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Planning a family beach vacation is exciting. Just the thought of relaxing with the ocean breeze and the sound of the waves crashing is enough to stir the senses and soothe the soul. But then there’s the part that no one looks forward to: Packing. If you’re looking to speed up the packing process without missing anything but the sand between your toes, we’ve created this ultimate family beach vacation packing list just for you.
Everything You Need: Family Beach Packing List
The lure of the wide open spaces, endless sunshine and lapping waves calls to us every year. But packing for a week at the beach with a family? It makes us miss the good old days when all we did was throw a bikini in a backpack.
Alas, we need more stuff now — so much stuff that it’s hard to remember it all. This beach vacation packing list makes it easy. From tank tops and rashguards to electronics and disinfectants, this list is designed to ensure you never again get to the beach only to discover you forgot something you really need.
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Anti-Covid-19 Hygiene Items to Pack
- Masks (Many places still require visitors to wear masks in public, at the beach, in restaurants. We like these super cute masks from Etsy.)
- Disinfecting wipes
- Hand sanitizer
- CDC approved cleaning supplies (Use these to clean the high-touch areas of beach house such as hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, phones, tablets, touch screens, remote controls, keyboards, handles, desks, toilets and sinks when you arrive. Bring these from home — you can’t be sure they’ll be in stores at your destination — make your own bleach solution by mixing 1/3 cup bleach per gallon of room temperature water or 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of room temperature water.)
- Disposable plastic gloves (to wear for cleaning, then discard)
- Large Ziploc bags (Put one TV remote inside each bag. The remote still works and no one is touching the germy, hard-to-clean remotes.)
Personal Items: Packing List for the Beach
- Drivers Licenses
- Credit or Debit Cards
- Health Insurance cards
- Auto insurance cards
- Rental/Hotel Confirmation Information
Keep all of these items close by on the beach with a cell phone case that holds cards. TravelingMom Nasreen Stump says with four kids she hates juggling a purse. She swears by Smartish card holder phone cases. They comfortably hold 3 cards and are made by an Austin, Texas company. With price tags on most under $16 it’s a worthwhile buy for beach or every day.
What Clothes to Pack for a Beach Vacation
- 2 bathing suits each (If swimsuit shopping makes you shudder we’d like to mention Miraclesuit swimsuits. The tummy control on them will have you saying “What is this sorcery!” And here is our favorite collection of kids swimsuits.)
- Swim cover ups
- Rashguard with SPF sun protection
- Underwear & bras
- Dinner outfits
- Light jackets/wrap
- Running/Tennis/Workout Clothes/Workout Bras (Try these yoga pants with a pocket for your phone!)
- Running GPS
- Sanuk Yoga Mat Flip Flops
- Water shoes (We like these from Aleader.)
- Sandals (investing in a good pair of sandals that can be used for a variety of activities is a good idea, we love this pair!)
- Sneakers – Tennis & Running
- Good sun hat (Try this sun hat. It’s simple and super cute!)
TravelingMom Tip: One of our favorite things to do when taking a vacation is to hire a photographer for family photos. This is a special gift and souvenir that we cherish. We use Flytographer to book a local photographer located in the area that we're traveling to. Use this link and you will get $25 off your photo session.
Toiletries for Everyone
- Toothbrush (these are our favorite travel toothbrushes that we keep on hand for packing)
- Flat iron
- Hair elastics and clips
- Hair cream
- Shower Cap
- Safety Pins
- Contacts & case
- Contact solution
- Makeup bag (Our TravelingMoms rave about this Lay-n-Go makeup bag. It makes it easy to see all your stuff.)
- Feminine products
- Cotton swabs/cotton balls
- Nail polish & remover
- Nail clipper and file
- Air freshener
This packing list for the beach will ensure that you don’t forget anything for the perfect beach vacation.
