Are you getting ready for a beach trip or beach vacation? Scouring the internet for the best beach packing list? Don’t worry, we have you covered with a packing list for the beach. A printable beach packing checklist is also available for you.
Thank you, mother nature, Spring and Summer are almost here and that means BEACH SEASON! Personally, we are beach lovers at heart and find excuses to go to the beach even in the winter. If we can leave the cooler days of Los Angeles behind and frolic on an island somewhere, we will.
That’s why a Caribbean vacation or Hawaii vacation isn’t a bad idea to plan in the fall or winter.
Neither is a cruise vacation that takes us away from gloomy weather into sails us right into a paradise.
The snow we normally get in Los Angeles is in the mountains and usually a 2-hour drive away from the city. This year, we got hail! Not joking. It covered all of Pasadena and looked like it had just snowed.
What did we do? We started daydreaming daily of tropical destinations and reminiscing of our last fall vacation to the Dominican Republic. Where we can wear our swimsuits, sink our toes in soft sand while drinking a frozen piña colada. Some snorkeling would be great, too!
Am I alone daydreaming? No. Awesome. Welcome to the beach lovers club.
Now that you’re part of the Beach Lovers Club, a beach packing list is essential. Rather than give you an “ultimate” list of beach items that you may not need, I rather focus on giving you useful ideas on what may be useful to you.
This is the stuff that you should have at home to grab for a spontaneous day at the beach or ready to go to pack and take with you on your beach vacation. You can also use this list as your beach weekend packing list.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase from one of those links, we may get a commission at no extra cost to you. We appreciate your support.
We don’t think we have to get into what kind of summer outfits you should be wearing. Right? So here we go with the real essentials that we can see anyone forgetting. Even me.
Since the pandemic is practically over – please, I hope so! We are definitely encouraging you to travel or head to your nearest local beach as many times as possible.
When we cruise or travel to a beach destination, not only do we pack our beach trip packing list, we also pack almost everything from our cruise packing essentials, too. Some items may be on both of the lists.
We’ve accumulated this stuff over time. Not only has some of this helped make the most of our vacations but we also saved money in the long run.
Beach Packing List
1. Reef Safe Sunscreen
We can’t emphasize enough how important it is for you to protect your skin! Bring sunscreen, save yourself not only from the pain that comes from sunburn but also from sun poisoning. Always wear sunscreen and nothing less than 30 SPF (according to my physician, check with yours).
Please, please, try to use reef-safe sunblock. It is safer for our environment, marine life, and reefs.
We do make these purchases in advance and pack a bottle with our things because we can’t always find reef-safe sunscreen. And it’s usually cheaper. On our last Caribbean vacation in La Romana, they were charging $30 a tube of sunscreen.
Now, if you’re traveling to Hawaii, you’ll easily find reef-safe sunscreen in their local stores at normal prices.
Just check it off the beach trip packing list once you’ve purchased or packed it for the beach.
2. Sun Burn Relief
Sometimes as much as we apply sunscreen and wear an extra layer to protect us from the sun, it’s not always successful. We discovered this after sun moisturizer in Kauai and we love it.
3. Rash Guard
If you’re out every day in the sun and you would like to protect yourself beyond sunscreen, we suggest investing in a rash guard. It’s a great investment for the family, especially for the little ones. Definitely wear one while snorkeling.
If you’re heading to a hot destination, you know you have to pack summer clothes. We are definitely packing the usual tank tops, shorts, and summer dresses. Leave those chunky sweats behind! The most important piece of clothing to remember to pack is swimwear.
5. Cover Up
And if you do not invest in a rash guard, a cover-up is a great way to stay comfortable and stylish. Something to put on in between the swims and easily wear to go grab lunch with some sandals.
Ladies, there are so many cute cover-ups. There is always room for a few of them in your suitcase.
I have this dress cover up in a floral pattern that I wore during my Isla Catalina beach trip. It’s so comfortable, soft, and perfect for over a swimsuit.
It’s pretty self-explanatory why we need sunglasses. Nobody likes to be blinded by the sun. Or do you? Hmmmm.
There are multiple reasons why you need a good pair of sunglasses. Yes, you do look cool in them, that’s for sure.
