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Going to the beach is one of my family’s favorite bonding moments. You can have a relaxing day with the sun shining on your face, or you can have a fun and exciting experience by having various activities to do with your family.

packing for the beach

What to bring to the beach

One of the biggest problems we always face whenever preparing is choosing the things to bring to the beach. If you are also having problems in choosing what to bring to your next family vacation, I have provided a packing for the beach list, which includes all the beach bag essentials that will leave you prepared for every eventuality that will happen.

If you’re ready to learn more about what a packing list for the beach should include, then kindly read on.

Beach Bag Essentials: Carry-on Bag

Beach Bag

Beach bag

Whenever my family and I travel anywhere, I make sure that I pack a light carry-on bag which includes the essential things we need. Also, I have other bags which we will store in a hotel or in our car to ensure that we can bring the vital things easier.

  1. First-Aid Kit

One of the essential things to bring to the beach is a first-aid kit. Your first-aid kit should include all the necessary items for your personal needs. For example, in our family’s first-aid kit, we ensure that we are able to pack medicine for my elderly parent. Including a first-aid kit in your carry-on bag will help ensure that you will be prepared for minor mishaps.

  1. Sunscreen

Another essential of any packing for the beach list is sunscreen. Choosing the right sunscreen is vital to prevent your skin from getting burned from the harsh UV rays, and knowing what sunscreen to use can help your skin avoid sunburn and prevent aging.

Beach sunscreen

Beach sunscreen

Kinds of Sunscreen

  • Mineral Sunscreen

Mineral sunscreens create a physical barrier that deflects UV rays. This type of sunscreen merely sits on your face and immediately provides protection. However, one concern people have regarding mineral sunscreens is the white cast it leaves your face.

  • Chemical Sunscreen

While chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, blend into the skin and protect it from UV rays by absorbing the UV rays and converting them into harmless heat.

Choosing the right sunscreen

When choosing the right sunscreen, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends sunscreens which are SPF 30+.

I prefer wearing mineral sunscreens whenever going to the beach because they are reef-safe and generally provide better SPF coverage.

The downside of using physical sunscreen is that it has a thicker consistency than chemical sunscreens and leaves your face with a white cast. However, choosing the right sunscreen all boils down to preference. Just remember to consider the following when choosing or getting a sunscreen:

  • Perfect Fit For Your Skin

Thousands of sunscreens are available in the market, and one of the foremost considerations should be your skin. There are numerous formulations of sunscreen. Examples would be water-based sunscreens which are perfect for oilier skin types, and cream-based sunscreen, for people with drier skin. Knowing your skin type is vital to ensure that your skin will not experience breakouts or become unnecessarily dry when sunscreens are used.

  • Broad Spectrum Protection

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that when choosing a sunscreen, you check if it offers broad spectrum protection. These types of sunscreen protect your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays.

  • SPF 30+

Anything lower than this would not offer your skin enough protection from the sun’s harmful rays. That Is why it is essential to splurge a bit when choosing the right sunscreen.

  1. Insulated Water Tumbler

If you love having cold drinks, including an insulated water tumbler is a packing list for the beach necessity. Not only does it provide you with ice-cold water throughout the day, but you’re also helping save the world from more plastic consumption.

  1. Sunglasses

One of my beach bag essentials is my trusty old sunglasses. If you have the means to do so, invest in high-quality sunglasses.

It doesn’t have to be really expensive, what’s really important is quality items that will last you for a long time.

  1. Insect Repellant Spray

I don’t know about you guys, but one major problem I have whenever going outdoors are insect bites. Luckily, there are numerous insect repellant sprays out there that can help repel those pesky insects away. Make sure that what you are purchasing

  1. Lip Balm

Swimming at the beach can leave your lips feeling dry and chapped. Re-apply your lip balm whenever you have the chance to ensure that your lips will stay hydrated throughout the day.

  1. Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker

Investing in a waterproof Bluetooth speaker is one of the beach bag essentials that I can really recommend – especially if your family loves going out to the beach. With a waterproof Bluetooth speaker, you don’t have to worry about it getting wet and you can have music playing all the time while at the beach.

Other Packing List Essentials

beach umbrella

Beach umbrella

  1. Beach Umbrella

One of the essentials in any packing list for the beach is an umbrella. It’s fun to get some sun but you don’t want to overdo it and end up getting sunburn. Choose a perfect-sized beach umbrella that is big enough for you to comfortably rest in the shade on.

  1. Water-resistant Bag

Water-resistant bags are one of the essential things to bring to the beach. These bags can store all of your electronics and other important things without having them get wet by water. I like to bring a smaller water-resistant bag to store all my electronics separately from my carry-on bag. Choose a water-resistant bag from a reputable brand to ensure that all your valuables won’t get damaged.

  1. Tent

If you plan on staying at the beach for the whole day, consider bringing a tent. A tent offers more privacy compared to a beach umbrella and it helps provide a space for you to store your other belongings in. Just make sure to buy a tent from a reputable brand that will not tear easily.

