Don’t leave home without these 36 must-have beach essentials. Grab our free printable beach packing checklist to ensure a safe, fun and hassle-free day at the beach.
Temperatures are heating up and we’re all getting antsy to get to soak up some sun. Planning a beach trip? I’ve got you covered with all my favorite items for a day at the beach. Click here for a printable checklist.
Clothing & Accessories
Pop on your bathing suit, sandals and sunglasses… its beach time! Be sure to bring a cover-up and sun hat for when the sun gets too intense. Don’t forget a change of clothes for the trip home. No one likes to sit in their soggy clothes. Finally, grab yourself a fun tote bag to stash away all your items and minimize your trips back to the car for setup… I’m all about efficiency.
- Bathing suit
- Flip flops or sandals
- Beach tote bag
- Sun hat
- Change of clothes
Find your spot and set up camp! Chances are, you’ll probably be spending most of your day at the beach and you’ll want to set up a solid home base. Start with a large towel, sheet, or beach blanket. I always prefer to bring separate towels for drying off with. For extra comfort and maximum lounging, pack a comfy beach chair. Add an umbrella to create your own shaded oasis for when the sun starts to sizzle.
- Beach Chair
- Towels and/or beach blanket
My favorite beach days are full of relaxation, sun and sand. I usually pack a magazine, book, or Kindle to read while soaking up the rays. I also love listening to music, so I’ll pack a pair of headphones. When I am with a larger group, I usually bring a Bluetooth speaker instead. A deck of cards is another fun entertainment option with lots of possibilities. If you’d prefer to take the more active route, pack a frisbee or ball to pass around in an open area. Sand toys are another great item to keep kids busy. If you like to play in the water, you can bring a boogie board or surfboard to have some fun in the waves. Snorkel gear or goggles are also fun for underwater exploring. If you have kids who are small or weak swimmers, don’t forget floaties or a life jacket.
- Magazine or book
- Portable speaker or headphones
- Deck of cards
- Frisbee or ball
- Sand toys for kids
- Floaties, puddle jumper or a life vest
- Boogie board or surfboard
- Snorkel gear or goggles
Food & Drinks
If you plan on spending more than a couple of hours at the beach, I highly recommend packing up a cooler full of food and drinks. Start with your choice of beverage: water, soda, sports drinks, etc. Keep in mind that most beaches do not allow any glass bottles. I always freeze my non-carbonated drinks the night before and then throw them in the cooler before heading out. This way you won’t need as much ice and have more room for the good stuff. You can also use an insulated water bottle or drink koozie to keep your beverages cold. Great beach snacks include crackers, chips, fruit, and more. If you’d like a more filling option, sandwiches are always an easy solution. I also love to bring walking tacos to my beach days. Basically, you take a small bag of corn chips and top with all your favorite taco toppings. My winning combination is taco meat, shredded cheese, lettuce, salsa, and sour cream. Yum!
- Water, soda, sports drinks or favorite beverages
- Crackers, chips, fruit & snacks
- Insulated water bottle or tumbler
- Drink koozies
- Cooler with ice
Don’t forget the sunscreen! This may be an obvious one, but I’ve definitely left my sunblock at home and had to turn back a time or two. I like to apply my SPF before I leave the house and then re-apply every few hours or after I get out of the water. I also make sure to pack deodorant and re-apply it whenever I use my sunscreen to avoid smelling funky. Aloe vera gel is a lifesaver when you get a little too much sun or salt. Hand sanitizer or hand wipes are also great to clean up before and after a meal or snack. I have a little regimen that I like to follow when my beach gear is all packed up. First, I try and tame my windblown hair with a brush or comb. Next, I use baby powder to get the sand off my skin. I’m telling you, its like magic. To finish off, I use a face wipe to get all the sweat and oil off my face.
- Baby powder
- Aloe vera
- Hand sanitizer
Hopefully you won’t need this one, but you wouldn’t want to cut your beach trip short because you aren’t prepared. Make your own mini first aid kit with these essentials: bandages, antibiotic ointment, Ibuprofen/Acetaminophen, and some antihistamine. Or purchase a ready-made first aid kit at your local drug store.
- Antibiotic ointment
- Ibuprofen and/or Acetaminophen
It’s always good to have a little bit of cash on hand or even a credit card. You might run out of water or want some ice cream to cool down. You never know what kind of impulse buys you’ll want to make or situations that pop up! Another pro tip: bring a plastic grocery bag or trash bag for wet clothes, towels and toys. This will help keep the rest of your items dry and sand-free!
- Cash or credit card
- Bag for wet clothes and towels
I hope you’ve enjoyed this list that I put together for you. Happy beaching!