Have the best day at the beach when you bring along these must-haves. You’ll find everything you need (and more!), from a sun tent to swim diapers. And don’t forget your sunblock!

Serious Sun Protection

Keep your little one's sensitive skin shaded with a wide-brimmed hat. Then add a sun-protective rash guard or suit. Hanna Andersson offers rash guard suits in a fabric that blocks 995 of the sun's rays.

Available at hannaandersson.com, $36 for suits and $22 for sun hats. 


Cozy Hooded Towels

Hooded towels aren't just for bath time. They're the perfect way to keep baby comfortable on breezy beach days. We love i play's cheery, soft towels made from organic cotton muslin and knitted terry. They even have hand pockets for maximum coziness.

Available at iplaybaby.com, $25.

Effective Reusable Swim Diapers

If you're swimming a lot this summer, go for a reusable diaper in an adorable print like those from Bambino Mio. They're cuter, less bulky and even fit better than their disposable counterparts, so messes are less messy. They come in an array of fun prints, including blue squid, green frogs, pink mermaids, and purple seahorses.

Available at bambinomio.com, $11.40.

Prefer a disposable swim diaper? Read on.

The Smart Disposable Swim Diaper

Babyganics swim diapers have a genius color-changing design for safe fun in the sun. The diaper starts with one green frog on it, but once your baby goes into the sun, a water scene appears. After about 20 to 30 minutes of sun exposure, the frog turns from green to brown. This is your reminder to put baby in the shade and reapply sunscreen.

Available at amazon.com, $26.99 for 12.

A Fun Float

In calm waters, let baby laze around on this fun watermelon float from Big Mouth. Made for age 1 and up, the float features leg holes and a supported seat that helps keep baby upright. Pair with a baby life jacket (like Stearns' Puddle Jumper, below) for additional water safety.

Available at amazon.com, $14.99.

A Comfortable Life Jacket

This US Coast Guard-approved life jacket comes in soft woven polyester and an array of fun, kid-friendly prints. Stearns' Puddle Jumper helps beginning swimmers play in the water in comfort. While kids can float independently wearing one of these, parents or a responsible adult should still stay close and supervise. Designed for kids 30-50 pounds.

Available at amazon.com, $13.99.

Packable Pool

If you don't want your crawler roaming the beach, pack a small baby pool like this one, which can be stored in a flat zippered bag when not in use. Fill with a little ocean water and add a few small toys. If you're lucky, baby will play happily, stay cool and never realize they can scale the sides!

Available at hearthsong.com, $39.98.

The Coolest Shades

Protect baby's eyes behind a pair of pint-sized sunglasses from JoJo Maman Bebe. Choose from 5 colors, and add an optional strap to ensure glasses stay where they belong.

Available at jojomamanbebe.com, $12, plus $6 for optional strap.

The Perfect Pop-up Tent

A beach tent, especially one thats folds flat and is easy to set up, is a smart way to keep your little one safe from the sun. We love this stylish option from Pottery Barn Kids. Set out some fun toys for playtime, and use it for beach naps and a private nursing spot. Available at potterybarnkids.com, $99.

The Do-It-All Beach Bag

This beach tote is more of a system than a simple bag. It comes complete with 4 buckets and 2 shovels, perfect for introducing baby to the art of making sand castles, along with a soft cooler to keep snacks and bottles chilled, and outside pockets for important extras. Everything fits into an easy-to-carry shoulder bag so you have one arm free for baby. You'll definitely enjoy this bag long after the baby stage.

Available at mybeachmate.com, $78.50.

Shady Spot

With Fisher Price's On-the-Go Baby Dome, your baby can nap or play outside, since its dual canopy system blocks sun from all angles. You'll also love that the whole thing folds flat, making it easy to take anywhere. It can also be used indoors.

Available at amazon.com, $57.44.

Sand & Surf Shoes

If your little one is walking, protect feet from hot sand, rocky terrain and slippery puddles with a pair of Stride Rite Phibians. The extra-grippy, flexible sneaker is made for playing in and out of water. Beyond the beach, they're your go-to shoe for splash pads and pools.

Available at striderite.com, $35.

First Sand Toy Set

Your little might not be ready for sandcastles yet, but with this beach toy set from B. Toys, they'll be able to explore the shore. It comes with a bucket, a shovel, a rake, 4 sand molds, a watering can, a truck and a spinning pinwheel sure to keep baby entertained.

Available at amazon.com, $27.02.

The Wet Suit Solution

Strip wet and sandy suits off your kids, and stow them in this waterproof wet bag so everything else in your tote doesn't get soggy. It's also the perfect spot for dirty bibs, diapers, wipes, snack wrappers and anything else you want to keep separate.

Available at iplaybaby.com, $6.

The Stroller Made for Sand

Strollers and sand don't mix. Word to the wise: Dragging it backwards is the easiest option. If you're beach regulars, consider an Austlen Entourage stroller with the company's handy Beach Wheels. These specially designed, extra-wide wheels make rolling surf-side smoother. They're easy to pop on and off to switch out with standard wheels.

Available at austlen.com, $76.79.

The Ultimate Blanket & Cooler

One part water-resistant, easy-to-tote blanket and one part cooler bag, the Central Park Outdoor Blanket and Cooler Bag from Skip Hop is a must for beach trips. It's the easiest way to keep your baby's bottle, sippy cup and snacks cool and your spot in the sand dry.

Available at skiphop.com, $45.

— Julie Seguss


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