The Essential Beach Trip Packing List

The Essential Beach Trip Packing List

It’s winter. It’s cold. And, a lot of us dream of tropical beaches, sand, surf, and chilly drinks. If you’re lucky enough to turn that dream into a reality, good for you! We’ve put together a beach trip packing list that covers so much more than just a beach ball and tube of sunscreen.

Keep reading to get your:

  • Beach Day Packing List
  • The Essentials You’ll Need
  • Clothing You’ll Want
  • Meds and First Aid
  • Traveling Abroad Must-Haves

No one likes the hassle of running to an overpriced boardwalk store for something you left on the kitchen counter. Check off all the things on our list as you pack so that you can enjoy your beach trip without the inconvenience.

The Basic Beach Day Packing List

While this blog post includes everything you’ll need for your family beach trip, it’s a good idea to have a list that’s specific for when you’re packing to spend an hour—or the whole day—soaking in the sun surfside.

Check out our other blog post about a beach packing list for some practical items like sunscreen, aloe vera, and games! Since the emergence of COVID-19, you may want to add these additional items to that list, too:

  • Disposable face masks
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Disinfectant wipes

Now without further ado, here’s our beach trip packing list for the family.

The Everyday Essentials

There are some daily must-haves that we all need, regardless of if we’re at home, on a work trip, or on vacation. Make sure these essentials are on your beach trip packing list.

Family Toiletries

It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of everyone packing their own toiletries. But, rather than five tubes of toothpaste, just pack one for everyone to share. Here are the items that you should consider for your family toiletry bag:

  • Toothpaste
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Soap
  • Dry Shampoo
  • Hairbands
  • Disposable swim diapers

Check and see if your lodging has things like hairdryers, irons, and other hair accessories that you may be able to leave home. If you don’t have much space to work with, consider a two in one bottle of shampoo and conditioner, as well as a single large can of unscented aerosol deodorant.

Tech & Accessories

It’s easy to forget the small things, particularly if we’re used to always having them at hand in our space. But, when it comes to packing for a family beach trip, you’ll want to make sure these things make it into the luggage:

  • Sunglasses (one pair for each person)
  • Jewelry that you can mix and match
  • Cell phone chargers (and wall adapters, if applicable)
  • Portable chargers
  • Underwater camera
  • Bluetooth speaker
  • Hats (like ours!)

We wouldn’t strictly say that some of these are essential—you don’t need a monstrous Bluetooth speaker—but it’s such a nice addition to a day at the beach that we felt like it needed to be included.


Whether it’s to eat out, replace a charging cord, or for entertainment, you’re going to spend money. Bring cash, debit cards, and credit cards with you so that you’re prepared in any situation. If theft is a concern, make sure your lodging has a personal safe in the room.

The Clothing

Clothes easily take up the most room in your luggage, so it’s important to pack only what you need—though most of us pack in excess and pack the wrong things. Here’s a list of the items you should consider packing for your family beach trip:


While this one may be optional depending on what tops you pack, pajamas are important. Each person should only need one set, but if your kids are accident prone with Kool-Aid, you may want to pack them a second pair while the first one is in the wash.


No one should need more than one pair of underwear per day. If laundry facilities are easily accessible, you may be able to pack fewer pairs. If you anticipate doing a lot of outdoor activities, bring a few pairs of socks as well.


No, not the government kind. We’re thinking more like a light jacket or sweater; it does get chilly at the beach sometimes, so it’s a good idea to have something on hand to help guard against a cool breeze.

Neutral-Colored Bottoms

Each person shouldn’t need more than two or three pairs of shorts, pants, or skirts. At least, they shouldn’t if you choose items that don’t have a pattern and have a neutral color that goes with pretty much anything.

Stylin’ Tops

Bring four or five tops for each person and mix things up! Choose one or two more formal options for nice dining, while the rest should be casual beach tees. Make sure they match at least one of the bottoms. Check out our beach style tips for inspiration!


More than likely, you’ll only need two or three pairs of shoes. Choose a couple of nice sandals for a night out and a pair that you don’t mind getting wet (or just go with water shoes). Plus, it’s a good idea to bring something that can offer more support and handle outdoor activities, such as hiking or visiting a theme park.


The idea with coordinating your bottoms, tops, shoes, and even accessories is to reduce how much you’re bringing without having to browse a clothing store instead of the boardwalk. A beach trip with kids usually means a lot of luggage, so it’s good to save space!

Health Must-Haves

Neglecting your health is easy on vacation. But, it’s vital to take care of your body so that you can keep going and have a great time. Take a look at our tips for protecting your skin while at the beach, and keep reading for some general beach trip packing ideas that’ll keep you feeling great.

Bug Spray

Important for tropical areas, a good bug spray can prevent discomfort and, in some cases, even illness. Like sunscreen and other essentials, it’s important to apply bug spray anytime you may be exposed to insects, not just wandering the beach.

First-Aid Kit

Accidents happen. We stub our toes, hit our heads on a cabinet, and do all kinds of things to cause accidents and injury. Because of this, it’s a good idea to pack a first-aid kit with all of the essentials. It doesn’t have to be robust, but just the basics for cuts and scrapes.


Don’t forget to pack enough for your trip. With COVID concerns and travel delays, it’s a good idea to pack a few extra days’ worth as well. Along those same lines, don’t forget insurance and ID cards if refills or unexpected medical visits (ever get stung by a jellyfish? Ouch!) are necessary.

Beach-Bumming Abroad?

If you’re exploring the world beyond borders, there may be some other things to consider when you’re preparing and packing for your trip.

Passport & Visa

There are very few places you can go outside of the lower 48 that won’t require a passport. If your winter beach trip is outside of the United States, be sure that your passport is valid and that you’ve gotten one if you need a Visa.

Plane Trip Accessories

Earplugs and an eye mask are a must-have for many people when flying. Be sure to pack those as well as convenient games or electronics for the kids. Make sure it’s all easily accessible at the airport and on the flight.

Converters and Adapters

Make sure your charging cables and electronics are compatible with the outlets where you’re going. If not, include adapters in your beach trip packing list so that you can stay connected!

Love our list? Keep reading for other related articles about where to go and how you can make travel a less stressful experience with a bit of planning!

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