But, did you know our eyes are sensitive to the sun? Damage from the sun’s rays can lead to problems in the future. At least save your eyes from sun glare and make sure to bring something that will give you shade. That’s why a hat can work, too.
Plan 7 Days in Kauai
We spent a week in Kauai and fell in love with paradise. Visit the beautiful beaches, eat great foods, fly over the island, drink Mai Tai’s and sail with dolphins.
A sun hat is a great addition to your beach vacation wardrobe. Not only is it great fashion, but the right headcover can also provide shade for your face and eyes.
Ladies, let’s be real for a sec, it also helps hide messy beach hair. A hat or two always come with me on a beach vacation! Anything that can anything can cover up and help me tame the mop of hair on my head is an away. Sometimes, during our travels, I’ll purchase one as a “souvenir”.
8. Flip Flops | Sandals
Pack a pair of flip flops or sandals, so you’re not regretting it later walking on sand in suffocating sneakers.
Some people think they don’t need them, but you do. There is always that one person that thinks they can get away without flip-flops. They won’t pack them and then they are complaining at the beach because it’s humid, hot and now the sand is in their sneakers.
There are all kinds of flip-flops and sandals. Pick something you’re comfortable in but beach-appropriate.
Personally, Reef brand flip-flops are my favorite. They last a long time, too.
9. Beach Towel
Heading on a beach trip with your family? You’re definitely going to need beach towels.
If you’re taking a beach vacation or cruising on a ship, they will more than likely provide these for you. You can always call and check ahead of time if you want to be 100% sure. Even when we stay at an Airbnb, beach towels are provided.
If they don’t, definitely bring a couple with you.
10. Beach Towel Clips
You might need some beach towel clips. There, we said it.
Never EVER thought we’d suggest beach towel clips. During our recent cruise and beach trip, we kept running into the same annoyance over and over again… our towels kept slipping off the back of our chairs. Everyone around me had no issues because they were using beach towel clips.
So, if you plan to lounge on a beach chair at any point of your time at the beach, you may want to consider buying some beach towel clips. They will definitely come in handy.
11. Beach Blanket
You may forgo this altogether because you’re renting a beach chair or bringing one. That’s usually what we do, too. Skip onto the next time.
However, a beach blanket is a great idea for a spontaneous local beach trip. Head to the beach with your blanket and a picnic ready to enjoy some of that sun and the sound of the waves hitting against the shoreline.
The beach blanket above is great to keep in the trunk of your car and easy to pack if you decide to.
Travel Essentials List: Carry-on Backpack
Every traveler needs a carry-on backpack to make their travel experience as easy and convenient as possible. These 25 carry-on travel essentials will ensure you have everything you need to get you quickly through the airport and have a comfortable flight. We also include some travel tips and tricks within this travel packing list.
12. Beach Bag | Travel Backpack
You’re going to need something to put your towels, sunblock and possibly a change of clothes… don’t forget the beach bag.
I carry a beach bag, hubby carries his trusty backpack, that he will not give up as he’s had it for years. We want to make sure that when we are at the beach, we have everything we need for the day. The last thing I want to do is carry things in my hands.
13. Collapsible Travel Cooler
A great addition to your beach trip packing list is a collapsible travel cooler. It doesn’t hurt to pack some snacks and drinks before you head to the beach. All the snorkeling and swimming can make one hungry.
The collapsible part comes in handy so you can pack it in your luggage without it taking too much space. Anything that saves space is a plus.
If you’re staying at an Airbnb with beach activities nearby, your host will more than likely provide a cooler for you to use. You can always reach out to them and check.
14. Water Shoes
Water shoes are optional. It all depends on where you are going and what you’re planning to do. Not all beaches have that soft white sand they sell us on TV and in magazines.
Some are rough on our feet, also rocky. I remember the Bonaire beaches were out of this world, but rocky and the water shoes helped.
I personally love these water shoes I purchased on Amazon. They sort of double as lightweight sneakers and can pretty much wear them even when I’m not in the water.
15. Mosquito Spray or Wipes
Do mosquitos think you’re their own personal meat-on-a-stick? We get eaten alive by mosquitos and then we can’t stop scratching.
Then there is always the chance of contracting some unknown virus. No, thank you.
So mosquito repellent is a must add to your beach packing list.
