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17 Top Family Beach Trip Packing List Items for 2024 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring

family beach trip packing list
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For water lovers, there’s no better place to spend time than the beach. There’s so much to do and you don’t have to do anything at all if you don’t want to. Beach trips offer us fun, sun, water, sports, outdoors, hiking, bonfires, relaxation, and so much more. They’re hard to beat when it comes to an all-in-one trip. For many of us, spending time at the beach is a short car trip away. Others have to get on airplanes to access the sea and sun. No matter the type of beach trip you’re headed for, there’s a fantastic time in store!

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What to Pack for a Family Beach Trip – 17 Essentials

  • 1. Quick-Dry Towel

    No one likes using a wet towel. This goes for the beach like anywhere else. In fact, you spend more time in the water at the beach than most places, so you’ll be using your towel a lot. That’s why a quick dry towel is a great thing to have with you. This one, from HERO, comes with a Lifetime Replacement Guarantee because it’s durable for a myriad of activities like hiking and camping, not to mention long days at the beach. The microfibers dry fast so you have a dry towel ready.

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  • 2. Beach Umbrella

    Most people know that too much sun isn’t great for your skin. That’s when a solid beach umbrella comes in handy. This Blissun Umbrella is made with a fiberglass frame and a vent located on the top for solid resistance to the wind. The Oxford fabric has UPF 50+ sun protection. This means it shields anyone under it from 99% of the dangerous ultraviolet rays. There are also several patterns to choose from so you can find something that matches your style.

    Beach Umbrella

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  • 3. Beach Umbrella Anchor

    The first time you experience a strong gust of wind without an anchor is the last time you’ll go to the beach without one. The umbrella that we mentioned earlier comes with an anchor, but if you have an umbrella without an anchor, or if you would like that extra sense of security, this anchor is what you need. It can help your umbrella withstand 50 MPH gusts and is made from ABS Plastic, which means it’s much stronger and won’t rust.

    Beach Umbrella Anchor

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  • 4. Packing Cubes

    Sometimes we go to the beach for an hour. Other times, we know we’ll be there at sunrise and won’t leave until well past sunset. If you’re the type of person planning for a long stay at the beach, these packing tubes are fantastic. You can put anything in them from first aid kits to toys and even snacks. What you use them for is your call. But they stack well, which makes them highly useful when packing the car.

    Packing Cubes

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  • 5. Beach Towel

    While a quick-drying towel will come in handy, it’s not a beach trip without a beach towel. These Kaufman towels are extra-long at 60” in length. And they come in a pack of four, so you’ll have enough for the whole family. Also, their bright colors will make it easy for you to spot your campout area on the sand when you come back from the water. And they’re plush so they feel good around everyone’s shoulders. You can even use them at home.

    Beach Towel

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  • 6. Neck Wallet

    It’s easy to walk away from the spot on the sand where you and your family have camped out and forget something important behind. As much as we want to trust humanity as a whole, it’s just a fact that there are thieves out and around. Keep your valuables safe in this neck wallet from HERO. It has a protective RFID lining, which will keep your credit cards, bank cards, identification, and other items safe and secure. This unisex style is perfect for everyone.

    Neck Wallet

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  • 7. Beach Bag

    As you continue to read, you’ll realize that a trip to the beach requires quite a bit of packing. And the longer you plan on staying the more you’ll need to bring with you. That’s why the universe created beach bags. Do you have a ton of stuff and want it all in one place? Get a beach bag. You can put your towel, flip flops, sunscreen, external charger, and so much more into a back of this size. And this back offers a great inside view, so you don’t spend precious beach time digging around.

    Beach Bag

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  • 8. Cooling Towel

    You may be thinking, “Another towel?” Sure, three types of towels seem like a lot but a cooling towel is going to come in handy if you or anyone else starts to overheat from the sun. Sure, you can jump in the water to cool off but you’re only magnifying the rays and scorching your skin. Sometimes, you need to sit under the umbrella with a cooling towel over your head, and that’s okay. Heat can become overwhelming, and a cooling towel helps with that.

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  • 9. Beach Table

    Keeping things like water bottles in the sand is a pain and you can’t let your phone or tablet even touch the grains. For this issue, this cute little beach table is perfect. It comes with a bag for carrying and is easy to open and close. The height is adjustable, and you don’t need any tools to put it out. They’re great for keeping snacks as well so the sand stays out of your food. If you have a large family, get a couple of these so everyone has a place for their stuff.

    Beach Table

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  • 10. Windproof Travel Umbrella

    One those days when you aren’t sure what the weather’s going to bring, pack this handy windproof umbrella. It’s not unheard of for a storm to catch beachgoers by surprise. Be the only one in your area of the beach who’s prepared. This umbrella is compact and easy to pack so it won’t take up much room. It also offers advanced windproof protection for those moments when you need it. And this will come in handy if everyone else is crowding under the beach umbrella.

