Beach Trip Packing List


If you’re packing for tropical vacation soon and you don’t know what you’ll need, I’ve got all the beach travel tips and tricks for you! I’ve put together a quick printable family packing list for beach vacation that’ll make packing a breeze. My simple beach checklist for family getaways covers it all to ensure that you have an amazing beach trip with your family no matter what beach you’re headed to.

Living in South Florida, I have done more beach trips than I can count. We visit the Bahamas every summer, have done countless Caribbean beach getaways, and occasionally do beach trips in Florida as well. If beach trips aren’t your usual, then you really need help narrowing down things to bring on a beach vacation. Over the years I’ve become a pro at packing for these trips, but having a printable beach packing list is always the way to go! I used to keep a beach day packing list on my phone, but I finally made it into a printable version that’s so much easier to set aside while I’m packing and check items off as I add them to the bag. This will ensure that you don’t forget anything. Beach trips aren’t like most trips that you can just go grab it later… you’ll likely realize you’re missing something when you’re out at the beach and need it. Don’t let that happen to you! It especially sucks if you’re traveling with your kids.

Packing for a beach trip can be super overwhelming, especially if you’ve never done it. I get it! What’s harder is that not all beach vacations are created equal. There’s huge differences, like they type of accommodations you have and how you’re getting there, that’ll impact your packing greatly. As someone that has done possibly every variation of beach trip (I spend a lot of time at the beach), I can help you decide what works best for you so that you’re properly prepared without overpacking. I’ve been on cruises, been to tropical islands on a small private boat, I’ve stayed beach AirBnB’s that are a couple blocks from the water, fancy beach resorts with all the amenities included, stayed on a yacht in the Bahamas and even stayed at a beach house on a private beach. I’ve created the ultimate family beach trip packing checklist for you, down to a first aid kit and aloe vera. Even if you didn’t think about it, it’s on my list.

Type of Accommodations

First, and most important, thing to consider is your accommodations. Are you going on a cruise that has a beach prepared for all the guests? Are you staying at a beach resort that has beach chairs, umbrellas, towels and waiters to bring you food and snacks? Are you staying at an AirBnB near a public beach that requires some walking to get there and you have to bring everything yourself? Are you staying at a beach house where the water is right outside your door? You don’t want to overpack if you’ll be lugging everything to walk a few blocks in the heat. If you have a beach house, then it’s not a big deal because you can go inside to grab things as you need them. Really think about this before packing because your needs will not be the same depending on where you’re headed.

Pink sands beach in Harbour Island. One of the most beautiful islands in the Bahamas and one of the most famous beaches in the world.

How are you getting there?

Next factor that’ll impact your packing is how you are getting there. Are you driving? Do you have to get on a plane? Are you going on a boat? Packing beach chairs, a full size tent and large cooler aren’t ideal if you have a flight. Same goes for sand toys… there’s some small sets that all fit into each other and there’s some huge sets. Not all beach gear is the same. There’s obviously work arounds for this like shipping the items from Amazon directly to your accommodations or even shipping a box with those items from home so they’re already there for you. When you begin to pack for your trip, really take into account how you’re getting there. Even road trips can be hard, especially if you have a car full of kids. Even road trip packing has its limitations, so think about how much space you’ll have available for everything you’re taking.

Luckily there’s smaller versions of most beach essentials these days. When we visited Siesta Key in Florida a couple years ago we stayed at an AirBnB that’s about a block from the beach. It’s a public beach and since we were not staying at a resort we had to bring everything ourselves. We opted for a pop up tent that fits in a small bag and beach loungers that are flat and don’t take up much space. My husband will tell you that those chairs suck because you’re sitting on the sand, but they’re a million times better than being on a towel and take up a fraction of the space a real beach chair takes. It’s a compromise for sure. If you’re flying to your destination, these smaller items are great options to consider.

Siesta Key beach in Florida. One of the most beautiful beaches in Florida. Sarasota area is known for their beaches. Things to pack for your next beach vacation.

