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Beach packing list: 33 essentials for your 2024 trip.

Get ready for seaside, lakeside or poolside fun with this list of must-pack items.

Beach Packing List

Beach Packing List graphic

There's a lot that goes into planning a beach vacation, even after you decide where you're going and settle on a hotel , resort, vacation villa or condominium. You also have to create a packing list that has everything you need – including items for the beach you may not have even thought about.

Obviously, your beach packing list can be more extensive if you're driving to the beach and you have room in your car. In that case, you can bring along items to make your beach trip more comfortable, like beach chairs and beach umbrellas. If you're flying, on the other hand, you'll need to stick to beach essentials like sunscreen, sun hats, rash guards and of course your favorite beach bag. You can also look into travel-size items that pass muster with TSA for travel in your carry-on.

To help you decide what to pack for your beach vacation, U.S. News has compiled a list of essentials below. You can also download the beach packing list here .

Beach trip packing list

Beach pillow, water shoes, beach chairs, beach wagon, beach towels, beach umbrella or tent, bathing suits, beach blanket, reef-safe sunscreen, flip-flops or pool slides, beach cooler, rash guards, underwater camera, packable jacket, portable speaker, waterproof phone case, reusable water bottle, first-aid kit, baby powder, after-sun lotion, leave-in conditioner spray, toiletry organizer.

Your beach trip packing list should definitely include a beach bag. After all, you'll need something to carry your beach essentials like sunscreen, sunglasses and a beach read. If you have kids, you'll want extra room for snacks, toys and maybe even a change of clothes.

The Becokan Large Waterproof Beach Tote Bag is our top beach bag pick for its large capacity and lightweight waterproof construction. For beach picnics, consider a combination tote and cooler bag like the OdyseaCo Beach Bag with Cooler Compartment . It keeps cold beverages, sammies and more chilled and separated from your towels, magazines and other necessities – plus, the cooler part is fully detachable for when you don't need it. There's also an endless number of beach bags on Amazon . Be sure to browse U.S. News' list of the best beach bags .

Ballast Beach Pillow in blue against white background.

Courtesy of Ballast

A beach pillow is great for those times when you want to lay in the sun in comfort, and maybe even take a nap with the sounds of the waves crashing in the background. The best beach pillows are easy to transport, don't take up a lot of space and make your beach time even more relaxing.

One great option is the Ballast Beach Pillow because it's inflatable and made of weather-resistant fabric. It also attaches to beach chairs and comes with a compact carrying case for storage and transport.

You'll also want to have water shoes packed for everyone in your crew, or else you could live to regret it. Kids may want water shoes on as they venture into the ocean where they can't see the bottom, and parents may want them to protect against rocks, shells, coral and ocean creatures, too. Bringing water shoes is an easy way to protect feet from painful scrapes and cuts that could literally cut your fun time at the beach.

You can buy basic water shoes in a local store at home or find a range of water shoe options online at Amazon for women , men and kids .

If you're looking for beach essentials to bring in your car for a weeklong beach trip, don't forget to look for styles that fold up easily. A good beach chair can make your day on the beach considerably more comfortable, especially when you consider the toll that sitting on the sand for several hours can take on your back and neck.

Some of the best beach chairs – like the Tommy Bahama Deluxe Backpack Beach Chair , the U.S. News pick for top beach chair – have a drink holder, an insulated pouch and a zippered storage compartment. These features make it easy to relax, unwind and have everything you need.

Packed Whitsunday Collapsible Folding Cart – M-Foldable in black against white background.

Courtesy of Whitsunday

Hauling all your beach gear through the sand can be taxing and difficult. To make it easier, consider a folding option with large wheels designed for sand, like the Beau Jardin Folding Beach Wagon , chosen by U.S. News as one of the top beach wagons . A foldable style can easily go in the trunk when you're done at the beach.

While resorts and rentals may have towels to use during your stay, having a dedicated beach towel for everyone can be quite useful. It'll help avoid kids or teens arguing over which towel belongs to who, especially when they're wet.

You can pick up beach towels almost anywhere, but a large Turkish towel can make your vacation much more sand-free. The Sand Cloud beach towels on Amazon are quick-drying but also naturally repel sand. Or, let everyone express their personality with a lightweight microfiber beach towel in fun prints like flowers or sea turtles.

A beach umbrella or tent is another must-have item if you plan to spend the day on the sand. The best options easily anchor in the ground and are adjustable so you can move them with the sun's movements throughout the day.

There are numerous beach umbrellas you can buy online . Choose a design that works for your beach day style or – depending on the amount of shade you may want – consider one of our picks for the best beach tents . Whichever you choose, make sure you also have a beach umbrella anchor , if the umbrella you select doesn't already include one.

A beach trip requires everyone in the family to have a bathing suit, but you may even want to bring a few extra suits along. This is especially true if you have kids who like to swim several times a day. Having a few bathing suit options means they won't have to constantly put a wet swimsuit back on, and that you can have suits not in use hanging to dry while you're out for the day.

To find an array of styles and range of sizes for the whole family, shop for bathing suits on Amazon .

Wekapo Beach Blanket in blue colors against white background.

Courtesy of Wekapo

If you want to host a picnic or have little kids who like to play the day away in the sand, a beach blanket is another must-have. You may spend the bulk of your family beach vacation watching the kids make sand castles or play in the surf, yet they'll want a sand-free place to sit from time to time. A beach blanket provides exactly that, and the best ones fold up easily for transport in your beach bag.

Check out the Wekapo Beach Blanket , which is sand-free and comes with six stakes and four built-in corner pockets. For more options, consult our list of the top beach blankets .

Maybe you don't want to sit in just your swimsuit all day, or perhaps you want something you can quickly throw on over your suit to go to breakfast or head back to your room to grab snacks and drinks. Either way, swimsuit cover-ups for the whole family (or at least those who want them) are always a good idea.

As you look for the right cover-up , remember that they come in different colors and styles. Some are dress-like or shirt-like styles, such as the Coolibar UPF 50+ Palma Aire Beach Shirt , which can provide additional sun protection. Others are sheer or made of netting like the Eomenie Contrast Lace Bathing Suit Cover Up .

You'll also want to bring sunscreen on your beach vacation, but not just any kind: Reef-safe sunscreen keeps your skin safe from the sun's harmful rays, yet it doesn't hurt the ocean, coral reefs or the animals that call the sea home.

While there are many reef-safe sunscreen brands, one top option is the Blithe Honest Sunscreen for its hydrating effect and pH balance. This reef-safe sunscreen is also made without oxybenzone and octinoxate, which can hurt coral reefs and sea ecosystems.

Green Sprouts Flap Sun Protection Hat in aqua against white background

Courtesy of Green Sprouts

A good beach hat can keep your face protected from the sun, but it can also provide you with some much-needed shade. Of course, you can just pack a hat you have at home – or splurge on a style that coordinates with your swimming attire.

From straw brims to packable options, there are a lot of beach hat choices . To narrow the options, consider the activities you'll be doing. For lounging by the pool, this Lanzom straw hat is a top option, as is the Quiksilver Men's Pierside Straw Lifeguard Hat .

For those who love wearing a ponytail, Ponyback hats have a built-in hidden slot for a ponytail. If you're bringing little ones to the beach, the green sprouts Baby Flap Sun Protection Swim Hat is perfect for infants, and the Sunday Afternoons Kids' Play Hat is ideal for protecting young children's skin. Check out all of U.S. News' top beach hat picks .

Protecting your eyes from the harmful rays of the sun is good for everyone. Choosing a timeless, full-coverage style like Ray-Ban Wayfarer Polarized or Ray-Ban Classic Polarized Aviator sunglasses will shield you from the sun, minimize squinting and maybe even help avoid a headache. For the kids, check out a variety of children's sunglasses on Amazon.

Another essential for your family beach trip is flip-flops or pool slides, and you may want to have more than one pair. Women may want a set like the Clarks Breeze Sea Flip-flops or the Cole Haan Findra Pool Slides for the beach, but you may also want a slightly more dressy pair of slides like Kenneth Cole REACTION Glam-athon sandals for dinners out and trips to the store.

For men, the Reef Rover Sandals are available in four colors, while the toddlers and kids can pick a pair of KRABOR flip-flops with back straps in a fun print or color.

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Maximize the fun in the sun and waves with fun floating swim noodles , or use one to create a floating sling chair . Of course, the kids will want to play in the sand, so grab a castle mold set for creativity by the sea (or lake). If floating is the name of the game, release your inner mermaid with a mermaid tail pool float or consider inflatable flamingo and unicorn floaties from Jasonwell.

YETI Hopper Flip 18 Portable Soft Cooler in orange against white background.

Courtesy of YETI

You will absolutely want a beach cooler that's easy to carry so you can keep food and beverages cold for your time on the sand. After all, having a beach cooler in tow means you won't have to head back to your room to get drinks and snacks, and that you can pack what you need for the day and bring it along.

Popular cooler brand YETI offers beach coolers in several sizes, including coolers with shoulder straps and backpack straps for hands-free carrying. One top option is the YETI Hopper Flip 18 Portable Soft Cooler since it holds up to 18 cans (or fewer cans and some food) and comes with a built-in strap that lets you carry it like a beach bag. Our list of top cooler bags offers even more options.

Rash guards offer extra sun protection since they cover more of your skin without keeping you out of the water. The best ones offer SPF protection of some kind, while also being comfortable and cute. You can find rash guards in every size , color and design on Amazon.

Whether you plan to go on a snorkeling trip or you just want a dry place to store some items at the pool or the beach, a dry bag can help. These bags offer a waterproof escape for items you want to keep safe and dry, and they come with enclosures that ensure water can't accidentally seep in.

There are many dry bags you can buy online, including this top-rated pack of three from Outdoor Products . Not only are these dry bags waterproof, but they come in three sizes and have a roll-top enclosure that keeps your items safe from exposure.

Three angles of the GoPro Hero 11 against white background.

Courtesy of GoPro

If you're planning a snorkeling or diving session and you want to capture images of life underwater, a waterproof camera should make your beach packing list. Having this kind of camera along can be a fun way to capture the moment, and it can also a creative activity for the kids.

The most popular underwater camera by far is the GoPro Hero 11 , and it's easy to see why. This underwater camera takes pictures and records video, and you can buy additional accessories to make the camera even more user-friendly. For example, you can purchase a floating hand grip that ensures your camera won't accidentally end up on the ocean floor.

The beach may be a hot place to be during the day, but temperatures always drop when the sun goes down. Depending on where you are, you may even find that your beach destination is downright cool at night – especially when the ocean breeze is in full force.

With that in mind, you'll want to bring a packable jacket along on your trip. Highly rated options include the Capa Hybrid Insulated Hooded Jacket for women from Cotopaxi since it's stylish but also folds up easily, plus this lightweight men's jacket from Amazon Essentials . For options that can withstand all kinds of weather, check out our top packable jacket choices .

Bringing paper books on your family beach vacation may be your best bet, but you can also add an e-reader to your packing list. Having an e-reader can help you bring more books along without taking up any extra space, and most are compact and light as well.

If you have an e-reader already, make sure to bring it along on your trip. If not, you can buy Kindles and other e-reading devices online. You'll find some are even waterproof, including the Kindle Paperwhite .

There's nothing like some good tunes to add to fun at the beach. Consider something compact, portable and waterproof like the Bose Soundlink Micro Bluetooth speaker . This product is small enough to toss in your beach bag, and you can take calls on the speaker or stream your curated playlist.

Anker 733 Power Bank against white background.

Courtesy of Anker

Make sure you have a power bank with you on your beach trip, especially if several members of your family all have their own devices. While you can always charge your phones, cameras, laptops and tablets in your vacation rental or hotel room, a portable power bank lets you charge up items wherever you are – even on the beach.

There are numerous portable power bank options online, but make sure you compare them based on their charging capacity and battery power. This Anker portable charger from Amazon is powerful enough to charge up to three devices at once.

Sure, you may be out of office, but you'll be using your phone to snap pics, share your photos on social media and stream your playlists. But days at the beach can be hard on your phone, so a waterproof phone case can help protect it from liquids, sand and sunscreen. The Vera Bradley waterproof phone pouch includes a lanyard and lets you use your phone without removing it from the case, while the Rifle Paper Co. style from Case-Mate has a watertight seal and floats.

Bringing a reusable water bottle along on your trip lets you avoid the environmental impact of single-use plastic while ensuring you always have something to drink. You can use your own water bottle and fill it up for each trip to the beach.

If you don't have a reusable water bottle at home to add to your beach packing list, consider purchasing a water bottle online so you can use it over and over again and avoid buying bottled water for the long haul. Consider this reusable water bottle from Amazon .

Welly Bandages in dog design against white background.

Courtesy of Welly

A first-aid kit is a must-have when you're traveling to the beach with kids. After all, one of them is bound to get a cut or bruise an elbow when they're out playing all day, and you'll want to be prepared.

Bandages from Welly are popular because they come in fun colors and designs that kids love. Welly even refers to some of their bandages as "bravery patches," which can give kids' self-esteem a boost after they're hurt.

Don't let pesky flies, ticks and other bugs ruin your beach day. Bring along some Babyganics natural insect repellent spray , which is DEET-free. Or, for easy transport, consider Repel insect repellent wipes .

Fun in the sand is what makes a day at the beach, but bring along some Johnson's baby powder to help remove that sand when it's time to pack up. It'll help get the stubborn sand off your skin so you don't bring half of the beach into your hotel room or vehicle.

From cleansing before you eat to getting the extra sunscreen off your hands, wet wipes – like travel-size Wet Ones – are a must-have for beach days. In addition to wiping your hands, you can use them to clean up spills or wipe something off your shirt before it becomes a stain.

After-sun lotion can soothe aching skin after you've spent too much time outside, but it can also ensure your skin stays hydrated and healthy. Some after-sun lotions come in the form of body butter, while others are made of specific ingredients like aloe vera.

Sun Bum Cool Down lotion is popular because it's made with aloe vera and cocoa butter. Not only does this lotion help heal sun-damaged skin, but it instantly nourishes too.

Carmex Weather Guard lip balm against colorful background.

Courtesy of Carmex

Lip balm is a must for long days at the beach, and some products even come with SPF protection. This ensures your lips won't get burned like your skin can, all while keeping your pout moisturized from morning until night.

Carmex Weather Guard lip balm is popular because it's affordable (around $6 each), and it automatically has SPF 30 protection built in. You can also check out Rubber Ducky lip balm with SPF 44 protection, which is waterproof and comes in a three-pack on Amazon.

The hot sun can wreak havoc on your hair, but you can get it back in shape with the right leave-in products. Some leave-in conditioner sprays are specially formulated to protect against the sun, and even to enhance the color of your hair after sun exposure.

For example, Sun Bum Blonde Tone Enhancer nourishes dry hair while using violet extract and blue spirulina to bring out your hair's natural highlights. Meanwhile, Revitalizing 3-in-1 Detangler Leave In Conditioner from Sun Bum conditions and protects hair while also serving as a detangler.

Browse our list of the best toiletry organizers if you don't have one already. This item makes it easy to pack all your beach-related toiletries like sunscreen, bug spray and lip balm in a single space. You'll be able to quickly locate beach necessities when you need to reapply your sunscreen or freshen up.

There are many toiletry organizers online in different shapes and sizes. The traveler-favorite Peak Design Small Wash Pouch is a top U.S. News pick, and there's a wide variety of toiletry bags on Amazon as well.

Why Trust U.S. News Travel

Holly Johnson is a veteran travel writer who has visited more than 50 countries and many of the top beach destinations in the world. She frequently heads to Florida beaches with her family, and they also love taking cruises and spending time at all-inclusive resorts. Johnson's favorite beach destination in the U.S. is Destin, Florida.  

You might also be interested in:

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  • The Best Beaches in the U.S.
  • Cheap Tropical Vacations Around the World
  • Cruise Packing List: Essentials for Your Next Cruise
  • What You Should Always Pack in Your Carry-on Bag

The 26 Best Beach Resorts in the World

Aerial over beach at Montage Laguna Beach

Tags: Travel , Travel Gear , Beach Vacations

World's Best Places To Visit

  • # 1 South Island, New Zealand
  • # 4 Bora Bora

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The Atlas Heart

Beach Packing List: 75 Essentials For Everyone & Every Trip

* This article contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you.

Take the stress out of packing with my ultimate beach packing list for your next beach day or tropical vacation.

Looking for a free beach packing list? I’ve got you covered. 

You’re probably looking forward to your upcoming beach time and relaxation.

But your level of zen may waver based on the type of beach you’re heading to, the length of your beach trip, how many people are joining you…and so forth. 

One way to guarantee relaxation is to make a sufficient beach packing list. 

I’ve gone on my fair share of beach trips and beach vacations, and I’ve always felt that I prepared well. 

So, I put together the ultimate beach packing list that will have you covered for what to bring to the beach in any circumstance. 

My packing list for beach vacations serves as a to-do list ahead of your trip. 

Gathering all the beach necessities before your next beach vacation will make your beach days that much more leisurely.  

Whether these items are a given or something you haven’t considered before, check off each one that’s applicable to you and your needs!

Here’s my printable beach packing list based on my experience at beaches from North Carolina to Italy.

A young couple cuddles and laughs as they sit on a blue and white polka-dotted blanket on the sand, with several bags, a travel chessboard, and a water bottle spread out around them.

Table of Contents

Beach Clothes and Accessories

A woman wearing a bright orange top with a floral-printed sarong skirt stands with one hand on her hip next to a low stone wall overlooking a tropical, turquoise sea.

Read our guides to the best sustainable swimwear brands and best surf bikinis .

A man wearing a black hoodie and black swim trunks seen from behind walking across a wooden footbridge with a soft-sided cooler slung over his shoulder.

Read our guides to the best Yeti alternatives , the best ice packs for coolers , and the best coolers for camping .

Beach Shoes & Footwear

A man in a blue button-down and yellow shorts looks back over his shoulder while holding a pair of flip-flops on the beach with an orange and grey sunset behind him.

Read our guide to the best waterproof walking shoes and the best water shoes for kayaking (that also work well for the beach!)

Close-up on a woman's arm holding a bottle of sunscreen as she applies the lotion with her other hand, a tropical beach in soft-focus in the background.

Other Things For the Beach

A hand holds up a sandwich wrapped in brown paper labeled, "salami and coppa sandwich" with a beach in the background.

What Should I Bring on a Beach Day Trip?

Of course, my beach day packing list is shorter than my entire beach vacation checklist. 

That being said, there are certain things to bring to the beach no matter how long you plan to stay. Let’s talk about the components of any essential beach packing list.

Sun Protection

A pair of blue tents pitched on a sparsely-populated beach, with beach grass in the foreground.

First and foremost: don’t forget sun protection. Wear sunscreen , sunglasses , and a cute sun hat .

Wearing sunscreen is important for protecting your skin from sun exposure and sunburns.

Some form of sunblock should be the first thing in your beach bag.

I burn easily, so I always opt for a rub-in lotion over a spray or mist. Coral Isles is my go-to reef-safe sunscreen– I want to do all that I can to protect our coral reefs from bleaching.

Reef-safe sunscreens don’t contain coral-damaging chemicals like oxybenzone, octinoxate, and parabens. 

Along with sunscreen, I throw in small items like SPF lip balm and hand sanitizer.

Note: Remember to account for the travel size requirements if you’re traveling via airplane (less than or equal to 100 ml/3.4 oz in volume). Otherwise, you’ll need to make a pit stop once you’ve arrived at your special beach destination.

