Are you heading to the coast for vacation and wondering what to bring to the beach? Use our beach essentials list to help pack everything you need for a great trip. This beach packing list includes all the essentials to enjoy fun in the sun.
Plus, it’s helpful for family beach vacations, party beach trips, and even active beachgoers. We’ve traveled to every ocean in the world with the items mentioned as we feel we are continually chasing the endless summer dream. Here’s our ultimate list of things to bring to the beach!
What to Bring to the Beach? Our Beach Essentials
You’re heading to the beach, so a swimsuit is one of the beach essentials you need! When we take a beach trip, we like to travel with at least two different swimsuits to know we will always have a dry one on hand.
For a fantastic women’s swimsuit brand, we recommend Londre and Carve Designs. They make high-quality swimsuits for women. Many of their pieces are stylish yet supportive. So if you plan to go surfing, bodyboarding, kitesurfing, or play beach volleyball and want to ensure your ta-tas stay intact, these swimsuits are for you.
Vuori makes fantastic lightweight Cruise Board Shorts in various prints and colors for men. They’re super comfortable, quickly dry, and the cut is perfect. We don’t like board shorts that are too long or loose, as they look sloppy.
Right after a swimsuit, a cooler is essential for any beach trip. It’s the first thing we pack up for any day trip to the beach. A quality cooler is excellent for the beach, should be leakproof, resistant to mildew and punctures, durable, and entirely mobile. Most importantly, they must keep drinks frosty cold for a day at the beach.
Traditional coolers are heavy and painful on the beach, so we love a portable travel cooler. You can choose a premium one, such as the YETI Hopper Flip, or save money with the EVERFUN Cooler Backpack. A soft side cooler is an excellent investment to remain portable.
If you want something even more robust for the back of your vehicle, the YETI Tundra has a reason for its legendary status. They even make the YETI Tundra Haul with wheels for easy transport. Coolers are great investments for BBQs, camping, fishing, canoeing, tailgating, or a day at the park.
Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker
A waterproof speaker is one of those excellent “never thought about” beach essentials to bring to the beach. It depends on where you’re heading to the beach, but a portable Bluetooth speaker is great for a group. The JBL Charge Speaker is waterproof and dustproof, perfect for the beach.
We pack the speaker for the beach when it feels appropriate. We say this because it’s often best to leave it at home on small, secluded beaches so as not to annoy anyone else with your music — no one’s that good of a DJ.
Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6
We live in a digital world, and most photos now only exist on our phones, cameras, or the cloud. With a fun camera like the Instax Square SQ6, you can take instant photos as a fun keepsake. Save your memories from the beach with Fuji’s excellent instant film camera. We tried several out and found the quality of the SQ6 to be the best. They also make for unique keepsakes from vacations and events.
Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6
A beach tote should be on everyone’s beach vacation packing list. It helps carry towels, a book, a speaker, sunglasses, snacks, and sunscreen. The Yeti Camino Carryall Tote Bag can carry it all, whether that’s towels, tools, firewood, or even ice as a cooler.
The bag lives in the back of our truck, and we use it in countless ways. Of course, not everyone needs something so robust, so the next best option is a small canvas tote, which we use when traveling. A canvas tote can fold flat to fit inside luggage for a trip to Hawaii or Greece.
Yeti Camino Carryall Tote
You can’t go to the beach without a towel. Everyone in the water needs a good towel to dry off after swimming or lying in the sand. Pack a lightweight travel towel for beach hopping if you’re traveling abroad. There are a bunch of cheap microfiber towels online, but we prefer the quality and plushness of the PackTowl. Or if you want a more traditional beach towel, check out these from Amazon Basics – no pilling!
When wondering what to bring to the beach, don’t forget a beach blanket. With beach blankets, finding a better one than the YETI Lowlands Blanket is impossible. It’s expensive, but you get a blanket that extends far beyond the beach.
It’s fantastic lakeside on the cold ground, on a wet riverbank fishing, camping, or placing on sand. It’s not a blanket to place over oneself, but it is best for sitting. It’s heavy-duty enough that heavy wind at the beach will not disrupt this blanket, unlike traditional light beach blankets.
Yeti Lowlands Blanket
Rumpl Puffy Blanket
Rumpl blankets are versatile, weatherproof blankets made with 100% recycled polyester. Its features include stain and water resistance, a cape clip for hands-free use, corner loops, and a water-resistant stuff sack, perfect for those chilly beach days.
