Are you heading to the beach this summer? Nobody wants to forget the items you need for the week and then pay double the price at the beach. My ultimate beach packing list will help you remember the essential vacation items. Follow this easy checklist and you will have a low key and relaxing vacation without unexpected trips to the local store.
My family loves the beach. We are heading to the Outer Banks of North Carolina later this month. Without fail, every single trip we have forgotten to pack something. One year I forgot to pack underwear! Fortunately, we passed outlet stores on the way to the beach. When my youngest was a baby, we forgot not only the swim diapers but ALL of her diapers. It is easy in the madness of packing for a family to forget something. Sure we all have a “list” but it never has everything on there to make sure we absolutely don’t miss anything.
This beach packing list comes from much trial and error when it comes to vacations at the shore. I am the “CVO” or Chief Vacation Officer in my home. That means most of the packing falls on my shoulders. When it comes to my teen packing, all she cares about is enough chargers and shoes. My tween only cares about bathing suits. These kids would look pretty strange walking around the shore if I let them pack without double checking behind them.
As far as clothes go, I don’t want to spell that one out. Just be sure to pack appropriately for wherever you’ll be visiting. If you happen to have a washer and dryer, you can save yourself from over-packing and just mix and match outfits. Double check for underwear. That one is easy to forget (I speak from experience, remember?). I actually lay out my clothes on the bed before they go into the suitcases and make outfits before I even leave. I do this for the kids as well to ensure I am not forgetting anything.
If you are renting a beach house, be sure to find out what you will need to supply. Many times you may need to bring towels and linens for your family. We have also taken extra items such as pillows, a portable hamper and sheets for sofa bed. Your rental company should give you an extensive list of what you need to bring. That is also very helpful when packing. When at a rental house, you will also need items such as laundry detergent, soap, toilet paper, dish soap and, of course, food. Depending on where you will be traveling, it may cost less to make a grocery run once you arrive instead of filling the car to the gills.
My first essential item to have packed is a day bag. This is different from your purse. It is everything the family may need in one place and you really don’t need to unpack it unless you need items from it during your trip.
Day Bag Essentials
- Back up credit or debit cards (banks can be funny, especially if you travel abroad)
- Cash (only for emergency)
- Health insurance cards for all family members
- Auto insurance card
- Rental/hotel confirmation information
- House keys
- Small sewing kit
Next up is toiletries. Have you ever noticed just how much your family uses to get ready each day? I could probably fill an entire bag just with these items alone for my family. If you are sharing one bathroom during your trip, there is no need to buy a million tiny shampoos and such. Purchase the regular size items; this will save you money.
- Aloe (this is a big one)
- Flat iron
- Hair dryer
- Hair elastics and clips
- Hair cream
- Hair gel
- Contacts & case
- Contact solution
- Make up bag
- Feminine products
- Cotton swabs/cotton balls
- Nail clipper
- Air freshener
Aside from your toiletry bag, pack a medicine kit. You may not need anything from it, or you may just need your daily prescriptions if you take them. We have learned the hard way that a $3.00 bottle of children’s Tylenol at home can cost as much as $10.00 on beach vacations.
- Prescription medicines
- Allergy medicine
- First-Aid kit
- Daily vitamins
- Anti itch cream
Don’t forget your technology items. If we didn’t have wi-fi or chargers for devices, my teen would honestly die – I am sure of this. In today’s world, it’s hard to unplug and let go on vacation. I make my kids shut down and play games or color. Anything to get them away from screen time.
- Waterproof Camera
- Digital Camera
- Portable speakers
- Cords & chargers
- Nerf Football
- Corn Hole set
- Board games
- Card games
- Coloring Books, colored pencils/crayons
TravelingMom Tip: Set limits on the wi-fi. You can download apps that will shut it down at a set time if you so choose. It’s vacation; they need to interact with the family.
And last but not least your beach essentials. These are the items that will get you through on the beach until sunset if you so choose. This list is meant for families with kids of every age; so you may not need all of these items.
- Sunscreen/sun protection
- Swimsuits and swimsuit cover ups
- Wipes (even if your kids are out of diapers, it’s nice to have wipes for older kids and adults to use to clean their hands)
- Bug spray–sand flies are the worst.
- Waterproof (and sandproof) cases for phones and e-readers
- Sippy cups and/or refillable water bottles
- Cooler and ice packs
- Sandals/water shoes
- Beach towels
- Beach chairs–if you’re not going to a resort where chairs are provided, you may want to bring your own.
- Umbrella or Canopy
- Hair ties
- Reading material
- Pacifiers and loveys for babies
- Swim diapers
- Diaper cream
- Battery-operated fan
- Boogie boards
- More sunscreen
- Sand toys
TravelingMom Tip: If you purchased sand toys specifically for your trip and don’t want to take them home, find a family on check out day and pay them forward.
Oh my goodness, this is quite the list! I am now completely exhausted thinking about packing at the end of the month.
Is there anything that you must have on a beach vacation? Let me know in the comments if I forgot anything