Drinking Water

A hand holds a pink water bottle against a light brown backpack with an overcast beach in soft-focus in the background.

If there’s anything I want you to take away from what you should bring to the beach, it’s sunscreen and a water bottle. 

We talked about protecting your skin with sunscreen. Now it’s time for water.

Having water on hand combats a variety of potential problems, like dehydration and heat exhaustion. 

Staying hydrated also helps you recover from long hours in the sun and keeps your skin hydrated.

The hot sun does make it hard to keep your water cold, but it’s important to drink from your water bottle, no matter the temperature. 

Luckily, you can keep water cold with an insulated reusable water bottle like a Hydroflask or Cirkul Bottle . 

Remember to bring an extra bottle of water and a dish if your dog is coming along for the adventure!

My Secret Tips

A woman in a blue and white sleeveless sundress walking with her feet in the water on the beach with the Golden Gate Bridge behind her.

I try to learn from my previous vacations. Here are a few of my secret items that I carry: 

If you wear contacts like me, bring an extra pair. You never know if one will get messed up while swimming (been there, dealt with that). 

Hair Protection

I also color my hair, so a heat protection spray that protects hair from sun damage is a great idea. It also helps keep the color in good condition. 

Speaking of spray–I always bring bug spray . Sometimes bugs or gnats surprise you on the beach and come out of nowhere…I’m personally not a fan.

On that note, research what wildlife might be at the beach you’re going to. 

Sting Swabs

I recently found out you can purchase insect sting swabs . 

This would have been helpful when my friend got stung by a jellyfish during one of our beach trips in North Carolina…or when I was stung by a bee in New Hampshire.

I’m sensitive to the sun, and sunscreen wears off. I always bring a rash guard to prevent burning when I’m in and out of the water. 

Water Shoes

I also bring water shoes if I’m going to a rocky beach. Bruises from pointy stones are painful, and I get unbalanced trying to tiptoe across the rocks.

Portable Speaker

Everyone loves the person who remembers their portable speaker .

Reusable Bags

Pack snacks using reusable bags –after all, we’re trying to keep this beach clean!

Choosing Your Perfect Beach Bag

A woman seen from a distance, walking on a sparsely-populated beach, carrying five tote bags.

Okay, we’ve talked about a handful of helpful beach items–but as you probably realize, there are plenty more. Consider how you want to transport them all…

Help yourself out by choosing a big beach bag with lots of space. 

I like carry-all totes that I can drop everything into. This tote , in particular, is perfect. It has a classic striped pattern and outer pockets to keep your sandals.

I recommend backpacks if you’re bringing a beach chair or larger beach items because of the hands-free carrying.

When it comes to keeping your items dry inside that bag, you have a variety of options. 

Sometimes, I use a waterproof phone case that I can take straight into the water for underwater videos. 

But other times, I put my cell phone and important belongings into a dry bag . Then, I take pictures with a waterproof camera like a GoPro .

You know yourself best–maybe you need all of the precautions: a waterproof phone case and a dry bag!

Curious about dry bags? Read our guide to the best dry bags for kayaking and the best waterproof duffel bags .

How Do You Pack for 7 Days at the Beach?

A woman in a magenta one-piece swimsuit seen from behind looking out over a low stone wall at the turquoise waters of a tropical beach.

A seven-day beach vacation packing list requires more planning and thought, but it doesn’t have to be daunting.

My beach packing list for a week of fun is more comprehensive than my normal beach packing list. 

Instead of daytime necessities, now we’re talking about changes of clothes and outfits suitable for sunrise beach walks and seaside dinners. 

Planning ahead instead of tossing stuff into a bag on Friday night makes each day that much better. 

Consider what you want your setup to look like–do you prefer beach chairs, or are you okay with sitting on a beach blanket for multiple days? 

When I head somewhere for an extended stay, I take all the beach gear, from items I’ll need on the beach to after-sun products. 

I take everything that is normally in my beach bag, plus larger items like chairs , a snack table , an umbrella , and a cooler .

After all, there’s nothing like napping in comfortable beach chairs under the shade of a beach umbrella. 

If you’re going on an extended beach vacation, it’s a good idea to bring at least one swimsuit cover-up . 

A bathing suit and flip-flops are suitable for the beach itself, but cover-ups and a change of clothes are more appropriate if you’re heading to any other activity or a restaurant for dinner.

I know– clothes take up extra space in your beach bag or carry-on…but wet clothes feel heavy and cold when you’re not on the beach. 

Plus, bringing a cover-up or change of clothes with you means you don’t need to rely on going back to the hotel room to change.

Pre-Trip Double-Check

Before leaving home, I do one last check of the beach essentials. A beach weekend away or seven-day stay is the perfect time to restock. 

If the sunscreen is empty, buy a new one. Same with sting swabs, lip balm, and anything else that runs out. 

Right before a big trip is also the best time to upgrade things like ice chests, beach chairs, and towels . 

Maybe you can even spring for a cute new swimsuit or snorkel for the kids.

How Do I Not Overpack on a Beach Vacation?

A group of five people seen from behind, walking on the beach towards the water, overloaded with bags and gear.

As an over-preparer who always wants to have everything on hand, I know how much of a challenge it can be to pack light. 

Ultimately, you will have to weigh what matters most to you. 

Items like sunscreen and water are necessary. Bathing suits, towels, and lightweight clothing are a given as well. 

I try to help myself save space by bringing travel-size creams, shower products, and medicine. 

Items like a beach chair are a bonus, but many of us beach lovers are content with beach blankets.

While I prefer a plush beach towel, sometimes I’ll take a thin microfiber sand-resistant beach towel to save room.

Also, factor in what type of beach you’re going to. 

Sure, a rocky beach is usually sand-free, but you’ll probably need water shoes slim enough to fit in your beach bag or (carry-on if you’re flying there). 

These little things are easy to overlook, so help yourself out by planning ahead of time.

Is There Anything You Should Add to the Packing List for Your Beach Vacation with Family?

A POV shot of a hand holding a kindle displaying the first page of a book, a pair of legs lounging on a beach chair and a beach in soft-focus visible beyond.

My beach packing list for family trips includes the essentials of any day at the beach but supersized. 

After all, you’ll have more hands to help carry things like a beach umbrella or beach cooler.

All-inclusive resorts or a fully stocked vacation rental will provide beach towels.

If it’s easy and you have the space, throw an extra cheap pair of flip-flops or sunglasses in your beach bag. 

I found that on a family beach vacation, someone always loses a shoe or steals their sibling’s pair…

I’d also plan on either one communal wet swimsuit bag or having each person bring their own. No one wants to get stuck carrying a wet swimsuit without a waterproof bag, let alone multiple.

Always keep additional sun protection in mind. 

If you’re heading for the beach with multiple family members, a bottle of sunscreen is going to run out much faster than you may expect (speaking from experience). 

Aaaaand aloe vera. I know from my own family beach trips that some of my family members were convinced they wouldn’t get sunburnt. 

Then, I was always the one handing over the tube of aloe vera when they showed up red later that day…

Depending on the ages of your family members, consider bringing beach toys or an underwater camera. 

No matter what age you are, in-person entertainment is better than scrolling on your cell phone, which could overheat.

And remember, everyone has different interests! 

I’m personally not a huge fan of water sports or searching for marine life, so you probably won’t find me with snorkel gear on. 

You’ll find me on the beach blanket with a book . 

However, I have family members who love playing beach tennis and skidding into the surf with boogie boards–so I make sure to think through everyone’s interests when making a family beach vacation packing list. 

What Should You Put on the Beach Packing List for a Couple?

A couple laughs as they sit facing each other on a beach blanket, sharing a bottle of champagne and a take-out pizza, with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.

The key to packing for a couple’s beach trip is turning up the romance and showing your partner that you know what they like.

That being said, if you are going on a couple’s beach vacation, consider bringing specific items related to your relationship. 

Maybe you and your partner enjoy the same type of beverage or share a favorite beach pastime (e.g. volleyball , bocce, reading, portable board game).

Find little ways to feel connected to one another! Share one large beach blanket instead of two individual beach towels. 

Talk through the packing list with your partner ahead of your trip so you can focus on each other once at your romantic beach destinations.

Double-check that you’re both packing appropriate clothes for your activities.

This is especially important if you’re going on a honeymoon or celebrating an anniversary with a nice dinner. 

Some restaurants may have a dress code where sandy flip-flops won’t fly.

You can also surprise them with a new accessory to use on your beach trip, like a hat or cover-up. Or go the homemade route by coordinating a beach picnic. 

If nothing else, set aside time for a long walk up and down the shore. 

What Do You Need on the Beach Packing List for a Toddler?

A tropical beach crowded with beach umbrellas seen from above in late-afternoon sunlight.

Your beach trip packing list with a baby or toddler is going to look similar to your family beach vacation packing list 

Here are additional beach essentials for toddlers:

Keep toddlers occupied for hours with a sand castle set . Just make sure there are enough mini shovels for everyone.

No one enjoys hot sand that burns your feet, especially toddlers. To avoid the fuss, ensure they have shoes or water shoes on (if you can get them to keep the shoes on, that is).

Kid’s Sunscreen

The last thing you’ll want is for your toddler to get a sunburn, so make sure to wear sunscreen that’s 50 SPF or higher. 

I suggest sunblock sticks (shaped like lip balm) for easy application if your toddler is fussy.

Get them a kids’ sun hat . Once again, it may or may not be hard to get them to keep it on, but you’ll be grateful to have it.

Rash Guards

Rash guards are an extra level of protection. They also help if you’re heading somewhere with slightly cold water.

First Aid Kit

Because we all know how clumsy toddlers can be, bringing a first aid kit will be a good idea. 

Waterproof Bandaids

Maybe bring waterproof bandaids as well because the standard kits will likely have regular ones inside.  

Spill-Proof Cup

On that clumsy note–make sure to bring a spill-proof cup for your toddler. Fresh water is valuable when far from the nearest beach stand or your accommodation. 

The commotion of a beach day with kids will make it all too easy for an open cup to be knocked over. 

Bring floaties for safety if you plan on playing in the water. Toss them in the bag even if you don’t plan on taking them into the waves. 

Water wing floaties are flat to pack, quick to inflate, and add peace of mind.

Make sure to have snacks for toddlers or kids. You can never go wrong with granola bars and juice boxes. 

Just make sure to have some form of trash container with you for all the snack wrappers.

There you go–all the beach essentials you’ll need for your next beach vacation. Grab your flip-flops and beach towel. It’s time for some sun!


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Monroe Dziersk

Monroe Dziersk was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She was quickly drawn to the Southeastern coast of the United States after she discovered a world outside of Midwest winters. During her time attending Elon University, she studied abroad in Florence, Italy. A switch was flipped, and she quickly fell in love with the European culture and lifestyle.

She has now traveled to more than 20 countries and hopes to continue the tally while testing out new and unique travel gear along the way. You can often find her accompanied by a good book and her calico cat.

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Hi, I'm Mimi! I'm an outdoorsy Californian who has spent over 28 years immersed in the incredible natural beauty that California has to offer. My goal is to inspire others to get out and find their next adventure in California. Whether it’s escaping to an alpine lake in the Sierras, finding peace among the giant redwoods, or road tripping down the PCH, there’s always more to explore in this beautiful state.

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The Ultimate Beach Vacation Packing Checklist and Our Best Tips [Printable]

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The Ultimate Beach Vacation Packing Checklist and Our Best Tips [Printable]

Table of Contents

Beach vacation packing tips and advice, final thoughts.

We may be compensated when you click on product links, such as credit cards, from one or more of our advertising partners. Terms apply to the offers below. See our  Advertising Policy for more about our partners, how we make money, and our rating methodology. Opinions and recommendations are ours alone.

A beach vacation truly is a beautiful thing. A week or so soaking up the sun while kicking back with friends, family, and loved ones is something we all look forward to, and making it as stress-free as possible makes your downtime feel even sweeter.

Make more time for the beach and spend less time getting in a sweat about what to take with you by preparing a packing list before you go. Whether you scribble on the back of your to-do list or download a dedicated app, your beach vacation packing list is the key to a great vacation.

To make sure you don’t leave anything behind, we have a printable packing list for beach vacations as well as tips and advice for taking the pain out of packing for your trip.

📋  Click To View Our Printable Beach Packing List >>  📋

Follow our top tips on how to pack for perfection, and don’t worry about leaving any of your gear at home ever again.

Getting Started

Before you head off on your next beach vacation, consider the following when you start to compile your perfect packing list:

  • Check the weather

It’s all very well dreaming about long lazy days on the beach, but sunny days can sometimes turn into chilly nights . Before you head out on vacation, check not only the local weather report for your destination but also look online to get a better idea of potential temperature changes or wet season information to help you pack accordingly.

  • How many nights are you away?

The duration of your stay will obviously make a difference when it comes to how much clothing you’ll need to take with you. If you’re going somewhere tropical, you’ll need less bulky clothing than somewhere where the mercury falls. On the flip side, if it’s always hot and sweaty, you may go through more clothes per day.

Bottom Line: As a rough rule, pack enough underwear and socks to wear fresh every day, several changes of tops and a couple of pairs of shorts or pants, depending on the weather.

  • Are there any special occasions or themed nights?

If the purpose of your vacation is to join friends and family for a wedding or other exciting occasions, you’ll need to be sure that you have your finest clothes, best shoes, and all the accessories to go with it. Keep the rest of your packing as minimal as possible, otherwise, you’ll be bogged down with luggage.

Hot Tip: Invest in a good quality garment bag or dress carrier to protect your posh clothes while in transit.

  • Make a packing list early

Fail to prepare and prepare to fail! This adage is especially true when it comes to packing for your next beach vacation.

Get yourself organized as soon as possible and start to prepare at least a couple weeks in advance of your departure . Not only will this ensure that you have everything you need, but it will also help ramp up the excitement before you head off into the sun.

  • Choose the right luggage

Choosing the right luggage to take with you is almost as important as picking your vacation destination in the first place. There are infinite varieties of bags, suitcases , backpacks , and carry-ons available, and making the wrong choice could cause a wardrobe disaster.

It’s safe to assume that a beach vacation will not require as many bulky items as a ski trip might, so a compact suitcase or good size carry-on may well suffice. You should also check the size and weight restrictions of any airline you’ll be traveling on, and pack within their guidelines.

  • Purchase travel-sized items

Besides the fact that you don’t want to weigh your luggage down with tons of toiletries, you’ll be limited by TSA rules and regulations if traveling with only a carry-on bag.

Your liquids, aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes must be in containers that are no larger than 3.4 ounces. They must also be in a see-through quart-sized bag.

What Electronics Should I Take?

These days it’s perfectly natural to want to share your travels with the world and keep connected. Keep yourself entertained on long journeys, and stay connected with friends and family by taking a few carefully chosen electronics. It’s also worth considering an electronic organizer to keep all your cables and cords tidy.

A digital camera — whether you opt for the simplicity of a point and shoot camera, or the heft of a digital SLR , your camera will capture memories to treasure forever.

iPad or tablet — offering an easy way to watch movies, read books, or even check your emails on the move, your tablet will become an important piece of kit. Invest in a protective case and make sure to take your charger. If you don’t want to be distracted by apps, consider taking just an e-reader only.

Laptop — if you’re planning on blogging your way around the world, or hoping to work remotely, your laptop will be a vital piece of travel kit.

Extra storage — external hard drives and flash drives will give you lots of extra storage space to keep your memories, movies, or documents safely stored and within easy reach.

Hair dryers and styling appliances — do you really need them? Most hotels will supply hair dryers in the guest rooms, and on a beach vacation, forget about the frizz and just enjoy it.

Hot Tip: Finally, if you want to be able to use your beloved electronics when you get there, don’t forget to pack your International Plug Adapter . Do your research before you go and find an adapter that’s suitable for your destination(s).

Travel Admin

Even if you’re intent on traveling light, there’s always a certain amount of travel admin that you merely can’t get away from. Tickets, passports, money, ID, and travel insurance are all necessary for international travel, and even the most minimalist of travelers will want to keep some hard copies close to hand.

You will, at the very least, need to consider:

Your passport

Without this, you could find yourself in all sorts of trouble. Keep your passport somewhere safe while you travel, and be sure that it’s in date. Many overseas destinations will require that you have at least 6 months validity left before your passport expires to allow you to pass through immigration. Don’t forget to check on your travel visas too.

Your tickets and travel documents

Let’s be real here, most airlines and operators are looking to switch to paperless boarding in the not too distant future if they haven’t already done so! However, technology isn’t without its own occasional breakdowns, and in some countries, only paper tickets will be accepted. Be sure to print hard copies of your travel documents to keep with you, including your boarding pass, tickets, and itineraries.

You’ll be able to use your credit or debit card in thousands of locations across the world. But, just in case you have problems with the electronic banking systems, or you lose your cards, keep some cash close at hand — just in case.

You’ll need to find out which currency is best for your destination, then convert enough USD to see you through, should the worst happen.

Your personal details

In case you should find yourself somehow hurt or misplaced, keep your personal details on you. Print basic details like your name, address, next of kin contact information, and any relevant health issues or allergies on a credit card size laminate, and tuck it in your wallet.

Packing Your Luggage

Best Beach Bags

Whether you’re new to traveling or a seasoned professional, knowing the easiest and most effective way to pack your belongings will make light work of your next beach vacation. Try these top tips for packing perfection every time:

Get everything together and lay it out

Start by gathering together everything you plan to take with you. Lay it all out and take a good, long look at it. If it looks like it won’t fit in your suitcase, trim it down by leaving some pieces at home.

Hot Tip: Remember that you’ll also need to set aside a separate outfit for traveling in — so don’t pack this!

Pick Capsule Items

Savvy travelers know that packing a few basic essentials that you can mix and match makes it much easier to travel light. The key to a good capsule wardrobe is finding pieces that will all fit together , and that can be worn multiple times, in multiple ways.

A sample capsule beach vacation wardrobe could include:

  • 2 or 3 bathing suits
  • 3 t-shirts or vest tops
  • 1 pair of trousers
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • A sarong or cover up
  • 1 dress/smart polo shirt
  • A small beach bag to carry your towel and sunscreen

Also, keep in mind the following:

  • A beach vacation isn’t just about bathing suits and bikinis. You’ll need cover-ups, evening wear, and shoes too.
  • Evenings can turn colder, so be sure to take a light shirt or sweater to keep you cozy.
  • If you plan on going out partying, choose simple pieces like a little black dress or smart shorts and a jersey that can be worn with flip flops or sandals , so you don’t need to pack a ton of heavy shoes.
  • Even in the most tropical of locations, it can still rain. Be sure to pack a lightweight waterproof to keep the worst of the wet off.

Take out anything unnecessary

You may be proud of your wardrobe back home, but do you really need to take everything you own with you on your next beach vacation? Unless you have a particular occasion to attend when you get there, you can do away with smart clothing to lighten the load.

Swap heavy shoes for lightweight flip flops, take out those hoodies and throw in a shirt instead, and do away with fancy accessories that you just won’t wear once you get there.

Consider washing clothes on the road

One of the very best ways to make your wardrobe last longer while you’re away is to wash on the go. If you’re staying in an upscale hotel or renting a vacation home, you’ll likely have easy access to a laundry service or washers and dryers.

If you’re staying in hostels or basic accommodation, ask if they have a washer you can use, or find a nearby launderette. For everyday items like a bathing suit, underwear, and socks, you can even take a small container of laundry detergent with you and wash and rinse in the sink.

