The Ultimate Beach Trip Packing Tips

Sep 7, 2023 / Laura Bolt

Strategic beach trip packing tips can help you make the most of your excursion, whether you live on the coast or are heading out on vacation.

There’s nothing more quintessentially summer than a trip to the beach. Read on for our tips on the best way to pack for a day of sun and sand.

How Should I Pack For a Beach Vacation?

Before you head out, Dr. Julia Raz, the owner of Los Angeles-based Golden West Organizing, suggests doing a “yearly assessment” at the start of beach season to see what items you’ve stored away, what might need to be replaced, and what you’re working with.

If you have a small space, or only hit the beach a few times a year, Dr. Raz says not to fear crowdsourcing for those items that are a hassle to store at home.

“I always say to be resourceful with those around you, and don’t be afraid to ask to borrow things,” she notes. “Especially if you don’t have the space to have large beach umbrellas or lots of water toys and things like that.”

If you’re staying at a hotel or resort, check with the concierge to see what amenities are already available (same goes for hosts of any beachside Airbnb you might be renting).

Still want some outdoor time but can’t head to the shore? Check out our favorite tips to spruce up your backyard on our blog.

How Do You Carry Everything to The Beach?

When it comes to lugging those items to your spot in the sand, going hands-free is your best option.

If you’re traveling with kids, you’ll also want to make sure you have your hands free to make sure everyone is safe and accounted for.

For that reason, backpacks are a great option for anyone on the go—bonus points for ones that have a cooling compartment or are waterproof. If you’re only bringing the essentials, a waterproof fanny pack can also be a convenient way to keep your hands free.

If you’re planning on a group picnic near the water, grabbing an insulated cooler that has wheels can help you save the heavy lifting for the gym.

For smaller outings, an insulated tote with a strap can also be a handy option. Don’t forget some reusable water bottles to stay hydrated!

It’s also important to have a small waterproof dry bag for your valuables, including wallets and keys. If you’re concerned about theft, consider storing your items in a disguised container (like a hollowed out sunscreen bottle) for an added dose of safety.

Skip the expensive items (like high end cameras and jewelry) for some extra peace of mind.

With over 800 miles of coastline, chances are if you’re a beach fanatic, California is probably on your to-go list. Check out our guide to living in the Golden State on our blog.

What Should I Take to the Beach?

smiling family packing light with umbrella and bag sitting on the beach facing the ocean

While social media makes it tempting to construct an elaborate beach trip packing, sometimes it’s better to keep it simple.

When she heads to the beach with her family, Dr. Raz  follows these beach trip packing tips.

“No matter whether it’s traveling to a local beach or going on vacation, having a change of clothes for both myself and my daughter is very important,” she said. “And in my experience as a mom, less is more!”

“My daughter is just happy to be there with a shovel and a bucket. Make sure you have the proper sun protection and a towel, and anything beyond that is extra,” adds Dr. Raz.

If you’re traveling with kids, some plastic toys, wipes, and a small first aid kit are also great supplies to have around, as well as swim diapers for the smallest beachgoers.

Water shoes or flip flops are also great for keeping your feet safe, while oversized hats can help keep the sun at bay.

Having a few extra lined bags (or even garbage bags, in a pinch) with you is great for toting wet items (like swimsuits or toys that can’t be quickly wiped down) back home without getting the rest of your belongings soggy.

Finally, for restless beachgoers, some items to keep you entertained like snorkels, sports gear, or a great beach read can be the final key to your most memorable beach day yet!

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