVERYONE
Let me mention that I have the biggest beach bag in the world, and I love it. It may seem excessive to some, but everything fits in there, and it’s totally BEACHY with its neon colors and pom-poms.
We have gone through so many types of water bottles trying to find the right ones for us. The glass ones are too heavy, the roll-up ones I am scared will explode in my bag, and the ones you buy at the beach are too pricy and wasteful. I usually have two Contigo bottles in my purse, to make sure I have enough water for the whole family.
This is the stuff the whole family uses on their bodies. It smells great, protects well, is sold everywhere, and doesn’t leave you sticky or oily. It’s everything you want in a sunscreen.
I bring it all, all the time. How do you think we get all those beautiful pictures on Facebook and Instagram, it’s because our camera is ALWAYS by our sides. Check out the full array of photography gear we use that is perfect for the traveling family.
Don’t forget snacks!!! Granola bars, baby carrots, anything. If your kids are anything like our Ellia, if you forget the snacks you will not hear the end of it! This kid is always asking for food!
Ball caps for everyone. After a couple of hours in the sun, you will be thankful you remembered them. Keep your face protected from the sun and your head out of the blazing heat.
What’s the benefit of a Turkish towel? THEY PACK UP SMALL! I carry two of them in my bag, to sit on and dry everyone off when we’re done on the beach.
WHAT I PACK FOR “HER”
We have sunglasses to go with every outfit! Sitting in the sun all day, I don’t want to end up with useless wrinkles from squinting. Peppers makes affordable eyewear that are polarized and have a stellar warranty.
I usually show up to the beach wearing clothes, but in case we are dinghying over in our swimsuits, I make sure I have a dress in my bag because I still get embarrassed if I have to go up to the beach bar in my bikini (it just seems inappropriate to me!).
I overanalyze my facial wrinkles, but a lifetime in the sun can make you conscious of them. I pack this sunscreen for myself as it is tinted (giving me an instant-tan) and fights those premature signs of aging. It’s my face sunscreen.
I have been through a bigillion swimsuits, the cheap ones, the pricier ones, the design ones, in search of the best ones that can survive our sunny and salty lifestyle. I love the Sunset Inc brand (and its sister companies) because they really have something for EVERY body type, they are sold in separates (top and bottoms), and they are well made. The only advice is freshwater rinse them if you can because some of them have little metal logos on them that will oxidize in the saltwater.
Although I prefer strutting my stuff in my bikinis, there are times when the sun is just too strong and I need a rashguard. Snapper rock just came out with an adult line, and they are great. Finally, someone thought of making a rash guard where the neckline is not completely cutting off your breathing! I hate feeling claustrophobic in my rash guards.
WHAT I PACK FOR “HIM”
Given that if Eben is on a beach he is most likely NOT sitting still, we have a sunscreen that will stick. Swox was made with surfers in mind. It is made to stay on your face, in and out of the water. It’s the best stuff we have found that will not just wash away, and it completely rubs in, not leaving your face all white as some other zincs out there.
He has just as many sunglasses as me! When going to the beach he gravitates towards his floating Peppers. That way, if they get knocked off his face when he is goofing around with the kids, they are not lost to the bottom of the ocean.
In our opinion, these are the best board shorts. They look great on him, they are comfy, and they dry off super quick. Most of their styles are made to work both on and off the beach, meaning he wears them around town all the time.
He needs to be kept entertained, otherwise, Eben gets real bored at the beach. So we bring as many toys for him as we do for the girls! The waboba ball bounces on the water, making for a fun game of catch, the frisbee, well that’s self-explanatory, and the snorkel is for when he and the girls decide to take off and explore where we are.
WHAT I PACK FOR THE KIDS
This company makes THE BEST kids sunglasses. I have been raving about them ever since we discovered them. They look super cool, they are bendy so the kids can’t break them, they are polarized, and they just came out with these awesome attachments that can be slid onto the sunglasses’ arms to make the “ear hook” closer so the sunglasses won’t always be falling down your kid’s nose.
We discovered a few years ago, thanks to an unfortunate breakout on Arias’ face, that our girls have sensitive facial skin and need a sunscreen that is not chocked full of chemicals to keep them protected. Since we loved Sunbum so much, we decided to try their Babybum. It’s a winner.
Sunuva and Snapper Rock Swimwear
I don’t know if you’ve noticed but our girls are the best-dressed kids in the ocean! I am sometimes slightly jealous. With seven years of having our babies in the sun, we’ve narrowed it down to these two awesome companies.
This is swimwear that will get your kids noticed. For real. As soon as I see another kid in this swimwear I immediately know it’s this brand. They are that noticeable. Every season they seem to come out with a line that is cuter than the last, and I keep begging them to start designing for adults as well. What started as just swimwear has developed into beachwear as well, those cute dresses our girls are always wearing, yep, they’re from them.
This swimwear is the most durable we have come across. Never thought with our lifestyle that we could manage “hand-me-down” bathing suits because most brands die within a few months of our girls using them, but Snapperrock’s swimwear lasts. So many of their items can be mixed and matched to make sure your kid has the best sun protection. And it is completely adorable, our girls are always excited to wear their stuff.
I don’t keep these in my beach bag per se, I have an entirely separate bag to carry around the girls sand toys, goggles, and snorkel sets. Yes our girls could do just fine without any of this stuff, and sometimes they do, but the benefit of bringing it all is that it could mean a few extra minutes of them entertaining themselves and loving their beach time. So it’s a win-win. They’re happy, I’m happy.
If you are planning on spending the day at a beach where there is no beach bar, or the beach bar prices are crazy high, pack yourself a cocktail. These Corkcicle bottles have come in handy for that because they will keep your drink cold all day long.
Once you get the hang of this checklist you will become a beach bag packing pro…I’m still working towards that. Last week I managed to remember everyone else’s stuff and got to the beach only to realize that my own bikini was missing, at least there was a beach bar close by to keep me busy while everyone else splashed around!