Ultimate Guide to What to Pack for a Beach Vacation

Nothing screams summer like a much-anticipated getaway to the beach. And there’s no better cure to winter blues than blue skies and sandy shores. But while your dream escape to the coast might include little more than a swimsuit and ocean waves, admittedly, you might want to add a few more things to your beach vacation packing list for your ultimate holiday under the sun. 

So, if you can’t wait to sit back and listen to the soothing sounds of crashing waves, be sure to check out our complete beach packing list to ensure you don’t leave anything behind!

Table of Contents

What Should I Pack for a 7-Day Beach Vacation?

Keep your luggage contents light but thorough. You don’t want to overpack for the beach, but make sure you include the 12 beach essentials: 

  1. Clothes
  2. Shoes and Accessories
  3. Toiletries
  4. Beach Gear
  5. Beach Toys
  6. Reading Material
  7. Entertainment
  8. First Aid Kit and Daily Medications
  9. COVID-19 Hygiene Items
  10. Personal Items
  11. Hobby Supplies
  12. Snacks

This is a good starting place, but it’s probably a bit too vague for all you packing enthusiasts out there.

Understandably, you may still have some questions. Exactly what clothes should your packing list include? What kinds of beach gear should you bring along?

Don’t worry; we’re not going to leave you hanging.

We’ll break down all these beach essentials, so you know everything you need to bring to conquer your next beach vacation.

What to Pack for a Beach Trip: 12 Essentials for a Week-Long Trip

Figuring out what to pack for any trip can be exhausting, but just like the beach, we want to keep your packing light and carefree.

1. Clothes

First things first in your packing process: clothes. 

This is one area where it’s easy to overpack if you’re not careful. 

To help you keep everything organized and save space, you may want to invest in packing cubes. Additionally, this will help cut down on the clutter in your carry-on or checked luggage.

What to Wear at the Beach

The perfect beach outfit can consist of only two simple pieces: a bathing suit and a coverup.

You can add a few cute additions like sunglasses or a sun hat, but you won’t need much if your goal is to spend the day lazing on a chair or out in the water. 

Be sure to bring multiple swimsuits, so they have enough time to dry in-between uses.

  • 2-3 swimsuits
  • 1-2 swim coverups
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat  

What to Wear Anywhere Else

As much as you might like to, you probably won’t spend 24 hours a day at the beach. 

For the times when you’re not ankle-deep in sand, you’ll need to bring appropriate clothing along. One of the best things about beach vacations and warm weather, in general, is that you can pack lightweight clothing.

As a matter of fact, to make your suitcase even lighter, you can include easily pairable top and bottom pieces for more varied looks. Don’t forget to pack a few warmer pieces for those chilly nights!

  • 4 T-shirts/casual tops
  • 3 shorts/skirts
  • 1 pair of pants
  • Sweatshirt or light jacket
  • 1 nice outfit (dress or slacks)
  • Socks and underwear
  • Workout gear
  • Sleepwear 

2. Shoes and Accessories

Depending on what you’re planning on getting up to during your beach vacation, you might need an assortment of shoes to keep your outfits company while protecting your feet. You can’t go wrong if you customize these five types to your vacation needs:

  • Flat sandals for daytime strolls and sightseeing
  • Flip flops or beach sandals for ease slipping on or off 
  • Water shoes to protect your feet while out adventuring
  • Formal shoes for an evening out
  • Athletic shoes

As for your accessories, you should be able to keep these simple and use them to spice up your wardrobe or help carry the essentials when you head out for a beach day.

  • Belt
  • Jewelry
  • Beach bag
  • Purse

3. Toiletries

Of course, going on a beach vacation doesn’t mean we can simply forget about the everyday necessities. In fact, these can be some of the easiest things to forget because we don’t think about using them every day. 

And while it might be easy to quickly grab some of these from your local store once you arrive at your beach destination, you’ll be glad to know you took the time to pack up your preferred brands at home.

  • Body wash/soap
  • Shampoo/conditioner
  • Deodorant
  • Moisturizer
  • Glasses/contacts
  • Makeup/makeup remover
  • Birth control
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Hairbrush
  • Hair products
  • Nail file
  • Nail clippers
  • Tweezers 
  • Razors
  • Shaving cream
  • Lotion

4. Beach Gear

Now that we’ve got the basic trip necessities like bathing suits and toothpaste out of the way, it’s time to get to the true beach essentials you’re going to need to make the most of your beach days from start to finish. 

From sun protection that also keeps the health of coral reefs in mind to protection for your cell phone so you can capture unforgettable memories, you want to make sure you pack for the beach carefully, so you can remain stress-free as you relax.

  • Reef safe sunscreen
  • SPF lip balm
  • Beach bag
  • Portable beach umbrella
  • Beach towel
  • Beach blanket
  • Chairs
  • Waterproof cell phone case
  • Portable, waterproof speaker
  • Dry bag/waterproof pouch
  • Rash guard 

5. Beach Toys

What’s a beach trip without a few toys to keep things entertaining? 

Whether you plan to enjoy the sun and sand or head out beneath the waves, your beach vacation packing list won’t be complete without some fun games and items to help pass the days during your week-long vacation.

After all, how will you build the world’s most fabulous sandcastle without a few tools to help?

  • Frisbee
  • Volleyball
  • Sand toys
  • Floaties
  • Goggles
  • Snorkel gear
  • Flippers

6. Reading Material

For more relaxed days, you may want a break from sleeping and sunbathing the hours away. 