Get yourself a beach bag

Whether it’s a dry bag or a mesh tote, buy a beach bag. These are great for keeping your beach towel, sunscreen, and other essentials dry and sand-free while you spend your day lapping up the sun.

Fold, Interfold, Bundle, or Roll?

You could just throw everything into your luggage and hope for the best, but if you want to arrive at your destination as crease-free and ready to go as possible, try these different ways to pack:

Fold — the most traditional of all packing options, fold your clothes as neatly as possible and place in piles. This can cause creases and wrinkles if not properly executed.

Interfold — layer clothes on top of each other in a top-to-bottom, bottom-to-top format, interweaving them as you fold. This will leave you well-organized outfits, that arrive virtually unwrinkled.

Bundle — tightly fold or wrap your clothing around a soft, larger object like a toiletry bag, a stack of underwear or a pair of sneakers. This can help to save space in your luggage and lower the risk of wrinkles.

Roll — a popular choice with many travelers, rolling your clothes instead of folding them helps to increase the amount of useable space in your case, as well as keeping them crease free — it’s also straightforward to do!

Use packing cubes

These useful little zippered compartments can help to keep your luggage well organized on the go , and can be removed and used when you get there. On a beach vacation, it could be useful to keep all of your bathing suits together, or you might keep clothes for each day in one cube.

Packing cubes can also let you compress your clothing just a little bit more, helping you to maximize space in your luggage.

Secure your liquids

The Transports Security Authority (TSA) has hard and fast rules about liquids that you must adhere to before you can board an airplane. This means that you’ll need to use travel size containers to transport your toiletries with you in a carry-on.

If you decant your full-sized products into smaller containers, make sure they’re fully sealed before packing in a toiletry bag .

Stuff your shoes

Finally, if you don’t want your shoes to be squashed beyond all recognition before you get there, try stuffing your shoes with socks. This saves a little bit of space and also helps them to keep their shape on the go. Simple!

Airline Considerations

Although different airlines may vary slightly in the type of restrictions they expect you to adhere to, there are some general rules that you need to keep in mind:

Cabin luggage

Carry-on allowances are there for a reason. They restrict the size and amount of luggage that each passenger can bring on-board, and failing to comply will see your luggage placed in the hold at an extra expense.

Cases and carry bags are usually restricted to 22 x 14 x 9 inches to fit in the overhead locker, but this can vary an inch or two depending on the airline . Some airlines will allow one case or carry bag that fits these criteria, and one other smaller bag like a purse or diaper bag if you’re traveling with an infant . There’s not usually a restriction on weight for carry-on bags.

Checked Luggage

Most airlines allow one checked piece of luggage per passenger for international flights but may charge for checked luggage on domestic flights. Usually, the total linear dimensions of your suitcase (that’s the length + height + width) should not be more than 62 inches .

The weight is also significant when it comes to checked luggage, and your case or bag should (generally) not exceed 50 pounds. Again, this may vary by airline, so it’s best to check.

Other items such as strollers , sports equipment, wheelchairs, musical instruments, and other medical items, can also be checked, but check with your airline first to see if there are any restrictions or additional costs.

Baggage fees and allowances

Every airline will charge you if your luggage is over the specified weight and size restrictions. The amount you have to pay will depend on where you’re traveling to and the type of ticket you’re traveling on. The airline may charge you a dollar amount per excess weight, or you may be charged a flat fee for overweight or additional cases.

Hot Tip: Always check your airline restrictions before you travel and invest in some luggage scales to avoid overweight baggage fees.

Prohibited items

Individual airlines have comprehensive lists of what can and can’t be carried or checked on their routes, and you should familiarize yourself with this before you leave. These will usually include items such as flammable liquids, explosives, fireworks, and chemicals, at the very least.

Follow the 3-1-1 rule for carry-on

The TSA has a simple rule for anyone liquids you carry on board any domestic or international flight. This is referred to as the 3-1-1 security rule for liquids. It means that each passenger may carry liquids, gels, and aerosols in travel-size containers that are 3.4 ounces or less. These must be carried in a clear quart-sized bag.

Bottom Line: To sum up, 3.4-ounce bottles or less in 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag and only 1 bag per passenger. Stick to this, and you’ll be golden.

Never check essentials

While it may be tempting to check big tubes of sunscreen or hide your currency and credit cards somewhere in your padlocked suitcase, not having your essentials close by can cause you serious problems upon arrival to your destination.

You should always keep your money, passport, tickets, medication, cell phone, sunscreen, glasses, and contact lens solution in your carry-on bag . This way, should your flight be delayed or your suitcase is lost in transit, you’ll still be able to access your money, medication, and other essentials, wherever you may land.

Pack spare clothes in a carry-on in case of delays

Because suitcases can be loaded on the wrong flight from time to time, it’s always worth keeping an emergency change of clothes in your carry-on baggage — just in case.

Remember to pack weather-appropriate clothing for your destination and keep it as lightweight and compact as possible. Underwear, a clean t-shirt, and maybe some shorts should be enough to see you through a beach vacation transit emergency.

man on phone

Apps For Packing

If you want a little extra assistance with your beach vacation packing list, why not download an app? Here are five of the best:

Packpoint is a list app that helps you to get organized before you travel. The app will check the weather for you before you leave to ensure that you’re never caught short in the rain. It has an option to customize your list fully, making it an excellent choice for beach lovers and thrill seekers alike.

If you’re traveling as a group or even just with friends or family, PackPoint supplies you with a link to your very own list website , meaning everyone can see exactly what they need to bring at all times. This app is free on both iOS and Android.

Offering 8-day advance weather forecasting and tailor-made packing lists for each trip, this free app is a useful tool for those who like to be in control. With the ability to make multiple lists to suit every member of your family, the Packr app also updates your clothing requirements based on the forecasted weather conditions.

Available on iOS, you can download the basic version for free, or pay a one-time price of $2.99 to access the 8-day forecast, custom travel lists, and TripIt integration.

Designed with style-conscious travelers in mind, The Vane can help you pack for your vacation or help you keep your clothes perfectly organized at home. By giving the app key bits of information about your upcoming beach vacation, it will help you to choose the perfect pieces for you to pack.

You can choose your own personal style from a selection of pre-defined categories such as hipster, basic, pretty, or trendy, and you’ll also receive a list of suggested accessories and daily style recommendations to keep you looking fresh wherever you go.

The Vane app is free but on iOS only.

Get organized with an app that will help you to create the perfect packing list. This app also has the ability to sort your shopping and create a to-do list before your departure . Generate packing lists based on your destination, the reason for your trip and what you’ll be doing when you get there.

This app is free for Android users.

This lightweight, easy to use packing app uses Easy Pack Assistant to make a packing list for your travel based on your trip plans.

With over 50 prepared “bags” already available for a whole range of trips, sports, and activities, you can access an instant guide to the clothing, documents, equipment, medications, and other things you may require. You can also customize the “bags” and save your lists for future reference.

The app is free, and the designers intend to keep it that way forever. It is, however, only available on Android at this time.

Apps For Beach Vacations

There are also some useful apps out there that will tell you more about the conditions you can expect when you get to your beach destination:

Waterkeeper Swim Guide

The Waterkeeper Swim Guide is a smartphone app and website that tells you the location of the closest beaches and whether or not they’re open for swimming . It’s also incredibly useful for anyone who wants to know more about the laws, policies, and sampling procedures that apply to beaches throughout the U.S. and parts of Canada.

The app is free for both iOS and Android.

The QSun app works in conjunction with a wearable device that’s designed to help you balance your sun exposure and vitamin D . It can also help you to avoid sunburn, find the current UV index, and get personal sun safety tips for your individual skin tone. The wearable will let you know when its time to seek protection or apply more sunscreen and can help to prevent skin damage and even cancer.

It has a UV map for anywhere in the world, as well as a current UV index and daily UV forecast. While the app is available for free on Android, in-app purchases are available, and the wearable will cost you in the region of $149.99.

Tides Near Me

Available on both the App Store and Google Play, Tides Near Me allows you to find tides and currents close to your location.

Focusing on nearby tide stations and current tidal conditions, this app can help you learn more about the last and next tide and current, as well as when the sun and moon will rise or set. With fully automated tide tables, charts, and predictions, this is an excellent app for surfers and sun worshippers everywhere.

Free to purchase and use, the app has over 5,500 tidal stations in the U.S., UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and India.

The Surfline App offers some of the most comprehensive and accurate surf forecasts anywhere in the world. Utilizing a series of live HD webcam feeds , you can check real-time wave heights, wind conditions, and tides to make your surfing, windsurfing, or kiteboarding vacation your best ever.

Available on both iOS and Android, you can use the basic app for free, or upgrade to premium for $9.99 per month.

Red Cross Hurricane Tracking

If you’re heading somewhere that suffers during the stormy season, this app can help you to track severe weather conditions .

Available on iPhone and Android, you can monitor conditions in your area at any time, or just when the storm hits. It will also help you to prepare your family and home, find help when you need it, and let others know you’re safe even if the power is out.

The Red Cross Hurricane Tracking app is available for free on both iOS and Android.

How to Prepare Your House Before You Leave

It’s not just your luggage you need to organize before you head off on your next beach vacation, you should also prep your house for your absence. Whether you are going for a week, a month, or even longer, follow these simple rules to keep your house secure while you’re away and ensure it’s ready for your return:

Empty your refrigerator and put the trash out. Nothing smells worse than sour milk or rotten veggies. Clean out before you go, and you’ll return to a house that smells as good as new.

Adjust the temperature. You may be heading away to warmer climes, but your home doesn’t need to remain balmy. Set your thermostat to maintain a minimum temperature of around 65 degrees to prevent pipes from bursting during the colder months. During warmer months, set the thermostat to not exceed a maximum temperature, especially if you have animals staying in the house while you’re away.

Switch everything off. Always be sure to switch off your appliances and unplug them at the sockets. This will help to protect against power surges and will reduce your energy use while you’re away.

Have a friend or family member check on your property. Just a quick once over as they pass by should suffice, and make sure they have a contact number for you in case of emergencies. You may even wish to give them a spare key, as piles of unsolicited mail can make your home an easy target for burglars.

Tell your bank and credit card company that you’re on the move. This way they’ll know to expect foreign transactions on your card, and they’ll be able to respond to fraudulent use should your card be stolen.

Preparing a packing list can totally transform the way you prepare for your next beach vacation. By putting a little bit more effort in before you leave, you’ll be relaxed and ready to rock your next beach vacation before you’ve even left the airport.

Frequently Asked Questions

What things should you consider when packing for the beach.

A few important things to consider when packing is to:

What should you not forget to pack for a beach vacation?

These are some items that you must not forget for a beach vacation, but check out our comprehensive packing list for more:

  • Beach towel/blanket
  • Sunscreen/aftersun

What should I pack for a 7 day beach vacation?

Do i need to bring a beach towel to an all inclusive resort.

All-inclusive resorts usually provide guests with towels to use at the beach or swimming pool. Be sure to check with your individual hotel by checking the website or giving the hotel a call.

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About Amar Hussain

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications including Forbes, the Huffington Post, and more.


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The Ultimate Beach Packing List for a Weeklong Vacation

Packing for your surf-and-sand vacation is as stress-free as a day at the beach, thanks to this easy reference guide to your essentials for a week..

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Illustration of items to pack, including totes and water bottles

Make packing for your next beach vacation a breeze with this checklist of essentials.

Designed by Ellie See

After a long winter, the anticipation of your first beach vacation of the year is likely akin to the same giddy excitement you felt as a kid during the countdown to the last day of school. But, alas, you’re an adult now and can’t rely on your parents to pack your pool floaties for you anymore.

If you’re staying at a resort , it’s safe to assume you won’t have to pack essentials like beach chairs, umbrellas, and towels. But if you’re lucky enough to snag coveted reservations at an Airbnb beach house this spring break or later this summer, double-check with your host to see what amenities they include. To make sure you don’t show up unprepared—or overpack —use this beach vacation packing list to guarantee you have everything you need for a weeklong trip.

Beach Vacation Packing List

Tip: Download or save this beach vacation checklist to use for your next beach trip.

Beach clothing

Avoid overpacking with this easy formula Wendy Mak, author of The Capsule Wardrobe: 1,000 Outfits From 30 Pieces , uses when she travels: Simply multiply the number of tops with the number of bottoms you plan to bring and that’s the number of outfits you’ll be able to create (as long as each top coordinates with each bottom) .

“As a general rule of thumb, if I’m going away for a seven-night beach holiday, I’d pack two to three pieces of swimwear (so that they have time to dry in between), a pair of shorts and a couple of skirts, four tops that match all my shorts and skirts, and a dress in case I go somewhere special,” Mak told AFAR in 2017 . In addition to the swimwear, this eight-piece wardrobe will give you at least 13 outfits for when you’re not lounging on the beach in your suit.

If you plan to exercise, don’t forget your workout gear and sneakers. And even though it could be warm during the day, check the weather and pack extra layers to keep you comfortable at night in case the weather dips after the sun goes down. You wouldn’t want to miss the beach bonfire, would you?

Clothing to pack:

  • 2–3 swimsuits (We like Summersalt suits , $45–$125, which are made with recycled polyamide fabric and include sizes 0 to 24.)
  • 1–2 swim cover-ups
  • Rashguard for additional sun protection in the water
  • Polarized sunglasses, like the Maho Positano shades ($195), which include subtle yet effective grips on the ears so you don’t have to worry about them falling off your face in the water.
  • Sun hat (the wider the brim the better)
  • Four T-shirts or casual tops
  • Three pairs of shorts or skirts
  • Pants for evenings
  • Sweatshirt or light sweater for evenings
  • Nicer outfit (dress or button-up and slacks) for dinners out
  • Socks and underwear
  • Small purse or belt bag
  • Workout gear and running shoes
  • Flat sandals for daytime, like Nisolo’s woven huaraches, which come in both men’s and women’s sizes ($138–$150) and are made with Leather Working Group Certified leather that’s also water-resistant
  • Flip-flops or other rubber beach sandals ( Indosole makes rubber sandals, $26–$60, crafted from recycled tires, for men, women, children, and toddlers.)
  • Nicer shoes for evenings out (Espadrilles like the Soludos classic wedges , $115, elevate your look but are still lightweight and let your feet breathe in warm climates.)
  • Water shoes to protect your feet from rocks and coral

Before you pack, check the amenities your hotel or vacation rental includes. Most provide beach chairs, umbrellas, and towels you can use during your stay. Otherwise, you’ll want to stick to the essentials for keeping you and your family entertained, hydrated, and comfortable during a day on the sand.

  • Waterproof portable speaker, like the JBL Clip 3 ($50), with a built-in carabiner clip
  • Beach blanket
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Insulated travel mug (As more resorts ban single-use cups , we like keeping our rum punch cold on the beach in a reusable Yeti 20 oz. Rambler , $35.)
  • Reusable utensils
  • Beach games and sand toys
  • Books, magazines, or e-reader
  • Dry bags, like Osprey’s Ultralight dry sacks (from $18), which come in various sizes and can be used to keep valuables safe from water or to separate your wet clothes from everything else in your bag
  • Power bank and charging cords
  • Anti-theft beach bag or lock box

In case your accommodations don’t provide them, pack these items:

  • Beach chairs
  • Beach umbrella or tent
  • Beach towels (We like the Nomadix Original Towel , $40; its ultralight and quick-drying micro-terry fabric is made from post-consumer recycled materials.)

You may also want:

  • Snorkel gear (Tour operators may provide them, but if you’re a germaphobe, you may want to BYO for peace of mind.)
  • Underwater camera, like the GoPro Hero12 Black ($350), which is waterproof down to 33 feet and comes with accessories like a floating hand grip if you purchase it in a bundle directly from GoPro
  • Inflatable floats for lounging in the water
  • Toddler swim floaties for families traveling with small children
  • Swim diapers for babies

Beach toiletries and hygiene items

In addition to the basics you pack every time you travel—toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, razors, etc.—you should pack toiletries to protect you from the sun and any germs you encounter at the beach. Choose a sunscreen that is SPF 30 or greater, water resistant, and broad spectrum so you’re protected against both UVB and UVA rays.

You’ll also want to use a reef-friendly formula that doesn’t use oxybenzone and octinoxate, two ingredients that are banned from being sold in destinations like Hawai‘i and Key West. To calculate the amount of sunscreen you’ll need for your beach trip, the American Academy of Dermatology Association says most adults need about one ounce to cover their body and recommends reapplying every two hours or after swimming.


  • SPF lip balm
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Wet wipes for disinfecting your hands and getting all the sand off them before you eat
  • After-sun lotion
  • Bug spray for evenings ( Kinfield’s Golden Hour mosquito repellent , $22, is DEET free and works. Its mix of citronella, lemongrass, and clove smells amazing.)
  • First-aid kit, like the Welly Human Repair Kit ($10), which includes adhesive bandages, ointments, hand sanitizers, and more in a refillable tin

After-sun leave-in hair conditioner, like Sun Bum’s Revitalizing 3-in-1 Leave-In Treatment ($13), which detangles, conditions, and protects hair from the damaging effects of the sun and salt water.

This article was originally published in 2019; it was most recently updated on March 1, 2024, with current information.

Courtesy of Kessler Collection

Divergent Travelers

38 Beach Essentials: The Ultimate Beach Packing List

Headed off on an exciting beach vacation? Let go of your beach packing list stress by reading this beach packing list before you go. We have listed our top must-have beach essentials and some fun extras if you have the room to pack them. 

Packing ahead of time will ensure you don’t forget items and that you will save money. Most must-have beach items cost more money on location than what you would pay for them at home. 

Don’t sweat the small stuff, and refine your list of beach items so you are prepared for every activity you want to do on your beach vacation. Here is our must-have list of the beach!

Beach Essentials & Ultimate Beach Packing List

Table of Contents

Sun Protection

1. sunscreen .

Lina Stock of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel Blog on a beach in Zanzibar Africa

Skin cancer is a real threat, and any great beach vacation can be ruined by a bad sunburn on your first day. This is why sunscreen is the ultimate in beach essentials.

We recommend packing your favorite sunscreen before leaving the house as you’ll pay high prices for sunscreen once you’re at your beach destination.

We highly recommend bringing sunscreen you are familiar with. There is nothing worse than buying a sunscreen for a trip just to find out you don’t like the scent or feel of it.

Another tip, look for an eco-friendly sunscreen like REN Clean Screen SPF 30 sunscreen , that does not contain harmful chemicals. They are mineral-based and help protect our oceans.

2. UPF Clothing

David Stock Jr kayaking from a beach in Florida

In addition to bringing sunscreen, you should also pack some lightweight UPF clothing. UPF clothing has built-in sun protection in the fabric.

If you are a person who hates applying sunscreen repeatedly throughout the day then UPF clothing is definitely for you!

Thanks to the rise in skin cancer awareness, there is a variety of stylish UPF clothing available for both men and women. Coolibar makes a great selection of clothing items for men and women .

3. Rash Guard

Lina Stock of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel blog snorkeling in Panama with a rash guard on.

If you plan on spending a large amount of your beach vacation doing any surfing, snorkeling, or diving, you won’t need a full wetsuit but you should consider adding a rashguard to your beach packing list.

A rashguard not only protects you from skin rashes, but also keeps you warm, and contains UPF which protects from the sun.

For women, I really like O’Neill’s UV Sun Protection Long Sleeve rash guard. It offers UPF 50 sun protection and comes in a variety of colors for everyone’s needs.

