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17 Top Beach Camping Packing List Items for 2024 + What To Wear & What NOT to Bring

beach camping packing list
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Looking to get out of the woods for your next camping trip? Beach camping is where it’s at! Something everyone should try at least once in their lives, there is almost nothing more relaxing than pitching your tent and calling the beach your home for the weekend. With the calming ocean waves putting you to sleep at night, and sand beneath your toes in the morning, everyone in the family will absolutely love your next beach camping trip.

As fun as beach camping is, there can be a lot of things to bring and items to prepare. Below you will find some essential items to take with you on your next beach camping trip. Including things to wear, things you can leave at home, and more!

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What To Pack for Beach Camping

  • 1. Quick-Dry Travel Towel

    It’s a big mistake to go on a beach camping trip without towels! This travel towel is perfect for trips because it folds up so small and dries 10x quicker than regular towels.

    Quick-Dry Travel Towel

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  • 2. Reef Safe Sunscreen

    Reef-safe sunscreen is a must when you go to the beach. It’s made to make sure there are no harmful chemicals coming off your sunscreen and into the waters to harm the fish or the other sea life. This sunscreen is also excellent for sensitive skin and it’s SPF 50+ which should last you a while during a hot day in the sun.

    Reef Safe Sunscreen

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  • 3. Windproof Umbrella

    Having an umbrella on the beach is an absolute must-have. Not only does this umbrella protect from random rain storms, but it also provides shelter from strong coastal winds and provides shade against hot sun rays.

    Windproof Umbrella

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  • 4. Easy Set Up Tent

    What would beach camping be without a tent? I always recommend pop-up or easy setup tents for beach camping because it can be difficult to set up a tent even with the slightest wind. Plus, not only is this tent easy to set up but it’s weatherproof as well and has thicker walls for lasting life.

    Easy Set Up Tent

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  • 5. Cooling Towel

    The cooling towel goes perfectly with the travel towel. This cooling towel is amazing to have on hot days. Simply dip it in cool water, and it will provide up to 60 minutes of cooling relief. Perfect for warm beach days, when you’re lounging in the sun or playing beach games.

    cooling towel

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  • 6. Floating Wrist Strap

    This lightweight, soft and durable floating wrist strap is the perfect thing to have at the beach. Especially for walking around the shores, or if you decide to hop in a sea kayak or a fishing boat! Stay worry-free and attach this to your phone or camera and have the peace of mind that your important things won’t go sinking to the bottom of the ocean.


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  • 7. Packing Cubes

    Where do I begin on the beauty of packing cubes? For some, like myself, who always stresses about packing, these are the perfect invention. This 5 piece set easily holds everything you need for short trips and even longer trips. Organize all your clothes without forgetting where anything is, and the cubes fit perfectly into any pack or suitcase.

    Packing Cubes

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  • 8. Universal Waterproof Phone Case

    A waterproof phone case is a must-have to have around the beach. Not only will it protect your phone from getting wet, but it will also protect your phone from any sand particles getting in the cracks. This is an amazing waterproof phone case because not only is it universal, it also has a touch screen so you don’t even have to ever take your phone out of its protective case!

    Universal Waterproof Phone Case

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  • 9. Backpack

    A good water-resistant backpack is a good thing to remember to bring on your beach camping trip. It’s a great way to pack your clothing, and other personal items you may need on the trip. This particular backpack is a great choice because of its waterproof qualities, its lightweight, and holds the perfect amount.


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  • 10. Cooler

    A cooler is pretty important going on any sort of camping trip. This cooler is perfect because you roll it right to your campsite, plus it fits a great number of things that need to be kept cold.


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  • 11. Neck Wallet

    Neck wallets are an amazing way to keep all your important cards in one place. Never lose your credit card or ID ever again! Plus, you will always know where it is if it’s right around your neck.

    Neck Wallet

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  • 12. Hanging Toiletry Bag

    For any overnight trip, including camping trips, this hanging toiletry bag is amazing. To keep all your toiletries in one place, so they aren’t lost and are easy to access is such a helpful thing. It can even hang up right in your tent or car for the easiest access!

    Hanging Toiletry Bag

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  • 13. LifeStraw Water Bottle

    At many beach camping destinations, there is usually water fill up. Although the water is fine to drink, I prefer to use my LifeStraw water bottle to fill up from public drinking fountains because it filters out 99.9% of germs for carefree, germ-free drinking water.

    LifeStraw Water Bottle

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  • 14. Beach Mat

    Sick of sand getting everywhere? Especially when camping on the beach, it can get tiring dealing with the nitty gritty sand pieces. This extra large beach mat is perfect to set down and keep all your things (and yourself) free of sand. It’s also quick drying and folds up perfectly into a tiny cube, easy for travel!

    Beach Mat

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  • 15. Portable Charger

    Beach camping usually means no outlets, and nowhere to plug in your dying phone. But there are so many things to take pictures or videos of! For a weekend camping trip, this portable charger is perfect. Charge the charger on your way to the beach and when your phone is dying, just plug it into the portable charger and you are good to go. Good for two full charges.

