Beach Packing List: What To Pack For A Beach Vacation & Things To Bring To The Beach

beach packing


Nothing quite says summer like the sound of the ocean nearby, the scent of sunscreen on the breeze, and all of your beach essentials on hand for a day of sun and fun. A beach trip is the perfect option to enjoy a summer vacation getaway. Whether you plan to stay close to home or road trip to the beach with your closest friends, this complete beach packing list has you covered. Before you hit the sand, use this packing checklist to ensure you leave for your beach vacation with everything you need—and nothing you don't!


Your luggage should always be versatile and lightweight. Especially for a beach vacation, you want to make sure you don’t pack too much. The goal is to relieve stress, not add to it.

If flying, consider just bringing your backpack as a carry-on and a personal item like a fanny pack. But no more than this, unless it’s a long trip, when you might need some larger, water-resistant luggage. Go light though! You’ll be lounging on the beach in your bikini most of the time, so you don’t need to pack much for a great beach vacation. Opt for easy-to-carry bags so you’ll feel more carefree.

Here are some things to consider in a beach bag:

  • Duffel bag: Lightweight and versatile, a duffel bag’s soft sides fit just about any space. Toss and go. It’s easy to pack, holds more than a rigid suitcase, and is more durable than you’d expect. And the best duffels are water-repellant with a bucket design that ensures water and sand won't infiltrate your bag at the beach. Alternatively, just opt for your backpack if it’s roomy enough.
  • Wheeled bags: You can’t beat wheels for heavy bags or long walking distances. If you plan to be on the go more than you intend to relax, this is an excellent back-saver.
  • Small bag: Finally, for a care-free week at the beach where all you need is a swimsuit and a small bag for beach essentials: a small fanny pack, crossbody bag, or tote bag are all easy, lightweight, and perfect.


For lots of activities, you'll have a lot of supplies. From sandals and walking shoes to sunscreen and shades, you need to keep it all organized. This is doubly true if your beach vacation includes kayaking, boating, or other outdoor adventures.

Keep your beach essentials straight with packing organizers like packing cubes, and save space by compressing your clothing. You can then quickly slide organizers of any kind straight into the drawers of your hotel dresser, making unpacking a breeze.

For beach vacations when you’re on the move more than you’re staying put, keeping organized with travel packing cubes makes it easy to load up and head out if everything is contained. Compressing your clothing saves up to eighty percent more space, so for extended trips, it can reduce the amount of luggage you need—making it more likely you can fit everything into a roomy travel backpack.

Use packing folders for your dress clothes to keep them nice and neat so you can enjoy date night without worrying about wrinkles. Using zippered compartments for things like toiletries makes it easy to keep track of makeup, jewelry, and other necessities.

To keep your electronics sand-free, consider a packing organizer designed to keep your cords, cables, and gadgets in order.

Lastly, you’ll surely need to bring some food to the beach—and a way to keep it cool. Coolers are too bulky for a beach vacation, so instead, pack a large lunch bag or insulated bag with your food essentials.



Figuring out what to bring to the beach is essential. You don’t want to carry a heavy bag, but you should ensure you have everything you need to enjoy your trip. Even if you plan to lounge on the beach and do nothing else, there are some basic items you want to include in your beach bag, specifically. Here are a few ideas for what to pack for the beach.

  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Bathing suit
  • A good book
  • Sandals
  • Hat
  • Change of clothes (top, bottoms, underwear)
  • Cell phone and portable charger
  • Headphones and/or portable speaker
  • Beach blanket or sarong
  • Reusable bottle of water


  • Tank tops
  • Shorts
  • Sundress
  • Underwear
  • Pajamas
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Soap

If you plan to sightsee or do anything else, your beach vacation packing list is probably more extensive. You may include walking shoes and socks, additional toiletries like makeup, and more lightweight clothing you can layer in case it’s cool in the evenings. Use the Ultimate Travel Packing List to determine what else you might need.


When considering what to pack for the beach, you might want to include a few extra items to ensure your beach time is relaxing and enjoyable. If you have space in your beach bag, these items may not be essentials, but they are fun things to bring to the beach:

  • Frisbees and beach balls to start a friendly game
  • Goggles
  • Snorkel
  • Towel
  • Beach umbrella


Even when packing for a beach trip, don’t forget prescription medications and other items to stay healthy. You don’t want to ruin your vacation by getting sick. Take precautions keeping hand sanitizer within reach (and use it even after washing your hands), and pack a small first aid kit with band-aids.

If you travel internationally, check the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website for the necessary travel vaccines, medication, and other travel advice. You may also need additional personal healthcare items like glasses, contacts, or allergy pills. A little research pays off, so stay informed and always be prepared if you’re traveling far from home or your college campus.