For men, Dave likes the Columbia Men’s Terminal Deflector Long Sleeve rash guard. Columbia’s UPF 50 Omni-Shade blocks UVA and UVB rays to help prevent sunburns and long-term skin damage.

Lina and David Stock America's Adventure Travel Couple at a beach in Key West Fl

When packing for your beach vacation do not forget that you should have something to protect your head, ears, and neck such as a good beach hat.

Buy a hat with at least a 3-inch brim, like the Columbia Unisex Bora Bora II Booney Hat , to provide ear and neck coverage.

Your ears and neck are the most commonly forgotten areas when it comes to applying sunscreen, so save yourself some time and a painful sunburn by bringing a sunhat with. 

5. Umbrella

Lina Stock of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel blog on a beach in the Philippines with a umbrella.

Just like a beach towel or monkey mat is a must-have, so is an umbrella if your luggage has enough room.

Even when you want to get some sun, it is always nice to have an area of shade to sit under when you need it without having to leave the beach.  This is one of our beach packing list staples.

6. Sunglasses 

Sunglasses on a beach in Mexico

Sunglasses are equally as important for your eyes as sunscreen is for your body. There is a wide variety of sunglass brands that provide UV protection in their lenses but our favorite brand is Oakley.

They offer a wide range of men’s and women’s styles with many different designs.

Another great feature to look for in sunglasses is polarized lenses. This helps to cut and reduce glare making your vision in the daylight much more clear.

However, polarization does not provide any extra UV protection so make sure, first and foremost, that your sunglasses have UV protection.

7. Chapstick

Mexico Beach

Sun protection is a given in regards to your body, but protecting your lips is equally as important. Your lips are very sensitive and it’s a common area to receive a burn.

Make sure to bring some sun-protective lip balm for your lips when you are putting together your beach packing list. There is nothing worse than getting to the beach and not having it!

Beach Essential Clothing

8. bathing suit .

Lina Stock of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel blog snorkeling in Fiji

Heading on a beach vacation undoubtedly means you will need to add a swimsuit (or two!) to your beach packing list. We always bring two swimsuits each with us so there is always one dry suit to put on.

Ladies, if you’re planning on being quite active on the beach and in the water you may want to opt for a supportive one-piece swimsuit . 

For men, I would say one to two is a good number of swim shorts to travel to the beach as well.

Look for shorts that are lightweight and built for surfing, so they stretch and move with the body. Also, try to stick with dark colors as they will hold up longer in the sun, sand, and sea. 

9. Sandals 

America's Adventure Travel Couple at a beach in Mexico

With all the time you will be spending going in and out of the water, a great pair of sandals is one of the top beach essentials for any warm weather vacation.

If your beach vacation will include some hiking or walking in the water, choose a good waterproof sandal such as the Merrell Women’s Jacardia Sandal and the Teva Men’s Katavi Sandal are great multi-use sandals that we love!

10. Tank Tops

LIna Stock of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel blog at the luxury turtle island in Fiji

Lightweight breathable tank tops are a great versatile clothing option for men and women traveling to beach destinations. They are great for layering under nicer tops or for wearing by themselves.

Even though they don’t cover a lot of skin, opt for a UPF tank top, like this Coolibar UPF 50+ Women’s Basic Tank or Men’s Dri Fit UPF50+ Tank Top , for a little extra sun protection on your midsection.

11. Shorts  

Remote Beach in the Philippines

As with tank tops, shorts are a great beach going item for every traveler. We recommend buying lightweight, breathable, flexible and lightly colored shorts to help keep you cool even on the hottest days.

Another great bonus to lightweight flexible shorts is that if you get them wet they will still be quite comfortable and will dry quickly.

Great beach shorts we love are Women’s Amazon Essentials drawstring linen short and Men’s Amazon Essentials Classic-Fit Short . Both of these shorts are nice enough to wear out to dinner but comfy enough for all-day wear as well.

They have several pockets, are very lightweight and offer multiple color options.

12. Beach Cover-Up

LIna Stock of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel blog in a cover-up on a beach

A cover-up is one of those beach vacation clothes you should always have in your luggage. When checking your beach packing list for a day in the sun, make sure you don’t forget one.

Not only can you choose from a variety of cute styles, like the Coolibar UPF 50 Catalina beach cover-up , but many establishments don’t allow beachgoers to wear just a swimsuit, so this is where the cover-up is essential.

13. Comfy Pants

Resort Beach in Mexico - beach packing list

Comfy pants are a great clothing addition for late afternoon and evenings when the sun goes down and the weather starts to cool. We both like linen pants since they are lightweight and very comfortable.

Some great choices for linen pants are Roxy Women’s Oceanside Pant and Men’s Casual Linen Beach Trousers . These two options are very comfortable, come in many colors, and are a great price!

14. Warm Top

MM 88 Beach in Florida

Packing a warm top is solely dependent on what the weather will be like at night at your beach destination.

For those heading to the beach in colder climates or coastlines like the East or West, you may want to pack something a little warmer for those cooler nights. 

We both really love fleece pullovers for those breezy beach nights and always pack these two by Eddie Bauer: Women’s Brushed Fleece Hooded Pullover and Men’s Cloud Layer Pro 1/4 Zip Pullover .


15. a good book or e-reader.

LIna Stock of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel blog floating in the Dead Sea in Jordan

No beach vacation is complete without a good book to dive into. Whether you are an e-reader person or still love the feel of a real book, be sure to pack/download your favorite books for your vacation.

There are several e-readers available now, but a favorite of ours is the Kindle Paperwhite , simply because the battery life is 8 weeks and the newest version is waterproof.

David Stock Jr of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel blog one of the first travelers to use a GoPro while traveling

A GoPro is one of the best cameras for the beach and the activities you will likely be doing while there. The new GoPro Hero 8 is waterproof down to 30 ft. Needless to say this comes is one of your beach essentials.

Looking for some great accessories? Before you go, read this The Best GoPro Accessories for Adventure Travelers . Our top purchase recommendations are a shorty grip and a dome port !

Read more How to Decide Which GoPro to Buy

17. Power Bank

Amazing Beach in Mexico - beach packing list

Worried about your phone running out of battery while you are out exploring? Don’t leave home without packing a rechargeable power bank.

Purchase one with at least 10,000 mAh to ensure you can get a full charge or two throughout the day if needed.

If you know you will be spending your days on the beach in full sun, you can also purchase a solar power bank , which will use the sun’s rays to keep the power bank charged for when you need it.

18. Portable Waterproof Speaker

David Stock Jr of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel blog in Key West FL

This all depends on what the atmosphere will be like on the beach, of course, but a portable Bluetooth speaker is great to have when you’re in a group.

Traveling with a small speaker is convenient and it takes up very little space. Just think twice about what your beach situation will be before packing it, nobody likes loud music blaring on a quiet serene beach.

19. Headphones

Sunset on a Beach in Key West

One of my favorite things to do on the beach is to plug into my favorite playlist and relax while lying on the beach.

Of course, headphones are an essential part of this plan and therefore you should make sure you have a great comfy pair you won’t mind wearing in the hot sun during the day. 

Beach Packing List Necessities

20. goggles, snorkel & fins.

Lina Stock of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel blog snorkeling.

If you’re into snorkeling, then pick up some fins, a mask, and snorkel , so you don’t get stuck paying to rent them once you arrive. 

We both like Aqualung masks and which can be used for snorkeling and diving. Alternatively, if you’re staying at a resort or hotel while on your beach vacation, check to see if they offer equipment rental for free.

21. Beach Towel or Monkey Mat

Umbrellas on a beach in the Maldives - beach packing list

One of the most important beach essentials you can put on your list is a towel. Everyone needs a good beach towel to dry off after a swim or lay down in the sand.

Monkey mats are specifically made for outdoor activities and have four weighted corners to keep the mat down and in place on the sand while in use. They come in multiple sizes and colors for everyone’s needs.

22. Water Bottle

Lina Stock of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel Blog sitting on a beach

Traveling to the beach with fresh water in hand is important as it is easy to get dehydrated in the sun on the beach.

We like to use insulated stainless steel water bottles at the beach because they are well insulated and great for the environment. A favorite water bottle of ours is the Camelbak Chute .

Read more 9 Best Travel Water Bottles for Any Traveler

23. Dry Bag

Front view of a kayak with a dry bag on it.

We always travel with a dry bag whether or no matter where we are traveling.

They pack up easily and are lightweight so there really is no reason not to have one. They are great for protecting your belongings from the water and sand.

If you like to bring camera gear on vacation, this is one of those beach essentials that you won’t be able to live without.

Read more Best Dry Bag For your Next Adventure

24. Beach Blanket

Lina Stock of the Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel blog sitting on a beach blanket.

Another great option is to pack a beach blanket. A great multi-use blanket is the Wellax Sand Free Beach Blanket .

At 9’ x 10’ your whole family or friends can take advantage and chill on this amazingly soft and HUGE blanket!

The best part: it collapses to 4” x 8”. The integrated storage sack makes it so EASY to store and carry around!

25. Beach Hammock

Lina Stock of the Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel blog sitting in a beach hammock in Cuba

Travel hammocks are an awesome addition to your packing list for a beach vacation. They offer the perfect way to relax in the shade under two palm trees. We love this ENO portable Hammock for two .

This design is versatile, durable, and compact, making it perfect for camping, hiking, or lounging around with a friend.

Weighing in at only 19 ounces, this hammock stuffs easily into the attached storage bag taking up very little room in your luggage.

26. Insulated Tote

LIna Stock of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel Blog with a beach  bag in Fiji

For any day trip to the beach, you’re going to want some cold drinks. After we throw our bathing suits on it’s the first thing we pack up.

Traditional coolers are heavy and a pain on the beach so we use a portable travel cooler .

Not only does it make the list of beach essentials, but if you like spending time in the outdoors it can be reused on other trips.

A portable cooler is an especially great investment if you like to go camping, canoeing, or just lounging at the park. Make sure to buy one that is durable, waterproof, and comfortable to carry. 

27. Reusable Plastic Bags

David Stock Jr of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel blog at a beach in Mexico

It may seem like an obscure item, but reusable plastic bags come in handy on the beach. If you are changing at the beach they make for great storage of a wet swimsuit.

They are also a cheap way to protect items you don’t want getting full of sand and water.

Note: Please make sure you pack out what you pack in, reuse your plastic bags for feature adventures.

Beach Items for Family Vacation

28. beach tent.

Wood beach tent in the Philippines - beach packing list

Beach tents are great for those that want to enjoy the beach, yet stay out of the sun at the same time! It’s also very important to protect young children and babies from sun damage.

The added layer of protection from the wind and sand is also nice on those windy days. Plus if you need to change your kid’s clothes at the beach it provides an added layer of privacy.

29. Sun Protective Bathing Suits

Drone beach view

I swear by rash guards because they protect backs and shoulders—prime real estate for sunburns—without having to reapply sunscreen all day, which is a definite plus when you are worried about little ones.

Swim shorts help, too, for boys of course, and for girls as long as they’ll wear them. UVSkinz is a great kids brand because they have built-in UV protection and offer several different styles of boys and girls suits.

Tuga swimwear is also great for the tiny travelers since they offer an abundance of colorful prints to choose from. Sure to please any kiddo your buying for.

Lina Stock of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel blog walking on a beach in Brazil

Packing snacks is a smart thing to do for any beach vacation. Snacks and meals can be quite expensive, especially when located right on the water. Bring non-perishable type items for easy storage in your day bag. 

31. First Aid Kit

David Stock Jr leading Lina Stock on to a beach in the Philippines

When traveling with littles it is always a good idea to bring a small first aid kit . Just pack the essentials for minor cuts and scrapes and a basic medicine kit in case they get sick while you’re on vacation.

But who’s kidding who here? Even if you’re not traveling with kids, a first aid kit is one of those beach essentials you should pack regardless.

32. Beach Toys

Lina Stock of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel blog playing in the waves in Sri Lanka

If you’re heading to the beach with some little ones then bringing along a few beach toys and beach balls never hurt. You can never go wrong with a set to build some sandcastles.

Sometimes it’s worth considering if you want pails and shovels that are cheap enough to leave behind when vacation is over. But some sand toys, the ones that nest for easy packing or a few toys in one, are worth hanging on to.

A great option is Eduplay nesting soft buckets. Pair them with the Triplet digging tool and you’re set, with plenty of room in your tote for a book, snacks, and water.

33. Floaties

Lina Stock of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel blog floating on a floatie in the Maldives

Floaties are great items for ensuring some safety and entertainment for your littles while playing the water. There are several different kinds depending on the age and weight of your child. 

This is a really great floatie/swim trainer for any young kids that need some extra support. It wraps around the waist and has attached arm floaties.

34. Games (Deck of Cards)

Luxury beach in Mexico

Depending on the age of your children, it may be a great idea to have some games to play during the downtime when they need a little entertaining.

I have been on countless trips and never leave without my UNO cards . They make my beach essentials packing list every single time.

35. Disposable Wipes

Remote beach in Brazil

Always a great item to have on you for a beach trip. Odds are you will be eating some snacks while out on the beach and this way you can wipe your hands down before eating.

Another plus to packing disposable wipes they can double as toilet paper if those beach toilets run out.

36. Baby Powder

Resort Beach in Mexico

Baby powder is a beach essential because it’s brilliant for getting sand out of all those areas where kids inevitably get sand.

A great refillable baby powder-like Powder Pouch , lets you de-sand hands before lunch and de-sand feet at the end of the day, without baby powder going all over.

The best part, it’s small enough that you don’t mind one more thing in your tote bag.

37. Tote Bag

Lina Stock of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel blog on a beach

The kind of your beach essentials list is the beach bag. Besides, you’re going to need somewhere to put all this stuff you’re bringing!

The ideal beach bag is mesh so that you’re more likely to leave water and sand behind. Make sure it’s sturdy, roomy, has lots of handy pockets, and folds up nicely in your suitcase.

38. Family Size Beach blanket 

Lina and David Stock jr (America's Adventure Couple) on a beach in Fiji

A great child-friendly beach blanket is a necessity for any family vacation. This JJ Cole outdoor blanket takes up a little bit of room in the suitcase, but it’s water-resistant, easy to clean and folds up pretty compactly (for a blanket). Plus, the fun patterns will keep non-walkers entertained.

We hope you have found everything you were looking for and maybe even some new ideas to help make your beach vacation stress free and fun!

More on Tropical Travel:

  • Ultimate Cruise Packing List (Cruise Essentials for Any Destination!)
  • 16 Exotic Islands That Are Worth Adding to Your Bucket List
  • 20 Best Beaches in Maui: Ultimate Maui Beach Guide
  • 7 Exotic Places to Travel Without a Passport
  • 13 Stunning Cheap Islands to Visit
  • Ultimate Trip to Maldives Planning Tips
  • 16 Bucket List Things to do in Fiji
  • Epic Miami to Key West Road Trip Guide

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Travel planning resources, about lina stock.

Lina is an award-winning photographer and writer that has been exploring the world since 2001. She has traveled to 100 countries on all 7 continents. Member: SATW, NATJA, ATTA, ITWA

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Ultimate Beach Packing List [+ Free Reusable Checklist]

Packing for a beach destination or family beach vacation doesn’t have to be difficult, especially when you’re prepared. This perfect beach packing list has everything you might need so won’t forget a thing, whether you’re off to a beautiful Florida beach or one of these irresistible tropical islands . We’ve even supplied a handy downloadable checklist you can print out or fill in on your computer.

beach packing list

To help you avoid forgetting something important, we’ve put together this perfect beach vacation packing list to help you out. Whether it’s a new tube of sunblock or a forgotten swimming suit, there’s no doubt you’ll pay more for it your destination.

▼ This packing list is also available as a download, so you can save it to your computer and reuse it every time you need to pack for the beach. It has clickable fields (even though you can’t see them on the version below). Click here to download your free copy .

Savored Journeys Beach Packing List

This packing list doesn’t cover the items that you need on every trip, it only includes beach-specific items. Click here to see our reusable travel packing checklist  (downloadable PDF).

Table of Contents

Essential Beach Gear

When it comes to packing for a beach vacation, there are a few essential items that you should always include. In this section, we’ll cover the must-have gear for any beach trip, including sun protection essentials and beach comfort items.

Sun Protection Essentials

Sun protection is crucial when spending time at the beach. Here are the items you should pack to keep your skin safe:

  • Sunscreen : Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Apply it liberally to all exposed skin, and reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating.
  • Hat : A hat with a brim will provide additional sun protection for your face and neck. Opt for a lightweight, breathable material like straw or cotton.
  • Sunglasses : Protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays with a pair of sunglasses. Look for a pair with polarized lenses to reduce glare and improve visibility.
  • Sun Hat : A sun hat is another great option for protecting your face and neck from the sun. Choose a style with a wide brim for maximum coverage.

Beach Comfort Items

In addition to sun protection, you’ll want to pack a few items to keep you comfortable while lounging on the beach:

  • Beach Towel : A good beach towel is essential for drying off after a swim or laying on the sand. Look for a lightweight, quick-drying option.
  • Beach Umbrella : If you plan on spending a lot of time at the beach, a beach umbrella will provide much-needed shade. Look for one with a sturdy frame and UV protection.
  • Beach Chairs : A comfortable beach chair is a must-have for lounging on the sand. Look for a lightweight, portable option that’s easy to carry.
  • Beach Bag : A spacious beach bag is essential for carrying all of your gear. Look for one with multiple compartments to keep everything organized.

By packing these essential beach gear items, you’ll be well-prepared for a fun and comfortable day in the sun.

Clothing and Footwear

When it comes to packing for a beach vacation, clothing and footwear are the most important things to consider. You want to make sure you have the right outfits for all occasions while still packing light. Here are some tips and suggestions for packing the perfect beach wardrobe.

Daytime Outfits

During the day, you’ll likely be spending most of your time in a bathing suit and cover-up. Make sure to pack at least two bathing suits so you can alternate between them. A cover-up is also a must-have for when you’re walking around the beach or grabbing lunch. You can choose from a variety of cover-ups, including shorts, skirts, and dresses. It’s a good idea to pack a mix of these items so you have options depending on your mood.

In addition to your swimwear and cover-ups, pack a few t-shirts or casual tops and shorts or skirts. These items are perfect for exploring the town or going on a hike. Make sure to pack lightweight and breathable fabrics to stay cool in the heat.

Evening Attire

For evenings, you’ll want to pack a few nicer outfits. A sundress or a button-up shirt with slacks is a great option for a dinner out. If you’re planning on going to a fancier restaurant, pack a dressier outfit. It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed.

Footwear Choices

When it comes to footwear, pack a few different options. Flip-flops are a beach essential, but you’ll also want to pack a pair of sandals or water shoes for exploring rocky areas or going on a boat ride. Sneakers are also a good option for more active days.

Here’s a quick summary of the clothing and footwear items you should consider packing:

Personal Items and Toiletries

When packing for your ultimate beach vacation, it’s important to remember to bring along all the necessary personal items and toiletries. These are the items that will help you stay clean, comfortable, and healthy during your trip. In this section, we’ll cover some of the most essential personal items and toiletries that you should consider packing.

Hygiene Essentials

When it comes to personal hygiene, there are a few items that you should never leave behind. These include your toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and any other items that you use on a daily basis. It’s also a good idea to pack a small comb or brush to help keep your hair looking neat and tidy.

