What’s in my Beach Bag?

My Ballard Designs beach bag

My Ballard Designs beach bag

Happy summer out there! I hope everyone had an amazing 4th of July holiday. My vacation in Petoskey was really nice with lots of time spent with family and friends. While in town I also attended my 20th high school reunion which is crazy because I seriously do not feel old enough to have just celebrated a milestone like that. But I have the pictures to prove it so I guess it’s true. Regardless, it was so nice to see good friends and catch up with old classmates.

Anyway, with summer in full swing now I’ve been seeing lots of beach bag posts around blog land so I figured I might as well add a post of my own to the mix. The contents of my beach bag are not all that glam considering that these days when I go to the beach I have two wild little boys to chase around. Gone are the days when a trip to the beach was spent actually lying down with a good magazine and sunning myself. But I love the beach so relaxing or not, it’s still one of my favorite summer activities. So here are some of my must-haves when making a trip out for some sun and sand:

A Big Ol’ Bag – With four of us hitting the beach now it’s impossible to cram everything we need into one beach bag but I went on a hunt a couple of years ago to find a big and cute bag to at least carry my own beach things and I ended up with a canvas tote from Ballard Designs. (See the post here.) So far, I still love it. It’s simple, classic looking, and fits everything I need for myself. My only complaint with it is that when the bag is really loaded up and heavy (like when it doubles as a book bag for our weekly trip to the library) the leather straps can dig into my shoulder and be pretty uncomfortable. But as a beach bag I really haven’t had that issue and I just deal with it for our library trips.

Easy-to-apply sunscreen is a must for me and my little ones.

Easy-to-apply sunscreen is a must for me and my little ones.


Easy-to-apply Sunscreen – I’ve always been careful about wearing a good sunscreen but now as a mom I’m even more careful with my little guys’ skin so sunscreen is an absolute must for my beach bag. What’s even more important is that the sunscreen be quick and easy to apply on squirmy and impatient little people. Luckily, I discovered Neutrogena’s Pure and Free Baby sunscreen stick in a broad spectrum SPF 60+ a few years ago and it has never failed me. It’s looks like a little mini stick of deodorant and it’s perfect for swiping on little faces fast. Both of my guys can sit still for the four seconds it takes me to do a lightning quick swipe of the sunscreen over their faces. I tend to carry one in my beach bag and one in my purse for every day. It’s great also for quickly rubbing on the backs of hands and forearms, or on the back of necks and tops of ears when we find ourselves on an impromptu trip to the playground. For the rest of their bodies I recently bought Babyganics’ Mineral-Based Sunscreen Spray with an SPF 50+. So far we’ve been liking it. I just pump the spray into my hand and then rub it (quickly) on to their legs and arms. It seems to rub in really well and doesn’t feel greasy. Want more sunscreen reviews? Check out this post from one of my favorite bloggers, Shana, at her recently re-designed blog The Mom Edit (formerly known as Ain’t No Mom Jeans.)

It's on my to-do list to get an all-weather blanket for beach trips, park playdates, etc.

It’s on my to-do list to get an all-weather blanket for beach trips, park playdates, etc.


Something great to sit on – Okay, disclaimer here, this item is not yet in my beach bag. But it is on my list to go out and get. A friend from my moms club has an indoor/outdoor travel blanket from Beth Bath and Beyond and every time I see her with it at a playdate I remind myself to go out and pick one up. This blanket is perfect for trips to the beach, park, and other outdoor places because it doesn’t pick up dirt and sand like a towel does and it folds up nicely with a convenient shoulder strap. Genius.

My new Lands End rash guard...I meant to get a shot of this while at the beach but got distracted...so here I am in all my bathing beauty glory on my parents' front steps...ha ha. (Lands End offers lots of other cute prints and bonus - looks like the tops are 50% off right now.)

My new Lands End rash guard…I meant to get a shot of this while at the beach but got distracted…so here I am in all my bathing beauty glory on my parents’ front steps…ha ha. (Lands End offers lots of other cute prints and bonus – looks like the tops are 50% off right now.)


Sun-protective Rashguards – To help with sun protection this year I decided to purchase rashguards for everyone. Lands’ End had a sale going earlier this year so I picked one up for everyone except the baby (his ended up coming from Babies R Us) and we’ve worn them a few times already. The one for my 4-year-old is long-sleeved and also has a hood so it worked really well for the windy weather we had at the beach on our recent vacation. Mine is long-sleeved as well and came in a super cute floral print. I loved not having to apply sunscreen on my upper body (I’m notorious for missing a spot and ending up with a splotch or sliver of sunburn in a random spot) but I will say that in warmer weather I got HOT. The first time I wore the rashguard it was a windy day and not super warm out so it was perfect. The second beach day we had was breeze-less and a lot warmer and by the end of our short trip to the beach I was roasting. I think a short-sleeve option would solve the issue. Something to think about for a future purchase.

OPI's "Color So Hot it Berns" made for a great 4th of July pedicure polish.

OPI’s “Color So Hot it Berns” made for a great 4th of July pedicure polish.


A Super Cute Pedi – Obviously this doesn’t go in my beach bag but it’s always fun to have cute toes at the beach, right? For our vacation this year I went with OPI’s “So Hot it Berns” polish and it was a really cute red that fit the 4th of July week really well. For a more coral-y/pink color I always love OPI’s “My Chihuahua Bites.”

So that’s my beach bag basics. What about everyone else? Have any great products you never leave home without when hitting the beach? I’d love to hear. Happy beach-going!!!

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