Packing for a Beach Vacation: The Complete Guide

Picture your happy place: does it involve sandy shores, crashing waves, and the warm sun on your skin? If you’re lucky enough to be planning on going there, you’ve come to the right place.

Around half the U.S. adult population takes a yearly vacation, and many of the most popular spots include the beach. With all its sunshine, swimming, and relaxation, it’s not difficult to see why the beach is such a beloved place for a getaway. Now, all that’s left to do is get ready to go!

Packing for a beach vacation can be a little tricky for novice beachgoers. It’s tempting to overpack for a variety of situations, but the simplest approach is often the most effective.

Sounds easy enough, right? Keep reading for our complete guide on packing for a beach vacation.

Clothing to Pack for a Beach Vacation

Packing for a beach vacation isn’t like packing for a regular vacation. Chances are, you’ll be spending many of your days on the beach in a swimsuit, so you might not need all the clothing items you’d typically pack.

It’s a good idea to focus on soft, flowy, comfortable pieces. Packing items like these dresses gives you something you can quickly throw on. As an added bonus, they’re also comfy and an effortless way to look put-together.

Here’s a general list of clothing items to bring:

  • At least 2 swimsuits (one extra to wear while the other is wet)
  • A swimsuit coverup
  • Underwear
  • Bras
  • Socks
  • Sundresses
  • Tank tops
  • T-shirts
  • Shorts
  • A few dressier outfits for dinners or going out
  • Sweatshirt or light jacket
  • Pajamas
  • Bathrobe
  • Flip flops
  • Sandals (something dressier but neutral enough to match any outfit)
  • Water shoes
  • Walking shoes
  • Workout clothes

When you’re figuring out what clothing to pack for a beach vacation, it helps to envision what you’d most like to wear while you’re there. For example, if you prefer dresses over tank tops and shorts, you can easily pack more dresses instead of bulking up with items that you won’t want to wear.


Just like with your clothing, packing accessories all depends on what you’ll need most while you’re out there. If you won’t use toys or your electronic devices, it’s best to leave these items at home. No use dragging around items that you don’t need!

Here are some key accessories to bring to the beach:

  • Sunglasses
  • A big-brimmed sunhat for extra sun protection
  • Belt
  • Beach bag
  • Beach towels
  • Beach umbrella
  • Beach blanket
  • Beach chairs
  • Cooler
  • Water bottles
  • Beach toys and floaties
  • Goggles
  • Waterproof bag for electronics
  • Ipad or laptop
  • Bluetooth speaker
  • Books

Depending on whether you’re flying or taking a road trip, you’ll have more or less room to work with. If needed, many of these items can be purchased while you’re out there, so don’t worry if everything you need doesn’t fit.


Toiletries are somewhat important when you’re packing for a beach vacation, but many of these are extremely cheap and easy to buy once you’re there. Plus, if you’re flying, remember that many of these will need to go in your checked luggage rather than your carry-on.

  • Sunscreen 
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Body Lotion
  • Vaseline
  • Lip balm
  • Insect repellant
  • Wet wipes
  • Aspirin/ibuprofen
  • First aid kit
  • Allergy medicine
  • Medications
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Hairbrush
  • Toothbrushes
  • Toothpaste
  • Floss
  • Razors
  • Deodorant
  • Contact solution
  • Feminine products
  • Nail clippers and file
  • Hair products
  • Qtips
  • Makeup
  • Makeup remover
  • Face wash
  • Skincare products
  • Perfume/cologne

Remember that it’s best to keep it simple. You’ll be at the beach, so you won’t need heavy makeup, perfume, or the like. Focus on what you already use on a daily basis and go from there.

General Tips for Packing for a Beach Vacation

You can check and double-check the above lists until you can no longer think straight, but the most important thing to remember is this: think about what you and your family will need the most. Packing for a beach vacation isn’t an exact science, so you’ll need to consider what makes the most sense for you personally.

Here are a few general tips to remember when packing for a beach vacation:

  1. Consider the activities you’re planning to do and pack accordingly. For example, if you’re going on a hike, be sure to bring a comfy pair of walking shoes. If you’re mostly planning on relaxing near the shore, then focus more on your beach needs rather than street clothes.
  2. Find out what your beach or resort has available for you to use. Many spots will have beach umbrellas and floaties for you to use, so you won’t need to pack these items on your own. It’s also a good idea to double-check what toiletries will be provided, so these items don’t waste valuable luggage space.
  3. Focus on sun protection. There’s nothing worse than a painful sunburn on your first day of vacation, so be sure you have SPF and protective clothing available as soon as you arrive.
  4. Don’t overpack. You’re not going to want to waste time packing, unpacking, and searching for items within your luggage. When you’re packing for a beach vacation, less is often more.
  5. Don’t stress out about packing! The aim of your vacation is to have a great time, so don’t fret over the small things. If you forget anything, you can always purchase it when you arrive.

It’s also worth noting that, once you’ve already done it a few times, packing for a beach vacation gets much easier. So, remember to be patient with yourself and have a great time!

Getting Ready for Your Beach Vacation

There’s a reason that so many of us dream of a beach getaway to escape for a while. If you’re reading this, you’re lucky enough to make the daydreams a reality!

Don’t overthink things when you’re packing for a beach vacation. Chances are, you’ll have an amazing time regardless. So, have fun and happy packing!

For more tips, check out our other blog entries.

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