Must Have Pool Gear

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I am a beach girl. I can sit in the sand literally all day. My kids love the beach too, but we also spend a lot of summer days at the pool. Honestly, managing elementary age kids in a pool is often easier than keeping them safe on a large beach and in the ocean.

When we head to the beach, I have the packing down. If you missed it, read my beach essentials post here, everything you need to bring and great packing tips too! Today, I am going to share with you our must-haves for your day out at the local pool!

All the gear you need for a great pool day #pool #family #travel

Pool Necessities

We don’t have a pool at our house, but during the summer months we visit our local town pool, the pool in my parents’ gated community and will often be invited to friends houses to cool off. We might head to the pool for just an hour or two to swim and beat the heat, or we might bring a picnic lunch and spend the whole day.

Anyone else have trouble getting their kids out of the pool? Mine never want to leave!

Pool (& Beach) Bag. After publishing my beach essentials post I realized I never wrote about our awesome pool/beach bag. And several readers asked about this as well!

Three years ago I bought the largest bag L.L. Bean offers! It’s personalized with our last name, and it’s a great tote for a family of four. Click here to order the Boat and Tote, Open Top, size Extra large.

I love this tote because there are a ton of inner pockets to keep our stuff organized. It’s also soft and malleable, so it can fit in our beach cart. When heading to the pool we will fill this with towels, extra sunscreen and all our pool stuff!

We keep this bag in our garage, pre-packed with sunscreen, hats, sunglasses and plastic bags. Anything we might need for beach or pool. We then have our bucket of pool toys on the shelf next to it, and all of our sand stuff. That way we can swap out what we need each day!

All the gear you need for a great pool day #pool #family #travel


Swim float. When little man was 2 we went to Puerto Rico and I bought him this swim vest. He first had a medium size (age 2-4 years) and then graduated to a larger size (age 4-6), and both have since been passed on to baby girl. She still wears the green one when she wants to swim in deep water, or if the whole pool (like in Atlantic City) is over her little head!

Both sizes of these vests held up for multiple summers. If your child is younger, like 2 or 3, you might need to also use arm floats to keep the child upright in the water. For the last few summers baby girl has just used the vest.

All the gear you need for a great pool day #pool #family #travel

I highly recommend this vest because it is durable, does the job and dries quickly. It’s flat and easy to pack in your big tote, or in a suitcase for vacation!


Dive Sticks. These dive sticks can keep my kids entertained all day. Little man is a very good swimmer and loves tossing these even into the deep end. Baby girl is just learning how to swim and will play with these on the pool stairs or in the kiddie pool!


Goggles. My kids are obsessed with goggles. These ones are really the best. We always have them with us when we go to the pool and I even have several spares for camp and travel.

All the gear you need for a great pool day #pool #family #travel


My Little Ponies. I don’t know how this came to be, but My Little Ponies have become baby girl’s favorite pool (and bath) toys. If your little one likes playing with little figures, these are great because they are small and easy to carry, but not too small that they will get lost in the pool. They are also easy to clean.


Basketball float. We bought this last year and needless to say, little man has spent many, many hours playing with this. He will play solo, with his dad, or me or what often happens is kids gravitate towards a toy like this and start playing together. This is easy to blow up and will provide hours of entertainment! This is also easy to pack for vacation because you can blow it up yourself, no pump needed!

All the gear you need for a great pool day #pool #family #travel


Water ball. This is little man’s other favorite pool toy. Hubby and him can spend hours throwing this ball back and forth! PRO-TIP: Parents don’t even have to be in the water with the kids, you can toss this from the lounge chair! This ball was designed for the water so that your smaller, soft, cloth balls do not get ruined!


PRO-TIP: keep your pool toys and goggles in a beach bucket ready to grab and go!


If you are visiting a public pool, be sure to check the rules about certain toys, floats and swim vests. Every place seems to have their own rules on what is allowed! But the more of these you have with you, the happier your kids will be. And the longer you might get to sit and relax!

All the gear you need for a great pool day #pool #family #travel
All I need for the pool!

What are your family’s pool necessities?



Other awesome beach/pool posts:

Beach Essentials

Best Big Island Beaches

Naples Must-Do Activities

48 Hours In… Atlantic City



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  1. Liz

    We visit the pool often, since my girls swim on the local swim team. I think you have everything covered! We have multiple pairs of googles, because my kids are obsessed with them too!

  2. These are GREAT tips! We have a summer pool pass, so this will be handy to keep in the garage with our pool bag.

    I need to get sunscreen for every car, too…because it seems like we grab it out of the bag for the park or a playdate and then don’t have it at the pool!

  3. I have a great bag about the same size as the LLBean bag that I bought at Marshalls last year that is waterproof and has an attached bag for wet items. I keep it stocked for pool and then add the Ikea bag for the beach with the sand toys! Great to keep it all stocked and clean so that we can go to the pool or beach at a moment’s notice! My daughter loves that yours brings ponies 🙂 We’ll have to bring some to the beach this summer! Can’t wait!


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