This beach packing list will play on my experience of going to various beaches across the world, and let you know what to bring to the beach when you go!
There are numerous items that you need to take such as swimming shorts, suncream and a towel.
But, there are also lesser-known items that can make your trip to the beach all the better!
Going to the beach is something I enjoy! However, it can be hard to know what things to take to the beach at times.
I love going to the beach and spending a few hours in the glorious sun and going for a quick swim too.
I was able to make the most of the beaches in Australia, while I was there and make going to the beach a regular occurrence.
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Table of Contents
Beach Packing List
What Should I Pack For a Day Trip To The Beach?
There are a lot of items on this list, but I do not recommend taking all of this beach stuff with you.
This beach day packing list is a general overview of all the items you can take to the beach. It’s not suggesting you should take them all to the beach at once!
That would be crazy!
It’s best to assess what you are going to be doing at the beach before you pack anything.
Do you want to lounge in the sun? Are you looking to go swimming? Fancy a bit of snorkelling perhaps?
All these questions will help you trim down the best items to take to the beach depending on what you want to do!
What To Wear To The Beach
One of the best things about going to the beach is that you don’t need to worry about what you wear.
The only things you wear at the beach are your swimwear. A swimsuit if you’re a woman, and some swimming shorts if you are a man.
There are many variations of these of course, but this is all you are going to wear regardless!
It’s important to take items to the beach that will protect you against the sun. A hat and sunglasses are items you need to have, while a change of clothes is handy too!
Keep your wet clothes in a separate bag to avoid them making your other items wet.
A waterproof bag is useful to take with you too to ensure any items you need to stay dry do so!
There’s a reason I choose to wear Havaianas over normal flip-flops.
Every other brand of flip-flops I have bought other than Havaianas has lasted less than 6 months!
Flip-flops are a practical item to pack for the beach.
Sand will creep into your shoes if you walk on the sand, while you can simply slip off your flip-flops and put them back on.
A good pair of Havaianas will last you multiple trips to the beach, ensuring your money is better spent on other stuff!
Mesh Slip-On Water Shoes
One thing you want to do when you head to the beach is to take care of your feet.
Beaches can be full of surprises, and you never know if there is glass, sharp rocks or shells lying around.
Getting cut on your feet can lead to infection, and that is the last thing you want!
That’s why you should include a pair of slip water shoes on your beach vacation packing list.
They come in sizes for men and women and can be worn while hiking, swimming and walking.
Plus, they don’t collect sand, dry quickly and grip surfaces well, which makes them ideal for a day at the beach!
Sunglasses are one item you cannot leave off any beach packing list!
The sun’s UV rays are strong, and if you don’t wear sunglasses, you are running the risk of damaging your eyes.
That’s why I always pack my Oakley Frogskins when I’m spending a day at the beach.
They are polarised sunglasses, meaning the lenses keep out most of the sun’s UV rays.
Another cool feature is that they have collapsible hinges, which means if they fall off, you can clip them back on and not shell out for a new pair!
I’ve had mine for over 5 years, and they are still going strong!
You may be wondering why I have put reef-safe sunscreen here and not ordinary sunscreen.
Let me explain:
Ordinary sunscreens have been proven to contain chemicals that damage aquatic ecosystems.
By using a reef-safe sunscreen you will be protecting these environments wherever you are in the world.
Whether you’re at the beaches of a lake, sea or ocean, it’s an item you should pack if you want to do your bit for the environment.
If you’re heading to a hot country, one item you need to pack for the beach is a hat!
Beaches in New Zealand, for example, receive a lot of sunlight.
If you’re in the firing line of the sun’s harmful UV rays all day without protection, you are going to damage your skin.
One of the best ways to combat this is to pack a hat for the beach.
It will keep the sun off your head, which prevents you from getting sunstroke, while also keeping you cool at the same time!
Cabanas/Chairs/Hammocks for the beach
A hammock may seem like a strange item to take to the beach, but there’s a reason why.
Let me explain:
A lot of beaches have palm trees in their vicinity, this was certainly the case during my trip to El Nido.
So why not bring a hammock along, tie it up to two trees, and spend the afternoon having a nap in the sun?
This hammock by Winner can fit two people and it’s made from a lightweight and only takes 3 minutes to set up!
At 78″W x 118″ L, it will easily fit into your backpack and is a useful item to pack for your trip to the beach!
One of the primary concerns, when you spend a day at the beach, is protecting yourself from the sun.
While sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat will help, they can only do so much. Sometimes, it pays to have more cover.
That’s where the Kelty Cabana comes in. It has three mesh side windows which will you give some privacy and protect you from annoying bugs and sand flicked by the wind.
Kelty is one of the best brands when it comes to outdoor gear and this cabana is no different.
