Remember when deciding to head to the beach for the day required little more than a blanket, some sunscreen, and some good music? Once there's a baby in the mix, an afternoon at the shore is still an option, it just requires a bit more planning! Before nixing the idea altogether, check out our nine baby beach bag essentials — blankets, towels, and umbrellas are still part of the plan, but here are a few other things that will make your experience one worth repeating throughout the Summer!
A Sturdy Beach Bag
It all starts with your beach bag. You'll want a sturdy one, because now that you have kids, you'll be toting more than you ever thought possible. Lands' End's canvas totes  have been hauling goods since 1977 — they can easily handle your load too!
It's not easy decoding the language on a tube of sunscreen . Given the FDA's soon-to-be-released regulations on sunscreen , beware of lotions containing the word "waterproof" and don't be swayed into buying a tube that boasts an SPF over 50. According to the FDA, neither is actually true. Most importantly, apply the sunscreen to your tot before you leave the house, and reapply often throughout the day.
The sun's rays not only affect our skin, but also our eyes. Packing a pair of tot-sized sunglasses  with UVA and UVB protection keeps lil peepers safe as they take in the beauty of the shore.
Several Bathing Suits
Nobody likes sitting around in a wet bathing suit, least of all kids, who can get rashes from the rubbing. Pack a few extra bathing suits (we're loving these new Snap Swimsuits  that make for easy changing), as well as some dry clothes that the lil ones can change into when they come out of the water for a stretch of time.
A Wet Bag
Keep dry clothes dry with a separate bag for wet clothes. Whether you care to invest in a dedicated wet bag  or just recycle an old grocery bag, maintaining a separation of the two will keep everyone happy at the end of the day!
Sand gets hot after baking in the sun all day. Protect lil toes from scorching sand with a pair of waterproof beach or sand shoes  that keep feet safe and covered throughout the day.
Toys (and More Toys)
A bucket and shovels  are a great start to a day at the beach, but there's so much more that can be played with in the sand. From plastic cars and trucks to make-believe cupcake kits, sand toys have come a long way. While you're at it, don't forget to add a beach ball and a kite to your bag — they collapse easily and can provide hours of fun while playing in the sun.
One of the best tricks another mama taught me: throw a small container of baby powder  into your bag and whip it out when it's time for a diaper change or when the family's cleaning up for the day. A quick sprinkle of the powder magically releases sand from the skin, keeping it on the beach rather than in the crevices of your lil one's rolls!
A day of sun, surf, and sand can wear a mama and her tots out at the end of the day. Putting the lil ones in their pajamas  for the ride home makes bedtime a breeze should they fall asleep along the way.