Beach Vacation Packing List

Beach Vacation Packing List: What Not to Forget for Your Next Getaway

See our ultimate beach vacation packing list below—it’s filled with all the essentials you might forget, from the waterproof tech bag that’ll protect your cell phone and camera to the preventative measures like sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats are non-negotiable.


When you’re deciding what to pack for a beach vacation, sunscreen should be the first thing in your bag. If you’re a make-up person, consider a BB cream or tinted moisturizer with SPF too, like Dr. Jart’s Premium BB Beauty Balm.

Sun Glasses

The best sunglasses go way beyond a day at the beach. They’re the go-to accessory for exploring new cities in the bright summer sun, hiding dark circles after a brutal dose of jet lag, reading poolside over a long weekend, and, let’s be honest, softening the harsh light of day after one too many late-night cocktails in the hotel lobby. And for many travelers, you’ve also got to find a pair designed with prescription lenses in mind. One of My favorites is Clipzen.


Grab a hat for you and ones for your family members, too: They’ll block out more sun than glasses alone and keep your scalp from getting burned. You could go the straw hat route or look for something more sporty. Brooks has a great option in the Chaser Hat made with a DriLayer fabric (think the texture of a nice running shirt) that won’t leave your head sweaty in the way a traditional baseball cap would. 

Bug Spray

Depending on where you travel, you may want to pack bug spray, too. In places like El Nido and Coron, summers get buggy, and you’ll be happy to have packed a spray like Sawyer’s Premium Insect Repellent on nights when you want to sit on the porch or dine outdoors. Sawyer’s spray will protect you and your family from mosquitoes, ticks, and chiggers.

Swim Googles

For more fun (and comfort) underwater, grab a few pairs of goggles, like this classic pair from Speedo. They’re not meant for deep diving, but they’ll come in handy in the pool and in shallow ends of the ocean. Speedo makes smaller googles for kids, too. 

Phone Case or Waterproof Bag

Nothing ruins a vacation quite like having to fish your phone out of the ocean (or pool, or sink, for that matter). If you’re at all afraid of getting your phone wet by the beach, consider investing in the Osprey dry bag. This thing will keep your electronics and other valuables dry as a bone when you’re on a boat, sitting in a splash zone, or in a kayak. If you want to take your phone in the water with you, we recommend one of LifeProof’s Frē Series waterproof cases.

Beach Bag or Cooler

A beach bag that doubles as a cooler is a must for family beach days. Keep your water bottles cold, come prepared with snacks for the kiddos and yourself, and store necessities like sunscreen all in one place with a insulated bag. If your beach vacation is a drive away rather than a flight, consider investing in one of Yeti’s indestructible Tundra Haul wheeled coolers.

Beach Towels

While you may be going to a resort where towels are included, it’s never a bad idea to bring your own, especially if you have one that you love. Dock & Bay’s quick-dry Cabana towels that will take up hardly any room in your suitcase. For added comfort, or a larger space for family to sit, consider packing a beach mat, too, like CGear Multimat’s Original Sand-Free Mat. It comes in three size options: six foot by six foot, eight foot by eight foot, and 10 foot by 10 foot.

Portable Speaker

A portable speaker might not be an essential, but it’s definitely a bonus for any beach day. The JBL Flip 5 is our favorite portable speaker. At only $120, it has better sound than more expensive speakers. It’s also waterproof (a necessary quality at the beach) and stays powered for 12 hours after a charge. 

Water Shoes

Water shoes are just the thing for traversing rocky patches of the beach. They also are a game changer for exploring tide pools. The traction helps you feel secure and grounded, while also protecting your feet from jagged edges and sharp objects. This lightweight, quick-drying pair comes in more than 40 colors, so each family member can pick a different look. 

Picnic or Beach Blanket

A beach blanket is a must for room to spread out and lounge—and if you’re having a picnic and don’t want the sand blowing into your snacks. This Sun Squad design folds up easily into a small rectangle, secures itself with a Velcro strip, and can then be toted around on your shoulder for hands-free carrying. After your day at the beach, you can throw it in the wash. It’s really just the best. 

Beach Chairs

What’s a beach day without a beach chair? Take your lounging to the next level with this shaded beach chair from GCI Outdoor. It checks all the boxes: You can carry it like a backpack, it reclines, it’s a beautiful blue hue, and it comes with built-in sun protection. It’s the Cadillac of beach chairs. If, on the other hand, you’re looking for an inexpensive basic, the Sun Squad beach sand chair is a good bargain find.

Beach Umbrella or Sun Shade

Like the Sun Squad picnic blanket, the Fatboy sun shade folds up into an easy-to-carry travel pouch. There’s space for two adults and two kids under the tent, and you can set it up in three different configurations to suit your needs. We also love this heavy-duty beach umbrella from Franford Umbrellas. It’s not as lightweight, but it’s sturdy and will last you years (if not decades).

Water Btls Reusable

There’s no better time to put your insulated water bottle to use than a day at the beach, when staying hydrated is even more important than usual. Hydro Flask’s wide-mouth thermos will keep water cold for hours, and the 32-ounce capacity means you won’t be hoarding the last sip.

Portable Chargers

When you’re out on the sand for hours at a time, playing music or taking photos can mean a drained battery. Come prepared with a portable charger: We love the Mophie Powerstation Hub for its versatility.

Lightweight Clothing

When it comes to choosing which clothes to pack for a beach vacation, less is more. More often than not, you’ll find yourself in comfortable, loose-fitting clothes that can be reworn throughout the weekend or week by the beach. There are the essentials—bathing suits, walking sandals (there’s no better time to break out your Chaco’s), beach wear—you can’t leave home without. Beyond that, we recommend packing lightweight pieces of clothing like linen pants and flowy jumpsuits, which can be worn on the beach or out to dinner.


Cooling Gel

Hopefully, you’re diligent about putting on sunscreen and won’t find yourself with a sunburn. But life happens, and it’s smart to pack an antidote just in case. While there are plenty of aloe vera and cooling gels to choose from, we like Mario Badescu’s After Sun Cooling Gel for its non-sticky, lightweight texture

Reusable Bags

Reusable bags will come in handy on many occasions, especially as more cities and companies ban single-use plastic bags: You can drop in odds and ends on your way to the beach, carry wet clothes or bathing suits back to your hotel, or stash your beach accessories without schlepping another full-size tote around. On the way home, use them to wrap up dirty clothes or still-damp suits.

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