Beach-Specific Toiletries

When you’re spending time at the beach, there are a few toiletries that you’ll want to bring along to help protect your skin and keep you comfortable. One of the most important items is sunscreen. Make sure to choose a high-quality sunscreen with a high SPF rating to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. If you’re concerned about the impact of traditional sunscreens on the environment, consider using a reef-safe sunscreen.

In addition to sunscreen, you may also want to pack some aloe vera gel to soothe sunburned skin, as well as lip balm to protect your lips from the sun and wind. Finally, don’t forget to pack any other toiletries that you need, such as shampoo, conditioner, and a razor. With these essentials in your beach bag, you’ll be ready for a fun and comfortable vacation.

Entertainment and Miscellaneous

When it comes to packing for a beach vacation, entertainment and miscellaneous items are often overlooked but can make a big difference in your overall experience. In this section, we’ll cover some essential items that will help you have a great time at the beach.

Practical Essentials

Aside from leisure activities, there are a few practical items that you should consider packing. A cell phone is a must-have for staying connected with loved ones and taking photos of your beach vacation. Don’t forget to pack a power bank to keep your phone charged throughout the day.

An underwater camera is also a great investment if you plan on snorkeling or swimming in the ocean. This will allow you to capture some amazing underwater shots that you can cherish for years to come.

Snacks and a reusable water bottle are also essential items to pack. Staying hydrated is important when spending time in the sun, so make sure to pack a reusable water bottle that you can refill throughout the day. A cooler is also a great option for keeping your drinks and snacks cold.

Lastly, don’t forget to pack a first aid kit and hand sanitizer. Accidents can happen, so it’s always better to be prepared. A dry bag is also a great investment for keeping your valuables safe and dry while you’re enjoying the water.

Beach Entertainment

Having something to do for long sessions on the beach is vital. Reading a book or listening to music are our favorites. We make sure to stock up on good books to read on our Kindle before any beach holiday.

The only problem with electronic beach entertainment is keeping valuables safe while you’re playing in the water or grabbing a drink from the bar. Be sure to hide away your valuables when you leave your area and don’t leave them alone for long.

  • Kindle – If you plan on spending all day at the beach, pack a book or two (or a tablet like the Amazon Kindle) to keep you occupied in between swim and sunbathing sessions.
  • Tablet  – As above, if you plan on spending a long time at the beach, a tablet make it far easier to keep yourself entertained.
  • Smartphone   – You do have to be extra careful with your phone at the beach. Not only is there water danger, you won’t be surprised to hear that your phone doesn’t really like sand and sun either.
  • Headphones  – For entertainment, bring your MP3 player with a couple of good albums. Listening to music is a great way to pass time while you’re sunbathing.

Useful Items On The Beach

Different types of beaches require different items. If you’re lounging on a Florida beach, you’ll probably want to have a beach umbrella and chairs, while Oregon beaches don’t require those items, but do call for a bucket and mini-shovel to dig up shells and clams.

  • Cooler / Ice
  • Lip balm with SPF
  • Insect repellent
  • Flip flops / sandals
  • Water bottle
  • Hat / sun visor
  • Cell phone / charger
  • Beach chairs
  • Bucket / shovel

Be Prepared For Travel Planning is the most important part of any successful trip. Do it the easy way:

🧳 Travel Packing List | ✔️ Why You Need Travel Insurance | ✈️ What to Do Before You Leave Home

  • Find and book the best hotel (our favorite booking site is Expedia)
  • Research flight options (our favorite tool is Skyscanner )
  • Book a tour (we always use Viator to find the best tours)
  • Rent a car through Discover Cars (they search the best deals for you!)

The beach is definitely on the top of our vacation wish list, and this ultimate beach packing list comes in handy every time. Don’t forget a thing with this downloadable list.


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Laura Lynch, creator and writer of Savored Journeys, is an avid world traveler, certified wine expert, and international food specialist. She has written about travel and food for over 20 years and has visited over 75 countries. Her work has been published in numerous guidebooks, websites, and magazines.

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Beach packing list – what to bring on a beach trip.

Planing a beach trip? From beach day essentials to clothing and toiletries, here’s everything to include on your Beach Packing List! Plus I’ve included a printable beach packing checklist Google doc that you can customize for yourself –  link at the end of the post!

Beach Packing List + Custom Checklist

This site contains affiliate links. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links at no additional cost to you.

Beach Day Essentials Packing List

Beach Towel: A beach must! I recommend an oversize towel or beach blanket – especially one that magically gets rid of sand ! 

travel list beach

Beach Chair: For a comfier beach experience, bring a beach chair! I personally love the Ostrich ones that have a hole for your face when you’re lying face down! PS – Don’t forget these handy towel clips that will keep your towel from blowing away!

travel list beach

Beach Umbrella/Shelter: Sometimes you need a break from the sun, I highly recommend bringing a beach umbrella or canopy if you’re planning to be at the beach all day. I included the highest-rated ones on this list .

travel list beach

Beach Bag: A necessity to help you carry all your stuff! Opt for a fun patterned tote or a mesh beach bag that will help keep the sand from accumulating in your bag. For items you absolutely don’t want to get wet, considering getting a dry sack to keep them protected.

travel list beach

Beach Cart: With thousands of reviews on Amazon, this beach cart is definitely a winner, especially for families with lots of stuff to carry!

travel list beach

Cooler: Keep your refreshments ice cold with a cooler! If you don’t need a huge cooler, this backpack cooler can hold up to 30 cans and has over 7,000 5-star reviews on Amazon ! Or splurge and go with the king of coolers: Yeti . 

travel list beach

Drink Extras: Prevent drinks from tipping over in uneven sand with these nifty coasters/drink holders ! Or even better, get a portable beach table . Protect your cans from sand or bugs getting in with these can lid covers .

travel list beach

Sunscreen: Protect your skin! Get a sunscreen that is waterproof and sweatproof for beach days. Don’t forget about your lips! Make sure to get a chapstick with SPF .

Waterproof Speaker: Beach days are better with some tunes! Make sure you get a portable speaker that’s waterproof !

travel list beach

Waterproof + Sandproof Phone Case: While most phones are water-resistant nowadays, it’s better to be safe than sorry. This is the one I use for my iPhone. Worried about your phone getting too hot? Check out this GENIUS insulating phone case that protects it from overheating. 

Portable Charger: Don’t let a dead battery ruin your beach day, bring a portable charger . This one can charge a phone multiple times , so it’s great for the whole fam.

Beach Games: Nothing like a little fun in the sun! Consider bringing along some beach games like these: 

travel list beach

Sand-off Mitt: Where has this been all my life!? This mitt is way more effective than your basic towel at getting sand off!

Book/Kindle – Nothing like a little beach reading! Need some reading inspo? Click here . 

Lock/Safe – keep your stuff safe with this handy mini safe/lock box that you can lock to your beach chair.

Body Wipes – I like to bring body wipes to the beach to help get that sticky feeling off your skin after swimming in the ocean. 

Mini Portable Fan – keep your cool with a mini portable fan ! They are super affordable and SO worth it.

You May Also Like: 13 Best Beach Hacks For Summer

Beach Packing List: Clothes + Accessories

Swimsuit – First things first, you’re going to need a swimsuit! Linked all my favorites here . 

travel list beach

Cover-up – a good cover-up is a beach necessity! Check out this list for even more cute cover-ups !

travel list beach

Dresses – light, breezy dresses are my favorite thing to wear at the beach! Here are some of my favorites : 

travel list beach

Tops – I recommend packing a couple of t-shirts and one or two nice tops (depending on how many dresses you want).

Bottoms – you’ll definitely want some shorts for the beach! I bring jean cut-offs and athletic shorts. Depending on your plans, you might want to bring a pair of jeans just in case.

Pjs – it’s usually pretty hot at the beach, so bring some lightweight pajamas1

Bras + underwear + socks – bring enough underwear for everyday + a couple extras. Take a look at the other clothing items you’re bringing to determine what kind of bras you need to bring (regular, strapless, sports bras).

Rain jacket – check the weather before you leave! If there is rain in the forecast, you should definitely bring a rain jacket!

Shoes – I always bring sandals, a pair of closed-toe shoes ( like tennis shoes or Keds ), and a pair of wedges. Check out my favorite summer shoes on Amazon here .

Beach Hat:  Bring a  beach hat  to protect your skin and get some shade! Plus it covers up any beach hair 😉

travel list beach

Sunglasses – Don’t forget your sunnies! I love to rock a fun pair at the beach! See more sunglasses here . 

travel list beach

Beach Packing List: Toiletries

Here are the toiletries/beauty products I include on my beach packing list! Of course, customize it for what you do and don’t need.

  • Toothbrush + paste
  • Face cleanser + lotion
  • Hairbrush ( Wet Brush  is the BEST, especially for detangling beach hair)
  • Bobby pins + scrunchy
  • Blow dryer + Curling Iron
  • Shampoo + conditioner
  • Hairspray/Styling Products
  • Leave-in conditioner (this is  my fave ) 
  • Dry shampoo
  • Chapstick ( O’Keeffee’s  is the best and it’s cheap!)
  • Prescriptions
  • Bug spray ( Wondercide  is my favorite natural option)

You May Also Like: 13 Beauty Products You Should Bring On Every Trip

Printable Beach Packing Checklist

As mentioned, here is a link to a customizable + printable Beach packing checklist Google Doc ! Follow the directions to copy and create your doc so you can customize it to your own needs.

Beach Packing List

I hope this Beach Packing List helps! Have a question or something to add? Leave a comment below or send me a DM on Instagram ! 

Related Posts:

  • 13 Must-Have Travel Beauty Products You Should Bring On Every Trip
  • 14 Tropical Places You Can Visit Without a Passport
  • Top 10 Best Texas Beaches
  • What to Pack for a Tropical Beach Vacation

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Ultimate Family Beach Vacation Packing List (+ Free Printable Checklist)

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Whether you are heading on a road trip up the coast, or a destination abroad, what you pack can often make or break your family beach vacation .

Which is why I’ve put together my list of essentials we think you’ll need (based on our years of travel experience), into a family beach vacation packing list, to help get your holiday off to a relaxing start.

Because, let’s be honest, travelling with kids requires a little more prep, and a whole lot more patience than that trip you took around Europe or Thailand in your 20’s.

Growing up on an island, and living on the coast most of my adult life, I’ve had plenty of time to perfect the whole what to pack for a family beach vacation .

We will take you through everything we pack for a family beach trip. To help you more easily prepare for your trips. From clothing, entertainment & electronics to documents and beach house essentials .

So put on your sandals and let’s get your sun, sand and surf adventure started.

Table of Contents


Beach Vacation Checklist infographic.

Beach vacations with family in the sun and surf can be fun for so many reasons. We find it’s a great opportunity to connect with our family, play games together, go for walks and build a sandcastle or two.

I use our printable beach vacation checklist and check it off before each trip. As it makes things much easier, and I’m less likely to forget those important things. While you might not need everything for every beach trip, it will help you not forget the most important items.

Feel free to adapt to your length and type of trip.

Family Beach Vacation Checklist – Clothing Essentials

While it’s easy to remember to pack shorts, beach themed t-shirts, tank tops and summery dresses for warm weather, there are a few other clothing essentials not to miss.

Make sure to pack at least 3 sets of clothing per person, plus 2 swimsuits, at least a weeks worth of undies and a nice outfit for dinners or special occasions.

That way you don’t have to do laundry everyday.

Beach clothing essentials to pack:

  • 2 swimsuits each
  • 1-2 Rashguards
  • 1 Swim Cover up
  • 1 – 2 Sun Hats
  • Long sleeve shirt / Button Down
  • Skirt / Sundress
  • Jeans / Capris / Yoga pants / Light pants
  • Underwear / Bras
  • Dress-up Dinner Outfits
  • Light Sweater / Light Jacket
  • Sandals / Flip Flops / Water Shoes
  • Exercise clothes / Gear / Shoes

Ideas for what to wear for a resort beach vacation .

BEACH TIPS: Choose light coloured cotton, linen, rayon, or light merino wool clothing that hang slightly off the body, for hot and humid destinations. Avoid clothing made with synthetic fibres, unless it’s specifically moisture wicking.

5 pages of Free Beach Vacation packing list templates fanned out.

Here are a few of our favorite clothing must haves for family beach vacation that we’ve used and loved.

Hats. Could there be a more contentious item of clothing for kids then a hat?

While the struggle is real to get a hat to stay on the head of kids both young and old, sun hats with UPF protection are another must, for a family beach trip packing list.

Preferably pack at least two, in case one goes missing, or the tag itches their head, or any of the many surprising things we’ve found that can happen with hats.

PRO BEACH TIP: Bring at least two sun hats per child , one for the water and one for on land.

Before our Cuba trip I found Wallaroo Hats . So many fun styles for adults and kids with UPF protection. As a bonus, many are designed to be packable.

travel list beach

I loved the Scrunchie Hat and the Naomi Hat I bought for myself. Stylish, easy to pack, and reshaped nicely once unpacked. Miss Ten wore her rainbow striped Petite Nantucket hat and Mermaid Water hat non-stop.

Whether you are headed for a summer or spring vacation, the beach is a wonderful place to be.

Rashguards are an ideal choice, for when you want to reduce the amount of sunscreen you have to apply to your kids.

Kanu Surf Girl's Keri UPF 50+ Long Sleeve Rashguard, Blue

Choose one with a higher SPF rating for more sun protection and throw it over top of a swimsuit, or wear on it’s own. I prefer the long sleeve version, however they come in a variety of long/short sleeves, and one piece outfits for babies and toddlers.

  • KIDS : For Miss S we pack her Kanu Surf Rashguards for all beach days.
  • WOMEN : The looser Women’s Solid Long-Sleeve style works well for me for beach lounging, sandcastle building and swimming. It’s perfect for throwing it over a bathing suit. They have different styles of rashguards and bathing suits for the whole family.
  • BABIES: If your children are still in diapers, a reusable swim diaper is a good eco-friendly option.

travel list beach

PRO BEACH TIP: If going for more than a day trip, bring at least two swimsuits / rashguards per adult and child to avoid having to pack and wear a cold, wet suit at the beach.

Young girl in rainsuit at the beach holding out a small rock.

I like to think of raingear as preventative packing. If I bring rain gear, it won’t rain, right?!

Unfortunately weather isn’t always predictable, so it’s best to be prepared.

  • Rain ponchos – Are a light weight versatile choice. As ponchos are roomier , they fit over top of you, keeping your clothing, backpack and electronics protected from rain. They also can be used as a tarp, or a ground cover.
  • Toddlers to 5 Yr olds – The Tuffo Muddy Buddy all in one rainsuit was a favourite for our daughter from 12 months, until she outgrew the largest size (5T). The rainsuit is light, waterproof, and easy to pack.
  • Rain jacket – Would be a better choice if you are expecting strong winds and heavy rains. We’ve found Columbia to be a good brand, that balances price with reliability, and quality that usually long outlasts our growing kids.

Beach Day Gear & Essentials To Pack

Young child wearing goggles, swimming  in the ocean. Things to pack for the beach.

We’ve highlighted some important beach day essentials to bring if you have the room.

If flying, you likely won’t be bringing big heavy items, or everything on the list.

Family beach day gear to pack:

  • Mesh Beach Bag
  • Beach Chairs
  • Beach Tent or Umbrella
  • Sand Free Beach Blanket
  • Beach Wagon
  • Snorkel gear & swim goggles
  • Beach Towels (Turkish Towels or Microfibre are amazing)
  • Wet Bag (for wet swimsuits & clothes)
  • Dry Bag (to keep change of clothes dry)
  • Cooler & Ice packs
  • Extra ziploc or bag for beach treasures
  • Boogie Boards
  • Life Jackets
  • Frisbie, Football, beach ball or soccer ball
  • Waterproof Cell Phone Protector
  • Reef Safe Sunscreen
  • Water Bottles

We like to focus on one or two age appropriate beach toys / activities we think our kids will enjoy for a day at the beach. Plus the essentials like towels, sunscreen, hats, and life vests.

Half the time our kids abandon what we’ve brought and run amok with new found friends, and use their beach stuff anyway.

Plus beach house rentals will often provide toys and other beach gear for you to use, so you don’t need to bring too much. Or you can rent equipment and buy a set of beach toys there. Just factor that into your budget.

PRO BEACH TIP : Bring a compact Travel Clothesline to hang up wet items at the end of the day. Do you really want to keep throwing your family’s wet stuff over the chairs, couches, tvs at your rental?


Young girl eating a snack at the beach, on a beach blanket, with reusable water bottle beside her.

Hot sun and beach fun lead to thirsty beach goers.

We’ve found that taking a refillable water bottle is good tip for any type of vacation. Not only does it avoid throwing away tons of plastic, the water just tastes better, and less chance of leaks.

If water quality is an issue, choose a waterbottle with a filter. Don’t forget a sippy cup if your kids are little.

Find out tips for bringing a water bottle on a plane .

PRO BEACH TIP : Freeze water in your waterbottle overnight. This keeps your water colder, longer for a day at the beach with your family.

Young girl playing with her shadow at the beach. Open suitcase with clothes. Ultimate beach packing list for family.

Extra Beach Supplies To Pack For Babies & Toddlers

Baby sticking tongue out lying on a blanket on a rocky beach in the shade.

I like to be pretty minimalist when I pack for the beach. As I like to encourage my daughter to play with whatever natural objects she can find.

Although now that she is older, and sees the other kids with beach toys, floaties, snorkels & other kids beach activities our packing list has grown.

Thes are some of the items we’ve found helpful to have on hand at the beach to make things easier, when heading out with our kids as babies and toddlers. Some of these may only be suitable if you are renting a car, or driving your own.

Extra baby & toddler beach supplies for your family beach packing list:

  • Extra diapers, bottles, snacks
  • Baby Wipes (great for sandy & sticky hands too)
  • Baby / Toddler Beach Shoes
  • Beach Tent or Umbrella for shade – or try a pop-up baby shade tent
  • Beach Wagon – for carrying all your stuff.
  • Life Jacket
  • Baby Carrier
  • Fitted Sheet – For babe to lie on. Anchor each corner with beach bags for a sand barrier
  • Wet Bag or Disposable Bags – for soiled diapers
  • Mesh Bags & Baby Beach Toys
  • Sand Toys, Shovel & Bucket

Fewer items, also means less for the adults to carry.

Let’s face it, it’s not usually the kids who have to carry the bulk of the supplies. A win-win in my books. Now only if there was a fool proof way to avoid bringing home sand.

Toiletries To Pack

Toiletry bag open with hairbrush, soap cream, conditioner.

I tend to bring my own natural soaps and laundry products, as I can’t use anything with chemical / perfume smells. If anyone in your family has sensitivities, it’s best to bring your favorite products from home.

  • Medicines / Prescriptions
  • Birth Control
  • Toothpaste / Toothbrushes / Floss
  • Hand & Face Lotion
  • Shampoo / Conditioner
  • Hair Products
  • Hair Brushes
  • Hair Elastics
  • Make up / Make up Remover / Make up Case
  • Menstrual Products
  • Shaving cream / After Shave
  • Nail Clippers
  • Contacts / Contact Solution
  • Small Mirror
  • Toiletry Bag

🏖️ Grab more Family Beach Trip Tips for a successful & fun family vacation

Family beach vacation packing list. Sandals on a sandy beach, with foot prints leading to the ocean.

Beach House Essentials To Pack

Many Beach houses and rentals will have most of the beach & kitchen essentials you’ll need. Double check with the owner ahead of time to confirm what they provide.

