Are you looking forward to the sunshine, waves, and warm sand? Relaxing by the ocean is exactly what you need right now. As you daydream about your upcoming adventure, one thought intrudes:
What should you pack for a beach vacation?
We sought advice from travel experts and longtime beachgoers. We asked them what they think are the must-haves for time at the seashore. Then we put together this packing list with 9 beach vacation essentials – it’s all you’ll ever need.
Here are the things that will make your beach vacation more enjoyable: (Scroll down to see a packing list with all the extras for a seaside trip).
|Beach vacation essentials||Highlights|
|Sun Bum Travel-Sized Sun Care Pack||
|Neutrogena Facial Cleansing Towelettes||
|AiRunTech Waterproof Pouch||
|SEGOAL Sand-Free Beach Blanket||
|School’s Out for Summer Tote Bag||
|Crocs Women's Swiftwater Sandal||
|Buddha with Headphones T-Shirt||
|Wander Agio Beach Coverup||
|Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Cooler||
- Beach Vacation Essentials
- Complete packing list for a trip to the beach
- Do you really need all this stuff for a beach vacation?
Beach Vacation Essentials
Sun Bum Travel-Sized Sun Care Pack
Fun in the sun is better with sunscreen. Seriously, no one wants to deal with sunburn. It hurts, it peels, and it makes you look like a boiled lobster. Here’s a travel kit with SPF 30 sunscreen. That’s the level of protection that the American Cancer Society recommends for avoiding skin cancer and photoaging.
Moreover, this coconut-scented sunscreen won’t leave a white cast or a greasy film on everything. It absorbs quickly so you can get back into the action. Plus, it’s water-resistant for swimming.
You’ll also find lip balm with sunscreen because no one wants chapped or sunburned lips when they’re on vacation. It would ruin your ability to enjoy an icy cold margarita.
But should you catch a few excess rays, this travel pack has a cool-down cream, too. Use it as an after-sun moisturizer to help your tan develop and last for longer.
Everything fits in the included cloth bag – just toss it in your luggage and you’re good to go. (Wait, did we mention that this brand’s products are vegan, paraben-free, and hypoallergenic? Good stuff).
Neutrogena Facial Cleansing Towelettes
At the end of the day, these individually-wrapped wipes clean off sweat, sunscreen, and (even waterproof) makeup. What’s more, you don’t need to rinse your face after using them. You can toss them in the trash, but you don’t need to feel guilty about it. The biodegradable plant fibers are compostable.
Furthermore, the cleansing formula contains no harmful ingredients like alcohol, sulfates, soap, dyes, or phthalates. Since they are made by a dermatologist-recommended brand, they’ve been tested for sensitive skin and eyes. After you use them, the skin is clean and soft.
We’ll let you in on a secret – the wipes can also remove bacteria, so feel free to go off-label and clean your hands with them, too.
AiRunTech Waterproof Pouch
Some recent smartphones are supposed to be waterproof, but are you really going to trust that? Plus, sand can be just as damaging as water to electronics. Save yourself stress and trouble with an inexpensive waterproof pouch. Not only can you go swimming with your phone and wallet, but you can also protect them from scratches and dirt.
It’s roomy, measuring 8.5 half inches wide by 5.8 inches deep. Like most waterproof pouches, this one has touch-sensitive plastic that allows you to use your phone without pulling it out. But unlike the cheap versions, it has triple lock protection. There are Ziploc seals that keep everything dry all the way down to 32 feet or 10m underwater. So yes, you can wear it while snorkeling. Just use the included strap to hang around your waist or neck or over your shoulder. (The strap fits up to 42.5-inch waists).
By the way, it floats as long as there’s air trapped inside it. So even if you biff it on the jet ski, you won’t lose your phone in the murky depths.
SEGOAL Sand-Free Beach Blanket
What should you bring to the beach with friends? We brainstormed ideas and decided to recommend this oversized beach blanket. It’s 10’ x 9’, perfect for a picnic with a group, playing cards, or taking a nap.
Unlike the typical beach towel, sand doesn’t stick to it and it doesn’t stay damp for long. The quick-drying nylon is lightweight, too. It folds up small and takes up a lot less room than a stack of beach towels or a quilt. The specs say it weighs under 2 pounds and folds down to under a foot in length.
Reviewers love it because it doesn’t feel hot in the bright sun and doesn’t stick to the skin. Plus, it’s large enough for the whole family so you can stake out your spot on the beach. The blanket can be secured with spikes, rocks, or socks filled with sand.
School’s Out for Summer Tote Bag
What will you use to carry these beach vacation essentials? Your wheeled luggage isn’t going to roll nicely in the sand and your backpack will get full of grit. You could always fall back on plastic shopping bags – after all, they’re waterproof – but they aren’t very attractive.
Why not snatch up a few of these canvas tote bags? They are washable, reusable, and downright cute. They measure 15 inches wide by 16 inches deep, big enough for an oversized blanket, a pair of shoes, and sunscreen. Since they aren’t huge, you won’t be tempted to overstuff them with heavy items, and you can share the load among the group. The straps are long enough to toss over a shoulder.
