Whether your travels take you to the beach, the park or even a friend’s backyard, there’s one thing you’ll want to bring in tow if you have a little one: a playpen. While we don’t want to put our kids in “baby jail,” there are times when we just need to contain them, which is when a playpen — or playard — is the perfect solution.
Of course, a travel crib can typically serve this purpose, but traditionally, playpens are roomier. There’s also a good chance that you don’t want to put your child’s bed for the night in the sand or the dirt outside.
Fortunately, playpens have come a long way. Instead of the big and bulky plastic playpens of decades past, you can now find ones that travel significantly lighter, pop up within seconds and offer plenty of shade. There are many playpen options for your on-the-go needs — here are 11 of our favorites for your next vacation.
$195.99 at Target
Although this playard is built for babies — those weighing less than 13 pounds or until they can sit up on their own — it’s one of the few playards that is also certified for safe overnight sleeping. You can also purchase a separate UV 50+ sunshade and mosquito net bundle, which is ideal for the outdoors.
$129.99 $90.49 at Amazon
For some downtime, a dedicated pocket inside offers touchscreen capability, so you can give your child a device and keep them entertained while also keeping the device safe from sand, dirt and water. We like this option for traveling families because the frame comes fully assembled and can be folded or unfolded in seconds. Plus, take it from the car to the campsite easily with the included travel bag, which also features a convenient shoulder strap.
$69.99 $59.49 at Amazon
The frame itself is sturdy while also being extremely easy to set up. The frame comes fully assembled, so you can quickly unpack and unfold it so it’s ready for use. When it comes to taking this playard on the go, you can utilize the included travel bag, which features a shoulder strap for easy carrying.
$199.99 $149.99 at Amazon
The mesh netting on the side allows for maximum ventilation, and the UV shade cover blocks the sun with its SPF 50 protection. And after spending the day outside, you can easily wipe off any dirt and sand. At just over 7 pounds and offering a compact fold into the included travel bag, this is an incredibly easy playpen to bring with you on all your travels.
$109.99 at Amazon
The front of the playpen also includes a zippered door, which allows for your child to come in and out on their own. This will give your child some independence without the parent having to constantly bend over to get their child in and out. Plus, we like that this option is machine-washable, so you don’t have to worry about it getting dirty during any outside adventures.
$169.97 at Amazon
Although this version is about $60 more expensive than the basic version, if you plan on bringing the playard to the beach or park, this extra feature might be a necessity. And, to make this a solid option for every trip, you can transport it in the included travel bag with convenient shoulder strap.
$89.99 $65 at Amazon
$131 at Amazon
On top of the canopy benefit, the Deluxe version also features a padded floor and a removable touchscreen-enabled entertainment pouch. Although slightly more expensive than the basic version, the added benefits might be well worth it. At the same time, this design retains its travel friendliness, thanks to an easy-to-fold design and included travel bag for easy transport.
$119.99 $83.99 at Amazon
The playard offers a nylon floor, allowing you to easily wipe up any mess. Or, since the walls and floors are fully removable, the machine-washable fabric can be thrown into the laundry. There’s also an attached storage pocket and a travel bag for easy portability. The playard is made for children aged 6 to 24 months and up to 35 inches tall.
$99.95 at Target
The included side sun shades provide 50% UV protection, but they can also roll up three-fourths of the way with a magnet closure. Inside the tent, there are also three storage pockets to keep your child’s toys and activities safe and clean. There’s also an included sleeping pad to keep your child more comfortable.
$184 at Amazon
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