A Minimalist Beach Packing List for Your Vacation

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Ahh…a minimalist beach packing list…

Oftentimes, we want to pack light and simple and perhaps a bit more like a minimalist. I get it, some people would rather go to the beach with just a beach towel! That’s amazing!

While others would rather carry a whole lot more. I sometimes find myself doing both. Some days you want to pack light, and other days you want to bring just a little bit more.

Of course, minimalism means something different to everyone.

Try new things and see what works. This is something you may want to try and then adjust to your OWN personal preferences.

In addition, this guide is more than a beach towel and a couple of essentials for those on the go!

Forget carrying so much and forget the beach wagon, this is what I take when I want a sweet simple beach trip for a couple of hours. Read on.

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What’s Essential for a Minimalist Beach Vacation?

For a minimalist beach vacation, the idea is to focus on simplicity and packing only the essentials. Here’s a list of items that you should consider bringing:

  1. Swimwear: Pack two or three sets of swimwear for beach activities.
  2. Lightweight Clothing: Opt for lightweight and breathable clothing like shorts, tank tops, and sundresses.
  3. Sunscreen: Protect your skin from harmful UV rays with a high-SPF sunscreen.
  4. Sunglasses: Bring a pair of good-quality sunglasses to shield your eyes from the sun.
  5. Hat: A wide-brimmed hat is great for protecting your face and head from the sun.
  6. Beach Towel or Sarong: An oversized beach towel or sarong can double as a beach blanket.
  7. Sandals/Flip-flops: Choose comfortable and durable footwear for beach walking.
  8. Reusable Water Bottle: Stay hydrated by carrying a refillable water bottle.
  9. Minimal Toiletries: Keep toiletries to a minimum – toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, and soap.
  10. Beach Bag: Bring a lightweight and foldable beach bag to carry your essentials.
  11. Eco-friendly Beach Toys: If you’re traveling with kids, consider eco-friendly beach toys.
  12. Book or E-reader: Enjoy a good book or e-reader during relaxing beach moments.
  13. Camera or Smartphone: Capture the beautiful beach scenery and memories.
  14. Reusable Snacks: Pack some healthy snacks in reusable containers to avoid single-use plastics.
  15. Minimalist First Aid Kit: Include essentials like band-aids and antiseptic cream.
  16. Cash and ID: Carry some cash and your identification for emergencies or local purchases.
  17. Beach Umbrella (optional) I really like this beach umbrella! These have become so popular and you can use it for camping and even the park!
  18. Beach Cooler (optional)

Remember, the goal is to pack light and focus on the experience rather than being burdened with unnecessary items. Enjoy the beach, sun, and simplicity!

Finding the essential beach packing items to the beach can be tricky. Yes, you probably can bring just yourself and nothing else. That would be a minimalist approach. 

However, I find that if I bring just a couple of essential things with me, it makes all the difference. At the same, I make sure not to overload those simple days.

What to Bring for a Weekend Beach Trip

Going on a weekend beach trip is a lot easier to pack than going for a week-long vacation. Going on that weekend beach trip is often only 1-2 days and involves a lighter load.

Here is a list to guide you on what to bring on a weekend beach trip as a minimalist.

Remember to think about your essentials: Food, Shelter, Warmth.

A quick simple list of what to pack for the weekend beach trip

Food: You can’t live without water or food, well food maybe, but we’re not talking man vs wild here. Bring enough food to cover the weekend beach trip. I find that packing wholesome foods is your best bet to keep you feeling full longer.

Water: It is a must! By bringing a larger reusable water bottle or gallon you can make sure that it will last you throughout the day. 

Shelter: Beach umbrella for protection; this will help protect you from those harsh sun rays. Some beaches rent beach umbrellas.

Beach Blanket: Also considered shelter in a way, it protects you from the sand.

Your Essentials (i.e. your sunscreen, sunglasses, and hat); if you’re by yourself then maybe a nice book to read may do…if you have kids then maybe their favorite toy, but you don’t have to overdo it.

You will be surprised how kids can be entertained with a bucket and a small shovel!

