The Ultimate Family Beach Vacation Packing List (with Free Printable)

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suitcase in the sand image for beaching packing list post
Photo Credit: Canva

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
  • Cash
  • 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
  • Socks
  • Belts
  • T-Shirts
  • Shorts
  • Sundresses/skirts
  • Jeans/capris
  • Dinner outfits
  • Light jackets/wrap
  • Running/Tennis/Workout Clothes/Workout Bras (Try these yoga pants with a pocket for your phone!)
  • Running GPS
  • Pajamas
  • Robe
  • 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:

  • Soap
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Toothbrush (these are our favorite travel toothbrushes that we keep on hand for packing)
  • Toothpaste
  • Floss
  • Lotion
  • Aloe
  • Deodorant
  • Razors
  • Flat iron
  • Hairdryer
  • Brushes/Combs
  • Hair elastics and clips
  • Hair cream
  • Gel
  • Scarf
  • Shower Cap
  • Safety Pins
  • Contacts & case
  • Contact solution
  • Glasses
  • Makeup bag (Our SheBuysTravels rave about this Lay-n-Go makeup bag. It makes it easy to see all your stuff.)
  • Feminine products
  • Jewelry/watches
  • Perfume/cologne
  • Cotton swabs/cotton balls
  • Nail polish & remover
  • Nail clipper and file
  • Vaseline
  • 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:

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
  • 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)
  • Floats
  • Dry bag for cell phones
  • Smaller beach bag or drawstring bag for kids to carry (everyone needs a pineapple beach bag!)
  • Beach blankets
  • Drinks
  • Food
  • Plastic-ware
  • Napkins
  • 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)
  • Hairbrush
  • Hats
  • Sunglasses (don’t forget your sunglasses! We LOVE this pair)
  • Hand sanitizer 
  • Wipes
  • 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)
Chairs in a row on the beach for beach vacation packing list post
Enjoy the waves, sun and sand without forgetting a thing! This complete beach trip packing list has everything you need to remember in one spot. Photo credit: Canva

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
  • Laptop
  • iPad
  • Extra power packs for keeping everyone charged up
  • Portable speakers (this portable waterproof speaker is great for beach vacations)
  • Kids’ Kindle Fire HD 
  • DVDs
  • Cords & chargers & a cord organizer
  • Books
  • Magazines
  • Frisbee
  • Basketball
  • Nerf Football
  • Tennis Bag
  • Playstation 4 & video games (for rainy days)
  • Batteries
  • 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:

Best Florida beaches for families - beach toys
Don’t forget the beach toys on your beach trip packing list! Photo credit: Keri Baugh

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
  • Napkins
  • Plastic-ware
  • Laundry detergent
  • Dryer sheets
  • Stain Remover 
  • Food
  • Drinks
  • Water
  • Beer & Wine 
  • Flashlight

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
  • Garbage/plastic bag
  • Portable items from Entertainment List

Home Checklist

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
  • Mail
  • Money
  • Bills
  • Thermostat
  • 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

Which Beach is Best?

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.