    Windproof Travel Umbrella

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  • 11. Life Straw Water Bottle

    Instead of bringing bottled water get yourself a Life Straw Water Bottle and never be without water again. This bottle comes with an advanced water filtration system that shields you from microplastics, chlorine, organic chemical matter, sand, dirt, and cloudiness. The Life Straw Water Bottle doesn’t eliminate salt so it shouldn’t be used with ocean or other salt water. But it can be used with lake water and ocean beaches have fresh water supplies that need filtering sometimes.

    LifeStraw Water Bottle

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  • 12. Universal Waterproof Phone Case

    Things get wet at the beach whether we want them to or not. Some of our things can survive a little water but our phones are completely different. Sure, there are waterproof cellular phones on the market, but we don’t all have one. So, get the next best thing, this JOTO universal waterproof phone pouch. It works with most smartphones and comes in a wide variety of colors. You’ll be happy you got your phone this extra layer of protection.

    Universa Waterproof

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  • 13. Portable Charger

    Spending the day at the beach can eat up battery life. Especially if you’re into posting selfies and pictures of your feet in a beach chair. You can solve that problem easily with this Anker PowerCore 5000. It’s small and doesn’t take up much room. Also, it can hold up to one or two full charges, depending on the smartphone you have. It comes with a travel pouch, micro-USB cable, and a worry-free 18-month warranty. Keep your phone charged while enjoying the surf.

    Portable Charger

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  • 14. Sunscreen

    The sun is strong. This is common knowledge among those who enjoy outdoor activities, especially those who frequent the sand and water. But, if you aren’t aware, too much sun isn’t great for your skin. It can cause all kinds of problems that we won’t recite here. Instead, we’ll suggest this Sun Bum Sunscreen for your trip to the beach. It’s vegan and reef friendly for those of us who care about our footprint. This sunscreen also comes with Vitamin E, which is great for your skin.


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  • 15. Daypack

    It would be wrong of us to ignore the beachgoers who like to step away from the water and hike inland a bit. Not all beaches are down the street from busy urban complexes. Some beaches require boats to reach and offer a bit more to the adventurous traveler. Either way, a daypack is a fantastic addition to your must-haves. This Maelstrom pack is waterproof and lightweight. There are ample pockets strategically placed to distribute the weight evenly.


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  • 16. Sun hat

    Sunscreen and umbrellas are perfect for protection from the sun. But a hat offers that extra layer of protection for those of us who are extra sensitive to the sun. Plus, carrying an umbrella is cumbersome and a hat like this Dukars design offers the wearer amble covering from harmful UV rays. You can pack it up when you don’t want to wear it and it comes in a wide variety of colors. It also has mesh panels which offer your head extra ventilation.

    Sun hat

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  • 17. Travel Insurance

    If your beach trip requires packing the car and driving to the coast in a few hours, then travel insurance isn’t necessary for you. But, if you’re spending the night in a hotel or flying to the other side of the globe for your beach getaway, then you want to get some protection for your reservations. I’m a huge fan of being prepared and offers plans from top companies so you can compare and find the best option for you.

    Travel Insurance

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What to Wear on a Family Beach Trip

When you think of the most important item of clothing for a beach trip, what comes to mind? Is it your bathing suit? If so, that’s normal because the majority of people who go to the beach do so when it’s hot and they can take advantage of the water. But some people like to visit the beach when it’s not hot enough to swim, which makes a bathing suit unnecessary. Before packing, you have to keep in mind what you’ll be doing at the beach. That way you’ll have everything you need and leave excess items at home where they belong.

If you’re going to a beach when it’s hot, like most people do, then you definitely need your bathing suit. But if you planning on staying throughout the day and well into the night for a bonfire, then you’ll want some other items as well. There are plenty of areas in the world where it may be hot in the daytime, but the temperature can drop once the sun sets. Be aware and be prepared so you’re not freezing in a wet suit in the late evening.

What Should WOMEN Wear on a Family Beach Trip? – (Click to expand)
Below is a sample women’s clothing list. (All items link to for your convenience).

Going to the beach means all kinds of things to all kinds of people. Some women enjoy wearing the cutest bathing suit they can find while others focus on playing volleyball and surfing. Women cannot be defined by one type of style or ideology. But there is one quality in clothing that all women can agree on. That would be comfort. Everything you wear, including your suit, should be something you feel good in.

The fun thing about the beach is you can go casual, or you can really dress it up. There are so many styles when it comes to bikinis, bathing suits, and cover-ups you can find your own sense of fashion easily. Flip-flops are fairly inexpensive and perfect for a day at the beach. You can even wear them with jeans and sweater. Plus, they don’t hold sand like closed shoes and still protect our feet from hot sand and hidden rocks.