It has fibreglass poles which give it structural integrity and allow it to hold firm on the beach while you relax in the sun!
A beach chair is an item most people don’t consider taking to the beach, but it’s handy to have if you want a break from lying down.
This chair from Cascade Mountain is a low-profile and lightweight chair that can be easily transported to the beach.
It has a breathable mesh fabric and there are cushioned armrests to make it more comfortable when sitting.
At just 21″ high and 20″ wide, it allows you to comfortably relax and take in your surroundings while folding up fast.
Electronics To Take To The Beach
Taking a portable speaker to the beach is something that is becoming increasingly common and should be included on your beach checklist.
It allows you to listen to your tunes while enjoying the sun, sea and sand. It’s a perfect item to include on a beach packing list for a teenage girl!
This is especially handy if you’re in a group of people, and if you’re packing for a road trip, it’s a useful item to have too!
You want to make sure you buy a waterproof portable speaker. There is always the odd chance it could get wet, even if you’re away from the beach!
I recommend buying the UE Wonderboom. It’s waterproof, which makes it ideal for outside use, while it has a wireless range of up to 100ft (33 m)!
Underwater Digital Camera
If you want to take pictures while you’re out in the water, you’re going to need a waterproof digital camera.
A good option is to go for the GoPro Hero 5.
It is a 12-megapixel camera, and the waterproof housing can withstand depths of up to 131 feet (40 m)!
It’s highly unlikely you’re going to be diving any deeper than that, so this is an excellent option if you’re looking to get some cool underwater shots!
A day in the sun can leave your electronic devices running low on battery.
To combat this, including a portable charger as one of your things to bring to the beach is essential.
They are handy items and are small in size, so they can easily fit in your bag.
The charger can hold multiple charges and all you have to do is plug your USB outlet into the charger and you’re good to go!
It’s a simple and effective way to keep your phone and other devices charged while you’re at the beach!
Bags and Coolers For a Beach Vacation
Bobby Anti-Theft Backpack
I’m a huge fan of the Bobby anti-theft backpack. I have used it on multiple trips and it’s a useful bag to have if you’re going to a busy city with a beach.
The bag has zips on the inside of the outside which makes it impossible for chiefs to steal your belongings as you walk.
If you visit Barcelona for example and take the metro to the beach, this is an issue.
Pickpockets are rife on the metro, and I have witnessed them in action multiple times.
It’s best to take no chances and this anti-theft backpack will keep you one step ahead of the thieves as you make your way to the beach!
A day at the beach isn’t the same if you don’t have some cold drinks and snacks to hand.
Many a time I have bought drinks from nearby stores only to leave them for a few hours, and find they have warmed up in the heat.
It’s not much fun drinking warm drinks at the beach!
That’s why you should invest in a cooler bag! You can stick your drinks in the bag, which has thick insulation and can hold up to 24 cans.
That way your drinks and snacks will stay cold and fresh, while you enjoy the sun!
If you’re not keen on taking a backpack to the beach, you can take a waterproof dry bag.
They are a bit smaller than a normal backpack and will give you the peace of mind you need to ensure your items stay dry.
This waterproof bag from Marchway is lightweight and durable. It’s made from ripstop tarpaulin which is tear, rip and puncture-proof.
As well as being 100% waterproof, the bag can float on water. So even if it ends up in the water, your items are still safe!
Swim/Snorkel/Dive Gear For The Beach
WildHorn Outfitters Snorkel Mask
Snorkelling is one of the most popular activities to do at the beach.
Exploring beneath the surface of the water is a lot of fun, as you swim around to try and see what you can see.
However, you will need some gear to do this.
This snorkel mask by WildHorn Outfitters is ideal. It combines the goggles and earpiece, so you only need one piece of kit!
It provides you with a 180° viewing area, which allows you to see more fish and sea creatures than you otherwise would!
The mask has a separate breathing chamber that creates an airflow away from the main viewing visor which helps eliminate fogging allowing you to see for longer!
One thing you should include on your beach items list if you plan on doing some swimming is a pair of swim goggles.
Swimming without goggles is fine, but there is only so much water you can get in your eyes.
Plus, saltwater can agitate your eyes and you will only be able to see for a certain length of time without a pair.
These swim goggles by Aegend are some of the best on the market.
They have a flexible silicone frame and the ergonomic design ensures a snug fit on your face which stops water from leaking in.
The polycarbonate lenses stay strong in any condition, and they are anti-fog coated to prevent the build-up of fog while you are swimming.
If you’re looking to do a bit of diving at the beach and want a watch that can do this at the same time, you’ll need to buy a dive watch.
This watch by Citizen is fantastic in many ways.
Let me explain:
The watch features Eco-Drive technology which means it is fuelled by light and doesn’t need a battery!
It is also water-resistant up to a depth of 666 feet (202 m), which means it will more than survive if you go diving or snorkelling at the beach!
