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Ready to feel the ocean breeze on your face and the sand between your toes? First, you’ll have to pack. Ugh. It’s the part of a family beach vacation that everyone hates. But, we’ve made it easier for you. Download our complete packing list first. Then put on some beach tunes, pull out the suitcases and you’ll be listening to the waves crashing in no time!
Everything You Need: Packing List for a 7-Day Beach Vacation
The lure of wide open spaces, endless sunshine and lapping waves calls to us every year. But packing for a week at the beach with a family? It makes us miss the good old days when all we did was throw a bikini in a backpack.
Alas, we need more stuff now — so much stuff that it’s hard to remember it all. This beach vacation packing list makes it easy. From tank tops and rash guards to electronics and disinfectants, this list is designed to ensure you never again get to the beach only to discover you forgot something you really need.
Personal Items to Pack for the Beach
These personal items may seem like a no-brainer, but are often some of the most forgotten items:
- Drivers Licenses
- Credit Cards or Debit Cards
- Health Insurance cards
- Auto insurance cards
- Rental/Hotel Confirmation Information
Pack all of those things in your carryon and keep them close by on the beach with a waterproof phone pouch that holds cards. SheBuysTravel contributor Nasreen Stump says with four kids she hates juggling a purse. She swears by Smartish card holder phone cases. They comfortably hold 3 cards and are made by an Austin, Texas company. With price tags on most under $16 it’s a worthwhile buy for beach or every day.
Read More: Check Out Florida’s Panhandle Paradise: Best Destin Resorts
What Clothes to Pack for a Beach Vacation
A trip to the beach requires much more than just swimsuits and flip-flops. Make sure you’re prepared for the activities after you dry the water and shake the sand off with the following items:
- 2 bathing suits each (If swimsuit shopping makes you shudder we’d like to mention Miraclesuit swimsuits. The tummy control on them will have you saying “What is this sorcery!” And here is our favorite collection of kids swimsuits.)
- Swim cover ups or sarong
- Rashguard with SPF sun protection
- Underwear & bras
- Dinner outfits
- Light jackets/wrap
- Running/Tennis/Workout Clothes/Workout Bras (Try these yoga pants with a pocket for your phone!)
- Running GPS
- Sanuk Yoga Mat Flip Flops
- Water shoes (We like these from Aleader.)
- Sandals (investing in a good pair of sandals that can be used for a variety of activities is a good idea, we love this pair!). A don’t forget the kid sandals too!
- Sneakers – Tennis & Running
- Good sun hat (Try this sun hat. It’s simple and super cute!)
And bring along some dryer sheets — they are great for brushing off the sand when you leave the beach. It’s just one of the ingenious uses for dryer sheets on vacation!
Toiletries for Everyone
Save the trip to the local convenience store or hotel concierge by packing your own must-have bathroom essentials in a reusable toiletry travel kit or gallon-sized Ziploc bag:
- Toothbrush (these are our favorite travel toothbrushes that we keep on hand for packing)
- Flat iron
- Hair elastics and clips
- Hair cream
- Shower Cap
- Safety Pins
- Contacts & case
- Contact solution
- Makeup bag (Our SheBuysTravels rave about this Lay-n-Go makeup bag. It makes it easy to see all your stuff.)
- Feminine products
- Cotton swabs/cotton balls
- Nail polish & remover
- Nail clipper and file
- Air freshener
This packing list for the beach will ensure that you don’t forget anything for the perfect beach vacation.
Don’t Forget the Medicine
The last thing anyone wants on a vacation is to fall ill or get injured. However, it is always best to be prepared for emergencies by having medication handy:
- The Kids’
- First-Aid Kit – w/Band-Aids, ointment, after-sun burn treatments like aloe vera, etc. (Check out our DIY beach first aid kit.)
Anti-Covid-19 Hygiene Items to Pack
Travel has drastically changed since COVID-19 rocked our world. Now more than ever, keeping safe and sanitary is an absolute must, no matter where we go or how we get there. Make sure to have the following items at the top of your luggage:
- Disinfecting wipes
- Hand sanitizer
- Face masks
- CDC approved cleaning supplies (Use these to clean the high-touch areas of beach house such as hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, phones, tablets, touch screens, remote controls, keyboards, handles, desks, toilets and sinks when you arrive. Bring these from home — you can’t be sure they’ll be in stores at your destination — make your own bleach solution by mixing 1/3 cup bleach per gallon of room temperature water or 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of room temperature water.)
- Disposable plastic gloves (to wear for cleaning, then discard)
- Large Ziploc bags (Put one TV remote inside each bag. The remote still works and no one is touching the germy, hard-to-clean remotes.)
Beach Essentials for that Perfect Beach Day
Now that you’ve packed your suitcase with before- and after-beach clothing, it’s time to prepare for the trip to the beach itself. Don’t forget these essential items, like sunscreen (we’re currently in love with sunscreen sticks) and a lightweight, wind-resistant beach umbrella:
- Sunscreen (These are our favorite sunscreens for kids and babies.)