While flip-flops are wonderful for the beach, if you’re planning on venturing out into the surrounding wilderness of your private island beach then be sure to pack a pair of hiking shoes as well.

What Should MEN Wear on a Family Beach Trip? – (Click to expand)
Below is a sample men’s clothing list. (All items link to for your convenience).

Men have just as many options when it comes to beach trips. They can keep it completely casual or dress it up with a pair of nice trunks, button-down shirt, and cool fedora straw hat. Or a man can do the tie-dyed sweater over the Hawaiian patterned suit. Anything goes at the beach. Men should feel just as free to explore their options when it comes to making a fashion statement. There are beaches in this world considered important places to be seen. Make sure the crowd sees you.

Of course, if fashion is the least of your interests and you want to surf, then a simple set of trunks and a board are all you need. Hiking will require shoes and a daypack plus a reliable water bottle like the Life Straw we mentioned above. As we’ve said, temperatures can drop on the beach and while hiking, so don’t forget the hoodie or sweater if you’ll be out at night.

While we all love a good tan, be prepared with a sun protection shirt if you’ll be out hiking for lengthy periods of time. The sun can hit us hard before we know it and it never hurts to have an extra layer of protection.

Packing for the Seasons for a Family Beach Trip


Summer is the most popular season to vacation at the beach. What you’ll need to bring depends on how long you plan on staying there. If you’re only going for an hour or two then all you might need is your towel, swimsuit, sunscreen, and coverup. But, if you’re staying longer, and possibly through the night, then you should bring dry clothes so you can change when your time in the water is done. Don’t forget the underwear!

Another thing you should take into consideration is the beach where you’ll be hanging out. Is there a food vendor at this beach or is it secluded? The latter would require you to pack food. Plan your activities and pack accordingly.


If you’re headed to a beach that is hot in the Fall, then follow our instructions for summer. If you’re going to the beach in the fall but it’s too cold to go into the water, then you should wear jeans and layers. Winds tend to pick up near large bodies of water so an extra jacket can come in handy. Odds are, if you’re hanging at the beach in the fall, a bonfire will be going. So don’t forget the marshmallows.


The only people who go to the beach in the winter do so to jump in the water and get out quickly. In some areas this is called a Polar Plunge and it’s supposed to be a healthy practice. This writer is not a fan of cold water and wouldn’t recommend anyone doing this until they talk to their medical professional. The jolt of cold water may not be for everyone. But if you choose to do it, use a wetsuit.

We suspect, anyone who goes to the beach in the winter to jump in the water isn’t going to hang out much longer. So, no need to bring all that extra stuff. If you plan on staying, wear a hat too.


Going to the beach in the spring is pretty much the same as going in the fall. Follow those instructions and don’t leave that extra jacket behind. Summer may be around the corner, but spring can turn on a dime. Jeans and a sweatshirt are perfect for this time of year.

Dressing Appropriately for the Activity – (Click to expand)
All you need is your suit. Be it a bikini, one-piece, sport short suit, or trunks, there isn’t much more you need when swimming at the beach. There are some lakes that have pebbles, which can hurt your feet. In that case, we suggest water shoes while you swim. If you’re swimming in cooler temps a wet suit will keep you warm.

Surfing doesn’t require more clothing than swimming, and you can wear all the things mentioned in the swimming section while you’re surfing. Of course, you want to be in a suit that doesn’t bind so you can jump up on the board quickly and without restraint. Surfers wear wetsuits often too.

Sandcastle Building
Sandcastles can be built no matter what the builder is wearing. You may run out of the water and decide this is the best time to start that moat. Your suit is fine attire. If you’re sitting at a bonfire, see a bucket, and the creative call pulls you, it doesn’t matter if you’re in pajamas. Remember this, sand gets into places you don’t suspect so be aware of that when building sandcastles.

Nighttime is the perfect time to hold bonfires. What you wear depends on the weather as well. If it’s still hot out when the sun is down, you can walk around in your bathing suit or cover-up. If it starts to get cold, this would be a great time to put on those dry pants you packed. While the fire is hot, the wind may blow, which is what hoodies were made for.

Beaches are the ultimate relaxation setting. And you can relax there at any time of day. Sleep in your pjs on the beach. No one cares. If it’s dusk and your family is starting a fire, and you want to close your eyes, go for it! As for what to wear when relaxing. The key is something comfortable like a hoodie. Anything else would pull you in the wrong direction.

What NOT to Bring on a Family Beach Trip

  • 1.DON’T Bring Heavy Books

    After reading our list of what you need to bring to the beach, could you really see yourself bringing a heavy book too? That’s why tablets like Kindle are perfect. They have a setting so you can see the screen, and they’re lightweight so you can bring a whole library to the beach if you want. Of course, you don’t want to spend too much time reading and miss out on the waves and wildlife.

