Before you head off to the beach this summer, take a quick read through our essential check list for a fuss-free family day by the ocean!

1. Big beach towels

Beach towels are often bulky and hard to squeeze into your new-season beach tote, so it’s tempting to take just a couple for the family to share. But one generously sized towel person is the way to go, with a large communal blanket or sarong too.

Everyone has somewhere to sit (the blanket) and everyone has something to dry themselves with – simple! If you’re staying overseas, forget about the towels hanging up in your en-suite. Hotel towels are too small, too thin, too crumply. We’re talking about velour and terry loop towels: the toweling side is for drying with and the velour side is for lying upon!

A traditional, heavier beach towel won’t sink into the sand and a smoother side repels grains. Or you could go for a lighter Turkish cotton variety that won’t weight quite as much in the bag. Check out Kassetex and Sunnylife for great quality and striking designs.

2. Take some shade

You can’t always guarantee that the beach you land upon will be fringed with a soothing canopy of vegetation to provide shelter from the strong midday sun. Cool off and take a break from those rays with a large beach umbrella, a solar tent or a canopy shade. These things can be a little cumbersome. On windy days, extra precaution is needed to ensure they’re firmly anchored, so look for the lightest yet sturdiest option. If you’re overseas, you can often pick up a reasonably priced parasol from the local store, which can be passed on to a fellow holiday maker when you leave!

Our picks:

Shade USA
Basil Bangs Beach Umbrellas

3. Sun Safe Cover Ups  

All day in the sunshine and prolonged splashing about in the water call for UV rash guards – especially for the kids. Surfer-style tops fit tightly against the body with a high neckline whereas looser t-shirt shapes are easy to pull on and off as required (or are comfortable enough to wear all day long, just like your favorite tee!). 

Tom & Teddy

4. Toys and Games

Sounds like a no-brainer but it’s easy to forget to take stuff that will keep the kids entertained for more than 30 minutes at a time when you’re trying to get everyone out of the door. Fishing nets, beach boules, a portable radio, bats and balls and boogie boards are worth including in your kit. We absolutely love Quut and Sunnylife for bright, fun beach toys and accessories.

5. Beach Seats  

For longer days at the beach when you want to relax and read (perhaps under your new parasol), a specially designed chair is a brilliant thing. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just easy to fold and probably one that sits low to the ground. Something simple and traditional like this one from Beachkit Australia will do. Comfort is key to an enjoyable day at the beach and if you read lying on a towel for too long, you just end up with a strained neck and sore shoulders!

Rio Beach


6. Throw it all on a trolley

Unless you have a big family with kids who are old enough to help carry all this day-at-the-beach stuff, a trolley that will roll across the sand is a great (if a little pricey) investment. These are really popular in Europe, especially when the beach car park is quite a walk away from the shore. Uquip Beach Wagon version folds down too so it can be stowed away in the boot. Take a read of this beach cart review article to find the wagon for more ideas.

7. A Wet Bag

Changing out of wet togs might be necessary if you’re heading to café or jumping straight back in the car after your day at the beach. A wet bag is a small but very useful item to keep the rest of your beach hold-all from becoming soggy.  Etsy has a good selection and we love this Watermelon one by Blue Kangaroo Handmade.

And finally, here’s a checklist for less stress and mess all around!

  • Never let the kids wear socks and trainers to the beach – sliders or thongs only!
  • Don’t use a beach bag with too many pockets in it – big and open is so much easier and nothing gets hidden or lost within it.
  • Band aids are essential as someone always falls over in the rock pools!
  • Take plenty of water, snacks, cover-up clothing and sunscreen to hydrate, refuel and protect from sunburn


Tom & Teddy, Trym Lodge, 1 Henbury Road, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, BS9 3HQ


Tel: 0117 959 6440