  1. Beach Blanket/Mat

Another packing for the beach list essential is a beach blanket. Exposure to the salty sea sand may cause skin irritations which can be avoided by choosing a sturdy beach blanket. Whenever choosing a beach blanket or mat, always choose the sand-resistant variation.

  1. Beach Chair

If laying on a beach mat is not for you, then bring a beach chair for a more comfortable day out at the beach.

  1. Portable Cooler

The sun can make any one pretty thirsty. Don’t let that ruin you and your family’s fun at the beach. If you want to drink something cold while staying at the beach, bringing a portable cooler is a great way to do that. If you’re a big family consider investing in a bigger cooler to fit all your needs.

You should also consider getting backpack coolers if you have way too much to bring already. These nifty and easy to carry coolers is more than enough for a family of 3 to 5 people. It has enough room for drinks or ice.

  1. Quick dry towel

Quick drying towels are one of the often-overlooked things to bring to the beach. You need to bring towels that are very absorbent, able to last long for multiple uses and most importantly, needs to be gentle or soft against your or your family’s skin.

I usually use microfiber since it’s been tried and tested to dry faster than the usual cotton or cotton-blend towels. Though, you need to also consider that there microfiber towels that don’t sit well with particular skins. It would be best to get ones that will not only be quick drying but also wont cause rashes or be harsh against the skin.

Lastly, you need to also consider cleanup. Most towels nowadays are machine washable. However, its surprising how a lot are still not dryer safe. Choose towels that are not only easy to use but also easy to wash and dry.

  1. Wet Wipes

Wet wipes are lifesavers whenever and wherever. They are the upgraded version of regular tissues. You need to make sure that you have these when making or packing for the beach list.

However, while I do advertise bringing and using wet wipes, I also hope that you or any other person you see using them were to dispose of the wet wipes properly. I have always been an advocate for the environment and it saddens me that even till now littering is still a problem.

Try to get wet wipes that have little to no plastic material. Not only are they easier for the environment but they are also better for your skin.

  1. Water Shoes

I have written a number of articles stressing the importance of right or proper footwear. Any sport, hobby or general activity will always be better if you wear the proper footwear. Not only will you perform better but will also be comfortable.

Water shoes will cover your whole foot. They have thick soles that can protect you against any sharp debris like rocks, corals or shells. They can also keep your feet from getting burned when stepping on pipping hot sand.

Try to look for water shoes that have built-in toe shields. Not only are they better to use when the beach you go to has a number of rocks, but will more importantly prevent stubbed toes. The soft fabric-like material that snuggly hugs your feet are not only useful but also stylish.

  1. Beach Sandals

If your feet easily feels restricted with regular foot wear or just find water shoes uncomfortable in general, then beach sandals are a perfect fit for you. They are especially handy when you don’t exactly want to get your feet wet but just want to walk on the shoreline. They are perfect for protection against rocks, pebbles or hot sand.

  1. Book to Read

People often go to the beach to relax and unwind. Everyone has a lot going on with their lives, be it in the form of responsibilities or troubles. Having a good book can do wonders with your mood, outlook and overall levels of relaxation.

Everyone has a preference when it comes to books. If you want to get into book reading while in the beach, I suggest you think about how long you plan on staying and your general reading pace. Usually, people get 500 page novels or even short stories since they either plan to mingle with other people or walk around the beach after reading.

  1. Wide-Brimmed Hat or Cap

When considering your packing for the beach list, having wide-brimmed hats or caps is a must. This is one of the beach bag essentials that I will never forget to bring. Not only are they stylish, but they will also keep the sun out of your eyes.

Though you also need to consider if you will be participating in any activity that needs a lot of movement. Otherwise, having a wide-brimmed hat or cap will be your best bet in keeping your head away from the sun, cool and fashionable.

  1. Extra Bags for Storage

Bringing extra bags for your wet clothes, towels, extra food or even your garbage will greatly help you and your family. I recommend getting separate cloth bags for your wet clothes and towels. Zip lock bags for your food and for your garbage, a small and durable garbage bag.

I never forget to bring extra bags since it saves me a lot of time and trouble for when I get home. You easily can just dump the whole cloth bag, along with the clothes, into the washing machine. For the food, you can just place the zip lock containers in the fridge. Lastly, for your garbage, you can easily just leave the garbage bag at the proper bin.

  1. Swimsuit

Swimsuits are amazing to wear to the beach. Not only are they stylish but they are also extremely comfortable. You need to prepare for the fact that you will get a certain level of sunburn. Wearing overly restrictive clothing will not only make this worse but will leave you feeling hot and uncomfortable.

  1. Portable Potty

If possible, a portable potty should always be on your list of things to bring to the beach. Most beaches have no restrooms and for those that have, there will often be an issue regarding cleanliness. Having a portable potty will not only guarantee that you get to relieve yourself but also peace of mind knowing that what you and your family are using is clean.

Just make sure that you regularly air out, empty and deodorize your portable potty. Also, you need to consider bringing a bigger car for your trip since a portable potty can get a bit big.

