It’s time to escape to a place where you can sink your toes in the soft sand and enjoy your favorite book while sipping on a cool drink. Let’s head to the beach! Before you head out for the waves, use this beach packing list to make your day on the sand relaxing and fun!
Clothes to Pack for the Beach
When you’re heading to the beach it’s easy to think of spending your days in nothing more than a swimsuit and flip flops, but there are a few additional clothes to add to your beach vacation packing list.
- Shorts / Pants
- Casual Tops
- Formal / Dinner Wear
- Undergarments & Socks
- Swimsuit (2)
- Cover Up
- SPF Clothing
- Sun Hat / Ball Cap
- Flip Flops
- Water Shoes
- Dress Shoes (Slip Ons)
- Walking / Tennis Shoes
- Exercise Outfit(s)
- Jacket / Sweater
Of course, you’ll pack the basics like shorts and t-shirts, and ladies might love to bring some comfy dresses along, too. But don’t forget that you also might want to bring along some pants or jeans for the evenings. Beaches can get breezy at night.
If you’re planning any nice evening meals you might also want to pack fancier clothes for a night out. And of course, be sure you don’t forget the basics like undergarments and pajamas.
For the beach days, you’ll want to bring swimsuits and a cover-up(s). I recommend at least two swimsuits so one is always dry and you’re not stuck putting on a wet suit to head back to the beach. If you wear cover-ups during the day, make sure you bring multiple since they can get sweaty and sandy.
Another consideration is whether you should bring some SPF clothing (known as UPF for fabrics). This can be a great way to help stay safe while enjoying activities in the sun. And UPF clothing isn’t just rash guard clothing anymore. Many brands such as Columbia, Coolibar, and Cabana Life make everyday cute resort wear.
Be sure to also bring a hat of some kind for sun protection. You can bring something simple like a ball cap to keep the sun off your face, but packing a beach hat (even a cute ‘hello sunshine’ hat) can help keep the sun off your shoulders as well.
Shoes for the Beach
You’ll also want to take into consideration what shoes to pack for your beach vacation. Of course, you’ll want flip flops for the beach, but you also might want some water shoes if the water has a lot of shells or rocks. And if you’re going out for dinner and drinks, consider some dress shoes.
These Cambiami sandals work great for day wear then switch out the straps to dress them up for the evenings. And if you’re doing a lot of walking around town, like taking a food tour or other fun things to do in Key West, consider packing a pair of walking shoes.
Lastly be sure to pack a sweater or light jacket because as I mentioned before, nights can be breezy at a beach destination. You also will want to bring workout clothes if you’re planning to visit the gym or run on the beach for exercise while on your beach vacation. And if you’re planning on relaxing at a beach rental, bring along your favorite loungewear.
Toiletries to Bring to the Beach
This list is pretty standard for any vacation. You’ll want to make sure you pack whatever you need for your personal hygiene and care.
- Shampoo / Conditioner
- Body Lotion
- Brush / Comb
- Hairstyling Equipment
- Facial Care
- Shaving Supplies
- Contacts / Eyeglasses
- Nail Clippers / File
- Hand Sanitizer
- Aloe Vera Gel
- Medications / First Aid Kit
- Female Hygiene
- Ziploc Bags
I did add aloe vera gel to my beach packing list. I always hope I don’t need it, but with two kids and quite a few family beach vacations in our past, we’ve certainly been thankful a few times to have aloe vera gel packed and ready for use.
You’ll also want to bring along a small first aid kit with you to the beach. I’d be sure to include some antiseptic cleaner, bandaids, and antihistamine. We’ve had a bee sting while at the beach and I was happy I had some Benadryl and hydrocortisone on hand.
It’s also a good idea to put in some extra ziploc bags. These can be handy while at the beach for garbage or other little things you want to keep together. Larger sizes work well for packing away sandy or wet clothes.
Check out my beach gear shopping list on Amazon!
Beach Gear to Add to Your Beach Vacation Packing List
Here’s the big list of all those beach essentials you should pack. Some of these are just recommendations, you can definitely have fun at the beach with nothing more than yourself.
But if you’re planning a beach trip where you’ll spend a lot of time on the sand, you’ll want to consider bringing these things:
- Beach Bag
- Waterproof Phone Pouch
- Umbrella / Pop-Up Shelter
- Beach Blanket / Chairs
- Sun Hat
- Beach Safe
- Water Bottle
- SPF Lip Balm
- Wet Wipes
- Bug Spray
- Baby Powder
- Comb / Brush / Hair Ties
- Jacket / Sweatshirt
It’s a good idea to bring along a beach bag that you’ll carry to and from the beach. You might even consider bringing a couple of bags, one for toys and one for all your other items.
You’ll also want to bring along a waterproof phone case/pouch for your cell phone. You can simply use a ziploc bag or get something with a little more structure.
If you have enough room to pack away something to provide shade and protect you from UV rays while spending the day at the beach. You can bring a beach umbrella or a popup shade tent which is my favorite thing to have on the beach.
You’ll also want to bring along a beach blanket. These can help create your own space on the beach and help your kids identify where your “spot” is on the sand. You can also bring beach chairs if you don’t want to sit on towels on the sand.
Of course, you’ll want to bring along some great beach towels. You can also bring some towel clips if you have beach chairs or if you’re staying at a resort with beach loungers. And don’t forget to bring your sun hat to the beach.
If you’re spending a few hours at the beach and have kids along with you you might want to pack along a portable utility wagon. They’re great for transporting all your beach gear from the car to your spot on the beach.
Since you’ll occasionally walk or swim while at the beach and you’ll need to leave your things behind, it’s a good idea to bring a beach safe with you. I have an AquaVault FlexSafe which locks around a large beach chair. You can also wear a waterproof body pouch and keep your ID and valuables with you at all times.
Other Items for the Beach
If you’re spending all day at the beach then you’ll want to think about bringing along a cooler packed with some snacks and water. If you’re worried about space, consider bringing a Nomader collapsible water bottle for everyone. They come in lots of colors which is perfect for helping families identify whose water bottle is whose.
And don’t forget to think about what you’ll eat at the beach. Will you be eating at a restaurant on the beach? Even if you’re eating your lunch somewhere else, you must pack some travel snacks.
You’re also going to want to make sure you pack plenty of sunscreen. You should be reapplying every two hours. Many beach communities are requiring reef-safe sunscreen. This helps protect marine life from the chemicals of standard sunscreens.
If you often forget to reapply, consider installing a sunscreen reminder app on your phone. Also, be sure to pack some SPF lip balm and your favorite pair of sunglasses.
You might also want to bring along a package of wet wipes — it seems they always come in handy on the beach. Especially if you’re needing to wipe off sandy hands before enjoying a snack. Add some bug spray to your bag as well.
A useful beach hack is using baby power to remove sticky sand. You can pack a small bottle or get one of these handy baby powder pouches.
Bring a hairbrush and hair ties, too. They can come in handy if your hair gets messy or if it’s windy on the beach.
Lastly, I told you to pack a light jacket or sweater, so don’t forget to bring that to the beach. If you stay later in the day you could get cool when the sun goes down.
Fun Things to Pack for the Beach
Depending on how much time you’re spending on the sand you might want to pack some fun games and activities. Also, consider packing a mister fan to keep cool when you’re on the beach.
- Goggles / Snorkel
- Water Toys
- Sand Toys
- Lifejacket / Floaties
- Beach Games
- Waterproof Speaker
- Books / Magazines
- Misting Fan
Now you’re ready for a fabulous beach vacation! Enter your email below to get my printable beach packing list to download and help you pack.