Being lightweight, cozy, and machine washable, it’s the perfect beach accessory for anyone and a fantastic gift for those going on a beach vacation, as there are so many fun designs on the blanket, including designs from some famous national parks!
If you are considering what to pack for a beach trip, we recommend grabbing a stylish beach hat! Try to keep it in a practical size that travels well and doesn’t crease in a suitcase. If you pack a large hat, it will always be in your way, and you’ll likely ditch it by the end of your trip.
Sun Bum Original is our favorite eco-friendly sunblock and one of the most important beach essentials. We highly recommend getting an eco-friendly sun cream that does not contain harmful chemicals, especially if you are on the beach.
Once you enter the ocean, those toxic chemicals from your sunscreen will run off and ruin the coral and marine life, so it’s essential to sunbathe responsibly. Eco-friendly sunscreen is mineral-based and usually only costs a few dollars more to help protect our natural bodies of water.
Lip Balm With SPF
While your body has sunscreen, lip balm with an SPF is one of the most crucial beach essentials to protect your lips. They are far more delicate than your skin, and it’s a common area to receive a burn with the reflection from the water. Make sure to put lip balm on your beach essentials list when you pack for the beach.
SPF Lip Balm
Water shoes used to be super hokey and ugly. That is no longer the case as several manufacturers like Tropicfeel created stylish water shoes. They look more like traditional shoes but are breathable and made with waterproof materials. Water shoes are great for adventurous beach destinations like Costa Rica, Hawaii, or Bali. The other option would be to bring a pair of Teva or Chacos that hold better than traditional sandals.
Hydro Flask Wide Mouth Water Bottle
Traveling to the beach with fresh water is vital, as getting dehydrated in the sun on the beach is easy. We like to use insulated stainless steel water bottles from Hydro Flask at the beach because they are well-insulated. A reusable water bottle with a long life is a great way to save money and reduce waste. Plus, with ice in the bottle, you can expect a cold drink for up to 36 hours. They’re the perfect water bottle for a hot day at the beach!
Insulated Water Bottle
GoPro Hero Camera
GoPro cameras were made for the beach, as their roots lie in surfing. The original action camera can tackle sand, salt water, and sun. It can grab videos in 5.3k and take 27 mp wide-angle photos. We love the camera and can’t imagine taking a beach trip without one in our bag.
GoPro Hero Camera
SNACKS – should be at the top of what you need for the beach. We all know these are important beach essentials for everyone! If you’re packing for the beach, having some excellent snacks is always a good idea. Snacks are among those necessary beach items you don’t want to forget. We like to pack healthier snacks like trail mix or nuts not loaded with sodium or sugar.
Ice Cold Drinks
Along with your snacks, stick some cold drinks in the cooler – yes, they are beach necessities. Throw beer, sparkling water, or your favorite beverage in the cooler. Avoid drinking in single-use plastics and opt for aluminum. Our favorite drink when out in the heat is sparkling water, La Croix, to be specific. If you’re having difficulty kicking an unhealthy soda habit, sparkling water can also be a great substitute with no calories.
A Good Book or Kindle
Check out some of the best-sellers right now and pick up a copy. I like to read on days when I feel like sunbathing and relaxing. Of course, we’re also big fans of used bookstores and always seek them out while traveling. We love a Kindle Paperwhite for travel. It’s small, has touchscreen functions, and has a backlight for nighttime reading without a harsh glare.
This is one of those beach essentials just for the ladies! Bushbalm is my favorite scrub and oil to eliminate razor burns around the bikini line. Use the scrub before you shave for the beach, and after, lather the oil around the areas to minimize razor burn and red bumps. Trust me, this stuff works, and I bring it on all my vacations!
Things to Bring To Beach for A Family
I would always rather sit on a chair than with a towel on the sand. If your luggage space permits, consider bringing beach chairs to the beach for you and your family. It’s one of those “duh” things to bring to the beach for many people.
It doesn’t matter the age, but kites are always a fun time on the beach and are a must-have beach essential. Ensure that the beach you’re heading to allows kites, as not all beaches allow them.
Beach tents are an essential source of shade on the beach. Families love them as they protect young children and babies from sun damage. The added layer of protection from the wind and sand is also lovely on those windy days. Plus, if you need to change your kid’s clothes at the beach, it provides an added layer of privacy.
It does not offer the same level of protection, but a Shibumi is a lightweight and easy-to-set-up source of sun protection. It’s a simple sail that blows in the wind from an arch and provides shade. They’re all made in the USA and have swept the East Coast.