What to Pack For Food

Here’s a quick and simple list of food and snacks to pack for a beach trip:

  1. Sandwiches or Wraps: Pre-made sandwiches or wraps are easy to eat on the beach and don’t require utensils.
  2. Fruits: Grab some fresh fruits like apples, grapes, and berries, or easy-to-peel options like bananas and oranges.
  3. Cut Vegetables: Carrot sticks, cucumber slices, or bell pepper strips make for refreshing and healthy snacks.
  4. Trail Mix: A mix of nuts, dried fruits, and seeds for a quick energy boost.
  5. Granola or Energy Bars: These are convenient for snacking and can keep you full between meals.
  6. Chips or Pretzels: Opt for small bags to avoid overeating.
  7. Cheese Sticks: Easy to carry and a good source of protein.
  8. Yogurt Cups: Portable and delicious, just make sure to bring a cooler if it’s hot outside.
  9. Hummus or Guacamole: Pack with some pita chips or veggie sticks for dipping.
  10. Bottled Water or Drinks: Stay hydrated with plenty of water or bring your favorite beverages.
  11. Freezable Snacks: Freeze some grapes or yogurt tubes for a refreshing treat.
  12. Pre-cut Cheese and Crackers: Easy and no-fuss snack option.
  13. Chilled Fruit Cups: Pre-cut and ready to eat.
  14. Simple Salad: Prepare a light and refreshing salad in a container with a lid.
  15. Chocolate or Energy Bites: Satisfy your sweet tooth with a small treat.

Remember to consider any dietary preferences or restrictions when packing snacks, and try to keep them simple and easy to carry to maximize your beach enjoyment!

How to pack for your Minimalist Vacation to the Beach

Packing like a minimalist for a week or even shorter requires just a bit of flexibility and thinking. One of the things we often think about when we pack is how much to bring and why.

We sometimes think we need a lot more things but in reality, we only need the basic essentials in order to survive.

As a quick story, I once studied abroad in Spain in my undergrad years and all I took with me for one semester was 1 suitcase the size of a carry-on. Even though I knew this was not enough, I learned how to make it work.

My traveling friend, on the other hand, brought a large overstuffed suitcase with different shoes and it was a struggle traveling through the subway and train areas. Learning that some European countries do not have elevators made it that much harder to lug up the stairs. 

All in all, I have learned to travel light and the beach is no exception. Although sometimes, depending on the occasion I will bring more if I feel like I need to.

However, I always remind myself to pack lighter. It is the way to go. Visit the list above!


I have seen people at the beach who carry loads and loads of stuff with them. That is fine, but it does look like a struggle to see.

Oftentimes I see them dragging their beach wagon across the sand. I have also seen those with just a beach towel and backpack.

While everyone is different when it comes to traveling to the beach, we can all definitely spend the time to think and lessen the load of what we bring.

There are days when I do pack more, especially when I have family or friends visiting.

There are other days when I hardly pack anything and sometimes it feels so much more liberating.

I have seen both at the beach and frankly, I have been both at the beach.

Hey, you probably have been both too. Whether you are looking to travel lighter or just wondering what you can do to lessen the load then you are in the right place.

Keep in mind that a minimalist beach packing list could mean something different for every person out there. See what works for you personally.

Every beach trip is a chance you can take to challenge yourself on the things you need that are essential. It really is up to you.

Make the change and try the minimalist list to the beach and see what you can do to add or take out. What is essential to you may not be essential to someone else. 

Good luck out there!


Jess & Jeanette

Jess and Jeanette, two sisters who founded Unseen Beaches, were inspired by their family’s beach vacations while growing up.

Their passion lies in guiding you toward the most remarkable beach destinations across the U.S., while also protecting and preserving these beautiful coastal treasures! 🌊❤️

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Don’t be caught off-guard like many others. Equip yourself with our Top Favorite 5 Essential Beach Must-Haves and avoid common beach pitfalls! 🏖️🌞🌊

1. YETI Wheeled Cooler: Keep your drinks and snacks chilled under the sun.

2. Kelty Tent: Seek refuge from the sun with a lightweight, easy-to-set-up beach tent.

3. BeachBub Umbrella: Stay cool and protected with a durable, stylish UPF beach umbrella.

4. Trailhead Chair: Sit back and relax with a comfortable and sturdy beach chair.

5. CGear Sand-Free Mat Sand Blanket: Keep the sand at bay and stay comfortable with a sand-resistant blanket.

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