Florida Packing List: Everything You’ll Need For a Sunshine State Vacation + PRINTABLE

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Boy with boogie board on Florida beach wearing hat and sunglasses
What do you need to pack for a trip to Florida? Photo credit: Mary Moore

Being from a cold-weather state, a Florida beach vacation somehow makes its way onto our calendars every winter season. It’s a much-needed break from the frost and a chance to soak up some natural vitamin D. Since we’ve been planning Florida vacations from the time my kids were in diapers (and they’re now at the age to start drivers training), we have our Florida packing list down to a science!

No matter what your Florida vacation includes–a trip to the beach, a visit to NASA or a few days at Walt Disney World–we’ve been there and know what you’ll want to have in your bag when you arrive.

Florida Packing List: Basic Travel Necessities

No matter what your Florida vacation plans include, the following items are important to consider as part of your packing list.

Layered Clothing

I’ve made the mistake of thinking that the “sunshine state” is always hot and sunny, year-round. The truth is, it has seasons and sometimes they happen all in one day. Because you can go from 50 degrees to 80 degrees in a matter of 24 hours, or rain to sunshine and back again, it is important to always come prepared for the weather.

This means packing warmer clothes along with your t-shirts, bathing suits, sundresses and tank tops.

Packing Cubes

Over the years, I’ve learned that packing cubes are essential! They allow me to separate my clothes by cold days vs. hot days or by clean vs. dirty as we go through the trip. And if you like to unpack your suitcase into the dresser drawers when you arrive at your destination, it’s as easy as taking the cubes from your suitcase and placing them where you want them. No refolding and repacking needed!

Set of Packing Cubes
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Do you tend to leave your toiletries behind because you still need to use them the morning of your departure? Or is that just me?

This is one of the biggest challenges I face while packing and it’s always super frustrating when I forget to bring my expensive shampoo and conditioner with me on vacation or worse, home with me from a trip. To reduce the monetary sting of forgotten shampoo, I’ve switched to using refillable mini bottles when I travel. I also keep a travel toothbrush and toothpaste in my toiletries bag so I don’t forget them at home.

This toiletries bag is great for storing your items. It’s easier to always keep it stocked instead of repacking my items for every trip.

Phone Charger

If your family is like mine, you probably have a handful of chargers to bring with you on your Florida vacation. There’s one for each phone, a few for the kids’ gaming systems and a USB cord for my portable blender.

The easiest way I’ve found to stay organized and reduce loss is to get each member of the family their own charger-carrying case. If your kids are young or you simply want to consolidate, a family-sized charger carrying case may work better.

Flip Flops and Pair of Sneakers

On our last trip to Florida, we found ourselves shoe shopping for our son who didn’t bring warm enough shoes to weather a week of unseasonably cold temperatures. Funny enough, while at the store we ran into another out-of-town father who was also shoe shopping with this flip flop wearing (and freezing) son.

You may be inclined to only pack flip flops, but I would recommend bringing a pair of sneakers with you to Florida as well. Not only are comfortable shoes important for long days walking around theme parks, you may want them on those not-so-sunny days.

Sun Protection and Aloe

Rather than buy it when I get there, I always pack my favorite sun protection items like sunscreen and aloe. For me, it’s easier to have it on hand and be ready to play in the sun rather than need to run to the store after we arrive.

SheBuysTravel Tip: Check out our list of Best Sunscreens for Babies and Kids.

Insect Repellant

No matter where you travel in Florida, bringing along insect repellant is always a good idea! Especially if you plan to take a popular airboat tour through the Everglades.

Florida packing list: What to pack for the beach
Sandcastles on display at the Brevard Zoo in Florida. Photo credit: Mary Moore

Florida Packing List: Beach Day

If a beach vacation is part of your plan, add the following items to your Florida packing list!

Beach Bag

I’m a sucker for a good bag and when heading to the beach, I adore Bogg Bags. They have plenty of useful space and internal “dry bag” pockets for your phone or keys. Plus, at the end of the day, you can simply hose off the sand because they’re made of waterproof, durable material.