  1. Essential Toiletries

When you prepare your packing for the beach list, you need to be thorough when it comes to toiletries. People often forget essential toiletries since they are normally readily available. However, when you’re somewhere secluded or if the beach you and your family are going to is crowded, getting basic necessities can be a pain.

You need to put in your packing list for the beach some must needed toiletries. For me, they will always be soap, shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, a simple first aid kit and feminine-hygiene products. People often neglect bringing these things since we often don’t really have to think about having them. It is only when they are not available that we get heavily inconvenienced.

  1. Cleaning Supplies

Aside from the trash bags and wipes, you need to pack hand sanitizers and non-flammable, non-toxic and skin safe surface sanitizers. Normally hand sanitizers would be enough to keep you and your family safe but because of the ongoing pandemic and other world concerns, being thorough when it comes to cleanliness is a must.

Packing List for the Beach: Perfect for your Kids

Beach Toys for Kids

Beach toys for kids

  1. Pail and Beach Shovels

Building sandcastles has always been the staple source of fun and amazement for kids and adults alike. Getting a lightweight and easy to keep pail and shovel will make sandcastle building a breeze. Of course, your kids can also use the pail as a container for any and all shells they find and like.

  1. Dry Change of Clothes

Although this might already seem like a no-brainer, sometimes the things we need to consider first are often forgotten. Bring an extra change of dry clothes for you and your child is important so you wouldn’t dirty your car on the ride home and you’ll feel comfortable all throughout.

  1. Flotation Devices

A personal flotation device may be in the form of a vest or suit which helps the wearer stay afloat in the water. Even the strongest swimmers can face accidents at the beach. That’s why it’s a must to pack the best flotation devices you can provide for you children, to avoid any kind of accident.

  1. Beach Ball

Personally, I find this to be one of the best things to bring for your kids. I’m a child at heart as well and find beach balls to be the most fun thing to use when going to the beach. Usually, me and my family play catch or at times beach volleyball.

  1. Diapers

Swimming diapers are beach bag essentials if you have an infant or toddler that is not potty trained. Unlike regular diapers that are too absorbent, swimming diapers are designed to contain any poop from going out and into the water. You also need to keep in mind that you need to change swimming diapers every 30-60 minutes, depending on your child’s bowel movements.

  1. Snacks

With all the swimming, running around or even with the lengthy walks on the shore for shells, your kids will need food to get a much-needed recharge in energy. Snacks are perfect for a quick pick-me-up when your kids feel a bit hungry but not hungry enough for a full meal. When thinking of things to bring to the beach, try to give them healthy snacks rather than sugary foods.

I usually bring pre-cut fruits like apples or grapes. I squeeze some lemon on the apples so that they don’t turn brown and look unappetizing. Sandwiches with fresh vegetables and cold-cuts are also perfect to bring and give to your kids. Just make sure you reserve enough space in the cooler so the food won’t go bad during the whole trip.

  1. Sunhat

When making your packing list for the beach, make sure to note and bring wide-brimmed hats, along with sunscreen. Giving your kids sunhats will have them last longer out in the sun. Not only will it keep the sun out of their eyes but will make them look infinitely adorable or fashionable. Try to get breathable and lightweight ones so that they wont tire out or get too hot during the trip.

  1. Playing Cards

After the running around or the shell hunting, your kids will want to rest and recover some energy by eating or just sitting with you. Having playing cards will keep the fun rolling. Your kids can still have fun while sitting down or even while eating the snacks you packed.

You need to get waterproof cards. Waterproof cards are needed to avoid damage or the cards sticking together and making them unusable. You also need to make sure to get an extra waterproof container just in case you lose the original one.

  1. Baby Carrier

Bringing lightweight, wrap-style baby carriers are amazing for both you and your infant. Just make sure that you tie or have the baby fit properly. The best position would be to have the infant snuggly on your chest area for both stability and ease of carrying.

I used to bring a baby carrier because there are times when I need my arms during the beach trip. Usually when I am in the water, my arms help with my balance. Just make sure to get a polyester or mesh wrap-style baby carriers.

  1. Rash guard or Swimsuit

Personally, in making a packing for the beach list, rash guards are a must. Your children will benefit from the protection they give against sunburn. Of course, you need to bring and have them apply sunscreen before heading out.

Rash guards are amazing to look at and will make sure that your child will have as much protection as you can give so that they won’t suffer sunburn later. There are even rash guards that help protect against jellyfish stings or contract general rashes when going to the beach.


Going to the beach is an amazing family bonding experience to have. Although sometimes the preparation of the things to bring takes time, it is well worth it. One cannot be overly prepared, especially when going to the beach.

Packing for the beach list might also become a hassle if you bring too much stuff. You need to properly consider the things to bring to the beach. I hope that I was able to help with the detailed list I provided.

The list I gave are the ones that I think are beach bag essentials. Although, again I hope that you bring as much of the things there. Having fun is the priority but health and safety should be a constant.

More Florida Fun Ideas


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