    Portable Charger

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  • 16. Headlamp

    Once the sun goes down, beaches tend to get extremely dark with only the moon and distant sparkling lights glowing in the sky. Of course, it’s beautiful but not helpful for you to make your way back to your tent or to enjoy a nice beach walk. Headlamps are one of the most important things to have when camping to provide light.


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  • 17. Beach Wagon

    Beach wagons are an extreme game changer. They fold up quickly to fit your car, then just pop it open and load up your stuff! When it comes to beach camping, you may have more things than just a short beach day trip, and this wagon will especially come in handy. No more trips to the car, take everything in one go with this beach wagon.

    Beach Wagon

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What to Wear Beach Camping

Bust out all your summer style going on your beach camping trip! Just because it’s a camping trip, doesn’t mean you can’t dress in your cutest bathing suit or beach cover-up. Pack lightly, and pack things that are cute, but that you don’t mind getting sandy. You will definitely want waterproof sandals and waterproof shorts for hanging out around the beach. Don’t forget your favorite sun hat and sunglasses to provide some protection from the sun.
What Women Should Wear Beach Camping – (Click to expand)

Since this is a camping trip, keep in mind that nights on the beach tend to get pretty windy. Having a decent windbreaker is key. I usually like to bundle up after a fun day swimming around, so I like to have a fleece or a sweatshirt and definitely some leggings to provide warmth during the evenings and nights.

What Men Should Wear Beach Camping – (Click to expand)

As for women, the same goes for men, you don’t have to shy away from looking nice during your beach camping trip. Grab your favorite pair of swim trunks and a nice light beachy button-down that you don’t mind getting a little sandy. You won’t need a whole lot while beach camping, but remember to have a quality pair of waterproof shoes (plus sandals) in case a long walk is on the menu.

As we suggested for the women, men should not forget to pack some layers for the evenings to hang around the fire. Bring a warm hoodie with you, and even a beanie to cover up your ears.

Packing for the Seasons for Beach Camping

Spring – March, April, May

In certain places, you can get away with beach camping in the early spring and it will still be an enjoyable time. For some, this is a great time for beach camping because the beaches will be empty and there will be almost no one around.

To go spring beach camping, it is important to be well prepared. It will definitely be chilly, especially during the evenings and the mornings. Pack a quality windbreaker, and warm pants and socks. Make sure to have some rain gear just in case because you never know when a spring shower may fall upon you.

Summer – June, July, August

Across the board, summer is the best time for beach camping. It is almost a guarantee that the weather will be nice, the sand will be warm, and those spring winds and showers will have gone away. Of course, everyone loves to beach camp during the summer, so keep in mind you will probably have some neighbors at your campsite!

You can pack lightly for summer beach camping. In most cases, there will be no need to bring rain gear, but still, pack a windbreaker and a hoodie for the nights. Sun protection is essential during the summer months, so have a quality sunscreen with you and a good pair of sunglasses.

Fall – September October, November

An unpopular time for beach camping, however in places like Southern California and parts of Florida, this is the perfect time of year to get some people free relaxation by sea. The fall and the colder months are also usually the best time of year for surfing as the waves are the largest during this time. So if you’re a surfer this is the perfect time for you.

Definitely pack warm clothes. Bring a wetsuit if you plan on doing any cold temperature swimming or surfing. A nice insulated jacket and warm pants and a hat are all necessary things for warming up during fall beach camping.

Dressing for the Activity – (Click to expand)
Beach walks are some of the best walks. Depending on where you are, you can end up walking for miles down the beach, or along beach trails without even noticing how far you’ve gone. Walking on the beach is a great calf workout and a good pair of waterproof shoes is super convenient to have. It’s always nice to throw on a beach cover-up for walks, and have your sunglasses handy for those sunray glares off the ocean.

Probably at least once during your beach camping trip, you will dive into the refreshing ocean waters. So of course, have your favorite swimsuit and a beach towel to dry off and warm up afterward. Make sure you have reef-safe sunscreen on to protect the sea life so that you don’t have to keep reapplying after you get wet.

If you have a boat hook up, jump right on it and take a trip around the bay during your camping trip at the beach! It’s such a fun way to get out on the water and maybe even see some sea life. You will definitely want the floating wrist strap to keep your devices/cameras safe. I also recommend sticking your phone in the waterproof case just in case. Don’t forget your bathing suit in case you want to take a dip. Sometimes it can get chilly on the water, so bring a sweatshirt just in case.

Depending on where you are beach camping, there can be a lot of lookout points and places to see sea life and birds. On the West Coast, you will often spot sea lions, seals, and otters from the shore. If you are lucky you may even see the occasional whale. Don’t forget to bring binoculars to the beach so you don’t miss an exciting picture. Wear a sun hat as a visor against the sun and dress comfortably in a comfy pair of shorts.

