17 Top Beach Packing List Items + What NOT to Bring (2017 Update)

Heading to the beach? Prepare for a day of sun, sand and relaxation! Check out my list of the 17 most
important things to pack before you go.

What to bring to the beach:

1) Beach bag / Dry bag – Can’t leave home without this one. Storing your belongings in a waterproof dry bag will give you peace of mind if you’re bringing anything that can’t get wet (like your phone or first aid kit)! This dry bag is lightweight, durable and 100% waterproof. Perfect for extreme adventures or a day at the beach.
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2) Sunscreen – Protect yourself from the harmful sun rays with this waterproof quick-dry SPF. It provides the highest sunscreen protection as an aerosol, so you don’t need to rub it in. Nothing ruins a vacation like turning into a human lobster!
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3) Beach towel/ blanket – A good microfiber towel will dry you off quickly when you get out of the water, and serve as a comfortable beach blanket to lay out on the sand. This one is convenient, portable, and comes in a variety of fun colors.
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4) Waterproof case & float for electronics – Ever wanted to bring your phone into the ocean to take a few selfies? Now you can with this waterproof pouch that features a simple snap and lock closure to keep out water and sand. If you want to bring your camera or gopro near the water as well, this floating wrist strap will make sure it doesn’t sink if you drop it.
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5) Water bottle – It’s so important to hydrate when you’re in the hot sun all day. Be environmentally friendly by bringing a refillable water bottle to the beach. This one is my favorite because of its sip-friendly spout and spill proof locking mechanism. It even comes in a range of funky colors.
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6) Bathing Suit – A swimsuit is totally necessary if you want to go for a swim and/or avoid horrible tan lines. Finding one that you feel comfortable in is key. This one is cute, versatile, and stays put so that you can swim, dive, jog along the coast or play beach volleyball .
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7) Cover Up – When you get out of the water, the last thing you’ll want to put on your body is tight or restrictive clothing. Ditch the jean shorts for a breezy cover up like this one. It’s semi-sheer with cute tasseled trim details along the hems.
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8) Floats – This pool float is shaped like a piece of pizza! The “crust” makes for a comfortable head rest, it has two drink holders, and it even comes with bungee cord connectors to combine additional floats. If you get enough pizza slice loungers you can combine to make a whole pizza.
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9) Flip Flops – You won’t be wearing shoes too much at the beach anyway, but for walking to and from your car it’s best to keep you feet off the hot pavement. Rubber flip flops are a great idea because you can quickly slip them on when you’re still dripping and not worry about ruining them. These cushy sandals feature criss cross straps for more stability and super soft “mush” footbeds.
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10) Cooler – A day at the beach isn’t complete without a steady supply of cold drinks and snacks. Keep everything fresh in this heavy-duty collapsible cooler bag. It has a super thick insulation lining and can hold up to 16 cans. Throw in some beach-friendly snacks (like salami and cheese) and you’re good to go.
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11) Change of clothes – It’s always a good idea to bring a change of clothes (including underwear!) to the beach. That way, when you’re done swimming and laying out, you can change into clean dry clothes for the drive home. These shorts are a breezy, comfortable option.
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12) First aid kit – Sometimes you can’t avoid a scraped knee or headache. Be prepared for blisters, splinters, cuts, and other blunders with a well-stocked first aid kit. Keep this one in your dry bag so that you can whip it out in case of emergency.
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13) Camera – A waterproof camera will immortalize your underwater memories! This one can go as deep as 20 meters and boasts a wide angle zoom and wifi sharing capabilities. It’s also shockproof, and comes in ultra bright colors so that it’s easy to spot in your bag or on the sand.
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14) An awesome beach playlist – Spotify has some great beach day playlists. I also like to spend a few minutes the night before a beach trip searching through the New Release section, downloading any albums that seem up my alley, then listen while lounging on the beach.
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15) Sunglasses – Sunglasses are vital to an enjoyable day at the beach. Protect against harmful UVA/ UVB rays with these sweet shades that f ilter out 99% of reflected glare without haze or optical distortion.
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16) Plastic bag for wet clothes – These 2 in 1 wet bags have two zippered pockets to separate wet and dry items. They’re perfect for storing wet swimsuits and a dry change of clothes. They’re reusable, extremely durable and lightweight. The fact that they’re environmentally friendly is an added bonus!
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17) Kindle – If you’re like me, you might like to spend time relaxing near the water reading a good book. The Kindle Paperwhite reads just like a physical book or newspaper, and doesn’t create a glare, even in the bright sun. Download a few beach reads on your kindle, and you’re all set.
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Other packing list items for the beach:

What to wear to the beach:

The good news is that you don’t need to wear much at the beach. A swimsuit, flip flops and a cover up make up the beachwear trifecta. A hat and sunglasses are also a good idea! As stated before, always bring a change of clothes, and keep everything in a waterproof dry bag.

What NOT to take to the beach:

1) 🚫 Electronics – Only bring waterproof electronics! If you really want to bring your camera or tablet, make sure you bring them in a dry bag, so they don’t get invaded by sand or ocean water.

2) 🚫 Phone without a dry bag – The last thing you want is sand stuck in the crevices of your phone. Or worse, water damage.

3) 🚫 Foods that will attract bees – Leave the sweet stuff at home (or in a sealed cooler). Bees are especially attracted to honey, so if your picnic includes a peanut butter and honey sandwich, you will have visitors.

4) 🚫 Boots or sneakers – They’re just not necessary for a warm day at the beach. Go barefoot or wear flip flops!

5) 🚫 Valuables – Lock away anything valuable in your car, out of sight. This way, if your whole crew wants to take a dip in the water, you won’t have to worry about anything getting stolen from your beach site.

FAQs about packing for the beach:

1) Can I use a tent or umbrellas at the beach?

Definitely. A day at the beach doesn’t mean you need to be in the sun all day. Using a tent or umbrella will shade you from harmful sun rays.

2) What are some good beach reads?

We all have different taste in books, but if you’re in the mood for a juicy but light-hearted beach read, check out this list.

3) How do I find a public beach near me?

Simply google “beach near me.” A map will pop up with beaches that are close to your location! You can read the descriptions and see if they are public, and if they require an entrance or parking fee.

4) Is there anything special I should bring when going to the beach with kids?

Extra snacks are always a good idea. As are water diapers, a playpen, water wings (floaties), pool noodles, and anything that will keep the kids entertained! Definitely bring an umbrella to avoid heat exhaustion, as well.

5) Can I bring my dog?

Some beaches are dog-friendly, while others are not. If the beach you are going to happens to allow dogs, there will most likely be a strict leash policy. Research your particular beach destination online to get specifics.

6) Is alcohol allowed?

Once again, it depends on the beach. Most beaches in the US allow alcohol, as long as you don’t bring in any glass bottles. Opt for cans, and research online before you go!

7) What’s the best time of day to go to the beach?

The earlier you arrive, the better spot you can stake out, and the more time you’ll have at the beach. Getting there mid-morning and beating the big crowds is always the best idea.