Kim Orlando, founder of SheBuysTravel, is a lifelong traveler, an entrepreneur and a sought-after social media and marketing consultant. She has made hundreds of appearances on TV and in digital and print media, sharing advice and tips built on decades of travel experiences. Hailing from the hills of Kentucky and taking her story to New York, Los Angeles, and beyond, Kim built an online platform, the original TravelingMom, that has reached millions of moms and empowered them to explore the world with their families. Today, TravelingMom has evolved into SheBuysTravel. Kim has been featured on “News Nation,” “Today,” “Good Morning America” and on numerous satellite media tours. She has contributed travel guidance to outlets including The Washington Post, Good Housekeeping, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal and more. (Read more about Kim’s media appearances here) Her travel mantra is simple: All travel counts. “You don’t have to go far. Leaving your home is travel,” Kim says. “Wherever you go, even just to the next town over, you can learn something new, see someone and something you haven’t seen before. “It’s good for the brain and good for the soul.” An epiphany in early parenthood started Kim on the journey that led to SheBuysTravel. She’d been a fan of a newsletter for women travelers, and she saw an opportunity. “I thought something like that for moms could be extraordinarily helpful,” she said. “I was traveling for work, traveling for fun, and I was looking for support.” That seed grew into the award-winning website TravelingMom, created as a resource for traveling families of all stripes. Today, TravelingMom has evolved into SheBuysTravel, with an expanded mission to serve women travelers at any stage of life. Millions of readers have visited the site for trip planning help, travel secrets, destination information and gear recommendations. What sets SheBuysTravel’s content apart, Kim says, is its foundation in real-world experience. “Our writers and editors have actually gone out there and done this stuff,” she says. “They’ve booked the flights, tried the tour, tested travel clothing, visited that new hot spot to see if it’s worth the hype. It’s all real.” Memorable Adventures A 2022 tour Kim guided to Bhutan was a particularly standout experience. “Bhutan sounds so exotic, of course,” she said. “But the part where my heart just glows and warms is thinking of the people we met – amazing women doing amazing things in Bhutan.” Their ranks included a former police officer whose ventures into food science helped mitigate food insecurity for residents of Bhutan’s highlands. Top Tips Planning for travel can be daunting, Kim acknowledges. “I always say: Go anyway. No trip is going to be perfect. There’s always going to be something you didn’t expect, something that doesn’t go the way you pictured or planned it. And that something is what’s going to make it a great trip.” And on a practical note: “Go early! Getting to the airport or hitting the road just an hour earlier relieves so much stress.” Kim’s Background Kim, a graduate of the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management, holds degrees in finance and entrepreneurship and has deep experience in developing and running businesses. Her previous work includes developing and running communications workshops and overseeing document management for corporations. SheBuysTravel hits a sweet spot where Kim’s two loves of travel and entrepreneurship meet. “The longer I work in this field, I only want to do more,” she says. “I find the travel world so exciting – not just the trips, but the whole online world of travel. There are still so many opportunities.” The World Awaits “The ‘best trip ever’ probably won’t be the same for an empty-nester or mom of three versus a single woman celebrating a bachelorette party with her friends,” Kim says. “We want to keep it real for traveling women, no matter what their age, life stage, where they came from or where they’re going. “We want to inspire women to travel in any shape or form.” In her free time, Kim enjoys visiting her adult kids, creating trips and traveling with her BFFs to explore the world. Her most recent adventures can be found on InstagramFacebook and LinkedIn.
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27 responses

  1. Is this list printable somewhere

  2. Love this list!! And I love the links to products. Heading to St. John in 7 days! Can’t wait! Thanks for making me feel more prepared!

  3. This is such a great list! I am super impressed on my next vacation I will go on a beach vacation with my family.

  4. Wow! I just love how detailed and extensive this list is! This makes planning a beach vacation so much easier! Thanks for sharing!

  5. This is great and should help our family with our first beach trip with our toddler (first kid)! Thank you so much!

  6. Specially infographic will help the readers as a check list. I just love that.

    1. Good idea Eric! We will work on that!

  7. Thanks so much for this list. I got surprised with a Christmas vacation and have 6 weeks to plan. This list took alot of my anxiety away!

  8. Wow! What an extensive list!! Great if you going to make a big day of it, here in Australia we have a tendency to just throw a towel over our shoulder and sunscreen in the back pocket. Oh and don’t forget the surfboard on top of the head haha

  9. 1st time Going to Santa Rosa Beach in July. Can’t wait. Any cool activities for 12 & 15 year old boys, besides beach?

    1. Sarah
      Hope you and family had a great vacation. Many teen activities nearby in Panama City and Navarre/Pensacola Beach. Beautiful area!
      Also, vacations are for relaxing. Especially mom’s! Minimize your responsibility and Delegate! Everyone is responsible for their own items. Dad’s and kids.
      I would also add SUNBLOK to the top of every category.
      Thanks for your sharing 🙂

  10. There is nothing better than a great beach vacation. Thank you for putting this very extensive beach packing list together, I bet it has been a great help for many people.

  11. Thanks – such a thorough list. I needed one since my regular computer is being repaired and I did not have a copy of my packing lists. This helped so much.

  12. Excellent list- it helped me keep my sanity before a last minute trip! ?

  13. Thanks for the wonderful comprehensive list!

  14. Don’t forget a hairbrush!
    Do you really bring a PlayStation 3 to the beach?

    1. PlayStation are great because they can be used for Netflux, Hulu, etc. And, like she said, they’re great for rainy days!

  15. This is the best list I’ve EVER seen! Thank you!

  16. Thank you! What a lifesaver! I get major packing-anxiety too so this is great! I’ll go over this list several times before we leave!

  17. this list was very helpful

  18. Thank you! This will be very helpful!

  19. Thank you so much! This was very helpful while getting ready for my beach trip.

  20. Thank you for publishing this list! Most helpful and took away the initial stress of trying to think of things before the trip has even started!

  21. Thanks SO MUCH!!!

  22. Take the candles off the list. Most rentals prohibit open flame candles.

    1. Or you could just… not pack them. I’m sure not everything on this list is applicable to everyone reading it. Most people would just use common sense and skip the things they don’t need.

  23. Wonderful! This list was so thorough it helped me breathe and not panick thinking “did I forget something?! Am I forgetting a common sense item?!” Thank you (:

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