Our Pick
BABY BOGG BAG Small Waterproof Washable Tote
$69.95 $53.96
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03/10/2024 01:21 am GMT


Choosing the best swimsuit for your beach vacation can be challenging. However, after many failed attempts, we think we’ve found some pretty great options!

I typically opt for bathing suits with sun protection fabric. However, for my son and husband, we’ve moved to chafe-free DryFins Boys Swim Trunks. Instead of the itchy traditional liner, these have a soft spandex-like liner that my son with sensory sensitivity to fabrics tolerates well.

Cover up

The best cover ups I’ve used have had quick-dry properties and UPF sun protection.

Refillable Water Bottle

Packing a refillable water bottle is a great idea for several reasons. Not only is it less waste, but I bought each of my kids their own color bottle and we no longer have the question of who’s drink is whose. We fill them up and take them everywhere with us. The beach is no different and with our Yeti Ramblers, they stay cold the entire time. The best part is, these water bottles are super easy to run through the dishwasher because the lid comes off completely.


Sunburn can happen quickly with the intense Florida sun. I always keep sunscreen within reach. My favorite sunscreen to use for myself is Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Weightless Sunscreen Face Lotion. See which sunscreens SheBuysTravel writers recommend for babies and kids.

Lip Balm

Don’t forget an SPF lip balm as part of your sun-protection measures!

Water Shoes

When heading to the beach, a good pair of water shoes is always a good idea – especially for young kids! The sand can be hot or have sharp shells or rocks in it. Water shoes work well to protect their feet from burns and injury.

There also are nice-looking water shoes for adults that even work great for taking walks on the beach!

Beach Toys for Kids

After buying beach toys at the local surf shop on each trip, year after year, we now know about collapsable beach toys that are easy to transport!

These are a game-changer. We can easily take them home and pack them again for our next trip!

Good Book or Music

If you’re planning to spend the day on the beach, or at least a few hours, it’s nice to have a good book and something that plays music. A Kindle can be used in place of packing multiple books and a JBL clip waterproof speaker has great sound and clips right on your beach bag.

Lockbox for Valuables

If you’re planning to visit a crowded beach or even leave your chair for a dip in the cool water, a portable lock box safe is something you’ll also want to pack. Our favorite is the SAFEGO Portable Indoor/Outdoor Lock Box Safe with Key and Combination Access that you can attach directly to your beach chair or beach bag.

Beach Blanket or Chair

Depending on where you’re going in Florida and your mode of transportation, you may want to consider packing your own beach chair. Whenever we road trip to Florida, I like to bring my favorite Copa Big Tycoon Lightweight Folding Aluminum Beach Chair with me. It comes with a canopy to keep the sun out of my eyes…and bird poop off my head. Plus, it’s lightweight and has a built-in carrying strap that makes it easy to carry down to the beach on my own.

If you don’t have a lot of room, a spacious family-sized beach blanket can also do the trick.

Florida packing list: Orlando theme parks
Visiting Orlando parks. Photo credit: Mary Moore

Florida Packing List: Theme Parks

If you’re planning on visiting any of the Orlando theme parks, plan on adding these items to your Florida packing list! And if Disney is your destination, you’ll want to check out our Disney packing list.

  • Daypack
  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Cardigan or light jacket
  • Liner socks
  • Walking shoes
  • Poncho
  • Portable phone charger


We always bring a daypack with us when we visit theme parks! It makes carrying everything we need for the day easy. Below are all of the items we consistently pack in our daypack.

Hand Sanitizer

Especially during Covid-19, but also any other time, hand sanitizer is a useful thing to pack for a day at a theme park. Simply attach a bottle of PURELL Advanced Hand Sanitizer Gel or any other clip-on sanitizer bottle to your daypack to keep your hands sanitized throughout your day, easy!