What NOT to Bring Beach Camping

  • 1.DON'T Bring Glass

    Glass is something you never want to bring to the beach. It breaks too easily and with so many people walking around barefoot, someone could get seriously hurt on a shard of broken glass. Plus, glass is heavy to haul in and out. It’s best to stick to plastic or cans.

  • 2.DON'T Pack Too Much

    Most beach camping trips include parking in one area and hauling all your things to the campsite/beach. Beach trips are extremely fun, but they certainly do involve a lot of items to bring! So try and pack smart, bringing only what you are certain you will be using so that you can save yourself lots of trips hauling things to and from the car.

  • 3.DON'T Bring Too Much Perishable Food

    Even with an ample amount of cooler space, something is bound to go bad before you make it back home. Take only a few perishable items that you are positive you will eat quickly.

  • 4.DON'T Bring Expensive Sunglasses

    The beach is, well, very sandy. Sand is known to scratch sunglasses and it’s almost impossible not to get your sunglasses a little sandy when you are at the beach. Sand is also known to get into all those tiny cracks in your sunglasses, ruining the entire quality. It’s best to leave the Ray Bans or Dior glasses at home and bring something cheap that can be considered a throwaway pair of sunglasses.

  • 5.DON'T Bring Fancy Clothes

    The beach is really no place for your fancy dress clothes (unless you are attending a beach wedding…) Save your fancy clothes for the next trip, for now, leave them at home.

  • 6.DON'T Bring Jewelry

    You always hear the horror stories of people losing their wedding rings at the beach, or their fancy watches. Play it safe and leave the important jewelry at home because there are just too many risks involved with wearing them to the beach.

What NOT to Wear – (Click to expand)
Like any beach trip or camping trip, there really is no need to bring that many outfits. It’s better to save space for things you really need, rather than taking up space with many changes of clothes. The heavier bulky clothing can stay home as well, and just pack long pants and a sweatshirt or jacket for the chillier evenings. Obviously, the beach is no place for high heels or dress clothes, so the fancy items can also stay tucked away in your closet at home. Lastly, you probably won’t be needing much winter gear, since I don’t think you’ll be planning a beach camping trip for the dead of winter.

FAQs about Beach Camping

  • 1. Where are the best places to go beach camping?

    Where are the best places to go beach camping?

    From the West coast to the East coast, there are so many gorgeous places to go beach camping. Of course, California is loaded with places to enjoy the coast and get away for the weekend. The bonus about beach camping in California is that your seasons are a bit longer and you have more time to get out while it’s not cold yet. Jalama beach campground in Santa Barbara county is a gorgeous location to the beach camp and you can even camp there as early as April and as late as October. However, if you are on the East coast, places like Bar Harbor in Maine or the Outer Banks in North Carolina are great places for beach camping, but these are strictly summer places (June-August).

  • 2. Can I bring my dog beach camping?

    Most times you can definitely bring your dog beach camping. However, it is important to check rules and regulations before going to your destination. In almost all state parks, dogs must be on a leash at all times.

  • 3. What is the best time of year to go beach camping?

    What is the best time of year to go beach camping?

    Depending on where you are, usually summer is the best time for beach camping. However, in places like Southern California, you can beach camp as early as April and as late as even October! It just depends on where you plan to go camping and how you tolerate different temperatures. Each season has their advantages and disadvantages.

  • 4. What is an important thing to know about beach camping?

    One of the most important things to know when you are beach camping is the tide times and tide lines! Wherever you are going never forget to look up exactly what times the tides are and find out how far up the tides come up in your area before you go. It can be a dreadfully frightening thing to be sleeping and all of the sudden you are sleeping in a pool of water because the ocean is rising.

  • 5. What kind of tent stakes are best for beach camping?

    What kind of tent stakes are best for beach camping?

    You will want to bring the longest tent stakes you can find when you are going out beach camping. Standard tent stakes are usually about 4-6 inches long and just don’t stick in the sand very well without coming up. This is especially annoying if there are high winds. Some companies make tent stakes specific to beach camping where the tent stakes are as long as a foot which will work much better in the sand. You also want to make sure you use the metal stakes so nothing breaks into the sand.

  • 6. What tents are the best for beach camping?

    You don’t always need a tent for beach camping, in fact sleeping in a hammock under the stars is a magical thing. However, when those night breezes pick up and the air gets chilly, a tent seems extra nice. Look for a tent that has strong wind protection and double walls. Black Diamond First Light 2-person tent, Coleman Cabin Tent with instant set up, Ayamaya pop-up tent, and Pacific Breeze easy set up beach tent are all amazing tents for beach camping.

  • 7. What's the best food to bring beach camping?

    What's the best food to bring beach camping?

    Although perishable food isn’t the greatest thing to bring, it’s okay to bring some hot dogs for the first night and maybe some bacon for the morning. I like bringing bacon because I can use the bacon grease as oil, then you can skip bringing oil with you! Hot dogs are easy to cook and cook quickly, making them great camping food. Otherwise, you can’t go wrong with canned soup or canned beans, and snacks like granola bars, crackers, chips, etc. Don’t forget to bring smores! What would camping be without them?