Natrapel was recommended to me by my best friend. Her daughter is severely allergic to mosquito bites and she basically guaranteed me it would work wonders. Well, she was right!
The Natrapel wipes above are easy to carry.
This stuff feels so good! The Evian facial spray is perfect for those hot days that your skin needs a refresher.
It can be used more than at the beach. Just pop one of these in your bags and have it ready when your skin needs a pick me up. This mist will help hydrate and tone your skin.
17. Snorkel Gear
Our very own snorkel gear made it on our beach trip packing list a few years ago after falling in love with the marine life in Cozumel.
We don’t know why we waited so long to learn to snorkel. Now after the pandemic, we can’t imagine ever renting gear that someone else used. Yes, they do clean the gear after, but that’s just a little too personal for me. If you’re a germaphobe, invest in your own snorkeling gear.
Snorkeling is a free activity you can do from the beach shore. You don’t always have to venture on a boat to snorkel.
My Cressi snorkel gear is a great fit. Now, I am not an expert at what is the best gear. You should absolutely do your own research and purchase what you’re comfortable with for yourself.
While I am not a fan of the full-face snorkel (which makes me feel claustrophobic), some people love the full-face mask. Warning: some tours find it unsafe and will not allow you to use them.
18. Water Bottle
Staying hydrated is super important. It’s great to bring a water bottle with you when you leave your cruise ship or your hotel.
We love our Hydro Flask water bottles as it keeps my ice frozen and my water cold all day long. They come in different sizes and colors. It’s also eco-friendly! We’ve had them for years, so it’s a brand we definitely support and know works.
19. Handheld Misting Fan
This one item we always forget because it not only works great while sunbathing but is also a fantastic item to take with you on multiple occasions where it’s going too hot. It’s a refreshing way to cool off without having to get up and dunk yourself in the ocean if you’re not ready to.
The Best Beach Drinks to Have
No beach vacation or beach trip is complete without beach drinks and beach cocktails. Here is a list of the top alcoholic drinks for fun at the beach and a few easy non-alcoholic drinks to complete the beach vibe
20. Security Lock Box
Hubby and I have each other, but when we’re at the beach and we swim together, we used to have to worry about leaving our things behind on the beach. Specifically, our wallets & phones. Before our last trip, I found this portable lockbox to take with us.
At first, hubby was not sold, but then he realized it was better than nothing. We’d take our small valuable items, lock them in this portable box and then secure it to our beach chair or table, wherever we were set up.
Is it 100%? No. Someone could walk off with the chair or the table, but a thief is looking for a quick and easy steal.
21. Beach Chairs
Getting in the car and having a beach day near home? Bring a beach chair or two.
Does the inflatable couch look comfy? We’d totally bring that to the beach. Set up the umbrella and a cooler next to it. Perfect.
22. Beach Umbrella
With that beach chair, you’ll need an umbrella. At least something that provides some shade for your day at the beach.
23. Waterproof Camera
Entirely optional, but we love to take our GoPro on beach vacations.
The GoPro is compact and durable. Shockproof and waterproof – to an extent (read the fine print). They take high-quality photos and videos, so I can record amazing memories and produce great content.
We recently upgraded to GoPro Hero10 and I was blown away by how beautiful the videos and photos came out.
24. Hand Sanitizer Wipes
Hand sanitizer wipes come in handy for multiple reasons. After the pandemic, this should just be a no-brainer.
But these wipes are great to clean your hands before and after snacking, for cleaning off picnic tables, and just anything that needs cleaning. You will thank me later.
25. A Great Read
Finally, a great read… a book!
When I’m on vacation, I take the quiet moments I have on the beach to catch up on all the books I’ve been hoarding. Pick up a book or two at your local bookstore or download it to your waterproof Kindle while you have Wi-Fi available.
- Print this checklist
- Don’t forget to save to Pinterest.
- Let me know in the comments if this checklist helped.
Do you have to bring absolutely everything on this beach packing list? Absolutely not. Bring whatever will make your trip to the beach comfortable.
Everyone travels differently and your needs are probably different than mine. I sure hope this beach trip packing list helps. And, if you’re packing for a cruise vacation, we have a list for that, too.
What is one thing you can’t forget to take with you to the beach?
Don’t forget to share the love on Pinterest: