Are you headed to the beach for a vacation? Beach vacations are the best!
They’re a chance to relax, enjoy the sun and the sand, and just forget about all of your troubles for a little while.
But before you can fully enjoy your vacation, you have to pack…and that can be stressful. What do you need to bring? What can you leave at home?
To help take some of the guesswork (and stress) out of packing for your beach vacation, we’ve put together this handy list of must-haves.
So go ahead and start planning your trip – but don’t forget to add these essential items to your family beach vacation packing list!
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Family Beach Trip Checklist
The weather is warm and that means beach time! If you’re packing up the family for a trip to the coast, be sure to check out this helpful checklist.
From sunscreen and swimsuits to food and games, we’ve got you covered every step of the way!
If you’re looking for our free printable packing list, our pdf version is included in this post. You can also check out my Etsy shop for our full 30+ page Beach Vacation Travel Planner.
Depending on your family dynamic, you may be traveling to the beach with teenagers, babies, toddlers, or kids of any age.
The following items are generic things you would need for family beach vacation with kids of all ages.
- swimsuits (2-3 per person so you can wear one while the other is drying)
- eating out attire
- swim coverups
- flip flops
- rash guards
- workout clothes
- light jacket or cardigan
- hair spray/gel
- razor/shaving cream
- facial cleaner
- facial lotion
- aloe vera gel
- Downy Wrinkle Release
- prescription medicine
- $1 bills for tipping
- hand sanitizing wipes/hand sanitizer
- first aid kit
- cell phones
- sound machine
- reading material
- board games/deck of cards
- travel games
- water shoes
- flip flops
- spf lip balm
- beach towels
- reef-safe sunscreen (1 bottle per day of your trip)
- re-fillable water bottle (we like Hydroflask)
- beach hats
- good book
- snorkel gear
- bug spray
- beach chairs
- sand toys
- beach umbrella
- packing cubes
- collapsible hamper
- beach bag
- gallon zip lock bags or plastic bag for wet clothes
- mesh laundry bag for beach toys
Toddler Beach Vacation Packing List
Above I mentioned packing 2-3 swimsuits per person so that you always have a dry swimsuit to put on. If your toddler takes daily naps, you may want to consider packing even more swimsuits.
I usually take at least 4 bathing suits for my two year old. This way she has a dry one in the morning, a dry one after her nap, and then two extra dry ones the next day.
This also comes in handy if your little one has an accident and needs to change swimsuits more frequently.
If you are planning a beach trip with a baby or toddler, you may also need to add the following items to your packing list.
- swimsuits (at least 4 if your toddler is napping)
- baby sunscreen
- sun hat
- sippy cups
- pre-packaged snacks
- favorite toys
- beach toys (We love this collapsible sand pail! -Amazon Affiliate Link)
- puddle jumper/water wings
- swim diapers
- regular diapers
- wipes/diaper cream
- water shoes
- beach tent for shade
- disposable diaper bags
Beach Day Packing List
Once you arrive at your destination, you will want to organize a day bag to take down to the beach with you and your family each day.
This is the beach bag (Amazon Affiliate Link) we like to use since it’s mesh and easily filters out the sand. As a bonus, the bottom is insulated and can be used as a cooler!
These are the items I make sure to pack in my daily beach bag:
- gallon ziplock bags (to put wet items/trash)
- puddle jumper/toddler float
- lip balm
- cell phone
- reading materials
- beach toys (more info. below)
- water bottles for each family member
- pre-packaged snacks
- extra swim diapers/wipes
- disposable diaper bags
- flip flops
- water shoes
Free Printable Packing List (PDF)
If you’re like me, you’re always looking for ways to make vacation packing a little easier.
That’s why I’ve created this printable beach packing list – to help make sure you don’t forget anything important!
Whether you’re hitting the beach or spending time by the pool, this list will help keep you prepared.
You can view and print a copy for yourself by clicking on the image above.
Printable Packing List Template (Blank)
If you have additional items you would like to add to my free printable packing lists above, feel free to comment at the bottom of this post.
You can also view and print this blank printable packing list above for FREE!
