Not sure what to pack for a beach vacation? This comprehensive beach vacation packing list has all the vacation and beach essentials you will need to bring on your next beach trip.
Beach Vacation Packing List
Heading to a relaxing beach vacation soon? Whether road tripping to a nearby beach for a weekend getaway or flying to a tropical beach destination for a week or more, this checklist has everything you need for your beach vacation.
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Essentials for the Beach
• Bathing suits – Don’t forget to pack at least 2 or more bathing suits.
• Sarong/kaftan/swimsuit coverup for women – Bring at least one sarong, kaftan or swimwear cover up to wear over your bathing suit.
• Flip-flops – Havaianas flip flops are my favorite because they have great traction and don’t slip when walking on wet surfaces.
• Beach bag – A cute beach bag is a must for carrying your beach essentials!
• Sunglasses – Sunglasses are essential for the beach or most days really. Darker lenses offer the best UV protection.
• Hat – A hat is a must for sun protection on the beach or any sunny vacation destination. A packable floppy hat is a cute and stylish option for women. Coolibar hats have excellent sun protection for both men and women.
• Sunscreen – Don’t forget to bring sunscreen with both UVA as well as UVB protection. I recommend reef safe sunscreen because it is more environmentally friendly.
• Lip balm with UV protection – Don’t forget your lips! Many people apply sunscreen but they overlook sun protection for their lips.
• Beach towels – Your hotel might provide towels for the beach but if not don’t forget to bring one or more beach towels. I prefer to use a quick drying travel towel.
• Reusable water bottle – I like this insulated water bottle because it keeps my water and other drinks cool. If you are traveling to a country where the water is not safe for drinking, you might want a water bottle with build in filter.
• Wet swimsuit bag – A wet swimsuit bag is useful for packing wet bathing suits. You can also use plastic bags to store wet swimsuits.
• Dry bag – If you are going to be kayaking, boating or fishing, you will need a waterproof dry bag for your belongings.
• Water shoes – To protect your feet from coral and sharp rocks on the beach.
• Rashguard – For sun protection when surfing, snorkeling etc.
• Snacks – You might want to pack snacks unless you are going to a beach with food nearby. Granola bars make a great snack.
• Waterproof phone case – Keep smartphones dry with this waterproof case when hanging out at the beach.
• Photography Gear – A GoPro HERO9 Black or an affordable underwater camera are great for taking underwater photos. If you are traveling alone or as a couple, you might want to to take a selfie stick/portable tripod to take amazing photos of yourself. Don’t forget to bring an extra memory card.
• Portable Speaker – You might want to bring a waterproof portable speaker to listen to music.
• Cooler – If you are driving you might want to bring a cooler.
• Beach toys – Beach ball, beach pail and shovels, floaties and other beach toys for kids.
What to Pack for a Beach Vacation: Clothes and Shoes
While you are probably going to be on the beach most of the time, here is a checkist of clothes and shoes you will need for other activities at your destination.
• Jewelry and watches – Jewelry is a great way for women to dress up their day attire for the evening.
• Dresses and skirts – I recommend women pack at least 2-3 dresses/skirts. A basic black dress can be worn from day to night. Maxi dresses are my favorite and are perfect for beach destinations.
• Shorts– 2-3 pairs for men. 1-3 pairs for women unless prefer to wear dresses and skirts instead.
• Pants (and belts) – Men should bring at least 1 or 2 pairs of lightweight pants that can be worn at a nice restaurant or bar. Women might want to pack a pair of lightweight or linen pants as well or they might want to just bring extra dresses or skirts. You can also bring a pair of jeans but personally I avoid them in warm destinations because they make me feel too hot.
• Shirts/tops – I recommend men bring at least 3 or more short sleeve shirts, including a t-shirt, a nicer polo shirt and a performance short sleeve tee that keeps you cool and provides odor protection when sweating. Women can get away with fewer tops if they pack more dresses.
• Sweater, fleece, hoodie or jean jacket – Pack at least 1 long sleeve sweater or hoodie for chilly nights and air-conditioned places. Personally I am a big fan of jean jackets to wear over dresses.
•Scarf – A lightweight scarf will also keep you warm on chilly nights or indoor places with freezing air-conditioning.
• Dressier sandals/cute flats/Platform shoes for women – Bring a dressier pair of sandals or cute flats that can be worn for dinner or drinks. If you like to wear shoes, I recommend platform shoes in case your destination has cobblestone streets.
• Hiking shoes and pants – If you plan on hiking.
• Snorkel Gear – If you plan on snorkeling.
• Underwear, socks and bras – If you are checking luggage, pack at least 1 of each in your carry on bag in case your checked luggage is lost or delayed. ExOfficio underwear is great for travel because it is breathable, quick-drying fabric and odor-resistant.
Other Things to Pack for a Beach Vacation
• Passport or ID
• Cash, credit cards, ATM cards
• Drivers license and international drivers license
• COVID vaccine card and/or negative COVID test (if traveling internationally and required) – See my international checklist if traveling abroad
• Glasses, contacts, contact lens solution
• Medication and prescriptions
• Face Masks – Masks are required on airplanes and many indoor places so pack a few face masks
• Antibacterial wipes or hand sanitizer
• Reading material – A magazine, book or waterproof kindle for the plane or beach. If you need book suggestions, check out my list of the best travel books.
• Noise cancelling headphones, eye mask (these are my top carry on essentials)
• Electronics (smartphone, computer, tablet, cords, memory cards, tripod)
• External battery – An external battery to recharge my phone, camera or other electronics is one of my travel essential items for any trip. A solar charger is perfect for the beach.
• Toothbrush, toothpaste and floss
• hair spray with UV protection to protect your hair from the beach and sun
• Hair dryer for women
• Toiletries (makeup, lotion, deodorant, tissues, comb/brush, hair ties, small mirror, feminine products, cotton swabs, razors, shampoo/conditioner/soap)
• Body wipes to wipe off sweat
• First aid kit – A basic first aid kit (band aids, tweezer, pain reliever, allergy medicine, anti-nausea medicine, antacid tablets, charcoal tablets) is a good idea especially for families with young children.
• Insect repellent
• Bandana – A bandana is so versatile, you can use it to wipe off sweat or use as a scarf
• Travel umbrella – In case it rains at your destination.
• Packing cubes
• Day bag, tote or purse for sightseeing
• Reusable bag for carrying groceries or shopping for souvenirs
• TSA approved locks
• Notebook and pen
What are your beach vacation essentials?
Liked this packing list? Check out some of our other helpful travel packing lists:
- What to Pack in a Carry On Bag: Carry On Bag Essentials List
- What to Pack for a Road Trip: The Only Road Trip Packing List You Need
- Hostel Packing List: Essential Things to Take to a Hostel
- Best Eco Friendly Travel Products & Accessories to Help You Travel Green
- Practical and Useful Travel Gifts That Every Traveler Needs