I once read a saying in a beach shop that was painted on an old piece of driftwood and it read “if you’re lucky enough to be at the beach, you’re lucky enough” and I seriously couldn’t agree more. As you know if you have been reading or following along on IG for any time now– there are few things that make me happier than the beach and the ocean. I pray that someday we are lucky enough to settle down seaside in a little charming beach house, one with big windows that open from floor to ceiling where the sea salt air can blow in while we cook dinner and our kids run around the living room chasing our dogs, all while the sun drops into the ocean… can you tell that i’ve envisioned this entire thing? Until this seaside way of living can be our reality, I will resort to trips to the sea to hold me over. Rico knows that traveling is something that is near and dear to my heart and he has taken me on some amazing vacations– everything from Mexico, to the coast of CA, to Turks and Caicos, southern Florida.. you name it. Every destination calls for a little bit of tweaking when it comes to the packing list– but, there are a few “staples” that hold true, regardless of which beach you are visiting. With it being Labor Day Weekend, and the end of summer, a lot of you have been requesting a beach packing list– so, even though I don’t know when our next trip to the beach will be (ahem, football season), this post is for you!
I’ve divided into two sections: first, beach essentials for you and second, beach essentials for baby. If you are traveling without children, the first half is dedicated to you– and if you are bringing your little chunk of love along, this entire post is for you! As always– if you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment, or to reach out via Instagram
I have linked a few of my favorites at the end of each section, but obviously there are multiple brands out there and the possibilities are endless– so shop to your heart’s desire!
Beach Essentials For You
- Beach Hat— I am going to be honest, I used to think that people that laid out with those “sun hats” just did it to “look cute”… then I started to age and noticed that my skin didn’t handle the sun the way that it used to, and here I am, admitting and saying that the number one thing that I will never go to the beach without any longer is a sun hat. The most difficult part of traveling with a sun hat is the airport and travel part– you have two options, firstly to start your vacation early by wearing your hat through the airport (this is always my go-to, I think it’s fun to get into the vacation mode a little early:), or to purchase a hat box that you can travel with.
- Sunglasses— I don’t know if it’s an age thing, but my eyes are insanely sensitive to light now. I will always have a pair of sunglasses with me, especially at the beach. The reflection of the sun off of the water can really do a number on your eyes, and we all know that squinting leads to wrinkles.. enough said.
- Sunscreen— Even though it is messy with the sand, I try to allow my skin 20-30 minutes of sun/vitamin D a day before applying sunscreen all over my body. My face is a different story, I don’t like to leave our hotel room without some sort of SPF protection– whether that comes from a tinted moisturizer, or a mineral based powder sunscreen– I make sure that something is protecting the delicate skin of my face. When I spend a day at the beach I like to let my skin breathe as far as makeup goes– so I find myself leaving out the tinted moisturizer and reaching for a mineral/hydrating sunscreen. I have linked a few of my favorites below.
- Beach Bag— Obviously you are going to need something to carry all of your beach essentials in. I love the look of a straw beach bag, but again, this is kind of a difficult thing to travel if you are flying. I purchased a large overnight Longchamp Le Pilage Nylon bag when I traveled to London back in college and I have honestly used it for the beach so many times. It is perfect because the material is able to get wet, and it folds up smaller than a book, so it is perfect for airport travel as well.
- Oversized Beach Towel/Mat— Unless you are staying at a resort that supplies beach chairs/towels, it is going to be extremely necessary that you invest in an oversized beach towel or mat. In my opinion, it’s frustrating trying to fit your body, plus all of the things that you want to keep from getting sandy on a small towel. In the past, we have even used a big blanket– so don’t feel like you have to spend money on this, anything can get the job done!
- Something To Read— Few things are more relaxing than reading a good book by the water. I am usually a little overzealous when it comes to reading material on trips and I find myself packing far too many. I have learned to really think twice before loading my luggage with books because it adds a lot of extra weight (that I may need coming home due to the shopping that was done while away, oops). So, do your research and plan ahead about which books/magazines/etc are actually worth your time. If you are having a hard time coming up with what to read, you can check out My Favorite Books
- Water Bottle— If you plan to spend the day at the beach you will need to make sure that you stay hydrated and honestly, few things are better than needing a drink of water and it being freezing cold! Having said that, I swear by metal water canisters instead of plastic bottles. Plus, if you don’t know, plastic bottles are terrible for your health and the environment, so do yourself the favor and invest in one of the cute ones that I have linked below. Side note: the large accommodations Canteen can hold an entire bottle of wine (you heard it here first:).