Our Pick
PURELL Advanced Hand Sanitizer Variety Pack
$14.99 $8.99
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03/08/2024 05:56 pm GMT

Cardigan or Light Jacket

Packing a cardigan or light jacket in your daypack can help you extend your fun at Orlando theme parks. When the sun sets, or when it rains, the sunshine state can get quite chilly!

Liner Socks

To keep my feet dry and comfy throughout the day in the Florida heat, I always pack liner socks to wear during my day at the park.

Walking Shoes

If you track your steps, you’ll likely be amazed by how much you walk during a day at the parks! Packing a good pair of walking shoes is key and your feet will thank you later!


We have a joke in our family that every time we take a vacation, it rains. The truth is, it’s not uncommon for small rain showers to pop up during the day in Florida. However, it doesn’t have to ruin your day. Simply pack a poncho in your daypack for each member of the family and keep on having fun!

Our Pick
totes Unisex Rain Poncho
$14.00 $6.28
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03/10/2024 02:26 am GMT

Portable Phone Charger

My phone always loses its charge while I’m at a Florida theme park because the camera app is almost always running while we take memorable family photos. Don’t worry about being without your phone, pack a portable phone charger, like this one from Amazon, in your day pack.

Our Pick
Anker Portable Charger
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03/09/2024 09:26 am GMT
Florida packing list: road trip essentials
The Florida sign is a welcoming sight when you road trip to Florida. Photo credit: Mary Moore

Florida Packing List: Road Trip Essentials

Coins, Cash and Credit Cards

If you’re planning to road trip to Florida, be sure to bring plenty of coins and cash, along with your credit cards. Chances are, you will find yourself on a toll road, as they are quite prevalent through the sunshine state, especially near Orlando.

First Aid Kit

Having a first aid kit in your car while traveling is always a good idea! We have this one from Target and keep it in our car glovebox at all times.

Tote or Collapsible Box with Snacks

In order to keep everyone happy while you travel, and cut back on unnecessary stops, we always pack up a collapsible box with snacks for our drive. Things like granola bars, Cheez-Its, and Veggie Straws are a few of our favorite road trip snacks.

SheBuysTravel Tip: Not sure what road trip snacks to pack to keep your toddler happy during a long car ride? Here are the Best Road Trip Toddler Snack Ideas. 

Hand Wipes

Instead of packing hand sanitizer in our road trip bag, we always grab the sanitizer wipes instead. They work better to remove sticky food remnants off our hands and are great for wiping down objects as needed.

WET ONES Antibacterial Hand Wipes
$7.96 ($0.10 / Count)
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Cooler and Drinks

In order to keep drinks within reach, we bought this upright cooler. It has plenty of space and because it’s taller than typical coolers, it doesn’t get buried under our luggage. Plus, it has a removable liner that is easy to take out and clean with soap and water.

Garbage Bags

There’s nothing worse than a messy car needing to be cleaned up after you arrive at your destination! To keep our vehicle trash-free during our road trip, we always pack small garbage bags to toss our garbage in. Then, we can simply toss it out at gas stations along the way.

Portable Potty

If you’re traveling with little ones, you may want to pack a portable potty to make bathroom stops easier. Not only are public rest areas sometimes dirty, but trying to get a kid to use them is another battle you may not feel like having after a long day on the road.

Our Pick

Phone Chargers

If your vehicle is short on USB ports, we recommend packing a car charger with multiple ports. Most chargers can be plugged into your 12v-24v vehicle outlets and cigarette lighters. We bought this one because it has USB ports on the base and a long cord that also reaches the back seats.

Car Phone Holder

If you plan to use your phone for directions, be sure to pack a phone holder for your car. This way, your GPS directions can be easily within view and you can stay safe and hands-free!

Our Pick
andobil Phone Mount for Car
$36.99 $27.99
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Road Trip Games

We’ve played the “I Spy” game too many times to count! We also created our own game of “count how many palm trees you see” a few times before. Don’t get caught hearing “I’m bored” over and over again, check out this list of 21 Road Trip Games That Keep Everyone Entertained. Pack your favorites and let the fun begin!