Beach House supplies to bring:

  • Plastic Tupperwear for food leftovers
  • Paper Towels
  • Extra Toilet Paper
  • Toddler Dishes & Portable High Chair
  • Ziploc Bags or Resuable Ziplocs
  • Stain Stick
  • Portable Hamper / Laundry Bag
  • Laundry Soap
  • Board Games
  • Activity Books
  • Art & Drawing Supplies
  • Stand Up Paddleboard
PRO BEACH TIP: Have basic groceries delivered to your beach house with local grocery delivery or instacart. That way you don’t have to rush out right away to get food & supplies.

Health & Safety Items To Pack

Young girl and boy in a kaya on a tropical ocean.

Safety First!

That’s my motto.

With a family, I’ve found it’s always a good idea to bring a basic first aid kit on any vacation, that covers all the usual suspects like band-aids, antiseptic wipes and cream, guaze, and tweezers. Bites, slivers, scrapes, and stings happen.

PRO SAFETY TIP: Write out the local emergency & hospital numbers and keep a copy in your first aid kit, as well as add them to your phone contacts. Same with your travel health insurance #’s. You don’t want to be scrambling to find these numbers in an emergency situation

Health and safety items to bring for your family:

  • Mineral Sunscreen (Reef Safe)
  • SPF Lip Balm
  • Insect Repellent and After Bite
  • Kids After Bite (My daughter prefers the kids version as it stings less)
  • After Sun Lotion – Aloe Vera is soothing for the skin
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Disinfectant Wipes
  • Anti-nausea meds / Gravol
  • Immodium / Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Thermometer
  • Rehydration tablets / powder for kids & adults
  • Insect repellant
  • First Aid Kit

If you are traveling somewhere where malaria, or the zika or west nile virus is present, you will also want bring and use an EPA-registered insect repellent as recommended by the CDC . Check with a travel doctor first who can give give you their recommendations for the best products to use.

It’s also a good idea to discuss water safety with your kids, before your trip. Red Cross has some great videos & tips.

SUN SAFE TIPS: Most people think of sunscreen as the first line of defense. In fact this should be one of the last. There are many other things you can do to avoid too many uv rays, before even applying the sunscreen. These include: Wear protective clothing (long sleeve shirt & pants, hat, rashguards) Find or make your own shade Avoid going out mid day when the sun is the hottest (10am-3pm) Check the UV index

Family Beach Vacation Packing list. 2 kids running on the beach. Empty Beach chair and umbrella, on the sand, with a woman and young child standing by the ocean in the background.


Life jackets are a good idea for kids, especially if your family is planning on participating in watersports. Even on calm days, the ocean can be dangerous.

Bringing your own is essential if you’re planning on taking boat or on the water tours. As toddler & kid sized lifejackets can be hard to come by.

When choosing a kids life jacket make sure it has the following:

  • Must be Coast Guard-approved. Check the label.
  • A collar big enough to support your child’s head, with a grab strap on the collar.
  • A safety strap between the legs, to prevent the jacket from slipping up over your child’s head.
  • Reflective material.

Essential Travel Documents to Bring

  • Travel Wallet / Cash
  • Drivers License / Passports
  • Bank & Credit Cards
  • Anti-Theft Bag
  • Hard Copy of Reservations (Tours, Hotels, Flights etc.)
  • House & Pet Sitter Contacts
  • Health Insurance Documents
  • Roadside Assistance Cards / Info
  • Auto Insurance Papers / Info
  • Car Rental Papers & Contact Info

🏖️ Beach Vacation Ideas

We love our beach vacations.

From my childhood favorites on Vancouver Island to tropical beach destinations around the world. Here are a few family friendly destinations to check out:

  • Varadero, Cuba
  • Bahamas: Cost, Things to do
  • Costa Rica 10 Day Itinerary; Volcanos, Beach, Cloud Forests
  • 4 Days in Drake Bay & Corcovado, Costa Rica
  • Parksville, BC Canada – Local’s favourite
  • Philippines with kids

Entertainment & Electronics To Pack For The Beach

Perhaps bringing entertainment on a beach vacation seems like a fanciful dream for those with young babies / toddlers / kids.

We found when our our kids were younger, they were often worn out from all the sun and fun, which gave us a few quiet moments at the end of the day, to sit on the porch and read a book, or enjoy the view.

Essential electronic items to pack for your family:

  • Books or Kindle
  • Tablet, Kindle Kids edition , or Kindle Fire Kids Tablet
  • Portable Charger / Solar Powered Charger
  • Bagsmart electronic organizer It’s a life saver (or at least an electronic cord saver).
  • Waterproof cell phone dry bag – keep the sand, water & dirt out of your phone
  • Charging Cords
  • Tablets / Laptops
  • Waterproof Speaker
  • Travel Adapter


It’s also a good idea to have a back up plan for rainy days, or for times when your children want to hang around the hotel or beach rental.

We’ve had this happen a few times, and found it much easier to deal with cooped up kidlets when we had a few activities ready to pull out.

Some of our favourite travel friendly entertainment essentials include:

  • Card Games – Taco vs Burrito , Sushi Go , Deck of Cards
  • Blank Notebook and pencil crayons or pens
  • Mess Free Art ( Melissa and Doug or Crayola)
  • Kids Activity Books
  • Craft supplies (stickers, beads & cord, small craft kits)
PRO TIP: Use a soft pencil case with a see through mesh or plastic front, to keep activities such as the craft supplies organized and easily accessible.

travel list beach

Grab your Beach Checklist for Family Here:

Final thoughts: what to pack for a family beach trip.

Our Family Beach Vacation Packing List has you covered for a fun, stress-free seaside escape. With this handy guide, you can rest easy knowing you’ve packed all the essentials and a few clever extras for your perfect family beach getaway.

While this is a list of items we feel are essential for beach vacations, you don’t have to bring everything if it doesn’t work for your family.

Now, grab your sunscreen, shades, and loved ones—it’s time to create those unforgettable memories and enjoy the sun, surf, and sand. Happy vacationing!

Related family vacation articles :

  • Thailand: What you need to know to have a safe family vacation
  • One Day Havana, Cuba Itinerary
  • Easy ways to save money for your next family vacation

Packed for Life is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to,

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Donna Garrison is the founder of Packed for Life, an ever curious traveler with a passion for making memories with her family. With a unique perspective on travelling on a budget gathered over 30 years, 20 countries and 5 continents she gives families the tools & resources they need to experience the joys of travelling more for less through practical solutions. She helps over 20,000 families a month plan & take the family travel, camping and road trip adventures of their dreams in Canada, the USA and around the world. Contact her at: Donna [at]

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Winter is such a magical season. There’s the holiday season,…

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Ahh just reading this list makes me wanna go on a vacation! A good sunscreen is a must. I used completely ignore it as I rarely get sunburnt. Now I know better 🙈

I have vivid memories as a child sitting at the beach smelling the coconut scented oil that people used put on to get a better tan. I agree sunscreen is a must and am glad there are so many options.

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The Essential Beach Vacation Packing List (Free Printable)

I love to travel, and with more airlines restricting carry on luggage and charging more for checked bags, I hate to end up with things I don’t need or not have things I want. This beach vacation packing list ensures I remember what I need without overpacking.

In addition to the free printable packing list for beach vacations, I have a few tips for you when you pack. And there are some items you may not think to pack that can make your vacation even better.

Some links in this article are affiliate links that may earn me a commission if you purchase through them.

When I travel, I have some items I pack that many others don’t know or think to bring. Each one of these either makes my life easier when I travel or makes me happier, so make sure to read through the explanation of them.

warm weather packing needs

And isn’t vacation all about happiness? Use this beach vacation packing list to make life easier, and enjoy your next vacation even more!

Need more travel tips? Check out other favorite travel tips and hacks at the end of this article.

Strategies to Pack Lighter

When you’re heading out on a beach vacation, generally your goal is comfort and not high fashion. Make sure to read up on the dress code for wherever you plan to stay, but then think about how you plan to spend your days.

When I take a warm weather vacation, I essentially live in my bathing suit during the day. I dress in “real clothes” only for dinner and maybe a show or other entertainment afterwards.

The moral of the story? You need fewer clothes than you think you do, so pack just essential items!

Yes, you absolutely can wear shorts or pants or dresses more than once. No one notices, and truly no one cares.

For a week long beach vacation, I bring three swimsuits, a rash guard (critical in Caribbean climates, especially if I plan to snorkel!), two cover ups, two t-shirts, a pair of shorts, and three sundresses.

That’s it. I rotate amongst them, and if I spill on one sundress, I still have others. I wear my “real clothes” so little though that it’s silly to take an outfit for every day.

Use that same strategy for shoes. On the plane, I tennis shoes, and then I bring one pair of flip flops and another pair – sometimes two – of flat dressy sandals that go with all the evening outfits I have.

Another Tip? Check out where you plan to stay and know what you plan to do there to determine whether you pack my water shoes or not. Some beach destinations or excursions require them while others don’t.

Make sure you look at what amenities the hotel provides, as well. Do they have quality shampoo and conditioner so you can leave yours at home? Awesome!

Do they have a hairdryer that will work for your needs? Do they provide beach towels even if you go off resort? You’re all set there.

Make sure that you bring plenty of reef safe sunscreen for your beach trips. And since those generally come in larger bottles, did you know you can transfer them to TSA approved travel bottles to not have to check a bag?

Use the free printable packing list for beach vacations, and don’t forget about the “extras” and why you need them!

Beach Vacation Packing List Printable

Make sure to click on the image to download the packing checklist.

Printable of Beach Packing Checklist with items categorized by need..

Beach Vacation Packing Checklist

What to add to your beach vacation packing list, items to add to your beach vacation packing list.

travel list beach

Blue or Black Pen

Was your first reaction “why?” I don’t blame you. So often people don’t travel with a pen, and if they do, it isn’t always blue or black.

But… if you travel internationally, you need to fill out a customs form. They hand the forms out on the plane, which is when you want to complete them.

Sometimes the flight attendants or your seatmates will have a pen, but not always. If you don’t have a pen, you have to fill it out before customs while everyone streams past you and gets in line.

Don’t get stuck at the end of the line. Bring a pen with blue or black ink , and save yourself the headache.

travel list beach

Cell Phone Case that Holds Your Room Key

I cannot tell you how many of these cases friends have bought after seeing mine. It’s a slim case, but it holds my room key so I don’t have to carry my wallet or a purse everywhere I go.

Many hotels have the locks that just need your key to tap it – and most of those open when I tap the back of my phone against the lock. No digging for a key makes me so happy.

I also keep my drivers license and a credit card in there or some cash, depending on my needs. The less I have to carry, the better and the safer.

The back slides open easily, and the case is strong, too. I drop my phone all the time, but – knock on wood – have never cracked a screen. Winning!

  • iPhone case
  • Samsung Galaxy cases

travel list beach

The Perfect Sun Hat

Whenever you spend time in the sun, you should wear a hat and protect your face and ears. I found my absolute favorite sun hat ever. I’ve been using it since 2014, and it’s still going strong in 2022.

I can pack this hat and not worry about crushing it. When it gets wet, it doesn’t lose its shape. And it comes in all sorts of colors.

And my favorite feature? It rolls up when I’m not wearing it, so it doesn’t take up a ton of room in my beach bag or my suitcase.

Oh, and did I mention it’s right around $20? When I thought I lost it this summer, I had another one in my cart on Amazon in a heartbeat!

I usually pack a ball cap, too, for outings where I want my hair out of my face but am not as concerned about the sun, but I never travel without this hat.

travel list beach

Insulated Water Bottle

Not only do I love using an insulated water bottle on a cruise ship or at a resort to stay hydrated while I’m out and about easily, but I use it as I travel, too.

Leave your bottle empty, then fill it at a drinking fountain as soon as you pass through security. Many airports now have water bottle stations, which is great.

Forget having to wait for a flight attendant to come through with the drink cart – you’re all set. This is one item I know often gets left off a beach vacation packing list, but you want it!

Pro tip: I use a wide mouth bottle so I can pour a drink into it from the bar and take it to the pool or ocean and not worry about it spilling. But no matter what, this keeps things hot. Or cold.

travel list beach

Travel Straws with Silicone Tips

Have you been on a beach vacation yet where they have no straws or - almost worse - paper straws? Let's just say that makes enjoying a frozen drink difficult.

My travel agent sent me a set of reusable travel straws that collapse for easy storage and have silicone tips so they feel good in your mouth.

I. Fell. In. Love.

The last trip I went on, I bought a set for everyone I traveled with so they could have extras for their family after they got home. They loved them just as much.

They each have their own case, and they come with brush cleaners so you can give them a good clean in your resort bathroom. Some bartenders will also wash them out for you.

I love that they come in different colors so you know which straw belongs to which person. Needless to say, I don't travel without these EVER anymore.

travel list beach

Water Resistant Beach Tote

I carry a beach bag with me that’s generally a canvas bag with a zipper. That holds my day to day items – sunscreen, books, sunglasses, etc.

When I’ll be around water or sand, however, I like to have a water resistant tote that carries my towels and protects everything from splashes, etc. The last thing anyone wants is to have anything ruined.

Bonus? My larger waterproof beach tote  rolls up in my suitcase so it doesn’t take up much room. When I suddenly need extra luggage on my trip back, it acts as an extra carry on.

Don’t tell me I’m the only one who’s shopped and OOPS needs more space.

The other similar item I pack if I plan to be on a boat for any reason is a dry bag . This one is completely waterproof and floats if it falls overboard for whatever reason.

Just make sure you seal it properly, as an open bag doesn't keep out water or float for long! I use the 20 liter size, which holds beach towels, cameras, and all the gear I need for a day on the water.

travel list beach

TSA Approved Liquid Travel Containers

We all know the TSA 311 rule, right? Liquids in your carry on have to be 3.4 ounces or less in a single quart size zip top bag, and only bag per passenger.

Even if you check your bags, make sure you have the critical items in your carry on – a change of clothes, travel documents, medicine, etc. That means my hair products, sunscreen, and the like, too.

Wellll some of those bottles are huge, so I found the perfect liquid travel containers . I love these for so many reasons, and I’ve travel tested these, so I know they work.

Multiple colors, BPA free silicone, and no leaks? Sign me up for right around $10 any day.

I have used mine for years, and they are in great shape trip after trip.

travel list beach

Drink Floaties

This is just one of those fun things I absolutely love and want to bring on my beach vacation packing list just because I can. If I’m in water anywhere, these just make me smile.

This set comes with 12 different floats, so you can share with friends or just change them out every day. They’re super cute patterns – though I did finally decide the mermaid is my favorite.

The pump comes with the inflatable drink floats , so that makes it even easier. It’s fast to pump them up, and they squish down to their original size when you’re done to use again later.

Kids adore these, and they're fun for adults, too.

Pop your cup into the floatie in the pool and enjoy your time to relax. And yup, there’s 12 of these plus the air pump for well under $15. How can you not add that fun to your next trip?

travel list beach

Waterproof Phone Case

I refuse to ruin my phone in water, but I don’t want it stolen either. When on vacation, I tend to put my phone into a waterproof case and wear it around my neck when hanging in the pool, etc.

These cases come in a set of two and have never leaked. They’re easy to use, but always do the tissue test before you use it the first time on vacation.

They’re perfect for snorkeling. I love that you can take photos underwater with these for some great memories. Just remember to turn your phone on through the case before you go underwater.

Their vibrant colors and long cords make them easy to spot them in case they float away from you.

They’re another pretty inexpensive purchase – for two cases mind you – that just takes stress away from your vacation. Add this stat to your beach vacation packing list.

travel list beach

International Travel Adapter

If you plan to travel internationally, make sure you know what type of plugs your resort offers. While many offer the standard US plugs, some do not.

It has USB slots to charge devices plus a spot to plug in another device on top. The best part is that it has prongs to plug into the wall for four different power types – American standard, European, British, and Australian/Chinese.

That means I can use one adapter for all my devices instead of having to purchase multiples. And it saves space in my suitcase!

Usually I travel with my  Belkin charger , which has two USB slots and 3 additional plugs. If you don't need an international adapter, I recommend this one.

travel list beach

Packing Cubes

How do I pack a week's worth of everything into a carry on suitcase with room to spare? I use compression packing cubes.

I LOVE these things. They let me fit so much more into a smaller space with ease.

They're strong and sturdy yet lightweight and really increase the amount of clothing I can get into my suitcase.

Pro tip: I pack one cube that has exactly what I need when I arrive from my cold weather home to warm weather destination that I can easily pull out and change into. This way, I don't have to hunt and dig for what I need!

What would you add to a beach vacation packing list?

More great travel tips:.

  • How to stay in touch for free when traveling internationally
  • Why you need TSA precheck
  • How to get passports for your kids
  • What to know about Beaches Resorts
  • How to make customs fast and easy in Jamaica
  • Or check out all my travel advice and destination recommendations

What to pack for tropical vacation. 8 items that should be on your beach vacation packing list that you might not realize you need or want. Travel necessities you will love to take away any vacation stress you may have. #travel #vacation #packinglist #traveltips

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This beach is the reader’s choice for ‘best beach in Florida.' What to know before you go

Florida is home to plenty of beaches where you can spend your summer days soaking up sun, surf and sand. 

There are 825 miles of beach in the state and many of those beaches frequently show up on rankings lists for having the best beach experiences , from the beach with the clearest water in the south , to secluded beaches.

And USA TODAY’s “10Best” just released its annual reader-chosen list of Florida’s best beaches.

Here’s which Florida beach landed in first place on USA TODAY’s Reader’s Choice list of the best beaches in the state and what to know before you visit.

What are the best beaches in Florida?

In May, Florida beaches took national rankings on “best beaches” lists, including Dr. Beach’s highly-anticipated 34th annual list of the best public beaches in the U.S.

Two Florida beaches, Caladesi Island State Park and Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park , ranked on Dr. Beach’s national top 10 list. Another notable mention for Florida: Southern Living released a list of “20 Florida beaches that could pass for the Caribbean.”  

Also from Southern Living, Palm Beach County’s town of Jupiter took the title of the clearest ocean water in the southern region of the U.S.

And another Palm Beach County beach topped USA TODAY’s Reader’s Choice list of the best Florida beaches. Delray Beach, which is about two miles of coastline on the southern end of Palm Beach County, took first place as the reader-chosen best beach in Florida.

“Our award-winning beach attracts so many visitors, protects us from hurricanes and tropical storms, and is home to an abundance of native plants and animals,” Delray Beach City Manager Terrence Moore said in an announcement on the city’s website.  

“We are privileged to have such a beautiful beach and it is an honor to be voted the number one Best Beach in Florida.”

Here are the top 10 best beaches in Florida, according to USA TODAY’s Reader’s Choice list:

  • Delray Beach
  • Panama City Beach
  • Lauderdale-by-the-Sea
  • Clearwater Beach
  • Treasure Island Beach
  • Stuart Beach
  • Cape San Blas
  • Jupiter Beach Park
  • Anastasia State Park in St. Augustine

Does Delray Beach have free parking?

There is on-street beach parking along Delray Beach on A1A , but it isn’t usually free. It costs $3 per hour, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week, and there is a time limit of up to three hours. Parking here is free only before 8 a.m. and after 8 p.m.

Any parking spaces on side streets or in city-owned parking lots near the beach, like at Atlantic Dunes Park, cost around $2 to park and time limits vary.

If you live in Delray Beach, you can get a beach parking permit.

“Parking permits are available for Delray Beach residents, those who live downtown, seniors and beach parking,” the city’s parking guide says.

Is the water clear in Delray Beach?

