Some links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you buy something through our posts, we may get a small share of the sale at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Click here to learn more.
Getting to go on a vacation to the beach is very exciting, but without proper planning you may find yourself there without the right items. When you take time to plan before packing, then you can be certain that you and your family won’t forget anything and that you won’t spend your first day on vacation going to the store to pick up forgotten items. That being said, it’s a good idea to ask yourself “what do I need for beach vacation” before you start packing so that you are prepared.
By breaking up the items that you will need to pack into a few separate groups, I have worked hard to make it as easy as possible for you to make sure that you don’t forget anything for your trip. Being prepared is key to having a great time at the beach and will ensure that you are prepared for any activity that you want to do or any problem that may arise.
What Do I Need For A Beach Vacation
There are a few different categories of items that you will need for your upcoming beach vacation. While most people only worry about bringing a bathing suit and a towel, by breaking items down into categories, you can be prepared. I have found that it’s a good idea to consider clothing, beach friendly hats, personal items, toiletries, medicine, beach items, entertainment, and electronics.
You Need More Clothing than Just a Bathing Suit
Sure, you may think that you’ll live on the beach while on vacation, but it’s important that you bring with you clothing for going into town, as well. While nobody wants to think that they will experience bad weather while they are at the beach, it does happen, and it may force you and your family to go to a local arcade, museum, or mall for entertainment one afternoon.
In addition to bathing suits and coverups, make sure that you have a dinner outfit so that you can go out to a nice restaurant if you want to as well as any workout clothes if you want to get in an early morning run while the sun rises. Bring water shoes, flip flops, sneakers or other beach friendly walking shoes, and a nice pair of shoes for trips into town, as well as a hat to protect you from the sun.
Bring Personal Items
It’s easy when you are going on vacation to think that you won’t run into an emergency, but it’s always a good idea to be prepared. In addition to bringing your wallet with cash, credit cards, and your driver’s license, make sure that you have both car insurance information, as well as health insurance cards for everyone in your family.
You Need Toiletries
I have found that not only will you need all of your daily toiletries just like you will at home, including toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, razors, and a hair dryer, but you will also want to make sure that you have plenty of sunscreen, aloe, and bug spray. These items are easy to forget at home or may be expired, which is why you need to make sure that you check the dates on anything that you are going to bring so that you can buy new ones, if necessary.
Always Bring Medicine
The last thing that you want to try to do is find a 24-hour pharmacy because you or someone in your family has a fever and is sick during the night. Bringing any prescription medicine in addition to commonly-used items from your medicine cabinet is a good idea. Also make sure that you have a great first-aid kid.
While you can go to the store and pick up band-aids, ointment, or allergy medication, it can be difficult to find what you need when you are at the beach, and you generally will end up overpaying. It’s a much better idea to make sure that you are prepared with all of the medicine that you may need before you get in the car to go to the beach.
Bring Your Beach Items
I know that this is some of the most enjoyable stuff to bring to the beach and is generally what gets people really excited about their vacation. Not only do you need to make sure that you have towels for everyone, an umbrella if necessary, chairs, and a tote or duffel bag but there are a few other items that you will need, as well. If your children use goggles, toys, or floats, then now is the time to pack them. Additionally, put together a cooler that you can bring with you that will have food and drinks so that you don’t have to go to the hotel each time you want something to eat.
In your tote or cooler, you will want to bring hand sanitizer to make sure that everyone has clean hands before meals as well as plastic zip-top bags. These bags have many uses, from making sure that your cell phone stays dry to allowing your children places to store the shells that they have picked up. With a box of these bags, you can keep items free of sand and ensure that no trash gets left behind from your visit.
While you may be wary about having beach toys in your car, as you are sure to deal with a lot of sand afterwards, these toys are necessary to ensure that your kids have the best time playing in the sand. Now is a great time to make sure that all of the toys you have are sturdy and not cracked, as nothing will ruin the day faster than a favorite shovel breaking during the middle of a sand castle building contest. Replacing toys before you leave will help to keep everyone happy.
Additionally, if anyone in your family wants to spend time in the water then it’s a good idea to pick up a boogie board, bodyboard, or a skimboard. These are all a lot of fun, and I have found that they can provide hours of enjoyment as you and your whole family try to outlast each other in the ocean. If you don’t have access to these items before you go, then you may benefit from renting them at the beach once you arrive.
If the weather is great while you are at the beach, and you can spend all of your time outside, then you will be glad that you brought a waterproof camera, reading material, shovels and pails, and a frisbee to throw on the beach. However, I know that if the weather turns foul and you are stuck inside, you can be quite miserable without something to do. That’s why it’s a good idea to pack items that can keep you entertained, even if you can’t be out on the beach.
Bring along your laptop or tablet if you want to be able to watch a movie or play games, as well as a deck of cards or a favorite board game. These are all useful in keeping children happy until the weather is nicer and you can go back to the beach. Portable speakers are useful not only on the beach, but to make sure that everyone in your family can hear the movie that you have playing.
Stay Connected with Electronics
Even if you skip bringing a tablet or a laptop and are relying on just your phone to stay connected, you will want to make sure that you have everything you need for your phone to work. It’s very easy to forget a charger, and I have found that buying a replacement near the beach can be very expensive. You will also want to bring the charger for your camera or an extra set of batteries so that you don’t miss a moment out on the beach with your family.
Many people get very nervous about bringing their electronics with them on the beach, and for good reason, as the salt air, sand, and water can all damage your electronics quickly. However, just because you are going to the beach doesn’t mean that you can’t read on your e-reader. By buying a special case to protect it and making sure that you always place any electronics in a sand-free zone (such as a plastic bag), you can make sure that you have everything you want on the beach without risking expensive damage.
Going to the beach is a lot of fun, especially if you are able to take time off with your whole family and make it a family vacation. The best way to ensure that you have a great time is to really plan ahead and make sure that you bring everything that you need with you. By making a list of all of the things that you will need and starting to pack a few days before you leave, you can make sure that you are prepared for anything that happens while you are at the beach and that you and your family will have an amazing time.
Megan Jones is the lead author of Seaside Planet. She is an avid surfer, scuba diver, and travel enthusiast who takes any opportunity she can to spend time in the ocean. You can learn more about Meg and the rest of the editorial team here.