Ultimate Beach Packing List: Everything You Need to Bring for Your Next Beach Vacation

beach packing
beach packing


A beach trip is the perfect option to enjoy a summer vacation or spring break getaway while also safely socially distancing. 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.

If you’re worried about what to bring to the beach, prepare for the ultimate list of beach essentials. From basics to extras, and from toiletries to luxury relaxation, you won’t forget a thing if you stick to these beach necessities. 


Beach Luggage 

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 luggage. Go light though! You’ll be lounging on the beach in your bikini most of the time, so you don’t need much. Opt for easy-to-carry bags so you’ll feel more carefree. 

Here are some things to consider: 

  • 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. 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, cross-body bag, or tote bag are all easy, lightweight, and perfect. 


Getting Organized 

For lots of activities, you have a lot of supplies. From sandals and walking shoes to sunscreen and shades, you need to keep it all organized. 

Keep your beach essentials straight with packing organizers like 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 vacations when you’re on the move more than you’re staying put, it’s 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 backpack

Use 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. 

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.


The Basics: Beach Packing Checklist 

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 packing list. 

  • Sunscreen 

  • Sunglasses 

  • Bathing suit 

  • A good book 

  • Sandals 

  • Tank tops 

  • Shorts 

  • Hat 

  • Cell phone and portable charger 

  • Underwear 

  • Pajamas 

  • Toothbrush 

  • Toothpaste

  • Shampoo 

  • Conditioner 

  • Soap 


If you plan to sightsee or do anything else, your beach vacation checklist 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. 

Other fun things to take to the beach include: 

  • Frisbees and beach balls to start a friendly game

  • Goggles 

  • Snorkel

  • Towel 

  • Sarong

  • Beach umbrella


Travel Health 

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. 


Personal Items and Travel Documents

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 flyer 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 packing the following items: 

  • 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


Extra Things to Bring to the Beach 

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 day by day 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, pack your bags, take a final pre-trip picture for social media, and enjoy your glorious beach vacation getaway!



Want to learn more about how to pack for a specific type of trip? We’ve got more packing advice from travel experts: 


Packing Lists by Location:

What to Pack for Uruguay: The 5-Step Solution

What To Pack For Greenland: The Five-Step Solution

Minimalist Travel: How to Pack Your Bag for Cuba

What to Pack for Cambodia: The 5 Step Solution 


Packing Lists by Activity:

8 Items To Pack For a Super Active Summer Vacation

What to Pack for Your First Ragnar Relay Race

The Essential Packing List for a Traveling Kitchen

What to Pack for a Weekend Sailing Trip 


More Travel Checklists:

Packing Light for a Cold Weather Getaway

How To Pack the Ultimate Gym Bag 


By Alexandra Baackes on November 26, 2021