Another thing to think about before your beach trip, is how you’re going to get everything to the beach if it’s not that close and you have to set everything up yourself. If you’re not staying right on the beach and going to a public beach then take transporting your items into account too. We always use my daughters wagon and it’s perfect for beach days. If you have a wagon and you’re driving to the beach, I would definitely add it to your trip packing list.

Siesta Key beach in Florida. One of the most beautiful beaches in Florida. Sarasota area is known for their beaches. Things to pack for your next beach vacation.

If you’re interested in some of these items I’ve shown above, here are links to them. You can buy this tent on Amazon. My chairs were a collaboration that Pottery Barn did with Lilly Pulitzer, unfortunately they’re no longer available. However they currently have a collaboration with Love Shack Fancy and they’re amazing. Get the Love Shack Fancy lounger here. Another great option, and much more affordable, is a lounger I found on Amazon. It is the same style, just without the cute print. Click on the link to buy the turquoise beach loungers. We have a Yeti cooler bag that we’ve had for years and it is perfect for any beach day or boat day. It stays cold all day no matter how hot it is outside. Our exact one isn’t available anymore, but is a Yeti cooler thats similar in size. You can also click on the photo of the item below and it’ll take you directly to Amazon to purchase them. I have the Veer wagon and absolutely love it. It’s an investment, but we have used it tons! It’s gone hiking, to the beach, out for long walks, etc. It’s super durable, rides great and has lasted us years. If you’re looking for a wagon, I highly recommend this one. You can buy the Veer wagon here. If you don’t want to spend that much, I found another great option. This was the wagon with the lowest price and still tons of great reviews. It has over 10,000 reviews and is 5 stars on Amazon. Buy the beach wagon here.

So now that you’re thinking about this the right way, let’t get to my beach vacation packing list for family. You’ll be able to decide for yourself what makes the most sense for your trip from each section. Maybe the stretchy tent that comes in a bag or a beach umbrella makes more sense than a big tent. Possibly beach loungers like mine or even a big beach towel is a better option over a real beach chair. Either way, you’ll likely need something from each category, so this list definitely works for you!

Here is my famous beach packing list and you can download it right below…

Everything you need to pack for a beach trip. Full packing checklist so you don't forget anything you need for your vacation.

If you want a packing list printable version, be sure to sign up for it below this. You’ll automatically get the downloadable version in your email and it’s on a white background, so it’s easier to print. Just print it out and keep it next to your luggage so you can check the items off as you pack them.

This packing list is great because you can keep it simple if necessary. It truly is a minimalist packing for beach vacation, but can also be much more if you choose to take more items or bigger ones. If you take everything on my packing list for family beach vacation I promise it’s more than enough to ensure you’ll have a great time at the beach. As with any trip, there’s always more you can add to it. How much you should take honestly depends on your situation, as discussed above. If you’re going to a house with a private beach that you can just run in to grab stuff then bring more variety. If you’re going staying somewhere that requires a bit of a walk to a public beach where you have to set up, then less is better. Either way you’re going to need these beach essentials like a beach bag, sunscreen, swimsuits, etc. Don’t leave behind anything important, but having too much just makes it difficult. You have to lug all of that to the beach and then keep track of it. Trust me, it’s not fun!

Also, remember to keep this packing checklist handy or print out extra copies because the beach section is everything you’ll need when you actually head to the beach so keep the beach day packing list handy. You can always have one copy printed out for each day and use the beach checklist as you’re getting ready to head to the beach to make sure you don’t leave anything behind.

Beach vacations are a lot of work when it comes to preparation, but they are amazing and so relaxing once you’re there. Follow my family beach vacation packing list and rest assured that you’ll be ready for your family vacation. If you have any questions or need more tips feel free to leave a comment here or DM me on my Instagram, I check my messages daily.

Happy travels and stay safe!

* This blog post contains affiliate links.

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