Lauren Kay Soufleris, the Executive Editor of The Bump and The Knot, might live on the Upper East Side of Manhattan now, but she grew up in Windermere, Florida, where she mastered packing a beach bag, which she now preps for her family—husband Adam, Eleanor (5), and George (8).
“Our family usually spends a month in the summer back in my hometown and a couple of weeks over the course of the year for school breaks. Having a beach bag packed and ready is key,” says Lauren. She starts with the basics: “As a kid, my Mom carried the usual suspects like sunscreen, goggles, pool toys and snacks. We always had Pringles at the beach so now it’s a requisite snack for my kids, too.”
Here’s what else she packs for a day at the beach or pool, from sunscreen faves to mom essentials.
“I am a sunscreen fanatic after living in Florida for twenty years (I also married a redhead and my son is his twin!). I’m a big fan of SunBum for my kids. They love rolling it on themselves and their new clear sunscreen is awesome for all skin tones. It also just smells like summer! I swear by ISIN for my face (everyday, even in winter) and always reach for something 50 SPF or more for my body too. I love a little glow, but prefer to fake it and save my skin.”
Sunglasses for Parents & Kids
“Much like sunscreen, I am never without sunglasses. My son has blue eyes and is super sensitive to the sun. We love Rheos glasses for the kids—they float, are durable and fit well.”
Goggles the Kids Will Actually Wear
Finding goggles that my kids will wear is huge—if they don’t fit or don’t keep water out my kids go without and have burning eyes at the end of a pool day. My daughter loves Bling20, and frankly, I do too. They are so cute and best of all they clip in the back, so no sliding over the head and pulling her hair. My son is a big fan of these.
Toys for Playing in the Pool
“I find that I have a better time at the pool and beach when my kids are adequately entertained. I love diving toys. I found these eggs which brought me back to my youth! Skip balls are so fun—my son is a super fan. My daughter has a whole collection of mermaid Barbies big and small that come everywhere with us. If you own the pool, these reusable water balloons have been a hit with my kids!”
Toys for Playing in Sand
“As for sand toys, I love a collapsible bucket for convenience. We’ve had this set for years and my kids love it for building sand castles. Pro tip: this sand brush is a lifesaver when you can’t rinse off! If we’re headed to the beach, I always back a shell bag. Both of my kids love to look for shells and shark teeth and other ocean treasures. These bags are perfect sized for kiddos and easy to pack and they leave the sand at the beach!”
“My kids are excellent swimmers, but I find it hard to relax when we’re by a body of water. If I head to the pool or beach without them (or Dad has it covered) I love to read. Anything by Emily Henry is a beach-win for me. Needlepointing is a hobby I revived during the pandemic—it’s incredibly relaxing and I can talk or scan the pool while doing it. I have a few favorite shops that stock incredible canvases and accessories. Lastly, I always wear a hat. I’m a bit obsessed with sun protection. I love my Monogram Mary hat, especially for the boat, because it has a super secure chin strap.”
Lauren has a few beach bags she pulls out depending on where we are headed. These include:
BEACH: I am a big fan of Squeeze De Citron bags, especially for the beach. They can be completely hosed down and are wildly durable. They come in a variety of sizes and such fun colorways (don’t forget the pom-pom). I just ordered my 5 year old a mini version for her sunglasses and pool Barbies.
POOL: When I’m headed to a hotel pool or the spa sans kids, I love the Brooke Fringe Bag from Monogram Mary (shown above!). It’s so chic and holds the perfect amount.
LAKE: I grew up with a lake in my backyard—my kids now get to experience it too. When we’re packing up for a day on the boat, I reach for my Steele tote. It’s waterproof and holds everything from towels to sunscreen.
Finally, I am a fanatic about being able to find things in my bag, so I use smaller bags to organize everything. These are a few of my favorites for everything from goggles to sunscreen. I also ALWAYS carry a wet bag so if the kids want to get out of their suits, everything else doesn’t get soaked.