If you’re heading to the beach with some little ones, bringing a few beach toys and beach balls won’t hurt! You can never go wrong with a set to build some sandcastles. Please remember to pick up after yourself and your child. We see too many little plastic pieces left on the beach, which only go into the ocean, causing damage.
Kid’s Beach Toys
If they aren’t strong swimmers, buy your children floaties, water wings, or life jackets. Some funny and cute ones on Amazon will surely smile on your children’s faces.
Protect your eyes from harsh UV Rays at the beach. There are many options for sunglasses, and everyone should own at least a pair. We don’t need a dozen iterations of products we use in life. We love to travel and hike around the world. Sunglasses like the Ray-Ban Wayfarers are perfect for mountain summits or new cities. I can wear them in a suit or on a mountain summit.
Change Of Clothes
It might not be the first of mind, but an extra set of clothes is always a good idea for a trip to the beach. You don’t have to grab a post-beach smoothie, shaved ice, beer, or coffee in a swimsuit.
A stylish coverup or dress is an excellent choice for women. My favorite easy and versatile beach outfit is the Patagonia Fleetwith Romper. Men can never go wrong with a classic white tee or a linen shirt for a timeless style that handles the heat well.
Our Clothing Recommendations
A coverup is one beach vacation item you should always wear in your luggage. When packing for a day at the beach, ensure you don’t forget one. They look cute but will also protect you from the sun’s harsh rays. Many establishments don’t allow beachgoers only to wear a swimsuit, so this is where the coverup is beach essential.
Are you still wondering what to wear on the beach? Don’t forget about a warm fleece for the evening. Of course, what you wear all depends on where you live! You may want something more hospitable for those heading to the beach in colder climates or cold water coastlines like the West Coast. On those days, we constantly reach for a warm fleece jacket.
The Patagonia Better Sweater is a perfect fleece sweater and excels as a cozy mid-layer. It’s thick, soft, and slim while still being one of the warmest fleece jackets. It’s perfect for walking on the beach or at an evening bonfire.
The Patagonia Better Sweater
Women may appreciate a pair of beach shorts if they plan on doing some adventure activities while at the beach, like surfing or bodyboarding. The shorts are great for surfing or kayaking, so the legs don’t chafe or get scratched against the board.
Sociala shorts look great at the beach. They are incredibly comfortable and dry fast after getting out of the water. They are perfect when bikini bottoms are too small, but board shorts are too much. The material is abrasion-resistant and contains a built-in brief and a comfy elastic waistband.
Sandals are the perfect complement to the beach. We love our sandals from Olukai that have lasted for years. They are sandals with leather accents and feel stylish enough. They’re super comfortable, too, and they get us around the beach. Women should also check out the Sanuk Yoga Sling for an affordable, lightweight, stylish sandal.
A maxi skirt, or “flowy skirt,” is an excellent wardrobe staple worn daily in the summer. Maxi skirts are versatile enough for a variety of settings and destinations. My top beach tip is to avoid prints, as they’re more challenging to match.
The maxi skirt in the photo above is from Lulus. They change styles and stock frequently, so it’s best to shop for one that fits your style. I love matching a crop, bandeau, or tank top with a maxi skirt. Amazon also makes some fantastic ones that come in every color, and I’ve purchased a few from there as well.
Things to Bring to the Beach with Friends
Since Instagram, funny and chic floats have become all the rage at the beach. You can get anything from unicorn floaties to giant parrots! It’s another one of those fun things to take to the beach!
They’re one of those fun beach must-haves, but please don’t get carried away, as we aren’t big fans of single-use plastics. It isn’t nice to head to the beach and let your float drift into the ocean. Just because something is cheap doesn’t make it disposable.
ION Explorer Large Outdoor Speaker
We picked this up for the family home at the beach, and it’s been an excellent investment. It’s much bigger than a small portable Bluetooth speaker but also louder and more substantial. We like to use it when riding on the boat before landing on the island and drinking a few beers on the beach.
It also comes with a microphone, so it can be super helpful if having beach parties, family reunions, or events. It’s Bluetooth compatible, waterproof, holds a long charge, doubles as a seat, and has two drink holders. It’s been a great addition to our beach packing list on the right day.
Ion Audio Block
Cornhole Boards and Bags
Almost every college student in America has played cornhole. It originates from the Midwest but is now found everywhere, including the beach. You can even order the boards online. We’ve always made our boards and ordered synthetic bags online, which last longer in humidity than traditional corn-filled bags. Of course, it’s a game best enjoyed with a beer in hand. That doesn’t mean everyone, including kids, doesn’t love the game!