- Canopy/tent (If you’re going to the beach with babies and toddlers, you’re going to want one of these.)
- Beach tote
- Beach umbrella
- Cooler with wheels
- Beach blanket (Beach blankets are super handy to have. We use our for far more than just beach vacations.)
- Quick dry beach towels
- Smaller portable cooler (We like this collapsible cooler.)
- Beach chairs
- Reusable water bottles for everyone (We love our Simple Modern Water bottle)
- Beach Cart/portable wheels (we NEVER leave behind our beach cart on a beach vacation)
- Beach toys (or buy cheap ones there)
- Swim goggles (our kids each have a snorkeling set, this keeps them busy for hours at the beach)
- Dry bag for cell phones
- Smaller beach bag or drawstring bag for kids to carry (everyone needs a pineapple beach bag!)
- Beach blankets
- Bottle opener
- Garbage bag/plastic bags
- Waterproof sunscreen (check out this post on the best sunscreen for kids and babies)
- Lip balm/protector with SPF
- Insect repellent (we like Sawyer Maxi-Deet bug spray)
- Sunglasses (don’t forget your sunglasses! We LOVE this pair)
- Hand sanitizer
- Portable Lock Box (this lockbox gives us peace of mind, we can all play in the ocean without worrying about our personal belongings getting stolen)
Beach Trip Packing List: Entertainment & Technology
Whether you want to get creative with your beach photos, play some sports in the sand, or be prepared for a rainy day, you’ll want to come prepared with these items:
- Waterproof Camera (if you want to get some cool underwater footage, it might be time for a GoPro)
- Waterproof pouch for your cellphone (We like this one that floats!)
- Selfie stick
- Extra power packs for keeping everyone charged up
- Portable speakers (this portable waterproof speaker is great for beach vacations)
- Kids’ Kindle Fire HD
- Cords & chargers & a cord organizer
- Nerf Football
- Tennis Bag
- Playstation 4 & video games (for rainy days)
- Deck of cards
- Board games
- Card games (Our kids LOVE the NEW Uno Flip card game)
- Note pads
- Pens & colored pencils
Beach House Packing List
Some beach house rentals are already supplied with all you need for your vacation. But just in case, have these extra items handy:
- Extra sheets for the pullout couch
- Clorox disinfecting cleaning wipes
- Portable hamper
Things to Bring to the Beach House or Buy There
To keep your beach house feeling fully-stocked and feeling “like home,” add these items to your shopping list:
- Paper towels
- Laundry detergent
- Dryer sheets
- Stain Remover
- Beer & Wine
For the Car Ride
If you’re road tripping to the beach, you should consults our road trip packing list for everything you’ll want. But definitely make sure you have these items handy to keep everyone satisfied and entertained (and to keep your car clean):
- Car chargers
- Snacks & drinks (check out our road trip snacks recipes)
- Garbage/plastic bag
- Portable items from Entertainment List
Now that everything’s packed and ready to go, make sure you check off these items BEFORE you hit the road:
- House sitter
- Dog sitter
- Dog food
- Empty garbage
- Empty fridge
- Lock up!
Don’t forget to put a penny in your freezer! Sounds strange? We promise it will ensure your family doesn’t consume unsafe food upon your return.
Most importantly, pack your PATIENCE. It’s not a vacation – or much fun – if you’re stressed. Almost everything on this list can be bought or replaced if forgotten. You can even order it from Amazon for delivery right to your beach house!
More Beach Info You Need
- How to Plan the Perfect Beach Vacation
- How to Salvage a Rainy Day at the Beach
- Best Family Games to Play at the Beach
- How to Clean and Pack Seashells from Your Beach Vacation
Which Beach is Best?
- Best Beaches on the East Coast for Families
- 12 Best Beaches in California with Kids
- Best Florida Beaches for Families
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: What should I pack for a family beach vacation?
A: Our packing list includes all the essentials, such as sunscreen, towels, swimsuits, and beach toys. We also recommend packing hats, sunglasses, and cover-ups to protect yourself from the sun.
Q: How do I keep my kids entertained on the beach?
A: In addition to traditional beach activities like swimming and building sandcastles, we recommend bringing along games like frisbees, beach balls, and even a deck of cards. You can also look for local activities like beach volleyball tournaments or paddleboarding lessons.
Q: What should I do if I get sunburned?
A: Prevention is key, so make sure you’re using plenty of sunscreen and reapplying often. If you do get sunburned, try taking a cool bath or shower, using aloe vera or another cooling lotion, and drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Q: How do I choose the best beach for my family?
A: Consider factors like the size of the beach, the water conditions, and the available amenities (such as restrooms, showers, and food vendors). You may also want to read reviews from other families or consult with a travel agent for recommendations.
Q: What should I do if it rains during my beach vacation?
A: Don’t let a little rain ruin your trip! Look for indoor activities like museums or aquariums, or bring along board games or movies to enjoy in your hotel room. You can also use the opportunity to explore the local area and try out restaurants or shops you might not have visited otherwise.
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