These two printables are just a small part of my Beach Travel Planner packet you can view here!
Tips and Hacks for a Beach Vacation
In addition to the essential items listed above, I thought I’d share my favorite beach hacks. Throughout the years, we have received many tips on how to pack for the beach.
The items I have listed below are some really random things that we always make sure to have on hand for a family beach trip!
1. Packing Cubes
I cannot say enough great things about packing cubes!
I bought a different color set for each family member, and they really help to keep all of our things separated and organized.
We first used them on a Disney Cruise Line vacation we took a few years ago. Many travelers in my online cruise group raved about these packing cubes, and now I know why!
They make packing and unpacking the suitcase super easy. And as much as I love traveling, I am not a fan of packing or unpacking.
These are the packing cubes we use and love! (Amazon Affiliate Link) I can put multiple cubes in a drawer or on a shelf, and I still feel like each of our items has its own distinct space.
We don’t travel anywhere without them. My husband even told me they are the best things I’ve ever ordered from Amazon!
2. Mesh Laundry Bag with Strap
So, I had seen this item on packing lists, but I didn’t quite get the point of it. I bought the bag pictured below at Target for a few bucks.
My thought process was that it wasn’t too big of a waste of money if I ended up not using it. This bag turned out to be SO HELPFUL though!
The mesh laundry bag is huge, and we were able to stuff it full of our beach items. After my kids played in the sand with their toys, we put all the items back in the bag and rinsed it in the ocean.
This helped get a ton of the sand off so we weren’t carrying it back to the house. We also hosed off the whole bag and toys before storing it for the next day.
I noticed a lot of the bags didn’t have a strap like this one. The strap made it so easy to carry it back and forth to the beach on our most recent vacation to Seaside, FL!
3. Spray Bottle
We used this spray bottle a ton each day on the beach. We often used it to spray sand off of ourselves to apply more sunscreen.
It also came in really handy with my one year old. She only liked sitting on the beach if she was eating.
Since her hands were usually covered in sand, we sprayed them with clean water so she didn’t eat sand with her snack.
You can find them almost anywhere for super reasonable prices!
My older daughter loves searching for sand crabs on the beach at night. I found these colorful flashlights on Amazon for a great price!
The best part is that they even came with batteries! These flashlights are really small, so they don’t take up much space in the suitcase.
These are the flashlights we have! (Amazon Affiliate Link) My older daughter loved the different colors they came in too. She now uses them all the time while playing around the house.
My five-year-old had been begging to fly a kite on the beach. I haven’t flown one since I was a kid, so I wasn’t sure how successful we would be.
This is the kite I ended up buying and loving. It was WAY cheaper than some of the other options I saw too! (Amazon Affiliate Link)
It was perfect because it was really easy to put together (less than 5 minutes). We got it up in the air quickly as well.
6. Printable Family Beach Planner
I find that the easiest way for me to plan exactly what I need for a family vacation is to create a vacation itinerary.
When creating this, I outline each day of the trip and specify the planned activities we have for the day.
As we move closer and closer to our trip, this itinerary becomes really detailed.
I plan out each day, including meals, outfits, activities, packing lists, and anything I can think of really.
Recently, I decided to create the beach planner I use and sell it on Etsy. Once you purchase your copy, you are free to print it as many times as you like.
The beach planner walks you through each step of the planning process from comparing prices for flights and accommodations to organizing outfits for each day of your trip.
Now, you can grab your own copy of the printable 30-page packet I created to help plan your family vacations! You can find the printable beach planner at my Etsy shop.
It’s a great guide for packing, getting organized, and staying on budget. You can use CODE: BEACH31 to get 50% off the packet, which makes it only $5 for my blog readers!
Final Thoughts on Beach Packing List
The bottom line is that you want to pack light and only bring what you really need. A little bit of preparation goes a long way in making your family beach vacation more enjoyable.
So, before you start packing, take some time to think about what items will be most useful to you on your trip.
And don’t forget to enjoy yourself while you’re there! Relax and have some fun in the sun on the beach.
Do you have a super useful item for a family beach vacation packing list?
Please share by commenting below!!
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