Travel hammocks are our way of life when we travel. They are perfect for throwing up when you find two palm trees to relax underneath! The ENO hammock was the original producer. Now, you can find many cheap ones online as they’re easy to manufacture in China, and people love to buy and sell them on Amazon. I’d stick with the original.
We just got our hands on the new Cooler Cup by one of our favorite brands, Hydro Flask. We love these things and use them every day. They make them out of Durable Pro-Grade Stainless Steel and Tempsheid technology. The cup is a double-wall vacuum insulator that is BPA-free and Phthalate-free. It fits a can perfectly and keeps my drinks cold for hours.
I don’t just use it at the beach, though, but for every drink I have at home. While it’s excellent for canned beverages, it doubles as an insulated cup by popping off the top. Do not hesitate to put this item on your beach checklist.
Insulted Drink Holder
I love enjoying a glass of white wine or sangria at the beach with my friends. Unfortunately, wine can warm quickly in the sun, and no one likes warm wine. Wine tumblers are my new favorite beach packing list item. These Yeti wine tumblers are stainless steel and come in various colors. Get ready for Beach Happy Hour!
Yeti Wine Tumblers
Fun Things To Pack For The Beach
Beach Frisbee, Football, or Volleyball
It’s hard to imagine any beach worldwide without a frisbee, football (both types), or some form of sport. It’s easy to travel around with a frisbee as they fit easily in a suitcase, but we go the classic football at home. One of my biggest passions is beach volleyball; I’ve been playing for over a decade. While it might not always be competitive at the beach, volleyball is still fun. Having some form of a ball or frisbee should be mandatory on every beach packing list.
If you’re going to head to a beach with some trees and like to work on your balance, a slackline is a great thing to bring. They’re super simple to set up, and you can pick them up for an affordable price. They’re great fun for anyone active and even kids.
Bodyboards aren’t just for kids! They are fun if the surf is good and you still want to stay in the shallow zones. It’s an excellent introduction to catching waves for those interested in surfing, as the principle of catching a wave is the same.
I recommend investing in a wetsuit if you’re traveling during the off-season and plan to enjoy the water. Wetsuits are particularly great for surfers around the world. Or anyone who lives near cold water. If you plan to snorkel or dive, it is also essential because even in warm water, your body temperature will drop as the water pulls heat from your body faster than air.
Fins and Snorkel Gear
If you’re into snorkeling, pick up some fins, a mask, and a snorkel so you don’t get stuck paying to rent the setup. We travel around the world with our gear – I’m serious. My fins fit right in my suitcase, while the mask and snorkel sit comfortably in any backpack or bag.
Since Cam has freediving fins, they don’t fit in his suitcase, but he doesn’t mind carrying them on a plane, and the airlines never even notice them. Both of our masks are Aqualung masks, and we use them for snorkeling and diving.
I use Oceanic fins everywhere, while Cam loves the brand Hammerhead for his underwater gear. Alternatively, if you’re staying at a resort or hotel on your vacation, check to see if they have free equipment you can use!
Whether or not it is a beach vacation, we always travel with a dry bag. Dry bags pack quickly and are lightweight, so there is no reason not to have one. They have saved our electronics several times and have quickly paid for themselves when we’ve traveled to beach destinations like The Seychelles, Cyprus, or yachting in the Mediterranean.
Mesh or Dive Bag
A mesh bag is one of the last items on this list of what to take to the beach. Mesh bags are great for storing water gear such as a mask, fins, snorkel, wetsuit, or anything in the ocean. They allow water to escape and the items to dry, thus fighting mildew and damage from the saltwater.
Once you reach home or your hotel, you can dunk the bag in fresh water and clean off your gear. We travel around with a mesh bag for our diving equipment, which is pretty universal.
If you are traveling with your vehicle and have space for a kayak, consider purchasing one for your beach trip packing list. Kayaks come in all shapes and colors online to fit every budget. I’ve even seen blow-up kayaks in the oceans lately. While you can buy Kayaks online, you often pay more due to the shipping; they hide it in the price. We suggest heading to your local retailer and looking at what they have before making purchase decisions.
If you plan on surfing, snorkeling, diving, or spending significant time in the water, you may not need a full-on wetsuit. Rashguards are still a great option and much cheaper. A rashguard protects you from skin rashes, keeps you warm, and protects you from the sun. I travel to all beach destinations with rash guards.
Hope you enjoyed this free beach essentials packing list. Have fun, be safe, and enjoy your time at the beach!