When the sun is shining and the temperatures rise, many families head to the beach. They go to enjoy a day of building sand castles, swimming and splashing in the water, flying a kite or throwing a Frisbee. What’s not to like, right? Well, if you don’t plan accordingly, a day at the beach can turn into a nightmare. When visiting your favorite beach destination, you need to be prepared for a successful outing. We have you covered with our list of more than 50 things to pack for a day at the beach.

You might think we are crazy to suggest that you need 50 items for a perfect day at the beach. Well, of course not, but when you are heading to the beach with kids, you can no longer just pop on flip-flops, grab a beach towel and some sunscreen and go. 

The Ultimate Beach Day Packing List

Packing for a day trip to the beach is very different than packing for a family beach vacation. You don’t need nearly as much, but you’ll want to have the essentials. This is a fairly comprehensive list.

Essential Items to Take to the Beach

1. Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen

Since skin cancer is on the rise, we know to come home with seashells, not sunburns! Kids’ skin is delicate and should be protected regardless of complexion. Don’t forget lip balm with SPF as well.

2. First aid kit

Besides sunscreen, it’s good to be prepared for other small ailments and injuries. You should always keep a kit in your car and take a small one along when you travel. Keep in mind that most first aid kits will need to be in checked baggage if they contain sharp items like scissors.

3. Bug spray

Most beaches have bugs. Protect yourself and your kids from biting flies. sand fleas, mosquitoes, and ticks.

4. Beach Towels

Bring more than you think you’ll need.

5. Snacks

You can never have too many snacks at the beach. Kids run around a ton so they work up an appetite. Bite size snacks in Ziploc bags work well. If you decide to pack sandwiches, cut them into quarters. This way if one piece falls, there is still plenty left.

6. Water Bottles

Save money and keep the kids away from sugary snack bar drinks by bringing your own water bottles. Fill with mostly ice so as it melts, the water stays colder longer.

7. Beach bag

You’ll need something to carry it all. Lightweight daypacks work well.

Clothes for the Beach

What to wear to the beach may seem like a no-brainer, but having a checklist always comes in handy. We recommend these 10 key items.

  1. Swimsuits
  2. Rashguards
  3. Cover-ups
  4. Flip flops/sandals
  5. A change of clothes (more than 1 for babies)
  6. Water Shoes
  7. Sunglasses – rated for full UVA/UVB protection
  8. Sunhats
  9. Swim diapers
  10. Lightweight jacket or sweatshirt

There’s nothing worse than an injured or sunburned foot. Water shoes protect feet from sharp rocks and seashells and provide added traction for walking on slippery rocks and moss.

Sunhats are a must, especially to protect babies’ fair skin. Hats with chin straps help them stay on.

Personal items

While this is a list of what many people bring to the beach, we think most electronics (except maybe a cell phone) should be left at home. There is no need to worry about electronics that could get sandy, broken or even stolen.

  1. Hand wipes
  2. Hand sanitizer
  3. Feminine products
  4. Cell phone
  5. Books / Magazines – the paper kind that can get sandy, lost or tossed at the end of the day.
  6. Reading glasses or prescription sunglasses
  7. Wallet – or essentials like license, insurance card, credit card and cash in a Ziploc bag.
  8. Medications – epi pens, inhalers, etc.
  9. Hairbrush and hair ties

Comfort Items

When you want a more “luxurious” day at the beach, these are the additional comfort items you’ll want to bring (depending on what can fit in your car, of course).

  1. Beach chairs
  2. Beach blanket
  3. Shade Tent or beach umbrella
  4. Cooler/Insulated bag
  5. Folding snack table
  6. Collapsible utility wagon – these are the absolute best way to get all of your stuff to the beach from your car without breaking your back.

Not all beach blankets are created equal. We recommend those called “sand proof.” These blankets easily shake off the sand and typically come with tent stakes and/or corner pockets so you can weigh them down. Nothing worse than a beach blanket that blows away.


  1. Goggles
  2. Snorkels and masks
  3. Swim fins
  4. Floatables – rafts, tubes, flamingos, whatever “floats your boat.”
  5. Coast Guard approved life jackets for little ones who can’t swim
  6. Waterproof phone case

Just for fun

  • Sand toys
  • Frisbee
  • Kite
  • Paddleball
  • football, soccer ball or volleyball
  • Beach Bocce set
  • Spike Ball
  • Portable waterproof speaker

Want to save space and money? Skip the toys and use what’s at the beach. Make sandcastles by hand, create seashell art, play wave tag, etc. Let your imagination come up with unique ways to play without all the extra stuff.

A mesh laundry bag is great for holding beach toyswater shoes, etc., The sand will fall out and less of it will end up in the trunk of your car.

Consider bringing a full-size bucket and shovel, not just kid-sized toys. This helps dig holes for umbrella stands and fire pits. Leftover sand can be used to keep beach tents and blankets in place.

Have a successful beach day!

This may seem like a lot of stuff to take with you, but you’ll be glad you came prepared. This is will not only serve you well at the beach but a day at the lake, park or anywhere there is dirt, sun, and water.


Credit to Traveling Mom website.

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