Even if you plan to check a bag, make sure necessary travel documents are always accessible and stored in your personal item. You should have photo identification, passports (birth certificates for minors in your group), insurance cards, credit cards, and boarding passes with you at all times, perhaps in a money belt.

If you have frequent flier cards, a student ID (or anything else that might get you a discount), or maps and travel guides, bring those, too.

Also, keep an extra outfit and some essential toiletries with you in your carry-on backpack in case your checked bag gets lost or delayed. It’s a good idea to pack a light jacket, an eye mask, or earplugs to keep you comfortable on long journeys—and be sure you’ve packed your headphones, or you’ll regret it.

For entertainment purposes, you should consider bringing the following items on your beach vacation:

  • Portable speaker
  • Laptop or tablet
  • Headphones
  • Camera
  • Electrical converters or travel adapters
  • Journal and pen
  • Book
  • Chapstick
  • Water bottle and bottle sling
  • Insulated tote bag or cooler


Consider your safety above all else when you travel to an unfamiliar place. Hidden belts, undercover bras, reflective clothing, and a flashlight are useful. And the closer you keep your belongings to you, the better—if you haven’t tried a fanny pack yet, now is the time! It will help you stay organized and germ-free when you’re outside of your home since you can pack your facemask and sanitizer inside, alongside your essential documents and money.

If your family is all leaving home together, don’t forget to keep your home safe while you’re away. Not only should you keep yourself safe on vacation, but you need to prepare your home for your departure. Consider the following:

  • Hold your mail
  • Stop deliveries
  • Board your pets
  • Pre-pay bills
  • Unplug appliances
  • Lock doors and windows
  • Put lights on timers
  • Secure valuables
  • Give travel itinerary to a trusted friend
  • Set your alarm

Vacation is supposed to be fun, so don’t spend time worrying about whether you forgot to lock up the house before you left. Check this list off before you go and enjoy a carefree trip!

Use these lists of things to bring as a jumping-off point for your own personalized beach packing list. Go through your itinerary daily and make a list of things to take to the beach that you know you will need. Dress yourself (in your mind) from head to toe each day, considering all weather scenarios and other possible travel hiccups.

Now it’s time to gather your friends, organize and pack your bags, take a final pre-trip picture for social media, and enjoy your glorious beach vacation getaway!

Beach Vacation Packing List FAQs

What essential items should I pack for a beach vacation?

Every beach vacation requires a few essentials to ensure you have everything you need to enjoy yourself. So whether you’re lounging on the beach or catching some waves, make sure you pack these items:

  • Swimsuits and cover-ups: You can’t enjoy the beach without wearing the right clothing! Pack at least a few swimsuits and cover-ups so you can mix and match to prevent tan lines.
  • Sunscreen: Sunscreen is essential for everyone, no matter your tanning preferences. Always have an extra bottle of sunscreen in your beach bag, and use it after getting out of the water and every few hours to protect your beautiful tanned skin.
  • Beach towel: You’ll spend a lot of time on your beach towel, so you’ll want something large and brightly colored to share with a friend.
  • Accessories like hats, flip-flops, and a beach bag: Always wear flip-flops to the beach to make walking on the hot sand easier! Hats can also protect your skin and eyes from dangerous UV rays, and you can pack both in a lightweight beach bag to ensure you bring all your essentials with you.
  • Personal items: Personal items to pack for a beach vacation include entertainment like a good book, snacks, and water to keep with you at all times.

What are some tips for packing efficiently for a beach vacation?

The key to a good beach vacation is packing lightly! You can pack all your must-haves easily by following a few packing tips. Rolling clothes for packing is the easiest way to save space in your luggage, but you can also use packaging and compression cubes to organize everything. However, we understand the desire to pack more than you need, so it’s important to stick to your travel checklist to ensure you have all your essentials before packing extraneous items.

How should I pack my beach towel to save space in my luggage?

Beach towels are lightweight but bulky, making it difficult to pack all your essentials in one bag. Luckily, there are a few tricks to save space, such as rolling your towel instead of folding it into a square. To roll your beach towel and make it as small as possible, fold it in half before rolling it, and tie it with a rubber band to keep it in place. You can also use compression bags or extra small packing cubes to save space in your luggage.

Are there any items I should avoid packing for a beach vacation?

When you’re enjoying a beach vacation, the last thing you want to do is lug around heavy bags. So, you should avoid packing non-essentials to keep your luggage as light as possible. Things to avoid packing for a beach vacation include the following:

  • Heavy items like makeup bags, magazines, full-sized shampoo and conditioner, and hair dryers
  • Valuable items, such as jewelry and devices
  • Formal wear (unless you plan on going to a fancy dinner)
  • Excessive amounts of outfits
  • Toiletries
  • Food
  • Impractical shoes

Remember to consider the types of activities you’ll participate in to help create a beach packing list that will keep you covered no matter the weather.