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When I was younger, I loved hanging out at the beach. I’d put on my swimsuit, grab a towel and a fun novel and off I’d go. Now that I have a baby and a 3.5-year-old, I seem to fill my whole car with “stuff” when I head to the beach with kids.

Living in the Pacific Northwest, we are lucky enough to be able to head to the Pacific Ocean, Puget Sound or a variety of nearby lakes. My new favorite spot is Lake Sammamish State Park in Issaquah, WA. Not only do they have an amazing new play area with a splash pad, but they have an awesome beach that is perfect for kids. It requires a Discover Pass, but we’ve visited this park so many times that it’s been worth the cost.

Posh Mat at Lake Sammamish
My baby loves hanging out at the beach, especially now that he’s scooting! Photo credit: Darren Cheung

I never thought I’d be one of those Moms who lug tons of stuff to the beach with kids. I’m usually a light packer when it comes to day trips. I used to laugh at movies that showed parents hauling beach chairs, umbrellas, coolers, etc for a few hours at the beach. Then I had kids and I started to get it.

Heading to the beach with kids has made me realize how important it is to claim a “spot.” I’m really stoked that I heard about Posh Play Mat. It’s the perfect beach mat for us in the Pacific Northwest because it doesn’t let damp ground soak through. Mine is bright green and it gives my family a home base and it’s easy for my oldest to find me when he’s playing with friends.

My oldest loves playing in the water and gets wet no matter how chilly it is. On this trip, he ran waist-deep into the water to “get a better look at an airplane.” I’ve learned to bring extra clothes, even when I don’t think he’d play in the water. Fool me 5 times and I start to catch on.

One of the most important things I pack seems to be food. My youngest is 9-months-old and needs to be eating if anyone around him is eating. And my oldest wants to “try” whatever my youngest is eating, so it just means I bring a lot of everything. Sometimes kids with sand on their hands reach into containers of food leaving said sand mixed in with the snacks. This is another reason why I bring lots of food to the beach with kids.

I still feel like I don’t really over pack, though. I bring a wagon and if it doesn’t fit in the wagon, we don’t bring it. Thankfully, my kids fit in it so they get to come with me to the beach. At least while they are little. I guess when they get bigger, they can pull me in the wagon.

Posh Mat
This Posh Play Mat is awesome for the beach because it’s thick enough to cover uneven ground and the sand shakes right off. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

What to Pack for a Day at the Beach with Kids

  1. Snacks and Drinks. I know I mention this a lot in my posts but you seriously can never have enough snacks. I hate bringing coolers with me, so I just pack food that won’t melt.
  2. Sand Toys. My son really just needs a bucket and a shovel and he’s good to go. But, we also have fun with dump trucks, watering cans, and our digger claw.
  3. Posh Play Mat. This is one of my favorite things to bring because the sand just slides right off it. It’s also slightly padded so it smooths over any lumps, bumps or sticks on the sand. And it doesn’t let moisture get through.
  4. Sunscreen. This is especially important for those of us in the PNW who are so pale we glow.
  5. Extra Clothes. My 3.5-year-old ALWAYS gets wet, not matter the temperature. And my 9-month-old is an understandably messy eater. I bring extra clothes for both of them.
  6. Wagon. We bought a collapsible wagon from Costco a few years ago and it’s been the ultimate way to get my kids and our stuff to and from the beach.
  7. Sun Hats. I like the large brimmed soft hats for my kids with built in SPF. I usually use a large brimmed straw hat for myself.

What to Pack for a Day at the Beach with Kids

Posh Mat sent me product for review purposes. All opinions are my own.


Marcie writes the family travel blog Marcie in Mommyland. When she's not traveling the world, she's home in Seattle with her husband and two little boys.


  1. When I clicked on this, I expected it would be a giant list and include kid gadgets that I’d have to Google to understand! But it’s actually a really manageable list, I don’t think you’re over packing at all. Some of the items, like snacks and sunscreen, should really be in everyone’s beach bag, kids or no.

    • marciecheung Reply

      Thanks! I don’t like to bring more than I need to. I think adults can sometimes get away with forgetting snacks and sunscreen, but when kids are involved, it can ruin a trip to the beach.

  2. My kids have been asking me to take them to the “beach” here (it’s really just a lake, not like the beaches I’m used to on the east coast). It’s hard for me to take all three of them (ages 9, 5, 2) by myself, but when I do, I am lugging a ton of stuff too!!

  3. Most important is the sunscreen. You do not want to forget that…I got a really bad sunburn at the beach when I was a kid, and it was horrible. And it’s not just for the kids!

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