Beach Vacation Packing List for 2023 – What to Pack for Your Next Family Trip This Summer
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.
The Vacationer Tip
See our American Airlines Baggage Fees, Delta Air Lines Baggage Fees, Spirit Airlines Baggage Fees, and United Airlines Baggage Fees guides for more information.
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.
|Athletic shoes||Water shoes||Sandals|
Here are our recommended toiletries to pack for a beach trip.
|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|
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.
|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.
Tips for Success
These tips can help you better prepare as you pack for your beach vacation:
- Make a packing list and check each item off as you pack. This will help you stay organized as you pack and ensure that you don’t forget to bring important items.
- Care for your skin. Your skin health is important. Be sure to pack sunscreen and insect repellent or prepare to buy these items once you arrive at the beach. You might also consider bringing SPF lip balm, Aloe Vera, and other sunburn care products.
- Don’t forget beach-appropriate accessories. You don’t want to be without must-have beach accessories like sunglasses and hats. These essentials can help protect you and keep you more comfortable as you spend hours in the sun. If you forget to pack these items, prices may be inflated at your destination.
- Bring extra beach essentials. It’s a good idea to bring extra beach must-haves like bathing suits. If you only bring one suit and it’s wet, you’re not going to want to put on a damp swimsuit the next day. You may be able to get away with only bringing one or two swimsuits if you’re staying somewhere with laundry facilities.
- Consider evening weather. While it may be sunny and warm during the day, some beach destinations get cooler in the evenings. Be sure to pack sweatshirts and other long-sleeved items, so you’re comfortable at night.
- Bring date-night attire. If you plan to go out for a date night or spend time out in the evenings, you may want to have a couple of nicer outfits on hand. Think ahead about how you plan to spend your time.
- Wear bulky items. If you have limited space and don’t want to overpack your car or suitcase, you might consider wearing bulky items. This can free up space without skipping things that you need. Plus, if you’re traveling from a colder destination, you’ll be comfortable and have the gear you need for your return trip.
- Water is a must. Dehydration is a concern when you spend so much time in the sun. It’s a good idea to bring refillable water bottles with you so you can fill them before you head to the beach. Another option is to buy cases of water when you arrive. Neglecting your water intake while out in the sun can lead to serious health concerns.
- Bring extra entertainment. Sure, watching the waves and making conversation is fun. But you may also want to have other forms of entertainment on hand. Bringing a water-resistant portable speaker is one option if you’re going to listen to music while on the beach. Packing one or two books is another excellent choice. Beach toys, floats, and gear are perfect entertainment options for kids and teens.
- Family trips may require more planning. If you’re taking a family beach trip and traveling with young babies or children, you’ll need to do more planning. You want to make sure that your kids will be comfortable and safe while at the beach. Items like baby beach tents, swim diapers, baby wipes, beach strollers, soft coolers, and life jackets are extra essentials you may want to bring.
Best Beaches By State
Here are our recommendations for the best beaches organized by state (more to come soon):
Make a packing list (or use ours!) and check each item off as you pack.
It’s best to bring more than one swimsuit. If your suit is wet, you’re going to want to have a backup suit ready to go. If you’re staying somewhere that provides access to laundry facilities, you can get away with packing fewer suits.
This depends on whether they will be provided for you at the place you’re staying. Often, vacation homes will provide beach towels for guests to use. If you don’t want to bring bulky items like umbrellas and chairs, you may be able to rent them locally
The Vacationer’s Final Thoughts
This packing guide will make it easier to pack as you think ahead about your beach trip. Make sure that you carefully review our packing checklist, so you don’t forget must-have essentials. If you need guidance on what to pack for other trips, take a look at our ultimate travel packing list. Also see our how to find cheap summer flights guide.
Get The Vacationer Newsletter
Get highlights of the most important news delivered to your email inbox