4 Beach Essentials for Toddlers

Towels? Check. Umbrellas? Check. Sunscreen? Triple-check. You’ve got all the adult beach essentials ready to go. But what about your little swimmer-in-training?

Pull out the packing list—we’ve got your family beach day needs covered.

From sunshine to wet waves, your child’s wardrobe will need to brave the elements on the shore. That’s why we’ve assembled the top beach must haves for toddlers. With our kid-friendly guide, family beach day will stay fun and stress-free from sun-up to sun-down.

#1: UPF Swimwear

Of course, swimwear is one of the top beach essentials for toddlers and adults—but our UPF baby girl swimwear isn’t your average one-piece.

What SPF is to sunscreen, UPF (or Ultraviolet Protection Factor) is to clothing. If you are wondering, “What is UPF clothing,” UPF measures the percentage of sun rays that any fabric blocks. The higher the UPF, the more UV light stays off your little splasher’s skin beneath their clothes.

You might think—doesn’t all clothing block sunlight? As it turns out, average shirts have microscopic holes that still let sun exposure in. Depending on the thickness, weave, color, and fabric used in production, clothing ranges across the UPF spectrum with measurements like:

  • UPF 5 – This tends to be your typical t-shirt’s rating. At UPF 5, clothing blocks just 80% of UV rays (definitely not enough for sunny beach days). The darker, thinner, and more loose the fabric, the closer it falls to UPF 5.
  • UPF 30 – Blocking 97% of UV rays, UPF 30 is the minimum rating recommended for sunny outdoor activity. In fact, the Skin Cancer Foundation only gives its Seal of Recommendation to clothing with this rating or higher.
  • UPF 50+ – At RuffleButts, we choose the strongest UPF 50+ rating for our swimwear (any higher has little added protection). UPF 50+ clothing blocks 98% of UV rays or more. Translation? Protection from sun exposure for your little one and peace of mind for you.

What's the difference between UPF and SPF? For kids, sunscreen can get a little tricky.

Chemical formulas, reapplication, and partial-UV blockage all make sunscreen a less stable form of sun protection (and unsafe for babies). On the other hand, UPF swimsuits are the perfect summer baby essentials and offer sun protection that’s:

  • Chemical-free
  • Permanent when worn
  • Time savvy (no reapplication needed)
  • Waterproof
  • Broad-spectrum (blocks UVA and UVB rays)

When they’re splashing in the waves, a UPF 50+ baby girls or boys bathing suit with adorable designs will keep them safe and stylish.

#2: Protective Hats & Headwear

Between the sunshine and the ocean breeze, your little one’s head needs some protection on the beach. Keep that noggin shaded and secure with the proper headwear.

Over a long beach vacation, these toddler beach essentials can shield your child’s face, neck, and crown. Try out some of these cute accessories for all-day protection:

  • Hats – Curious about how to keep baby cool in hot weather? A wide brim, floppy sun hat will keep the sun and wind off your baby’s face. For ensured protection, try a sun hat with tie-strings. Plus, our baby girl tie hats are made with UPF 50+ fabric, blocking sun rays from hitting the top of their head.
  • Headbands – Adorable and practical, headbands add that extra pop of style to any beach-going look. Avoid hair snags and headaches with stretchy designs that keep every strand in place.
  • Scrunchies – For little girls and boys with flowing locks, a scrunchie keeps the knots at bay. Slip on an oh-so-soft scrunchie to protect that beautiful hair.

#3: Sunglasses

Protective eyewear is a beach essential for all ages. Like with skin, UV rays can actually cause immediate and long-term sun damage to the eyes. Protect those peepers with UV-blocking sunglasses fit for kids. Our baby girl sunglasses feature stylish designs for toddler-size heads.

The best part? They come with certified full-spectrum UV ray protection.

#4: Cover-ups & Sets

For the car ride up there (and for the post-swim snacks), they’ll need something besides their wet clothes to stay dry and warm. A water-friendly and absorbent cover-up is the way to go.

From robes to long sleeve shirts, there’s a cover-up to fit every small swimmer. Look for designs that are:

  • Water absorbent – Unlike swimsuits, cover-ups should wick away any leftover water droplets—not repel them. Our cover-ups use soft cotton and polyester for the perfect blend of absorbency and stretch similar to that of a beach towel.
  • Machine washable – After a beach trip, there’s always some sand to wash off. Make the next laundry day easy with machine-washable cover-ups.
  • Stylish – Even your baby deserves to look their best on a beach vacation. Cute designs like rainbow stripes, tassels, and tunic embroidery turn the shoreline into a runway.

Breezy Beach Days with RuffleButts

You and your little swimmer deserve a carefree beach trip. It all starts with bringing the toddler beach essentials—and there’s no better place to begin packing than at Ruffle Butts.

From UPF baby girl swimsuits to boys rash guard to sunglasses, our designs combine quality protection with adorable looks. The result? A hassle-free beach day and a picture-worthy moment. Beyond the beach necessities for toddlers, RuffleButts also has the everyday clothing essentials you need— featuring everything from rompers and tops to sweaters and jackets.

Shop RuffleButts today to build their comfiest and cutest wardrobe yet.

Wondering what activities that your whole family can enjoy on your beach trip? Read on our blog about creative & fun summer activities for kids today!


FDA. Should You Put Sunscreen on Infants? Not Usually. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/should-you-put-sunscreen-infants-not-usually

Hopkins Medicine. How to Protect Your Eyes from UV Damage. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/articles/how-to-protect-your-eyes-from-uv-damage

Skin Cancer Foundation. Sun Protective Clothing. https://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-prevention/sun-protection/sun-protective-clothing/