Yes, the ocean water at all of Palm Beach County’s beaches are some of the clearest in the state, due to the geography of the shore.

“The coast in Palm Beach County gets a further boost due to its shape that juts out a little farther east and the fact that the continental shelf is quite narrow here,” Southern Living’s report on the clearest ocean water in Florida says.

“The result is that Palm Beach County’s beaches are directly in the path of the Gulf Stream’s flow, and the tropical waters actually pass closer to shore here than anywhere else in North America.”

This is why Jupiter, which is only around a 40-minute drive from Delray Beach, was given the title of the beach with the clearest water in the south.

Can dogs go on the beach in Delray Beach?

According to the city’s website, dogs are not allowed on the beach in Delray.

“Dogs and other pets are prohibited in all city parks , including the Municipal Beach and Atlantic Dunes Park,” the website says.

Escape Cancun crowds: 8 quieter Mexico beach towns for your next vacation

travel list beach

  • Cancun is one of the world’s top tourist destinations, but there are a plethora of other, less popular Mexican beach towns just waiting to enchant travelers.
  • From charming surf towns to snorkeling along sea turtles, travelers should explore the diverse beauty of the rest of Mexico’s expansive coastline.
  • With no shortage of warm weather, sun and surf throughout Mexico, these destinations offer a quieter, less crowded experience.

Cancun reigns as one of the world’s top tourist destinations, and there’s no mystery why. The Caribbean Sea-adjacent locale has a myriad of sprawling beach resorts, clear turquoise waters and a vibrant nightlife. In 2023, Cancun welcomed over 21 million tourists .

While Cancun is beautiful and lively, there are a plethora of other, less popular Mexican beach towns just waiting to enchant travelers. From charming surf towns to snorkeling along sea turtles, travelers should explore the diverse beauty of the rest of Mexico’s expansive coastline.

With no shortage of warm weather, sun and surf throughout Mexico, these destinations offer a quieter, less crowded experience than enjoying Cancun alongside 30 million other tourists. 

Far Homes spotted hidden gems across Mexico’s coast, looking at the destinations’ natural beauty, recreational activity offerings, safety and accessibility to learn and experience the local culture. To assess each town’s safety ratings, Far Homes released a report looking at crime statistics from data by the Executive Secretary of the National Security System. While some of these spots are known to attract tourists, they’re nowhere near as saturated as Cancun or Cabo. 

Here are eight under-the-radar beach towns in Mexico to consider adding to your travel list.

Learn more: Best travel insurance

Cancun without the crowds: Meet Isla Mujeres, a quieter Mexican getaway

Located about an hour from Puerto Vallarta, Sayulita perfectly balances bustling and mellow energy. “Sayulita is a fun little town full of eclectic restaurants and shops,” said Gene Alvarez, a local real estate agent from Net Real Estate who works with Far Homes. “With several great surf breaks and a laid-back atmosphere, it attracts surfers, backpackers, and bohemians.” It’s easy to get around for travelers not well-versed in Spanish, and many people rent mopeds or golf carts to cruise around the town. While the main beach in town, Playa Sayulita, can be crowded for both surfers and beachgoers, travelers can head north to the neighboring village of Playa San Pancho for quieter, more serene beaches.

Fly into Cancun Airport and head about three hours south to Akumal for a quieter escape from Cancun and Tulum. Scoring high with Far Homes for its natural beauty, Akumal has become more known among travelers for its pristine beaches and lush jungles. Must-dos in Akumal include snorkeling with sea turtles in the clear waters of the marine protected area of Half Moon Bay and swimming in the enclosed cenote Yal-Ku Lagoon, said local real estate agent Rob Kinnon from BuyPlaya. Just 15 minutes south is the famous Tulum Archaeological Site, where Mayan ruins made of limestone sit perched upon a cliff.

Puerto Escondido

Located in the Pacific Ocean-facing state of Oaxaca, Puerto Escondido is a rising destination for its world-class surfing breaks and easy-going lifestyle. Travelers can fly directly to Puerto Escondido International Airport, less than two miles from town. “From the trendy bars of Zicatela to the laid back vibes of La Punta, the town has something for everyone,” said local real estate agent Jon Ferioli from Bayside Real Estate. “And with nods from international magazines, Puerto Escondido is quickly becoming the go-to spot for digital nomads seeking inspiration and connection.” The town scored high for its activities offerings. Even if you don’t want to brave the often powerful waves, travelers can go on crocodile boat tours through the mangroves, witness the glowing bioluminescent plankton in two of the nearby lagoons at night, or visit Casa Wabi, a contemporary art and architecture museum. 

Isla Holbox

If you’re really itching to escape the crowds, head to Isla Holbox, a 26-mile-long car-free island located right off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. While the island has grown in popularity and therefore development, it still offers travelers a secluded beachside retreat. Travelers can wander the streets, which are paved in sand, barefoot or in golf carts – the main mode of transportation on the skinny island. To get there, travelers fly to Cancun International Airport then travel by car for two hours to Chiquila to board a 15-minute ferry ride to the island. While it may take more effort to visit Isla Holbox over Cancun or Cabo, it’s well worth it. The resort town ranks high for natural beauty, including bioluminescent lagoons and whale shark tours, and safety. 

Those seeking out the sun and sand will find Huatulco to be paradise with its 36 beaches and nine bays, and endlessly sunny weather. Less developed than Puerto Vallarta and Cancun, the small resort town offers activities like kayaking, hiking waterfalls or scuba diving, and is bordered by the Huatulco National Park. Of course, travelers can just relax on the beach as well. To get there, travelers can fly into Bahias de Huatulco International Airport, a short hour-and-a-half flight from Mexico City. “The international airport is only 10 minutes away, and the area attracts tourists looking for a more authentic Mexican experience and small-town feeling,” said Brent May, founder and CEO of Bayside Real Estate. 

Located on the Pacific coast in Oaxaca, Zipolite’s former hippie culture is still retained with its laidback, rustic charm and a focus on eco-tourism. The community evolved around a hippie beach culture and has now become known for its excellent restaurants, bars, trendy boutique hotels, and low-key party culture,” said May. Over an hour’s drive from Puerto Escondido International Airport, the town scored high for activities and safety, and there are not as many tourist traps as in the more developed parts of Mexico. The massive Zipolite beach remains Mexico’s only legal nude beach, but there’s also a western end known for surfing and a small eastern bay called Playa del Amor that's known among the LGTBTQ+ community. “

This sleepy fishing village of Mahahual has grown in popularity among travelers, thanks partly to cruise ships. However, it still has much to offer travelers, ranking high for culture and safety by Far Homes. “This charming coastal town is best explored by bicycle,” said Gaby Ortiz, sales manager at Maya Ocean, a local real estate broker. “As you pedal through its scenic streets, you can lose track of time, immersed in the natural beauty and tranquility of your surroundings.” To get to Mahahual, travelers can fly into Chetumal International Airport and drive for about two hours. Travelers eager to experience vibrant marine life will find Mahahual to be the perfect destination. Spanning nearly 72 miles, the largest barrier reef system in Mexico and the Caribbean, Banco Chinchorro, is just an hour-long boat ride away. The UNESCO biosphere reserve is home to coral, American crocodiles, rays, turtles, nurse sharks and even sunken ships. On land, travelers can visit the Museum of Costa Maya and the Chacchoben Mayan ruins to learn more about local history and culture. 

Todos Santos 

About an hour’s drive from Los Cabos International Airport on Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, Todos Santos is known as a haven for artists and creatives as well as its colonial architecture. Nestled between the coast and the desert, the town ranked highly for natural beauty, safety and culture with Far Homes. If travelers venture away from the bustling town center – home to boutique galleries, shops and restaurants – they can go surfing at the nearby Playa Los Cerritos or hike the coast of Punta Lobos. “At one time a small fishing village, Todos Santos now boasts several chic hotels and world-class dining, but it hasn’t lost its indie soul. Make sure to stop at Jazamango for a true Todos Santos dining experience,” said Nancy Costa, a local real estate agent with Costa Cabo Realty. 

Kathleen Wong is a travel reporter for USA TODAY based in Hawaii. You can reach her at [email protected] .

The Key Points at the top of this article were created with the assistance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and reviewed by a journalist before publication. No other parts of the article were generated using AI. Learn more .

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6 Beaches for Budding Swimmers, Surfers and Castle Builders

For families with children, we found half a dozen beaches in the United States and Mexico, each tailored to a particular summer activity.

The small hands of two children can be seen building sand castles with pails and molds in fine, beige beach sand.

By Freda Moon

A family beach vacation is an American classic. But depending on their children’s ages and inclinations, some families may be drawn to different kinds of shorelines: those featuring clear, calm water for snorkeling and learning to swim; or, for shell collectors and young naturalists, sandy stretches carpeted with seashells or bordered by tide pools. For castle builders, fine sand is a must, while would-be surfers need tidy waves, ready to ride. Here are six great beaches in the United States and Baja California for family-favorite summer activities.

For castle builders: Mission Beach , San Diego

San Diego’s temperate climate allows for barefoot beach days year-round. For those who’d rather build with sand than lie in it, Mission Beach has another advantage: San Diego Sand Castles and the sand sculptor JT Estrela. Mr. Estrela, a former math teacher, offers lessons in the art of sand castle construction on this family-friendly Southern California beach, where the sand is perfect for castle building: The grains are fine but not too silty, clean below the tide line, free of shells and rocks, and pack hard.

In his two-to-three-hour sessions (starting at $160 for two people, $20 for each additional person), Mr. Estrela works with families to build elaborate five-foot-tall castles. The goal is for participants to “feel like this insider of arcane knowledge,” he said.

While the best sand in the San Diego area is at the offshore city of Coronado in San Diego Bay, Mr. Estrela prefers working with families at Mission Beach. Known for its boardwalk amusement park, Belmont Park ; historic beachfront swimming pool, the Plunge ; and excellent playgrounds, it’s particularly fun for kids. The smell of cotton candy and hot dogs hangs in the air, mingling with shrieks from the Giant Dipper, Belmont’s 1925 wooden roller coaster, squawking sea gulls and salt spray. Its biggest downside is its popularity, which means parking can be a challenge.

For new swimmers: Onekahakaha Beach Park , Hilo, Hawaii

In an archipelago known for spectacular beaches, Onekahakaha Beach Park , on the rugged, volcanic coast of the Big Island, may seem a counterintuitive choice. At Onekahakaha, with its two large, sandy-bottomed ocean pools enclosed by lava rock walls and backed by palm trees and an expansive grassy lawn, the sand is mostly below the surface.

Separated from the Pacific Ocean’s notoriously powerful waves and rip currents, the seawater within the pools is warm and placid, protected and shallow, which makes it excellent for little kids learning to swim, as well as for older kids to snorkel. It’s also home to nonthreatening marine life (no sharks here), including green sea turtles.

Though the water is only about waist-deep on an adult, there are lifeguards, adding to Onekahakaha’s reputation for safety. And without a wide swath of sand between the pools and the shoreline path, the water is accessible for strollers and wheelchairs. There’s also a swing set, picnic tables and proximity to the lush Hilo area.

As long as you’re on the Big Island, the site of several active volcanoes, visit the thermal pools alongside some of its beaches, including Pohoiki Black Sand Beach at Isaac Hale Beach Park , 40 miles south of Onekahakaha. The ocean there may be a bit rough for young swimmers, but it’s a great place to show children a fresh lava flow.

For would-be surfers: Wrightsville Beach , N.C.

Wrightsville Beach is considered by many surf historians to be the home of East Coast surfing and one of the first places outside Polynesia and the Pacific Rim for the sport to catch on .

It also has some of the best beginner’s breaks in the United States , said Sean Griffin, 37, a surfing instructor and the father of a 5-year-old, who started riding the local break when he was 8.

He points out that Wrightsville is the only surfing beach in the state that has clear, blue water. Being able to see one’s hands and feet and the sandy bottom “makes anyone feel more comfortable in the ocean,” he said.

At Surf With Sean , Mr. Griffin offers private 90-minute lessons ($95 to $120) to surfers as young as 3 and into their 80s, as well as surf camps for kids ($425 per week). “There’s no reason they shouldn’t be able to learn or give it a shot,” said Mr. Griffin, who provides all gear in all sizes, including adaptive equipment.

There’s more to the area’s kid appeal than its waves. Mr. Griffin points to Johnnie Mercers Fishing Pier , at the center of the beach, where his son “loves seeing all the salty fisherman pulling in fish,” and the big, modern playground at Wrightsville Beach Park .

For tide pool explorers: Carkeek Park , Seattle

Naomi Tomky — a lifelong Seattleite, author of “ The Pacific Northwest Seafood Cookbook ” and mother of two daughters, 6 and 8 — recommends Carkeek Park in Seattle for an immersive experience in Puget Sound marine life. At low tide, Ms. Tomky said, the narrow beach “just goes out for ages,” exposing tide pools filled with starfish, sea snails, anemones and “many, many crabs, from the size of your fingernail to the size of your hand.”

Unlike tide-pooling elsewhere on the West Coast, where the powerful Pacific Ocean requires caution because of dangerous sneaker waves , Puget Sound is rich with life but calm enough for Ms. Tomky to let her daughters explore on their own.

Just 30 minutes from downtown Seattle, Carkeek is part of the Seattle Aquarium’s Beach Naturalist Program , which sends naturalists to various shorelines around the area.

Along with the below-the-tide-line intrigue, Carkeek is also known for an annual spectacle: spawning salmon. In the fall, it’s possible to stand over the park’s Piper’s Creek and watch the fish — a sacred Indigenous symbol of the Pacific Northwest — on the run.

“It’s one of the coolest things you can see,” said Ms. Tomky, “to understand how these fish share the city with us as they swim back into their former home.”

For shell hunters: Tigertail Beach , Marco Island, Fla.

Sanibel Island, a barrier island just off Fort Myers, Fla., is one of the most famous shelling destinations on the planet. That popularity comes with a downside: It’s often picked over by enthusiasts who hit the shoreline at dawn. The island is also still recovering from Hurricane Ian, which badly damaged its infrastructure in 2022.

As an alternative, the shelling guide Evan Kuperman (a.k.a. Captain Evan) recommends Tigertail Beach on Marco Island, about an hour south.

Mr. Kuperman, a Florida master naturalist , operates Sand Dollar Shelling Tours . His tours ($125 per adult, $90 per child, and families of up to six people for $650) take guests by boat to places like the Ten Thousand Islands , a mangrove mud flat habitat and National Wildlife Refuge.

For visitors unable to join one of his trips, Mr. Kuperman said that Tigertail, a publicly accessible beach ($8 parking fee), offers exceptional shelling.

Marco Island is more built up than Sanibel, but Tigertail, at the island’s north end, is a county-owned park with a lagoon and a position facing the Gulf of Mexico that lends itself to accumulating seashells, including rare and striking ones, like the spiny ornamented lace murex and reddish brown banded tulip .

But everyone is hoping for a junonia, or Juno’s volute, a sea snail that has to travel far in churning waters to reach the beach intact. “You don’t find it,” said Mr. Kuperman, “it finds you.”

For young snorkelers: Playa el Chileno , Los Cabos, Mexico

About halfway between bustling Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo, Playa el Chileno is no longer an undeveloped local secret. Now backed by the sprawling Auberge resort Chileno Bay Resort & Residences , the beach remains public and comparatively tranquil. Awarded the Blue Flag certification for meeting stringent environmental standards, Chileno is exceptionally well maintained.

While catamaran snorkeling tours come and go from Chileno Bay, it’s also possible to reach the reef from the shore, which makes it good for inexperienced snorkelers who might find it intimidating to leap into deep water without easing their way in. High Tide Sea Expeditions offers snorkeling excursions via kayak that start at nearby Playa Santa Maria, hug the coast and arrive at Chileno by water. For younger kids and anyone who prefers more time in the water, there’s a guided two-hour tour that visits both beaches by car ($95 to $130 per person, including equipment).

Among the roughly 50 species of fish that snorkelers might encounter along Chileno’s rocky outcroppings and coral reef, there are large tuna, sea turtles, puffer fish, Panamic green moray eels, Cortez angelfish and blacknosed butterflyfish — among many other colorful creatures. The coral here is less vibrant than some places, but the number and variety of fish are thrilling.

Freda Moon, a frequent contributor to the Travel section, lives on a boat in San Francisco Bay with her husband and two kids. Her upcoming National Geographic book with the coauthor Ashley Harrell, “100 Beaches of a Lifetime,” will be published next year.

Follow New York Times Travel on Instagram and sign up for our weekly Travel Dispatch newsletter to get expert tips on traveling smarter and inspiration for your next vacation. Dreaming up a future getaway or just armchair traveling? Check out our 52 Places to Go in 2024 .

Get Out on the Water This Summer

3 6 Hours in Traverse City, Mich.:  Explore the laid-back city loved for its annual cherry festival, unspoiled lake vistas and access to epic dunes .

6 Great Beaches for Families:  For families with children, we found half a dozen beaches in the United States and Mexico , each tailored to a particular summer activity.

Surfing in Texas: A wave pool in Waco offers consistent conditions, affordable prices and a friendly vibe for beginner surfers .

Hidden Island Treasures: Being far from everywhere is the point in the Magdalens, a colorful and tranquil Quebec island chain  north of Prince Edward Island.

A Famous Massachusetts Inn: A writer returns to a classic Nantucket hotel, where he worked 50 years ago, to ponder how he, the island, and the newly refurbished inn have changed .

5 Waterfront Hotels : Whether it’s by a river, lake or ocean, or in a castle, cottage or on the site of a former torpedo factory, here are places to stay where the water is never far away .

Have you visited this Delaware town? It's listed as a top small town for summer vacation

travel list beach

It can be hard to decide which of Delaware’s beaches is the perfect fit for your next trip, but now that one of the First State’s beach towns has been listed as a top small town in the United States for a summer vacation, the choice is much easier to make.  

Top U.S. small town for a summer vacation in Delaware 

Travel + Leisure, a travel magazine, compiled a list of 15 of the best U.S. small towns for a summer vacation, and Delaware favorite Dewey Beach made it among the ranks.  

Dewey Beach has an ocean and a bay on either side of the town, which means there’s ample room for a classic beach day swimming and suntanning or an adventurous excursion on a charter boat. Not to mention tourist season provides plenty of summer events for families, adults of any age and any level of fun you’re looking for.  

Travel + Leisure also cites Hyatt Place Dewey Beach as a coveted place to stay and shouts out Woody’s Dewey Beach as the place to dine if you want some of the best crab cakes around.  

Before you visit the beaches: Beach etiquette: Do's and don'ts at the Delaware beaches this summer

The other top small towns outside of Delaware included in the list are:  

  • Narrowsburg, New York  
  • Buckeye Lake, Ohio 
  • Addison, Texas  
  • Adairsville, Georgia  
  • Coronado, California  
  • Travelers Rest, South Carolina 
  • Bardstown, Kentucky 
  • Abilene, Kansas  
  • St. Michaels, Maryland 
  • Sheridan, Wyoming 
  • Hermann, Missouri 
  • New Paltz, New York 
  • Bretton Woods, New Hampshire  
  • McCall, Idaho 

Got a tip or a story idea? Contact Krys'tal Griffin at  [email protected] .      

Surf’s Up, Prices Down: America’s 10 Most Affordable Beach Towns for Homebuyers in 2024

(; Canva Pro )

Surf’s Up, Prices Down: America’s 10 Most Affordable Beach Towns for Homebuyers in 2024

It’s that time of year again—school’s out for the summer, and families across the country are packing up to hit the beaches.