Choose from natural or black colors. We like the summertime design on this one, but there are many other patterns available.
Of course you will have to prepare it in advance for your journey, you can buy it online from some stores like Printiment at very affordable prices. So, what are you waiting for? Go grab yours right now.
Crocs Women’s Swiftwater Sandal
Flip-flops are fine for some people, but we think these Crocs sandals are more comfortable for a beach vacation. They are just as lightweight but the bouncy Crosslite material is more pleasant for walking around town.
Moreover, the sandals are waterproof and designed so that water runs off. They even have traction on the bottom. Slip them off, give them a shake, and sand falls off too.
Instead of making your toes sore, the soft straps cross over the top of the foot, holding the sandals in place without feeling constrictive. We’ve heard that they’re even comfortable for people with high arches.
Lastly, these Crocs are available in all the colors of the rainbow and then some.
Buddha with Headphones T-Shirt
Show the world that you’re there to relax. We were amused by the Buddha with headphones on this soft cotton T-shirt. It’s just what we needed to find Zen at the beach.
Wear it over your swimsuit or slip it on to get some shade or go buy ice cream. The T-shirts come in several different colors like white, gray, black, blue, and maroon to match the rest of your gear. They are breathable and lightweight but well-made by top brands like Gildan and Next Level. You can get them in a classic unisex style, women’s fitted, or long-sleeved versions. There’s even a sweatshirt for when the sun goes down and the sea breeze starts to get chilly.
By the way, this T-shirt company uses green screen-printing technology. We had fun scrolling through its big selection of designs.
Wander Agio Beach Coverup
We were asked what to pack for a beach vacation for a woman and the first thing that came to mind was a wrap. A swimsuit cover-up is super handy for a variety of reasons. First, it’s convenient protection against the sun and wind for when you’re done laying out or swimming.
Second, it’s handy if you don’t feel comfortable walking around the shops in your bikini. And third, you can sit on it if you’ve forgotten your beach blanket.
This particular beach wrap is Bohemia style, meaning it’s soft, loose, and flowy. It’s made from a cotton-polyester blend and comes in various vibrant colors.
Reviewers as tall as 5’9″ say that it reaches mid-thigh.
Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Cooler
Do you know what else is on the beach trip packing list for the family? A cooler, of course. This one is large enough to hold 30 cans, several water bottles, or a variety of snacks. It’s 12.7 inches long by 7.6 inches wide and 10.2 inches deep.
Among the many thoughtful features, we loved the excellent insulation provided by a radiant heat barrier that reflects high temperatures away from the interior. Then, there is a flip-open lid for quick and easy access (no zipper).
The inner liner is FDA-compliant HardBody that’s leakproof and straightforward to clean. There’s also a removable shelf and an insulated front pocket.
The exterior is perfect for dealing with extreme environments. The Rhino-Tech fabric resists water, staining, and abrasion. Finally, there’s a padded shoulder strap to keep your hands free.
Complete packing list for a trip to the beach
We checked with frequent beachgoers, surfers, and world travelers to assemble this super complete list of everything you might possibly want while on vacation at the beach. You’ve seen all the essentials above, but they are also included here.
Comfort and safety
- Sunscreen and lip balm
- Sun hat
- Beachwear including swimsuit, shorts and T-shirt, and sandals
- Bottle of water with insulated cover to stay cool
- Charger for electronics
- Cooler with drinks and snacks
- Waterproof pouch
- Beach safe
Just for fun
- Snorkel, goggles, or surfboard
- Frisbee, beach ball, badminton, or volleyball set
- Inflatable raft
- A cozy book or magazine
- Umbrella for shade
- E-reader, tablet, smartphone, camera
- Bluetooth speaker
Stuff you’ll need back at the hotel
- Shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss
- Makeup remover
- Hairbrush, styling tools
- Clippers and nail file
- Skincare products and makeup, after sun moisturizer, shaving items, deodorant
- Workout gear and shoes
- Casual clothing and shoes
- Underwear and sanitary items
- Medications, contact lens solution, first-aid kit including pain relievers, vitamins
- Identification, credit cards, and cash
Do you really need all this stuff for a beach vacation?
No, all you really need is a beach. The good news is that most hotels provide shampoo, conditioner, soap, and sometimes lotion and toothpaste if you ask, so that’s less to pack.
Many items on the list can serve multiple purposes, like the Neutrogena makeup wipes we reviewed above. They can cleanse your face at the end of the day and your hands at the beach before you have a snack. And sandals are great all-purpose vacation shoes as long as you don’t need to do a lot of hiking.
Some things you can buy when you arrive at your destination, like clothing, food, and personal care products, so you don’t need to pack those unless you’re worried you won’t find what you need. In our adventures around the world, we’ve had a lot of fun trying out what the local people use.
We hope we helped you prepare for a fun time at the beach. Have a great vacation!