When that happens, some interesting reading material can keep you amused and enthralled for hours. After all, is there any more ambient noise than the crash of waves and the call of seagulls?

Keep boredom at bay by including these innocuous items on your beach packing list.

  • Books
  • Magazines
  • Comics/graphic novels 
  • Kindle/e-book reader 

7. Entertainment

Though we hope and pray for sunshine all day, every day, it is a week-long vacation we’re talking about, so not every day is a sure thing.

Hopefully, you were able to plan your trip during a season with fantastic weather, but for the inevitable cloudy day, you’ll want something to fall back on to keep yourself entertained. 

That’s why any smart beach packing list will include these items that, while not necessarily for the beach, will keep you from tearing out your hair or gazing out the windows into the rain like a sad clip from the Home Alone movies.

  • Laptop
  • Headphones
  • Tablet 
  • Board games/card games
  • Power adapter
  • Chargers 
  • Camera

8. First Aid Kit and Daily Medications

How many of us have gone to the beach and slipped on something in the water or gone a little too hard after a stray volleyball and ended up on some sharp seashells? 

The beach has its dangers, and humans are squishy, so it pays to plan for the inevitable scrapes and pack some first aid materials for your next beach vacation.

Some of these items may not be allowed in your carry-on bag, so double-check before heading out. Also, plan to take a small first aid kit with you to the beach so that you can take care of any minor scrapes or bruises right away. 

  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Bandaids/bandages
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Aspirin/ibuprofen 
  • Gauze
  • Adhesive tape
  • Safety pins
  • Tweezers
  • Aloe gel
  • Bug spray
  • Cold medicine
  • Hydrocortisone cream/calamine lotion
  • Medications/vitamins

9. COVID-19 Hygiene Items

As much as we’d like it to be otherwise, COVID-19 is here to stay for a bit longer. With that said, we don’t have to let it ruin our fun under the sun.

Before you leave, make sure to look up your beach destination ahead of time to see what health and safety requirements they have in place. Per the CDC, most outdoor gatherings are safe, but some areas may require visitors to wear masks out of the water. 

Doing your due diligence and checking local requirements ahead of time can save you some stress down the road and ensure you can still have a great vacation!

10. Personal Items

Whether your beach vacation plans have you headed out to some distant European coast or on a road trip down to Miami Beach, you can’t forget your travel documents and other travel essentials. 

Any good personal item will include zippered compartments so that you can safely store all of your travel documents and other necessities.

  • Photo ID
  • Passport
  • Birth certificates (for minors)
  • Insurance cards
  • Boarding passes
  • Credit/ATM cards
  • Cash 
  • List of emergency contacts

Inside your personal item, consider taking some additional toiletries for your travel group, as well as extra sets of clothing. That way, if any checked baggage is lost or delayed, you’ll have a few outfits and enough essentials to hold you over until your stuff arrives, or you can replace them.

Or, you can forgo the checked bag completely and leave all your packing essentials in a trusty carry-on.

11. Hobby Supplies

As with your electronics and reading materials, there may come a time when you want to keep your hands busy or get up to some creative endeavors while you’re relaxing. In that case, you can’t forget your hobby supplies. 

Whatever brings you joy, from coloring books to knitting needles, be sure to pack up some items that’ll keep you entertained whether on the plane, in the car, or at the beach!

  • Coloring books
  • Painting supplies
  • Knitting or crochet materials
  • Sketchbook
  • Journal 

12. Snacks

You wouldn’t be able to call yourself the king or queen of packing lists if you forgot two of the most important items on your beach packing list. 

Indeed, any memorable beach trip would not be complete without some snacks to conquer the midday munchies and cool drinks to take the edge off the heat.

Remember to travel light whenever possible, so consider using an insulated tote bag over a bulky and heavy cooler and use plastic bags to carry your food. You can then reuse them as trash bags or keep your wet items separate on the way back to your lodgings. Repurposing for the win!

  • Food/snacks 
  • Drinks 
  • Insulated water bottle
  • Insulated tote bag/cooler
  • Plastic bags
  • Drink cups

FREE Printable Checklist: Beach Vacations Packing List

You can download the ultimate beach packing list below for FREE, perfect for customizing for any beach vacation. Rest easy knowing you have everything you need as you dive headfirst for the waves and sand.

(And if you’re traveling with a baby, be sure to take a peek at our baby travel checklist, so you don’t forget a thing for your little one either!)

Ready to Hit the Beach? Let Next Vacay Find You a Great Deal on Airfare

Now you have the ultimate beach packing list. You only need a beach to put it to good use! 

Obviously, even better would be a great deal to fly you to your next beach vacation getaway, and Next Vacay is just the thing!

With a dedicated team scouring the airlines for the best deals to beaches all over the world, you’ll soon find your main concern to be making sure you don’t get too much sun exposure. 

From lounging on the beaches of Hawaii, digging your toes into the white sands of the Bahamas, and snorkeling through the stunning blue waters of Australia’s Pacific coast, you’ll have your fill of beach destinations.

Signing up takes less than five minutes. After that, sit back and relax as the deals come straight into your inbox to destinations worldwide.

And with our team’s hand-reviewed deals, you can feel confident you’re getting the best prices around. After all, the only thing better than a beach vacation is saving a couple of hundred dollars on your beach vacation! 

So, don’t wait … Sign up for Next Vacay and start packing for your next beach adventure!

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