- Self Tanner— I will admit, I love to be tan. I feel better tan. Can anyone else relate? Since becoming a mama, it has been hard for me to find time to simply “lay out”– and there are few things worse than showing up to a vacation pale. There are a few brands of self tanner that I swear by and I have linked them each below. Side note: I don’t use self tanner when I am pregnant. It would probably be just fine, but it is just a personal decision that I have made. Another side note– if you are breastfeeding, make sure that you don’t apply the self tanner to your nipple region, or else your kid will have a beautiful brown ring around their mouth and you’ll freak out thinking it’s some kind of rare disease.. just take my word for it.
- Portable Speaker— I love setting the scene when I am at the beach, and one of the best ways to do so in my opinion is with music. Not only is a portable speaker perfect for your day at the beach, it can also transform your hotel room as well! There are a huge range in portable speakers and the quality of them and the prices reflect just that. In my opinion, I prefer to travel with a “not so nice” one and leave the expensive one at home, just in case, you know, life happens.
To Shop My Favorites:
This is the part of the post where you can choose to continue reading if you are traveling along with your baby! Below you will find some of my favorite beach essentials, enjoy!
There is nothing like watching your baby experience the ocean. It has been so amazing to watch Luca’s fascination and love for the beach grow over the last 17 months. I feel so very fortunate that he is able to experience travel and culture at such a young age, it is something that I don’t take lightly. I want my children to see the world and I want them to know that it’s a BIG place and that they are SMALL. I want them to know that they live a life that many only dream of, and to be so honest– I feel that travel and experiencing other’s “normal” is the best teacher of all. When you are immersed in another’s culture it is REAL, you can’t just “turn off the TV” to the reality of the world when you are standing shoulder to shoulder with those who live it every single day.
Having said all of that, I would be lying if I said that a day at the beach is “relaxing” with a baby..it’s not. The only time I remember feeling totally relaxed at the ocean with Luca was when we went to Mexico when he was 13 weeks old– he literally slept in his stroller, under our umbrella, with his portable fan on, only waking up when he wanted to nurse. Our last trip to the beach, well, it was quite different, and honestly, as hectic as it felt, it was so beautiful watching him experience the waves, the sand, the seagulls and his love for the ocean. If your’e wondering if it’s worth it, it is. I hope that these tips and “must haves” help you to feel confident for a day, or weekend at the beach! Obviously, these are a list of things that may slip your mind when it comes to packing, the essentials that you need for the beach are the same for your baby–sunscreen, sun hat, water, etc.
Beach Essentials For Baby
- Gathre Mat— I literally cannot say enough amazing things about our Gathre Mat. It was the one thing that I was so excited to purchase when I found out that I was pregnant, but I am not going to lie, I held off for quite some time because I just wasn’t sure if the money was worth it. Let’s just say, I kick myself every single time I use the mat now thinking about how much easier life would’ve been if I had it all along. Not only are they absolutely beautiful to look at, they are durable, non toxic, wipeable, and waterproof. I currently own The Midi– it is good for gatherings of four people or less. Once our little bundle joins us in October, I am going to purchase the Large All Purpose Mat.. I already know which color I want and all. Can you tell that I am obsessed? P.S. they make for beautiful photos as well– if you’re into that kind of thing!
- Umbrella— If you are going to the beach with your baby for more than 20 minutes, you need some kind of umbrella or sun protection for them. I finally invested in a beautiful umbrella that I have had my eye on forever. Obviously, I am only able to bring it along when we road trip to the ocean, as airport travel with a large umbrella just really isn’t feasible. The positive is that if you are flying, you will be able to rent an umbrella through your hotel or accommodations, and if for some reason they don’t provide them, you can almost always pick one up at the local grocery or surf shop (and if you choose to invest, just ship it home before you leave).
- Portable Fan— When Luca was really tiny we invested in a clip on, battery operated, portable fan. It was a game changer for us and we ended up using it for far more than vacations. I definitely recommend picking one up and packing it along with you.
- Beach Toys— You can go as simple, or as extravagant as you feel– truth be told, if your kid is anything like mine he will be too enamored with the crashing waves and seagulls to sit still to play with a bucket and a shovel. Better luck to you, mama!
- Plaster of Paris Kit— Have you ever seen those handprints or footprints in the sand? This is an awesome keepsake that you can do at the beach and bring home with you. My parents did them for my sister and I and even our childhood pup and they’re something that will be treasured forever. You can pick some of this up at a local craft store, or even order it from Amazon before your trip!
- Jug of Clean Water— Kids are messy, this we know– but sand, that is a WHOLE different story. Having access to a jug of clean water will be a lifesaver for those little sandy hands, especially when snack time comes around..
- SNACKS— Luca is content as long as he has snacks on deck. I like to pack pb&j sandwiches, veggie straws, juice boxes, etc.
To Shop My Favorites:
if you’re lucky enough to be at the beach, you’re lucky enough. xo, Grace