Don’t Forget the Medicine
- The Kids’
- First-Aid Kit – w/Band-Aids, ointment, etc. (Check out our DIYl beach first aid kit.)
Beach Essentials for that Perfect Beach Day
- Sunscreen (These are our favorite sunscreens for kids and babies.)
- Canopy/tent (If you’re going to the beach with babies and toddlers, you’re going to want one of these.)
- Beach tote
- Beach umbrella
- Cooler with wheels
- Beach blanket (Beach blankets are super handy to have. We use our for far more than just beach vacations.)
- Beach towels
- Smaller portable cooler (We like this collapsible cooler.)
- Beach chairs
- Water bottles for everyone (We love our Simple Modern Wave Water bottle)
- Beach Cart/portable wheels (we NEVER leave behind our beach cart on a beach vacation)
- Beach toys (or buy cheap ones there)
- Swim goggles (our kids each have a snorkeling set, this keeps them busy for hours at the beach)
- Waterproof bag for cell phones
- Smaller beach bag or drawstring bag for kids to carry (everyone needs a pineapple beach bag!)
- Beach blankets
- Bottle opener
- Garbage bag/plastic bags
- Waterproof sunscreen (check out this post on the best sunscreen for kids and babies)
- Lip balm/protector with SPF
- Insect repellent (we like Sawyer Maxi-Deet)
- Sunglasses (don’t forget your sunglasses! We LOVE this pair)
- Hand sanitizer
- Portable Lock Box (this lockbox gives us peace of mind, we can all play in the ocean without worrying about our personal belongings getting stolen)
Beach Trip Packing List: Entertainment & Technology
- Waterproof Camera (if you want to get some cool underwater footage, it might be time for a GoPro)
- Waterproof pouch for your cellphone (We like this one that floats!)
- Selfie stick
- Extra power packs for keeping everyone charged up
- Portable speakers (this portable waterproof speaker is great for beach vacations)
- Kids’ Kindle Fire HD
- Cords & chargers
- Nerf Football
- Tennis Bag
- Playstation 4 & video games (for rainy days)
- Deck of cards
- Board games
- Card games (Our kids LOVE the NEW Uno Flip card game)
- Note pads
- Pens & colored pencils
Beach House Packing List
- Extra sheets for the pullout couch
- Clorox disinfecting cleaning wipes
- Portable hamper
Things to Bring to the Beach House or Buy There
- Paper towels
- Laundry detergent
- Dryer sheets
- Stain Remover
- Beer & Wine
For the Car Ride
- Car chargers
- Snacks & drinks (check out our road trip snacks recipes)
- Garbage/plastic bag
- Portable items from Entertainment List
- House sitter
- Dog sitter
- Dog food
- Empty garbage
- Empty fridge
- Lock up!
Don’t forget to put a penny in your freezer! Sounds strange? We promise it will ensure your family doesn’t consume unsafe food.
Most importantly, pack your PATIENCE. It’s not a vacation – or much fun – if you’re stressed. Almost everything on this list can be bought or replaced if forgotten. You can even order it from Amazon for delivery right to your beach house!
More Beach Info You Need
Keep Your Kids Safe at the Beach — What you need to do BEFORE you leave home.
How to Salvage a Rainy Day at the Beach — Homemade spa day, anyone?
Best Family Games to Play at the Beach — Sure you can buy games, but this post will help you get creative with your fun in the sun.
Where Can I Find the Cutest Summer Beach Bags? — We all want to look cut at the beach, right?
How to Clean and Pack Seashells from Your Beach Vacation — Start with color-coded buckets, one for each kid.
Which Beach is Best?
Best Beaches on the East Coast for Families -There’s more to the East Coast that the Jersey Shore! From Florida to Maine, these are our favorite beaches for families.
12 Best Beaches in Southern California with Kids — Our favorite beaches from the Central Coast to San Diego.
Best Florida Beaches for Families — Florida has 663 miles of beaches. These are our 8 favorites.