  • 2.DON’T Take Expensive Jewelry

    We all know that it feels good to look good at the beach. But there is a limit to how far you should go. Expensive jewelry will bring more problems than it’s worth. When you wear that diamond necklace will you feel as free to relax as you would without it? Probably not. You’ll be concerned with your necklace and ruin your own good time.

  • 3.DON’T Pack Unnecessary Clothing

    If you know the weather isn’t going to drop below 75° then there is no need to bring that hoodie. Check the weather for the day and pack accordingly. Also, you only need one set of dry clothing. Even if you’re away from home, pack what you need for the day and leave the rest at the hotel. Don’t bog yourself down with unnecessary things.

  • 4.DON’T Bring Unnecessary Valuables

    The same guidelines we gave you for expensive jewelry apply when it comes to other valuables like laptops or fancy purses. If you’re afraid to ruin or lose it, you shouldn’t bring it. If you don’t want to risk your tablet, get a Kindle device. The beach is also not the place to bring that vintage camera.

  • 5.DON’T Pack High Heel/Uncomfortable Shoes

    Comfort is key when it comes to an outing at the beach. There are ample selections of shoes that are cute and attractive that won’t hurt your feet. Also, there’s a lot of water and sand at the beach, which can take a toll on your heels. And you’ll have a tough time getting around when your heel gets stuck every time you step.

  • 6.DON’T Take Unnecessary Electronics

    This is just a reminder that things like laptops and MacBooks should be left at home. So should any other electronic device. Look at it this way, you can access your Kindle on your smartphone, and you don’t want to waste your time staring at that anyway. When you’re at the beach the horizon offers plenty to gaze upon.

What NOT to Wear to the Beach – (Click to expand)
When you’re at the beach you won’t need a cocktail dress, or a suit. It tends to be a casual atmosphere where people wear nothing more than a bathing suit. But we all agree you need at least something to cover up with when the sun gets to be too much, or the temperatures drop. You won’t need a heavy winter coat for the beach unless you will be taking a walk. It’s worth repeating that high-heeled shoes or expensive boots are also attire you won’t need for the beach. Keep it simple and carefree.

FAQs about Family Beach Trips

  • 1. Is the beach safe?

    Is the beach safe?

    It is, for the most part. There’s no denying that danger is a possibility no matter what you do, but the beach is relatively safe. Things you should be aware of are thieves, who can be anywhere. That’s why a neck wallet will come in handy. Also, what about the water? If you’re going into the water, or on a boat, practice safety. There are different types of creatures in the water and on the beach all over the world. Educate yourself on that area and beware anything the locals point out.

  • 2. Should I know how to swim?

    Knowing how to swim is good no matter if you want to spend time at the beach or not. For beach trips, knowing how to swim comes in handy if you want to go in the water. But the answer to this question is no. You don’t have to know how to swim to take a trip to the beach, but we suggest not going into the water any higher than your knees. If the waves are high, avoid the water all together. Waves can pull you out to sea. If you’re riding on a boat, be sure to wear a life preserver. You should wear one anyway, but if you can’t swim, you especially need this device.

  • 3. Are there secluded beaches?

    Are there secluded beaches?

    There are secluded beaches, and some require a boat to get there. If you’re visiting a beach like this, we suggest doing your research well. You don’t want to be stranded, so find a reputable tour company. Secluded beaches are fun if you want a private experience. But, if you’re looking for some fun with an opportunity to meet some new people, you may want to skip the secluded areas.

  • 4. Is the beach fun if you don’t go in the water?

    I’m a believer that there’s fun to be had almost anywhere you go. Even if you’re not a fan of going into the ocean or lake, you can still have fun at the beach. You can build sandcastles or just hang out with your family. You can read a book and smell the sea air. There are bonfires in the evening and sometimes boardwalks to check out. There’s plenty to do at the beach even if you don’t go into the water.

  • 5. Is a trip to the beach expensive?

    Is a trip to the beach expensive?

    This all depends on the beach you’re visiting. There are beaches that are free and others that are not. Some readers may live down the street from a beach, which greatly diminishes the cost of a trip. Other readers may be landlocked and have to travel great distances to see a beach. This will cost more money. Beach trips, like any other, can cost a lot or a little. It all depends on where you’re going and the type of experience you’re looking for.

  • 6. What is the best beach to visit?

    Most areas of the world have amazing beaches. Finding the best is not only difficult but also nearly impossible simply because everyone has different tastes. Some enjoy the blue waters in Belize while others prefer to travel to the South of France. The United States has amazing beaches all along the east and west coasts that differ in many ways. Mexico also has a variety of beach destinations. Don’t forget the islands like Fiji and Hawaii. Let’s face it, you can find an amazing beach experience in all corners of the globe. Time to start checking them off your list!