You’ve likely dreamed of turning your summer vacation spot into a regular weekend getaway or even a full-time residence. But buying a beach home comes with a major obstacle: the high price of prime coastal real estate.

With that in mind, the® team has again calculated the most affordable beach towns for homebuyers for 2024. Following a few tweaks to the methodology, Mississippi’s Gulf Shore still reigns supreme for affordability. However, this year, Pascagoula, MS, unseated Gulfport, MS, as the country’s No. 1 beach town for home affordability .

“We’re a small town, where everybody knows everybody else,” says Bernie O’Sullivan , a senior loan officer with Delmar Mortgage who has lived in Pascagoula for more than six decades. “We have a huge beach park where they bring in music several times a year. … It’s a very laid-back town, with beautiful sunsets.”

For the first time, our top 10 list includes two cities on the West Coast: Newport, OR, and Ocean Shores, WA. And surprisingly, this year’s list includes a village on upscale Cape Cod: Dennis Port, MA, where small beach bungalows abound.

Other entries for 2024 include beach towns on the Jersey Shore and in the Carolinas, Florida, Texas, and Louisiana.

One note of caution: Some beach towns on this list, though not all, made the cut primarily due to their abundance of condos, which are typically priced lower than single-family homes and bring down the median list prices. While condos can offer an excellent path to attainably priced beachfront ownership, they typically have monthly homeowners association fees, which are not included in our calculations and can significantly affect affordability.

Our rankings also don’t factor in flood insurance, which can be a major expense for coastal homeowners. Recent changes to federal rules have sharply increased flood insurance premiums in some areas, with Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida seeing some of the largest increases.

travel list beach

How we determined the most affordable beach towns

Starting with a federal database of beaches and their locations, we created a list of coastal cities and towns. Then, we ranked them by median list prices in March for single-family homes, including condominiums but excluding mobile homes. Only cities with at least 25 active listings for the month were included, to ensure adequate inventory.

To make the final list, these beach towns had to include a sandy, public-access ocean beach within the city limits. Cities on the coastline of estuaries, such as inland bays and sounds, were excluded from this year’s rankings.

Finally, to ensure geographic diversity, we included only one beach town per state in the top 10 rankings, excluding second or third entries from states already listed.

1. Pascagoula, MS

travel list beach


March 2024 median list price: $164,900

Mississippi’s Gulf Shore regularly ranks highly on our list for beach town affordability, and this year is no exception.

Pascagoula, a city of about 22,000, is the birthplace of famed beach-bum musician Jimmy Buffett . The city’s main public beach is dubbed Buffett Beach in tribute to the “Cheeseburger in Paradise” singer, who died last year at the age of 76.

In addition to its beach, Pascagoula features a public fishing pier, as well as a nine-hole regulation golf course at the Pascagoula Country Club. A short boat ride away is Petit Bois Island, a federally protected wilderness area. Though the island has no structures or facilities, it is open to the public, offering the experience of a private island getaway for day-trippers visiting by private boat.

The city is not known as a place for second homes, and most properties here are owner-occupied primary residences, according to O’Sullivan, the mortgage loan officer in Pascagoula.

Pascagoula has bounced back strongly after being devastated by Hurricane Katrina nearly two decades ago, she says, with new bars, restaurants, and shops springing up in the city.

2. Atlantic City, NJ

travel list beach

March 2024 median list price: $239,000 

Perhaps better known for its casinos than its beaches, Atlantic City’s shoreline still sees big influxes of beachgoers on sunny summer days.

The seaside resort town, known as the “Las Vegas of the East Coast,” does not lack amusement and entertainment options. The city’s famous boardwalk is also crowded with dining and shopping options, and a prime spot for people-watching on the Jersey Shore.

3. Deerfield Beach, FL

travel list beach

March 2024 median list price: $239,950

Out of Florida’s many beach towns, Deerfield Beach claims the top spot for affordability this year, primarily due to the city’s abundance of moderately priced condos.

Located about halfway between Miami and Palm Beach in southeast Florida, Deerfield Beach boasts plenty of activities and amenities, including a fishing pier, boardwalk, and arboretum.

Deerfield Island Park, a county-run nature refuge, is accessible by free boat rides from the mainland every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

4. Dennis Port, MA

travel list beach

March 2024 median list price: $277,500

It might come as a surprise that a seaside village on upscale Cape Cod not only made our top 10 list of affordable beach towns, but also landed in the top five.

Dennis Port’s relatively low list prices are due to the abundance of small, World War II–era beach cottages that line its shores. On a square-footage basis, they are relatively pricey. But if you are comfortable with cramped quarters, these cottages offer ownership of a home with ocean views and direct beach access at an attainable price.

For example, this 367-square-foot one-bedroom is smaller than some backyard sheds. But, currently listed at $189,000, it offers ocean views from a spacious outdoor patio, and the beach is a short two-minute walk away.

5. Myrtle Beach, SC

travel list beach

March 2024 median list price: $299,500

A famed resort city, Myrtle Beach makes this year’s list primarily due to its high density of condo units, which brings the median list price down.

The city of roughly 38,000 sits in the middle of South Carolina’s Grand Strand, an uninterrupted 60-mile stretch of sandy beaches. Myrtle Beach is famed for its large number of golf courses, including many celebrity-designed entries from the likes of Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus .

Other popular amusements in the city include Ripley’s Aquarium, the Hollywood Wax Museum, and a 187-foot tall Ferris wheel towering over the boardwalk.

6. Corpus Christi, TX

travel list beach

March 2024 median list price: $315,000

Corpus Cristi’s city limits include parts of Padre Island and Mustang Island, both popular destinations for Texas beachgoers. The city of roughly 300,000 features a good mix of attainably priced housing, including beachfront condo units and modestly sized homes located a short drive from the beach.

Parking at Padre Island’s beach is rarely an issue, since the national seashore there allows driving on the shoreline . Pickup trucks with well-stocked coolers are a common sight on the beach, though four-wheel drive is highly recommended.

Local attractions in Corpus Christi include the USS Lexington Museum aboard the decommissioned aircraft carrier, the Texas State Aquarium, and the South Texas Botanical Gardens & Nature Center.

7. Sunset Beach, NC

travel list beach

March 2024 median list price: $340,000

Most of the homes sitting directly on the sandy shore of Sunset Beach run upward of $1 million. But a short drive of a few minutes inland opens up a range of attainably priced single-family homes, and a number of condominium complexes.

Originally named “Bald Beach,” the seaside town got its more attractive current name in the 1950s, from a developer who was impressed by the sunset views from the southeast-facing barrier island.

Attractions in Sunset Beach include the Ingram Planetarium and a fishing pier. On Bird Island, hikers can enjoy the undeveloped nature preserve. The island is home to the Kindred Spirit Mailbox, a local oddity where passersby can leave their thoughts. The mysterious seaside mailbox was the inspiration for the Nicholas Spark novel “Every Breath.”

8. Grand Isle, LA

travel list beach

March 2024 median list price: $375,000

Located on a remote barrier island on Louisiana’s Gulf Shore, Grand Isle is known for its beaches, migratory bird habitats, and surfable waves.

Even large beach houses on Grand Isle are relatively cheap compared with many other coastal towns, but there’s a significant catch. The area has been repeatedly pummeled by hurricanes, and flood insurance on homes there will likely come at a steep premium.

For beach lovers who can stomach the risk, Grand Isle offers well-maintained sandy shores, a state park with a fishing pier, seafood and daiquiri joints, and plenty of fishing charters.

9. Newport, OR

travel list beach

March 2024 median list price: $399,950

The highest-ranked West Coast beach town on this year’s list, Newport is home to historic Nye Beach, a popular vacation spot on Oregon’s coast since the late 19th century.

Newport owes its attainable listing prices to a mix of beachfront condos and smaller homes within walking distance of the shore. For example, this two-bedroom, 912-square-foot cottage sits on the bluffs overlooking Nye Beach and is listed for $389,900.

Local attractions include the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, the Oregon Coast Aquarium, and Devils Punchbowl State Natural Area.

10. Ocean Shores, WA

travel list beach

March 2024 median list price: $425,000

Ocean Shores, a small city of about 6,700 residents on the Washington coast, rounds out this year’s top 10 list of affordable beach towns.

Situated on the Point Brown peninsula, Ocean Shores has direct shoreline access to both the Pacific Ocean and the north bay of Grays Harbor. Nearby attractions include hiking and equestrian trails, a public golf course, and the Quinault Beach Resort and Casino.

Keith Griffith is a journalist at He covers the housing market and real estate trends.

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10 Most Affordable Beach Destinations to Live in Around the World

These beautiful coastal destinations offer top-notch beach living on a budget.

travel list beach

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Many dream of waking up to the soothing sound of crashing waves, but with inflation and real estate prices driving up the cost of living , few can afford to move to a beach town. However, this doesn't mean you have to abandon your fantasy, as plenty of oceanfront communities across the globe offer affordable housing and good-value living.

And while the cost of living also largely depends on your spending habits, the beach towns we've highlighted below guarantee your dollar will stretch much further without sacrificing the little pleasures like eating out, enjoying cultural activities and events, and taking advantage of everything the destination has to offer.

So, whether you're planning your retirement or want to try the digital nomad lifestyle , we've found 10 budget-friendly places around the world — both small and large — where surf, sand, and sun are pretty much a given 365 days of the year.

To compile this list, we consulted experts from International Living, specializing in life overseas, as well as multiple reports on the cost of living in cities worldwide. And, of course, be sure to check the visa requirements for your beach destination of choice before packing up.

George Town, Malaysia

Matteo Colombo/Getty Images

The capital of Penang, an island off Malaysia's west coast, is a vibrant city famous for its historic attractions and colonial architecture, which were recognized by UNESCO and included in the organization's list of World Heritage Sites in 2008. The city is also known for its street art, vibrant nightlife, and diverse population, reflected in its eclectic dining scene that blends Malay, Chinese, and Indian influences.

According to data by International Living, a couple can live on a monthly budget of $1,760, whereas $2,500 will get you a place in a luxury high-rise with an ocean view and resort-like amenities.

Valencia, Spain

Jamie Ditaranto/Travel + Leisure

Known as the birthplace of paella, Valencia offers a fantastic food scene, striking architecture, and affordable living, regularly placing it among the best beach destinations to live in Europe .

The city has several golden-sand beaches and is a short flight from the Balearic islands of Mallorca, Ibiza, and Menorca (or a five to seven-hour ferry ride ).

A couple renting a two-bedroom apartment in downtown Valencia can live comfortably on a monthly budget of $2,635, according to International Living .

Mazatlán, Mexico

Elijah-Lovkoff/Getty Images

Last year, this underrated beach destination ranked among the most affordable communities in Mexico for expats . GoBankingRates calculated a single person would need less than $1,300 per month to live comfortably here, and that number includes rent. The company also noted the average one-bedroom apartment in the city center costs about $620 per month.

The city, which already has a sizable expat community, is home to a beautiful historic area, more than 10 miles of beaches (including several on the three islands off its coast), and many music events throughout the year.

Canggu, Bali, Indonesia

Andrew TB Tan/Getty Images

Bali's picture-perfect beaches and laid-back lifestyle have attracted many expats, but if you're looking for one of the most affordable destinations on the island, consider Canggu. This increasingly popular village on Bali's south coast is close to some of the island's most important temples, plus it's surrounded by scenic rice paddies and banana plantations.

You can expect to spend under $1,500 per month here, of which $800 goes toward renting a two-bedroom villa , according to International Living.

Hua Hin, Thailand

Rasamee Tansirisithikul/Getty Images

A former fishing village, Hua Hin is now the preferred seaside getaway for both locals and visitors, thanks to its picture-perfect beaches, golf courses, seafood restaurants, lively night market, and temples. And while the destination has many urban conveniences, if you miss the vibrancy of a big city, Bangkok is about a three-hour drive away and easy to visit for a weekend.

International Living points out couples in Hua Hin can live comfortably on a monthly budget of $2,000, which covers eating out a few times a week, groceries, entertainment, and renting a one- or two-bedroom apartment.

Varna, Bulgaria

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Located on Bulgaria's Black Sea coast, north of Greece and Turkey, Varna is a midsized city offering access to scenic beaches, museums, an aquarium, a lively garden, many resorts, and an international airport. The region is an up-and-coming luxury destination on the Balkan peninsula, with a presence from global hospitality brands like Meliá. Nobu recently announced plans to open a property in the area as well. And golf enthusiasts can practice their swing at one of the most scenic courses in the region at Thracian Cliffs, which overlooks the Black Sea.

According to local data, a furnished two-bedroom apartment in Varna costs around $655 monthly and about the same for other expenses . Bulgaria, overall, was named one of the best places to invest in real estate by Sothebys in 2023 .

Lagos, Portugal

Gabriel Mello/Getty Images

The Algarve region of Portugal is a magnet for expats, thanks to its sun-drenched beaches , delicious cuisine, and many charming villages and small towns. Lagos, in particular, is a popular choice as it offers urban amenities with the laid-back lifestyle of a resort town, including a vibrant nightlife scene, excellent shopping, and a marina.

International Living experts estimate a couple will need a monthly budget of about $2,080, inclusive of rent.

Toulon, France

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This city along the Mediterranean may not be as well known as Marseille or Nice, which is precisely what makes it appealing as a home base. As the gateway to Provence, Toulon is an ideal destination for sampling the region's delicious food and admiring its stunning scenery. Residents enjoy plenty of sunshine throughout the year, beautiful historic architecture, plenty of cafes and restaurants, and a thriving arts scene. With several beaches in and around the city, you're never too far from a stretch of sand. reports the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Toulon is $16 per square meter (or about $600 per month), plus approximately $150 for electricity and heating .

Azores, Portugal

Taylor McIntyre/Travel + Leisure

Island living in the middle of the Atlantic? Sign us up. The Azores is a much calmer, less crowded, and more affordable alternative to Portugal's mainland. The nine islands comprising the archipelago boast dramatic landscapes with volcanoes, lagoons, thermal springs, and small towns where life moves at a slower pace.

Although certain goods may cost more because they're imported, living in the Azores is generally less expensive than on the mainland, at around $1,500 per month. In the capital, Ponta Delgada on the island of São Miguel, monthly costs are about $1,200 if you're single and $2,850 for a family of four, according to .

Puerto Morelos, Mexico

Christopher Larson/Travel + Leisure

The Riviera Maya is a bustling vacation and second-home destination where housing isn't exactly cheap these days, but if you're searching for an affordable alternative in the area, the small fishing village of Puerto Morelos, located between Playa del Carmen and Cancun, is your best bet.

In contrast to its more famous neighbors, this Caribbean community is more laid-back and relaxed, offering plenty of opportunities to stay active. At the same time, thanks to its proximity to Cancun (the city is about a one-hour drive away), residents have access to quality health care and other urban amenities.

International Living notes a couple can live here on $1,700 a month, of which rent accounts for $500 to $700, depending on the apartment.


  1. Printable Packing List For The Beach

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  3. Headed to the beach this summer? Make sure you have all your beach

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  4. Free Printable Packing List For Beach Vacation

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  6. Printable Beach Vacation Checklist

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  1. The Essential Beach Packing List

    Download the Packing List for the Ultimate Beach Vacation. Click here or on the image below to download our fillable beach packing checklist. All of the products featured in this story were hand ...

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    Holly Johnson is a veteran travel writer who has visited more than 50 countries and many of the top beach destinations in the world. She frequently heads to Florida beaches with her family, and ...

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    Wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and a cute sun hat. Wearing sunscreen is important for protecting your skin from sun exposure and sunburns. Some form of sunblock should be the first thing in your beach bag. I burn easily, so I always opt for a rub-in lotion over a spray or mist.

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    The key to a good capsule wardrobe is finding pieces that will all fit together, and that can be worn multiple times, in multiple ways. A sample capsule beach vacation wardrobe could include: 2 or 3 bathing suits. 3 t-shirts or vest tops. 1 shirt. 1 pair of trousers. 1 pair of shorts. A sarong or cover up.

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    Beach clothing. Avoid overpacking with this easy formula Wendy Mak, author of The Capsule Wardrobe: 1,000 Outfits From 30 Pieces, uses when she travels: Simply multiply the number of tops with the number of bottoms you plan to bring and that's the number of outfits you'll be able to create (as long as each top coordinates with each bottom). "As a general rule of thumb, if I'm going ...

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    5. Umbrella. Just like a beach towel or monkey mat is a must-have, so is an umbrella if your luggage has enough room. Even when you want to get some sun, it is always nice to have an area of shade to sit under when you need it without having to leave the beach. This is one of our beach packing list staples. 6.

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    It has clickable fields (even though you can't see them on the version below). Click here to download your free copy. Reusable, Fillable Beach Packing List. This packing list doesn't cover the items that you need on every trip, it only includes beach-specific items. Click here to see our reusable travel packing checklist (downloadable PDF).

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    Packing can be a big concern, especially when traveling to a new and unfamiliar place. Save yourself the extra worry and money of last-minute purchases with this easy to use packing checklist for any beach vacation. Just click on the image below to download and print an easy-to-use checklist of all the items you'll want to include.

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    Travelers should pack swimwear, cover-ups, sunscreen, sunhats, and water shoes for a 3-day beach trip. Beach towels, beach chairs, portable coolers, and snorkeling gear should also form part of the every 3-day beach trip packing list.

  13. The ULTIMATE Family Beach Packing List For 2024 (+ FREE Printable

    My beach packing list can be used to plan to travel for a 5-day beach vacation, a 7-day beach vacation or for an 8-day beach vacation. But if you DON'T have laundry or a way to wash clothes on your beach trip, I recommend one outfit per day, including underwear, socks, etc., ESPECIALLY FOR KIDS.

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    Pjs - it's usually pretty hot at the beach, so bring some lightweight pajamas1. Bras + underwear + socks - bring enough underwear for everyday + a couple extras. Take a look at the other clothing items you're bringing to determine what kind of bras you need to bring (regular, strapless, sports bras).

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    Family Beach Vacation Checklist - Clothing Essentials. While it's easy to remember to pack shorts, beach themed t-shirts, tank tops and summery dresses for warm weather, there are a few other clothing essentials not to miss. Make sure to pack at least 3 sets of clothing per person, plus 2 swimsuits, at least a weeks worth of undies and a ...

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    Beach blanket/towel & chairs Beach safe Beach sports and water toys Tablet/laptop Food/snacks Empty water bottle Portable phone charger Cell phone Camera w/memory card Passport/visa/ID (with ...

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    Liquids in your carry on have to be 3.4 ounces or less in a single quart size zip top bag, and only bag per passenger. Even if you check your bags, make sure you have the critical items in your carry on - a change of clothes, travel documents, medicine, etc. That means my hair products, sunscreen, and the like, too.

  19. PDF The Ultimate Beach Vacation Packing List

    Travel insurance card List of medications Emergency contact Cell phone Electronic chargers Voltage adaptor Itinerary Directions (printed out) Wallet Cash Credit/ATM Card Snacks *All carry-on liquids should be in containers 3.4 ounces or less and fit into a clear quart-size ziploc plastic bag.

  20. No-Fuss Beach Packing List for 2024 ( + Free PDF! )

    No-Fuss Beach Packing List for 2024 ( + Free PDF! December 31, 2023. written by local expert Jane Elmets. Jane always knew she wasn't destined for a desk job... She has travelled all over the world and is passionate about noodles, sloths and her hiking boots! When she isn't busy adventuring around the world, you can find her reviewing travel ...

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