What to Pack for a Beach Vacation – One Stop Guide

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If you are pumped about taking your next beach vacation, but not ready for the stress it takes to pack for one, then your not alone.

We all know how stressful beach vacations can be. If we do not plan correctly we can get all boggled up.

You know what you must do: have your handy dandy sheet ready to go so you know what to pack ahead of time and what to buy.

And no you do not need a huge list of things to bring.

Learn the basics of what you need to take with you. The rest will fall into place!

Here we break down your ONE-STOP GUIDE on what you need to pack before you head off into your next beach vacation trip. Feel free to add or take away anything you do not need.

This is just a free guide, but of course you can alter it to your own likes. If you are family…you may need more things.

If you’re a pet owner and bringing your fur-baby along then you need other specific things. I know I had to bring extra things when I would bring Missy, my adorable Cocker Spaniel.

Photo by Arnel Hasanovic

How to pack for a beach vacation- the essentials

Everyone knows you need the essentials. If you are not packing these things as your number one source. Then you need to rethink how to pack for a beach vacation.

Things to pack: The Obvious and Not-So Obvious Beach Things

The Obvious:

  • Beach towels + an extra when you change out of your bathing suit
  • Sunscreen: I prefer a mineral based sunscreen, but anyone will do.
  • Beach chairs/umbrella: If you’re a local then you probably already have these. If your not, some beaches allow you to rent some beach chairs for a day. For instance, beaches in Florida do this.
  • Bathing suit
  • Extra clothes to change into after your done
  • Sunglasses to protect your eyes
  • Waterproof beach bag- I learned this the hard way; no more sand 🙂
  • Flip-flops; tennis shoes if your want to walk the beach
  • Swimsuit coverup

The Not-So-Obvious:

  • Mosquito repellent: Florida beaches and Cali have lots of bugs
  • Entertainment- a good book to read is my go-to thing; some people prefer their music
  • Bluetooth headphones (nobody wants to hear your music a mile away)
  • Extra battery charger for your phone (probably the best idea is to charge it the night before)
  • Your DSLR (this one is for the photographers! that’s me!) this is definitely a must
  • Extra gallon of water to rinse off your hands (in case you accidentally get sand on your hands and your trying to eat a sandwich)
  • Liquid soap/bar soap: most beach bathrooms have no soap 🙁
  • Anti-bacterial wipes or gel; you may need these for sure
  • Plastic bag for your wet clothes
  • Waterproof phone case; or if your like me a re-sealable bag for your phone.
  • First Aid: I’ve been stung by a jellyfish before; even though lifeguards help you out, its best to be prepared; (in fact keep one in your car). But really anyone will do
  • Bring a jacket; or best dress in layers; (you never know if its going to be a chilly beach day)
  • A Beach Tent (optional: I’ve done this a couple times and it’s perfect! especially if your beach camping! 

For your pups:

  • A portable water container
  • An extra leash
  • A portable snack pouch: I used this a lot; I sometimes train my dog in the most distracted places.
  • Extra gallon of water for your pet
  • First aid for our pup
  • Extra towels for your pups
  • Toys- this one is often debatable; some people say some dogs may get aggressive towards toys. But I have seen many people bring them; so its up to you.

There are certain dog accessories that every dog owner should bring. In this blog, we bring talk about the best dog accessories to bring for your pup.

For the day:

Photo by Sasha

Pack a picnic

Why? it’s so nice to just bring your lunch or even healthy snacks to the beach.

If your looking for some healthy snack recommendations, be sure to check out this article of some great ideas.

How to Practice safety

Whether your taking a local beach vacation or vacationing in South Africa. Always remember to keep an eye on your valuables.

A girl shared a story with me that she literally was taking a nap on her beach towel when a group of guys grabbed her backpack and took off running. She ran after them but they out ran her.

Taking with them everything from her wallet and camera to her extra pair of clothes.

Please don’t let this happen to you.

Keep in mind to practice beach safety both in the water and on the sand. Our blog here, breaks down the simple beach tips every beach-goer should know. You can read about them here.

The best things for families

As a family you know you need to bring more than you assume you will need. If you have younger children then definitely planning is the way to go.

  • Beach toys: shovel, pail of bucket
  • Healthy snacks
  • A wagon to carry your stuff (I saw a family doing this and I thought how awesome is that!)
  • Extra clothes
  • A picnic for sure
  • Extra water


Packing for a beach vacation doesn’t have to be difficult. It can be. But why should it be? Packing for your first or 100th beach vacation is as easy as 123.

As long as you know what your essentials are, then you won’t have any problems. Anything else is just another thing to enhance your vacation. 

This list is by far no means a set and stone list.

It’s ever changing and ever growing. 

Everyone has a different essentials list. And It doesn’t matter if yours are completely different. Use what works for you and your family. This is just a simple plan to help get you started to make the best of your future vacation beach list. 

Whether your planning a local beach trip or an international beach getaway always be sure to keep an eye on your things. Never leave valuables unattended. I have seen this first hand. 

In fact, my things were almost stolen from a guy who approached my stuff while I was watching it from the water a couple feet away.

Luckily, I was still keeping an eye on my things. Trust me, always make sure you keep an eye on your things. You do not want to be another statistic of lost stuff. 

Other than that, have fun on your next beach vacation. If your planning a beach vacation in the USA then be sure to read this article. You will learn of the best beach vacations to take a beach trip in Florida. 

Thinking about a Florida Beach Trip?

I recommend Pensacola Beach Florida, one of the most pristine beaches on the gulf of Mexico.

If you are looking for a quieter beach on the west coast, then give Indian Shores Florida a chance!

Melbourne Beach is on the east coast of Florida and on the quieter side, but nice! This is one of the closer beaches to Walt Disney World!

In addition, check out “Why you must visit these nice beaches in Florida“, a blog I wrote that definitely breaks it all down. Florida also has gorgeous beaches and pure white sand!

San Diego has some of the best beaches too! Check out this article here as we break down the nicest beaches to check out.

Remember to have fun and protect your beaches. With an increase in beach pollution everywhere, learn about the impact and how you can help.

So tell me…what things do you pack for on your beach vacation trip? What are your favorites?

Jess and Jeanette are two sisters who were inspired by their family beach vacations while growing up. Their passion lies in guiding you toward the most remarkable beach destinations across the United States! Cheers! ❤️

5 BEACH MUST-HAVES: Gear up for a sun-soaked adventure! Do you have yours?

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