This packing list for beach vacations covers seaside clothing and other essentials, including useful accessories to make your trip easy and hassle-free. We also cover health products to keep you safe in the summer sun.
Beach Bags? © romainpontida
Packing for the beach is fairly simple. It’s really a question of making sure you take everything you need, avoiding expensive replacements once you arrive.
What You Need For Every Trip
Below is a list of specific items you’ll need for the beach. See our main vacation packing list for items to pack for every journey, regardless of weather or destination.
Remember The Essentials!
- Double check you’ve packed your passport, tickets, vaccinations documents, and all the other essential items for every trip away.
- Considering travel insurance for your trip? World Nomads offers coverage for more than 150 adventure activities as well as emergency medical, lost luggage, trip cancellation and more.
Essential Items For Beach Vacations
- Face mask – COVID is still very active in many countries and you may be required to wear an SFP2 facemask on the plane and in some indoor spaces. It’s also a good idea to carry a small bottle of hand sanitiser when you travel.
- Sunscreen – Millions of people contract skin cancer each year as a result of direct exposure to the sun. Protect yourself with a tube or two of sunscreen with an SPF rating of at least 15. We recommend Neutrogena SPF 45 Drytouch Sunscreen. It’s non-greasy and absorbs into your skin immediately, and is water resistant for about an hour.
- Aloe Vera Lotion – Even if you don’t feel burnt, exposure to direct sunlight will still dry out your skin. Aloe vera products like Banana Boat After Sun Lotion moisturize your skin to prevent damage from salt and sun.
- Insect Repellant – Beaches are hotspots for mosquitos and other insects, making a good insect repellant a vital addition to pack. Sawyer Picaridin is recommended by Consumer Reports as the best all-round topical insect repellent.
- Chapstick – Saltwater and sun don’t just dry out your skin, they also dry out your lips. A good Chapstick like Burt’s Bees 100% Natural Lip Balm will help you avoid cracked lips after a day out at the beach.
- Beach Towels – Even if you’re staying at a hotel close to the beach, it’s worth packing a few beach towels. If you’re short on space, you can use quick dry towels, which take up a tiny fraction of your suitcase, compared to their normal sized equivalent.
- Beach Bag – A decent tote bag makes carrying your swimsuit, towels and other essentials easy. Asics makes a great mesh beach backpack that’s big enough to fit everything you need.
Clothing and Accessories For The Beach
- Swimsuits – Obvious, I know, but unless you plan on spending all your time at the beach out of the water, you’ll need to pack a swimsuit. Also pack a back-up, so you’re ready to swim when your first set is drying out.
- Sunglasses – A good pair of sunglasses will protect your eyes from the while you enjoy the beach. Just don’t forget to wear sunscreen on your face to avoid “sunbed goggle” marks around your eyes. For the best protection, go for polarized sunglasses, which reduce the intensity of light and glare from the water.
- Hat – Pack a hat that you can pull down to cover your face and protect yourself from the sun.
- Cover-up Beach Clothing – While it’s okay to walk around in your bikini in some beach destinations, some countries have more conservative attitudes to clothing that make an extra set of clothes essential. Bring a change of clothes to the beach or pack a cover up, so you can move freely without turning heads for the wrong reasons.
Useful Items For The Beach
- Water Bottles – Since you’re going to be out in the heat for most of the day, staying hydrated is vital. Buy bottles of water locally or, better yet, fill up a water bottle, so you always have something refreshing to drink. The Nalgene OTF is an excellent choice.
- Waterproof Pouch – Protect your billfold and cell phone from water or sand damage with a waterproof pouch. The Lewis N. Clark Waterproof Multi Purpose Pouch is a good low-cost choice that’s big enough to fit most cell phones and point-and-shoot cameras.
Beach Vacation Items For Kids
- Children’s Sunscreen – Many ingredients used in sunscreen aren’t suitable for young children. Children’s sunscreen like No-Ads is formulated with hypoallergenic ingredients that are safe for sensitive skin.
- Beach Shoes – Pebbles, rocks, and rough sand can take a toll on children’s feet, making a pair of beach shoes essential. The Wave make great beach shoes for kids that protect against rough surfaces and will stay on their feet in the water.
- Beach Toys – If you’re traveling to the beach with kids, be sure to pack some beach toys to keep them amused. A bucket, rake and shovel set, along with a soccer ball or frisbee, should be more than enough to keep young children entertained.
- Baby Powder – Baby powder is an essential for young children, but it’s also a useful beach accessory for adults. Gently rub into your skin and the sand will brush right off.
- Baby Wipes – Baby wipes are an obvious essential for any family on a beach vacation, whether for cleaning up messes, wiping down hands after an ice cream, or any other little disaster.
- Waterproof Diapers – Waterproof diapers like Pampers Splashers let your kids enjoy the water without swelling up. Since they have protective double leg cuffs, they’re also safe to use in the pool.
- Books – If you plan on spending all day at the beach, pack a couple of books for something to do while you sunbathe. A tablet like the Amazon Kindle can hold a whole library without taking up space.
- Tablet – If you plan on spending a long time at the beach, a tablet can also hold movies, music, and more. Plenty to keep you entertained on the beach or back at your hotel.
- Cell Phone / MP3 Player and Headphones – Alternatively, load up your cell phone or MP3 player with a couple of good albums or audiobooks. This is a great way to pass time while you’re sunbathing.
Optional Beach Items
- Goggles – Bring a pair of goggles if you plan on swimming. Most beach resort destinations will have an accessories store, but you’ll get the best selection if you prepare in advance or buy online.
- Mask, Snorkel and Fins – If you’ve got space in your luggage, packing a set with mask, snorkel and fins saves you from having to buy them at your destination or rent them on the beach.
- Beach Blanket, Chairs and Umbrella – For extra comfort, bring your own beach chairs, blanket and umbrella from home. Only really recommended if you’re driving to a beach location and have plenty of room in your car.