These Are the Summer Essentials 'Parents' Editors Can't Live Without for Trips to the Beach, Pool, and Park

Shop sun-protective clothes and blankets, a backpack cooler, an all-terrain wagon, and more beach gear at Amazon.

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summer essentials and beach gear
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The key to a successful beach trip or summer outing to the park, lake, or pool with the kids is the right gear. You'll need items that are not only practical and easy to carry, but that will also keep the little ones entertained and protected from the sun.

With those requirements in mind, Parents editors rounded up the summer essentials and beach gear they rely on to make their adventures safe, fun, and convenient. The best part: These editor-loved products are all available at Amazon.

Our top recommendations include an all-terrain wagon that can roll on the sand (even when loaded with kids, coolers, and toys), a picnic blanket the size of a queen bed, an umbrella that provides shade for the entire family, and a backpack cooler large enough to carry a day's worth of juices and snacks.

Our selection also includes our Editor-in-Chief Grace Bastidas' top picks for sun-safe apparel. "I like to maximize my time on the sand, so I make sure my kids are outfitted in sun-protective clothing and wearing sunscreen. That way I can relax knowing that they're shielded from harmful UV rays," she says. Her recommendations include an assortment of rashguards, hats, blankets, and full-body suits that offer UPF 50+ protection, which means that they block 98 percent of the sun's rays.

All these editor-approved summer essentials are available at Amazon. Most of them are eligible for free shipping and returns, but if you're a Prime member, you can take advantage of free two-day shipping and start enjoying your summer gear sooner. And if you're not a Prime member, you can always sign up for a free 30-day trial and have your order delivered in time for your big summer plans.

Here are the summer essentials and beach gear Parents editors will be taking on fun outings, beach trips, and picnic days this sunny season.

MacSports Heavy Duty Collapsible Wagon

summer essentials and beach gear

The one thing Associate Editorial Director Melissa Mills cannot live without during the summer is this heavy-duty collapsible wagon. "It's a summer go-to for our family and a must-have for our yearly vacay to Ocean City, Maryland. It's the only wagon that can carry everything we need for two little kids under 4 AND actually roll pretty easily on the sand," she says.

The MacSports wagon features all-terrain wheels, a powder-coated steel frame, and a durable polyester fabric shell. It is also quite roomy (32.5 x 17.5 x 10.5 inches) and has a maximum weight capacity of 150 pounds, so feel free to pile on the coolers, beach toys, chairs, and umbrellas.

To buy: MacSports Heavy Duty Collapsible Wagon, $129.99;

Sunday Afternoons Kids Play Hat

summer essentials and beach gear

Most parents diligently apply sunscreen to protect their kids's skin from the sun when visiting the pool or the beach, but often let their guard down in the park and the backyard. This is where a wide-brimmed hat with a neck cover comes in handy. Julia Dennison, senior editorial director, personally loves the Sunday Afternoon kids hat because "it actually stays on." When her daughter wears it, she has "full coverage of her neck as well as her face. It is the GOAT!" The hat is so popular, Dennison adds, that she "sees it all over the playground."

RELATED: The Best Sunscreens for Kids

The play hat is made of 100 percent nylon, which means it's water-repellent and stain-resistant. It also has two mesh side panels to keep your kid's head cool and a chinstrap closure to help it stay put. It's available in three sizes (small, medium, and large) and 16 colors and patterns.

To buy: Sunday Afternoons Kids Play Hat, from $22.95;

Babiators Original Baby, Toddler, and Kids Navigators

summer essentials and beach gear

There's nothing more adorable than a toddler in sunglasses at the beach, but the Babiators are more than just a cute accessory. Their non-polarized lenses provide 100 percent UVA and UVB protection, and because the frames are made of a BPA-free flexible rubberized plastic material, they won't shatter or break when bent or dropped.

"My 10-month-old tends to get fussy when the sun hits her eyes on our walks, but these help keep her calm and looking chic. And they actually stay on her face!" says Emily Rose, Parents VP and general manager.

The Babiators are available in one size (0-2Y) and nine fun colors, including black, orange, yellow, and turquoise.

To buy: Babiators Original Baby, Toddler, and Kids Navigators, from $20;

Kanu Surf Platinum Rash Guard

summer essentials and beach gear

If your kids are anything like mine, applying sunscreen before the pool is a battle. I often end up arguing and chasing children around the house with my hands covered in sunscreen while stating scientific facts about the risk of skin cancer. The only solution I've found is to limit sunscreen application to the face and ears and rely on long-sleeve rashguards to protect their upper bodies.

RELATED: These Bathing Suits Will Have Your Kids Begging to Hit the Water

Made with nylon and spandex, this Kanu Surf rashguard is as comfortable as it is practical. The breathable fabric is super lightweight, dries very quickly, and offers UPF 50+ protection. It is available in 10 colors and in sizes 2T through 16, so your entire crew can look stylish and be protected from the harmful effects of the sun.

To buy: Kanu Surf Platinum Rash Guard, from $15.33;

Bindle Vacuum Insulated Water Bottle

summer essentials and beach gear

Editor-in-Chief Bastidas' secret to relaxing and fun beach outings is "packing items that are easy to carry or serve double-duty," like this insulated water bottle with a hidden storage compartment.

The stainless steel Bindle water bottle can keep beverages hot or cold for up to 12 hours thanks to its double-wall insulation. The waterproof bottle also has a leak-proof cap, but its coolest feature is on the bottom, where another cap unscrews to reveal a secret storage compartment big enough for keys, cash, headphones, credit cards, jewelry, or an ID.

This genius flask is available in four sizes (13, 20, 24, and 32 ounces) and 10 cool colors, including glacier blue, lemonade yellow, and avocado green.

To buy: Bindle Vacuum Insulated Water Bottle, from $29.99;

SwimZip UPF 50+ Long Sleeve Sunsuit

summer essentials and beach gear

Onesie pajamas are beloved by parents because they are versatile and functional. That same concept guides the SwimZip long-sleeve sunsuit, a one-piece swimming romper designed to protect your baby from neck to toe. It also features a zipper along the entire length of the suit, so it's very easy to put on and take off (and diaper changes are a breeze).

RELATED: The 12 Best Maternity Swimsuits for Expecting Moms

The fabric used in this suit is chlorine- and salt-water-resistant and provides UPF 50+ protection. The SwimZip sunsuit comes in 19 colorful designs and is available in sizes from 0-6 months to 3-4T.

To buy: SwimZip UPF 50+ Long Sleeve Sunsuit, from $39.99;

Seehonor Insulated Cooler Backpack

summer essentials and beach gear

If you also have children asking for snacks and drinks at all hours of the day, especially during an outdoor adventure, the Seehonor insulated backpack can be a lifesaver. The lightweight cooler chills juice boxes, water bottles, and sandwiches while you venture out to the beach, park, or pool.

The Seehonor cooler backpack has a heavy-duty nylon exterior with thick foam insulation and a leak-proof lining on the inside. It is also surprisingly roomy, with one large compartment big enough to hold 25 canned drinks, plus two side pockets and a large front zipper pocket that's ideal for utensils and plates. And if you need to carry more stuff—like your kid's shoes or the teddy bear they absolutely needed to bring but can't hold anymore—it also has a bungee cord on the front and two hooks for additional attachments.

The padded shoulder straps are adjustable and quite comfortable, thanks to their ergonomic design. Our favorite color is orange, but the Seehonor cooler backpack is also available in black, blue, gray, pink, purple, and silver.

To buy: Seehonor Insulated Cooler Backpack, $28.50 with on-site coupon (originally $29.99);

UV SKINZ Bucket Hat

summer essentials and beach gear

UVSkinz was started by a mom of three who lost her 32-year-old husband to skin cancer and has since dedicated her life to creating sun-safe apparel and accessories for the entire family. Our favorite item in her collection is this reversible bucket hat, which is made from a quick-dry stretchy woven fabric that is chlorine- and salt-water-resistant and certified UPF 50+ by the Skin Cancer Foundation.

This cute bucket hat is orange on one side and royal blue on the other, so your little one can choose what color they wear before going out, and features an adjustable strap around the crown of the hat for a custom fit. It is available in sizes 2/3T through 6/8; reviewers say the hats run a bit small, so be sure to measure your child's head and follow the sizing chart in the Amazon product description before ordering.

To buy: UVSkinz Bucket Hat, $22.95;

Sport-Brella Premiere UPF 50+

summer essentials and beach gear

I love watching my kids run around the beach, but let's be honest, sitting under direct sunlight in the summer heat for hours is exhausting—not to mention awful for your skin. A few months ago, I found the perfect solution: the Sport-Brella Premiere UPF 50+.

RELATED: The 10 Best Beach Umbrellas for Families, According to Thousands of Customer Reviews

The opposite of the old bulky beach umbrella that falls over and breaks at the slightest sign of a breeze, the Sport-Brella's smart design includes an auger bit at the bottom and a twist handle to screw the pole securely into the ground. It also has side flaps and stakes for added stability and zippered windows that allow air to flow through. The 8-foot umbrella canopy creates enough shade for two adults in beach chairs and two kids on a towel to enjoy comfortably.

To buy: Sport-Brella Premiere UPF 50+, from $59.99;

Miu Color Picnic Blanket

summer essentials and beach gear

No summer outing would be complete without a good meal and snacks, so you'll need a nice, soft picnic blanket to serve it all on. We love the Miu Color blanket because it is very large (80 x 60 inches, about the size of a queen bed), meaning it can comfortably seat up to six adults around the picnic spread.

RELATED: 7 Products for the Perfect Picnic

The blanket features a waterproof and sandproof bottom layer, and because the top is made of polyester, it is very easy to clean—simply use a damp cloth when needed. Once you're done, the blanket folds neatly into a small package with a convenient handle for carrying.

The Miu Color picnic blanket is available in four designs: tropical leaves, navy plaid, pineapples, and a red, white, and blue striped pattern.

To buy: Miu Color Picnic Blanket, $19.54 (originally $29.99);

Coolibar UPF 50+ Savannah Sun Blanket

summer essentials and beach gear

Tired of the sun but not ready to go home yet? This sun blanket has you covered. Made with a proprietary blend of cotton, bamboo viscose, and spandex, the Coolibar sun blanket also incorporates zinc oxide right into the fabric. The result is a lightweight cover that provides UPF 50+ protection and keeps your kids cool under the sun.

The Coolibar Savannah blanket is about the size of a swaddle cloth (40 x 30 inches), so it works perfectly in strollers and when carrying your baby around out in the sun. I also use it to cover my legs when the mosquitoes get feisty by the pool, and it's great because it doesn't make me hot.

It's machine-washable—and the sun protection quality won't wear off because it is woven right into the fabric (unlike other products that just have a spray-on coating). The Coolibar sun blanket is available in 13 colors and designs.

To buy: Coolibar UPF 50+ Savannah Sun Blanket, $29;

Hog Wild Wingball Foam Ball

summer essentials and beach gear

Take your game of catch to a whole new level with the aerodynamic Wingball, a foam toy designed to fly farther and faster than any ball you've ever played with.

What makes this outdoor toy unique is its tubular design, which allows air to pass through and lift the ball as it flies, reaching speeds of up to 88 miles per hour, according to the manufacturer. The soft foam also makes it super easy to grip, and since it's so light (it only weighs 7 ounces), it's an easy toy for kids to carry out to the sand themselves.

To buy: Hog Wild Wingball Football-Like Foam Ball, $24.99;

Willow + Sim Silicone Beach Toys for Kids

summer essentials and beach gear

Sand toys and buckets are an integral part of a beach trip, but the bulky toys traditionally have hard plastic that often breaks. That's why these Willow + Sim beach toys are so genius: Made with flexible silicone, the bucket and toys fold down for traveling and won't crack easily. Rose bought them for her daughter and loves them because "they are lightweight, easy to rinse off, and an eco-friendly alternative to plastic beach toys."

The set includes a sand bucket, shovel, and four molds, and it's available in three colors: light gray, sand, and pink.

To buy: Willow + Sim Silicone Beach Toys for Kids, $30.95 (originally $34.96);

Sojos Round Polarized Sunglasses for Kids

summer essentials and beach gear

After months spent looking for the perfect pair of shades for her daughter, Dennison landed on the Sojos round polarized sunglasses. They are absolutely beautiful, of course, but what sealed the deal for her is that they block 100 percent of both UVA and UVB radiation.

The Sojos sunglasses are available in 13 colors and designs, including this pretty leopard print/green combination and a yellow/tortoise pattern. They come in one size only, which the manufacturer says fits the majority of children up to 6 years of age. But if you're not quite satisfied with the fit, this item qualifies for free returns via Amazon.

To buy: Sojos Round Polarized Sunglasses for Kids, from $13.99;

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