If you’re travelling with children, one of the beach necessities you need to pack is a flotation aid.
Children love water and if they want to go swimming it’s essential they have something that can keep them afloat when they are in the water.
This Child life jacket by Stearns is the ideal item to pack. It’s approved by US coastguards and has an adjustable buckle so it can provide a tight fit.
It comes in various patterns and is designed for children who weigh between 30 to 50 pounds.
Miscellaneous Items To Take To The Beach
A beach towel is one the simplest, and yet, easier items to forget to pack for the beach!
I can’t remember how many times I’ve spent a day at the beach and forgot to pack a towel!
Not only is it useful for lying down in the sand, if you plan on going for a swim you will need something to dry yourself with.
A towel is an essential item you must include on your beach packing list!
You’ll regret it if you forget to include it, believe me!
If you’re going to the beach with a group of people, investing in a beach mat is a good idea.
They are big and able to seat multiple people, instead of the solitary person on a towel.
This way you will be able to keep sand away from your body, bag and clothes and relax on the beach in peace.
They are an inexpensive purchase and can double as a shawl or a blanket if you are doing a lengthy trip!
The above mat from Abeter is a great option, it has a dual-layer construction with tiny holes that allow sand to pass through keeping it away from your belongings.
It even comes with pegs to hold it in place too!
Eco water bottle
If you’re wondering what to bring to the beach, an Eco water bottle is one of the most important items you can take.
Plastic pollution is damaging our environment, and it’s estimated there will be more plastic in the oceans than marine life by 2050!
Taking a water bottle to the beach means you won’t be adding to the plastic already in our oceans.
You can normally refill your bottle at numerous places near the beach, and you’ll be able to reuse it again and again!
This saves you from buying a bottle of water every time you go to the beach, and stops more plastic from ending up in the oceans too!
Lifeproof Waterproof Case
If you want to take your phone into the ocean to take a few snaps and series, the last thing you want to do is drop it in the water!
The best way to combat this is to buy the Lifeproof Waterproof Case.
It prevents water from entering your phone and landing you with a big bill to repair it or buy a new one!
You can use it to go snorkelling up to 6 feet (2 m) deep, and take your phone into the ocean with the peace of mind that it won’t break if it slips out of your hand!
Pack of cards
A pack of cards is one of the best items you can take to the beach.
If you’re going to the beach with a group of friends, taking a pack of cards is a great way to have some fun on the sand.
There are numerous card games you can play, and it makes a good change from laying on the sand all day or sunbathing.
You can pack other card games too, I’m a particular fan of a game called Maskmen, which is a lot of fun to play when you’re at the beach!
Taking cards to the beach gives you the option of doing something other than lying in the sun all day, and is a good way to keep everyone occupied, especially if you have children!
If you’re wondering what to bring to the beach for a day, a football is a great idea! I’m an active person, so sunbathing all day at the beach is not something I enjoy.
That’s why one of the items I always pack for the beach is a football. You can also pack a beach volleyball too, especially if there are volleyball nets at the beach you can use!
This does depend on what beach you go to. If you’re in Barcelona for a few days and going to Barceloneta beach, you won’t have much space to kick a football around.
However, it’s an item I still take. You can normally find a little space, and it mixes things up and allows you to be active on the sand.
You can also take the ball into the water if you want. Just make sure you don’t lose it once it gets in the water!
What Not To Take To The Beach
As well as those items you should take to the beach, there is a number you shouldn’t.
Here are a few of the things you should leave behind when you spend a day at the beach!
- Electronics – There are a few electronic items listed on my beach packing list, but I would keep them to a minimum. If the item you want to bring isn’t waterproof, I wouldn’t bother. The last thing you want to do is take an expensive item to the beach, only for it to break because water got in the system!
- Food – Again, this one is at your discretion, but I wouldn’t take an excessive amount of food to the beach. It will attract bugs, birds and flies, which is the last thing you want when you’re at the beach. Take a few snacks and make sure they are well-wrapped to avoid any unwelcome visitors!
- Valuables – The number of valuable items you take to the beach should be the absolute minimum necessary. Beaches are hotspots for pickpockets, especially the busier ones. Lock anything valuable in your, where it’s out of sight, or leave it at your accommodation if you can!
- Boots or trainers – Boots are completely unnecessary when you’re at the beach. They certainly aren’t fit for purpose when it comes to walking on sand. While trainers will fill up with sand, which can take a long time to get rid of. Going barefoot or wearing flip-flops is all the footwear you need to pack for the beach!
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Tom is a travel addict who first left England to spend a year Down Under. Not satisfied with this, he then went to New Zealand, about as far away from home as he could get. He is now planning his next adventures in Europe and Canada while maintaining this blog. Check out the about me page to learn more!