Beach Vacation Packing List + Printable Checklist

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Sam under a palm tree on a sandy beach holding a coconut drink.
girl standing on rocks overlooking the blue ocean.

Who doesn’t love a solid beach day with warm weather toasting your skin and refreshing salt water lapping at your feet? While I am not an avid sunbather, I love a beach day or better yet a beach vacation.

You can find me walking along the sandy shores of my home state of Florida, especially during the winter when the weather is cooler and the crowds are fewer. Some of my favorite Florida beaches are in Naples, Florida. There are a lot of beach options on Florida’s west coast offering beautiful sunsets, nature reserves, and heaps of shelling, but no matter where your next beach trip takes you, you need to be prepared with the best beach gear and the perfect beach packing list.

Click here for a printable beach vacation packing list

Whether it is a family beach trip or a relaxing solo getaway, it is important to bring the must-have essentials with you to make sure you enjoy your time at the beach. 

Beach essentials may vary from person to person or family to family, but here is a thorough list of all the best beach items you do not want to forget! 

Packing List For A Day At the Beach

While some items are self-explanatory, I’ve added a few notes and affiliate links to some of my favorite products. Any product I recommend is one I have personally used and loved!

Beach Gear

Beach Bag- I love a tote with a zipper that is big enough for a towel and smaller beach necessities like sunglasses and sunscreen. These splash-proof bags from Aloha Hawaii are fantastic and come in a lot of great prints and sizes. Bring a bag with a zip to help keep sand out.

Beach Towels- There are a lot of different beach towel options these days. Not only are there XXL size towels that absorb water well, there are also sand-free towels made for a picnic at the beach. My mom gifted me a Tesalate Towel and I was impressed with how well it worked! Their innovative beach towels are meant to be sand-free and quick-drying. 

Beach Chairs– There are so many varieties of beach chairs these days. Some with built in umbrellas and drink holders. Choose a comfortable chair that is breathable and easy to carry!

Towel Clip- A great invention to secure a beach towel to your beach chair if you are like me and do not like your wet or sweaty skin to stick to your beach chair.

Cooler with snacks and cold water- I use ice packs as they are so much easier to deal with than melting ice! A cooler with wheels or a backpack cooler is ideal for the beach for easy transportation. I love the Icemule Coolers for all of my solo trips. They offer a few different sizes that are perfect for solo trips or groups. 

Sand toys and beach games– Don’t forget these! From building sand castles to spike ball- games and water activities are the best way to stay entertained on the beach. 

Mesh bag for shell collecting– a mesh bag that can easily be rinsed is the best option for shell collecting. It makes it easy to rinse the sand off before storing them in your car.

Sun Protection

Sunscreen- Reef-safe sunscreen is a great option if you are a sea swimmer. I love the Supergoop! Glow screen and unseen sunscreen. Don’t forget to lotion up the top of your feet!

Sunglasses- I designate sunglasses for the beach that I do not mind getting a little roughed up. My beach glasses are a bit more durable than other fashion glasses and have polorized lenses.

Beach Tent – I’ve seen more and more of these on the beach. It’s a great solution to shade, especially for little ones, and sounds a lot easier to secure than a beach umbrella. 

Beach Umbrella – Another option for shade. Make sure to bring a small shovel to help dig a hole so it can fit securely in the sand. 

Sun hat or baseball cap- I love a wide-brimmed hat and have obtained quite a collection over the years. For the beach, bring a hat that will keep its shape even if it gets wet. 

SPF Lip balm- Another important thing to bring to stay protected from the sun.

What to Wear

Bathing Suit & cover up– A must for a beach day! You may want to bring multiple so you have a dry suit option, just in case.

Rash guard– Great for going in the water. If it is a hot day with extra rays reflecting off the water, a rash guard is the best way to keep you protected. 

Water shoes– Fantastic for shelling or going in the ocean when you can’t see to the bottom.

Flip flops (that can get wet)- This makes it super easy to rinse your sandy feet off before jumping in the car to head home.

Swim Diaper– For little ones to make the big one’s life much easier.

Extras

The following items are just a few more things that will make your day at the beach much easier!

Dry bag- The best thing for safely storing a phone or camera. While the Aloha bags are not 100% waterproof they are a great option for storing items you do not want to get wet.  

Portable fan to keep you cool. There are many that hook up to a cell phone and are battery-operated. Check to see how long the battery will last. I have one that only lasts two hours but when used sparingly, its very helpful when needing to cool down on hot beach days.

Portable speakers- This may be a touchy one as some people do not want to enjoy other people’s music, but a little background music, when done respectfully, is a great addition to a beach day.

A Bag for wet bathing suits- Aloha pouches are great for this, too!

A change of clothes for the ride back home. 

Plastic bags for trash- Make sure to pack it all out! Never leave trash on the beach.

First Aid Kit– you never know when you’ll need one, so it is always a great idea to have one!

Packing List For A Beach Vacation

For an overnight trip you will need some clothing, personal items and typical overnight gear like toothbrush, toothpaste and face wash to make your beach vacation the best it can be. If flying, you will have to forgo some of the essential items on the day trip packing list, such as an umbrella and beach chairs. Most beach destinations have bulkier items like coolers, umbrellas and chairs to borrow or rent. Make sure to call ahead and ask your accommodation what beach gear is available to know what to bring for your beach trip. 

In addition to bringing all the basic carry-on essentials, don’t forget to pack these key items for your beach vacation.

Aloe Vera

For a week-long trip, make sure to bring some aloe vera just in case the sun gets too intense. Aloe is the best thing to help cool and soothe a sunburn, providing much-needed relief from hot and itchy skin.

Clothing + Shoes + Accessories

For clothing, stick to lightweight fabrics, light colors, and loose-fitting styles to stay comfortable in warm weather and give off a casual beach style. Bring a pair of sandals to match along with extra bathing suits, a lightweight jacket, socks (if needed), and undergarments. Tennis shoes for a run on the beach and accessories to polish off an evening outfit should be added sparingly to your beach vacation packing list.

Multiple Swim Suits

No one likes to struggle into a wet bathing suit- bring multiple options for optimal comfort!

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Hopefully, this post and these packing checklists will help you better prepare for your next beach destination! Don’t forget your free printable packing list- you can download it by clicking the button above. 

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Sam wearing backpack and hat walking through town.

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