Going to the beach? Get a printable checklist to help you pack for a beach vacation!
How to Pack for a Beach Vacation
One of my favorite places to go is the beach. The sun, the sand, the waves….I would live there if I could!
I used to go there every year as a child, but now as a mom, I know how much work it is to pack for a beach vacation!
The only way I can keep myself sane is by using my beach vacation packing list. Without it, I’m too unorganized and just get stressed out.
This checklist is great if you’re packing for a 3 day trip to the beach or a 7 day beach vacation. It’s made with a family of 6 in mind, so adjust as needed!
Want the printable list? Scroll down to the bottom of the post.
Beach Vacation Packing Tips
These beach vacation packing tips depend on where you’re staying and for how long, but they help us so much when we’re packing to travel.
- Make a list and check it twice. Or maybe even three times. A list will help you pack exactly what you need and help to keep you organized.
- Start to pack a few days to a week before your trip. If you start to pack early using the list, you won’t be scrambling to find last minute items the day you need to leave.
- Make a list of what’s in everyone’s bag, and put it in the bags. You’ll know exactly what’s going in before the trip and exactly what should be going back in when repacking at the end. Saves time and energy looking for everything!
- Use packing cubes. With packing cubes, you can organize everything into neat little cubes that also save space.
- Going to a place with a washer and dryer? You can pack only 2 pairs of socks, 3 pairs of underwear, and mix-and-match clothing. You can do a load of laundry while you’re there.
- Shoes can be tough to pack. Bring just two pairs that you’ll need: one comfortable pair for everyday walking, and one pair for dressing up that will match anything. Wear the comfortable pair while traveling to the destination, and pack your other pair in the bottom of your suitcase.
- Beach toys can sometimes be rented! Don’t want to try to pack all those beach toys? In some locations, beach toys can be rented. If you’re staying in a house, the owners sometimes have a stash of beach toys, chairs, boogie boards, and more for renters to use. Just remember that if something gets broken, you may have to pay to replace it.
- Flying? Be sure to leave space in your bag for souvenirs! If possible, leave one small carry-on bag (on most airlines, you are allowed a small personal bag along with a carry-on) mostly empty so that you can transport small souvenirs home without issues.
- Another tip for flying: Don’t forget to pack liquids (think shampoo, body wash, mouthwash, etc) that are 3 oz or smaller in a clear sealed bag. Since you’ll most likely only be gone for a few days, only pack one item of each necessity, and the family can share.
- Separate clean clothes from dirty at the end of the trip. Using an empty packing cube or little bag, separate the dirty clothes from the clean at the end of the trip. That way when you get home you can just put away the clean items and wash the dirty items and not have to dig through it all.
What Clothes to Pack for a Beach Vacation
Besides your bathing suit, what other clothing should you pack for a beach vacation? Since you’ll most likely be spending most of the day on the beach, you might not need too many other items.
If you plan on spending a fun day in town, you’ll want a casual outfit or two. If you plan on going out at night, plan accordingly with an outfit or two.
Like to walk the beach at night or early in the morning? It can be chilly during those times of the day. Make sure to pack a sweatshirt or light jacket for those times.
Here’s a list of clothing you can bring with you to a beach vacation:
- bathing suit
- cover up
- 1-2 t-shirts
- 1-2 tank tops
- 1-2 shorts
- 1 capris
- 1 pants (jeans, yoga pants, etc)
- 1 sun dress
- sweatshirt or light jacket
What Shoes to Pack for the Beach
Again, this depends on your itinerary and where and how far you plan to walk, but these are the shoes you can pack for the beach:
- flip flops
- water shoes
I personally don’t bring water shoes, but if you’re going to be staying on a beach that is rocky or full of shells, you may want to bring a pair, especially for the kids.
My OOFOS flip flops are amazing for summer travels. They are VERY comfortable and can be worn anywhere.
Fashion Accessories for the Beach
Any accessories (jewelry, watches, etc) you bring to the beach will most likely be worn off of the beach, when you’re going out to eat or to stroll around town. For this reason, I suggest not bringing too many items with you.
I bring 1-2 pairs of earrings, my FitBit Versa 2, and 1 necklace.
It can be windy near the beach, so you may want a few hair accessories like clips, hair ties, or headbands to keep your hair from flying around everywhere.
Toiletries for a Beach Vacation
If you stay in a hotel or other similar destination, you might not need to bring all of these toiletries as they are sometimes provided for you.
These are some of the toiletries you can bring on your beach vacation:
- shampoo & conditioner
- nail file / clippers
- feminine products
- hairspray/ other product
- face cleanser
- razor/ shaving cream
If you take medications, you may also want to add these in your toiletries bag, along with prescription information if needed.
What to Pack in Your Beach Bag
Along with your standard luggage, you’ll also want to pack a beach bag to take down to the beach with you. The beach bag will have all the essentials you’ll need to enjoy your day in the sun and sand.
What you put in the beach bag depends on how long you plan on spending on the beach and who you’re bringing with you. If you’re bringing babies or kids along, the items tend to multiply…
These are my must have beach bag essentials:
- beach bag
- blanket/ old sheet
- lip balm with sunscreen
- sand toys
- first aid kit
- sun hats
- insulated water bottles
- wet wipes
- insect repellent
- waterproof pouch or bag for phones
- secret safe for keys and money
- sandals or water shoes
- waterproof speaker or headphones
- portable charger and charging cable
Snacks and drinks can be placed in a beach cooler with wheels or a backpack cooler like this one.
Seems like a lot, but most if not all of these items can fit in one beach bag.
Other Beach Related Items
These items will depend on how you’re traveling, where you’re traveling to, and your personal preferences. If you’re flying to your beach destination or just don’t have the space in your vehicle, your best bet is to either rent these items or to see if your hotel or home offers use of the items.
Even better? Some destinations offer cabanas for rent that have most of these items!
- beach chairs
- beach cooler
- collapsible folding wagon
- beach umbrella
- shade tent
- boogie boards
TIP: Need a wagon AND chairs? Get a beach chair that converts to a beach cart!
Extras to Pack
These are some other extra items to bring on your beach vacation:
- debit or credit cards
- driver’s license
- passport or visa
Free Printable Beach Vacation Packing List PDF
Want the printable beach vacation packing list? Everything I mention above is on this list. It’s available in my Resource Library!
If you’re a newsletter subscriber, you already have the password, available in every newsletter.
If you’re not, sign up below to get access! (I don’t send spam. Pinky promise.)
Beach Vacation Packing List
What’s on your beach vacation packing list? Did I miss anything? Leave a comment below!