For the past couple of years, my husband and I have made an annual summer trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina - one of our favorite places to relax and (semi) check-out. To say we're ecstatic to bring our daughter on her first beach vacation next month would be a total understatement! However, bringing my 10 month old to the beach initially sounded like an extremely daunting task. To help better prepare for those long, summer days by the sea, I've gathered a list of nine essentials to keep baby safe and happy.

Beach Essentials for Baby

UV Protective Swimwear. We just purchased this suit by SwimZip and it is ah-mazing. In fact, the entire line is pure genius. UPF50+ swimwear that is easy to wrangle on a baby or toddler in a quick zip, sign me up! They have the cutest prints and provide swim options for all ages and sizes.

Sunhat. It's hard to top a baby in a sun hat at the beach. With a wide brim, you can be sure to keep most of the sun off your little one's face. We love this natural straw and this all white from Gap, and this chambray one from Old Navy.

Waterproof Sandals. Salt Water brand sandals are one of my absolute favorite essentials for baby. Ours were a hand-me-down from my sister, which were worn by my nieces during our beach wedding on the sand. They are extremely durable, versatile, and made from fine quality leather to outlast the sand and salt water associated with trips to the beach. We also love our Native shoes, which are waterproof and vegan-approved!

Sunscreen. Sunscreen for your baby is a no brainer and my most important essential on this list. We've been very pleased with the entire Babyganics line in our household (we love their laundry detergent, foaming dish soap, toy & highchair wipes, and cold relief stick) so naturally we also purchased their mineral-based sunscreen. I've also read great reviews on Badger Balm and Think Baby.

Portable Playard with Sun Shade. We recently purchased this portable crib/playard by Guava Family (as we outgrew our beloved Nuna Sena Mini) and have nothing but incredible things to say about it. The crib is super lightweight, easy to transport with backpack strap, and folds down in a snap. The best feature is the zip side door for easy access to place a sleeping baby down for a nap, or when mom wants to lay down with little one for bonding time. A huge selling point for us was the compatible sun shade, which is UPF50+ to provide maximum protection from the sun and comes in five great colors.

Roundie Towel. I have been a huge fan of The Beach People and when I saw they recently released their ever-so-popular roundie towel in a petite version, I was all over it. SwimZip also makes a roundie towel and I love this world print.

Swim Diaper. For those avid swimmers, an eco-friendly alternative to disposable diapers is the reusable swim diaper. The Honest Company makes swim diapers with adorable prints and ensure a full, snug coverage to avoid any unexpected messes (or sand in the diaper). We have this one by i play.; a minimal choice for baby to wear underneath their swimsuit.

Sand Play Set. The sand play set by Green Toys is one of the cutest, simplest ways to entertain your little ones at the beach, all while leaving a small footprint - all of Green Toys' products are made from 100% recycled plastic and made in the USA!

All-in-One Storage Bag. I recently discovered the Beachmate bag, your all-in-one storage system for beach essentials. It was designed with the busy family in mind, featuring a cooler for food and drinks, pockets for change of clothes (as well as those wet clothes), diapers and wipes, and velcro straps to attach towels or an umbrella. Best part, the bag is lightweight and includes stackable buckets that can transform into a seat for baby, a tray for lunch time, or playtime in the sand with the included shovels that attach to the bottom of the bag.