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2023 Summer Essentials list for Families

Are you headed on a road trip this summer? How about camping with kids? I have put together a list of some must haves for summer, as well as some unique ideas to make the most of your summer vacation with kids! While some of these are tried and true favorites, I hope some of these summer essentials will be new to you!

Summer Must-Haves for the Park, BBQ, Camping, the Lake, the Beach and Family Vacations

10 Summer Essentials for Families

Folding Wagon

Whether are hitting the beach with your kids, off to a summer BBQ at the park, camping for the weekend or off on a road trip, I love having a foldable wagon in the back of my car. With a 5 and 3 year old, as much as they often want to help, it is when my arms are full that they do not seem so eager! With a folding wagon, they can run on ahead without leaving me to struggle with the beach umbrella, cooler and snacks!

Click here for a super popular folding wagon


With so many options out there is is hard to choose which cooler to bring on your trip. I have hard sided and soft sided ones. If you want to read about the benefits of Rotomolded coolers, click here.

Click here for our favorite cooler


While the boys are still a bit little, a slackline is great for older kids and adults for an afternoon BBQ. All you need is two trees and you can set up one of these in a park, at a campsite, or even in your backyard!

Summer Essentials Beach Camping BBQ Park Road Trips

Mono Fin

Does this not sound fun or what? Who does not want to be a mermaid in their backyard pool, or at the lake this summer? Where were these when I was little? Grab one of these Mermaid Mono Fins for your little swimmer (or for yourself, you KNOW you always wanted to be a mermaid right!)

Mermaid tails are one of our summer essentials for families.

Sand Digger

I cannot wait for this to arrive. I got this for the kids this summer for our beach trips! And if you have a sand box at home, even BETTER! I have a feeling that there will be a few fights over this Super Sand Digger this summer!

Portable Speaker

I don’t know about you, but I have one of these and always forget to pack it! If you do not have a portable speaker yet, grab one here from Amazon before you hit the park for an evening BBQ! The photo below is the Amazon Dot, you can click on the image to see the latest price on Amazon.


If you have been anywhere near the water, you have seen the Stand Up PaddleBoard craze! And the best part, some styles are INFLATABLE! No need for a roof rack, or to have a pick up truck, they come with a pump, paddle and accessories to give you a paddle out on the lake this summer! If your kids have grown, do not forget the next size up life jacket so they can join in on the fun!


The last few summers have seen paddleboards surge in popularilty. If you do not buy them in the spring, they are often sold out online. We use ours every chance we get! Click here to see one similar to ours!

One of our summer essentials is our paddleboard.

Bike Hitch

Yea, they seem like a pain, but you know what is worse, when you kids want to bring their bikes camping and you try and pack AROUND a bike! Its is a worthwhile investment to get a bike hitch for your vehicle if you have kids and are planning on camping or summer road trips this summer! There are tons of options and once you have one, you will thank me when the packing starts!


Have you ever gone camping and forgotten the BBQ tools? You are not alone! These ones are available on Amazon and come with a handy case! Then you do not have to remember to grab the tools from your patio BBQ when you pack for your camping trip!


Time to relax with a book at the campsite? Or want to keep the kids entertained? Grab a hammock on amazon before you go out camping, or to the park for an evening BBQ. Guaranteed relaxation awaits! Now don’t forget the book!


These Innobaby Snack Containers are one of my favourite items for my kids. We take them on Airplanes, Road Trips and almost anywhere. They fit into a water bottle holder on the side of my bag and offer a variety of snack options for the kids who does not know what they want. For babies, they are great for puffs or formula, for toddlers and preschoolers a variety of fishy crackers, raisins and a treat, make for a quiet road trip! If you want more snack ideas for toddlers, click here.

Related: I am sure you have taken a ton of photos, check out these quotes about traveling with family and vacation Instagram captions for the best words to put with your travel memories when you share them!

There you have it. Something for everyone to take advantage of summer! Are you headed out on a summer road trip, camping or just hitting the beach or the park on the weekends? I love to hear where everyone is headed!

Summer Must-Haves for the Beach, Camping, BBQ and Family Fun

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