The Ultimate Beach Vacation Packing List

Here’s what you need to know as you prepare for your beach vacation

A beach vacation can make for the perfect escape. There’s nothing better than taking in beautiful beach views as you relax in the sunshine with the people you care about most.

If you’re planning to travel to the beach soon, you want to make sure that you pack the right essentials for your trip. Packing for a beach trip or a warmer-weather destination is a little different than packing for other types of trips that you might take.

By reading our beach vacation packing guide and using our packing checklist, you can ensure that you don’t forget essentials that will improve your beach vacation. Here’s what you need to know as you prepare for your beach vacation:

What to Consider Before You Pack

If you haven’t been to the beach in a long time or are used to packing for other types of trips, you may be unsure of where to begin. Here’s what to consider before you pack:

Don’t forget to prioritize comfort: As you begin to pack, don’t ignore comfort. Sure, you’ll want plenty of short-sleeved items. But beyond that, you also want to consider clothing material. Choosing items that are breathable and easy to move in are best. By bringing comfortable, flowy clothing items, you’ll be able to feel relaxed while spending a lot of time outside.

Pack the right shoes: If you’re spending a significant amount of time near water and sand, you want to have the right shoes on hand. Flip-flops and sandals make for great shoewear because you won’t have to worry about excess sand getting in your shoes. If you want footwear that will offer more protection while in and around the water, water shoes may be a good choice. You might also bring leisure shoes for casual nights spent away from the sand. If you’re going to work out on your vacation, bringing a good pair of athletic sneakers is also a good idea.

Bring a beach bag: You should pack a beach bag to make it easier to carry all of your essentials to the beach. You may want to pick a bag with a unique pattern or a bright color, so it’s easy to spot while at the beach. Having a bag with a closure, like a zipper, can be beneficial so you don’t lose items throughout your vacation.

Bring other bags, too: Having extra reusable bags is also a good idea. It may be easier to put some items in a little bag and then palace them in your beach bag. If you don’t have reusable bags, bringing plastic Ziploc bags is a good idea. You can likely re-use some of them.

Check to see if you’ll have access to laundry facilities: If you’re staying somewhere with a washer and dryer, you may be able to pack fewer clothes.

You may want to buy some items at your destination: It may not make sense to pack some things, like sunscreen. If you’re flying and only bringing a carry-on bag, for example, you’ll be limited to bringing liquids in containers that are no larger than 3.4 ounces. If you decide to check bags – you may have to pay baggage fees. Figure out if it makes sense to bring sunscreen and other similar products or buy them upon arrival. These items may have inflated prices if you’re visiting a popular beach destination.

How to Deal with Wet or Sandy Items on Your Return Trip

Whether taking a beach trip or traveling to a tropical destination, you’ll likely have clothing and other essentials that get wet or sandy. To minimize excess sand, always shake out clothing and other items before getting back in your vehicle or entering your hotel or rental home.

Throughout your travels, it’s also good practice to hang wet items up as soon as you get back to your hotel or vacation home rental. The more time you allow items to dry, the less mess you have to deal with in your suitcase.

You may also want to pack a dry bag and bring it with you when you’re at the beach. These bags help to protect your essentials from getting wet. You may also want to pack large ziplock bags. You can easily wet items in them and seal the bag to keep the rest of your suitcase dry when you back up to head back home.

If you have larger items, such as wet towels, it may be beneficial to pack a couple of extra trash bags. You can wrap these items in the garbage bag to protect the contents of your bag. Trash bags are also a great way to separate dirty clothes that still need to be washed.

Do You Need to Pack Towels?

One decision you’ll need to make is whether to pack beach towels. This greatly depends on your destination and accommodation of choice. Some hotels and vacation rentals may provide beach towels for you to use. Be sure to look into this before you begin packing.

Regardless, you’ll probably want to bring a beach blanket. Look for a lightweight blanket that is easy to fold up to maximize space. A blanket will make it easier to lie down on the beach and enjoy yourself without worrying about getting covered in sand.

What About Other Beach Equipment?

You may also be wondering if you need to bring other beach equipment like chairs, umbrellas, or coolers. Having these items available can make a day at the beach more enjoyable. But whether you should bring these items depends on where you’re going, how you’re traveling to your destination, and whether these essentials will be provided for you.

How will you be traveling to the beach? If you’re driving a car and have plenty of room, it probably makes sense to bring these items. If you’re flying to your beach destination, you’ll likely have limited space to pack equipment like coolers, chairs, and umbrellas.

As you decide what to bring, first check to see if your accommodation will have items available for you to borrow. This way, you’re not lugging unnecessary equipment with you. If they’re not provided, and you don’t want to pack these items, you may be able to rent them locally.

Suggested Beach Vacation Packing List

A packing list can ensure you have everything you need for your next trip to the beach. I highly recommend printing a list and checking off items as you pack them.

Clothing and Accessories

Here are our recommended clothing and accessories to pack for a beach trip.

Casual shirts Shorts Skirts
Dresses Jeans Pants
Sweatshirts Sleepwear Socks
Underwear Bras Athletic wear
Swimsuits Cover-ups Leisure shoes
Athletic shoes Water shoes Sandals
Hats Sunglasses Beach bag
Purse Belt Jewelry


Here are our recommended toiletries to pack for a beach trip.

Toothbrush Toothpaste Dental Floss
Nail tools Tweezers Q-Tips
Soap Shampoo Conditioner
Skincare products Shaving supplies Sunscreen
SPF lip balm Insect repellent Sunburn care products
Contact lenses and / or glasses Contact solution Makeup
Makeup remover Hairbrush Hair accessories
Hair tools Feminine-hygiene products Medicine
First aid products Pain reliever Vitamins

Beach Gear

Here are our recommended beach essentials to pack.

Cooler Beach umbrella Beach chairs
Beach towels Beach blanket Portable speaker
Waterproof phone case Snorkel gear Beach toys
Beach floats Life jackets


Here are our recommended misc items to pack for a beach trip.

Water bottle Books Passport/ID
Directions Itinerary Charging cords for electronics
Adapters Cash and credit cards Face masks
Copy of vaccine card Emergency documents List of medications
Baby items Disposable wipes Reusable bags
Ziplock bags Garbage bags

What Not to Pack

Don’t bring uncomfortable clothes: You want to make sure that the clothing that you bring feels good. You should be able to move around easily and not feel sweaty.

Don’t bring anything too fancy: You may want to pack some nicer going-out clothes for the evening, but generally, most beach trips require more casual attire. There’s no point in loading up on fancy clothes if you won’t be wearing them.

You may be able to skip the beach towels: As mentioned earlier, if your accommodation provides beach towels, you can avoid packing them. You don’t want to take up unnecessary space in your suitcase or car.

You may be able to skip bringing other beach equipment: You may also be able to skip bringing other beach essentials like beach chairs and umbrellas. Just make sure that your hotel or vacation home has these items on hand or have a plan to rent them locally.