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After what felt like a very long winter, my almost-3-year-old, Misha Moon, has zero interest in spending any time indoors. His go-to place is a sandy stretch where he can throw rocks in the waves, find seaweed to eat (it’s high in iodine, right?), and store incomprehensible amounts of sand in his swimsuit. So now that summer is almost officially here, I plan to squeeze in as many beach days with him as possible. And having the right gear—from hardwearing enamel dishes to a perfectly proportioned cooler to a game-changing sunshade—is key to having low-stress, high-rewards fun.

Snack in Style  

Small Enamel Dish, Toast ($27)

Unbreakable, colorful, and easy to clean—I’m a forever fan of classic enamelware, and these trays make picnic setup a breeze.

Fam Jam 

Wonderboom 2 Portable Wireless Bluetooth by Ultimate Ears ($82)

Sorry, beach blanket neighbors! Raffi is on the playlist. (Almost as indefatigable as a toddler, this waterproof speaker can go for 13 hours.)

Hang Ten

Desert Stool, Ferm Living ($169)

A cute foldable stool is handy when it’s time to dust sand off those wiggly toes.

On a Roll 

Seaesta Surf x Peanuts Checkerboard Boardshorts, Maisonette ($39 was $52)

Snoopy skateboarding is our family’s beach vibe and yet another example of needing kids’ clothes in my size.

Paddle Out

Trancoso Beach Bat Set, Frescobal Carioca ($260)

Lo-fi fun that doesn’t require a bunch of pieces to track down. (It’s a bit of a splurge, but flimsy plastic versions never last.)

Do the Wave

Out the Back Towel, Slowtide ($40)

I love this supersoft velour-terry combo in a pattern that’s forgiving of spills.

Cabana Cool

Coleman Beach Shade Shelter, Amazon ($52)

This do-it-all design complete with a dry line for hanging wet swimsuits lets you zip up the extended floor piece to create a fourth wall (the opposite mesh side can be a window/door or wall depending on if you want ventilation or privacy). And—presto!—you have a changing room, nap station, and all-around base camp.

Life Aquatic

Bonbo Kids Straw Cup, Kinto ($16)

Keep everyone hydrated during the afternoon, then store small shells and other collected treasures for the ride home.

Big(ish) Chill

Roadie 24 Hard Cooler, YETI ($199)

The taller size fits all your snack essentials but is slim enough to slip into that awkward space behind the driver and passenger seats.

Super Spoked

Little Tokyobike Bicycle, Tokyobike ($315)

Is there anything better than cruising along the boardwalk on an ice cream mission?

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