Are you looking for the ultimate beach packing list? This guide from a self-proclaimed beach lover has everything you need to know.
Beach trips are some of the best trips. But sometimes, it’s hard to remember everything that you’ll need. With beach towels, sunscreen, goggles, and so much more, it’s inevitable that you’ll forget something — unless you use a list, of course. That’s when this ultimate beach packing list comes into play!
For the Water
The number one item that you need for the beach (at least, in my opinion, is swimwear). I’m sure you have some sort of swimwear at home, but I’ll just take this opportunity to share my favorite brand: Sundaze Bikinis.
Sundaze Bikinis makes women’s swimwear from recycled ocean plastic. So not only is the company creating beautiful, functional swimwear, it is also helping to clean the ocean!
Use the code BORDERS15 on the Sundaze Bikinis website to get 15% off your order!
As for an option for men, Outerknown creates board shorts made of 100% recycled ocean plastic.
Last but certainly not least, if you’re looking for other options, here’s a list of the best Hawaii swimwear brands.
If you burn easily, a rash guard might be a beach essential for you. Stream2Sea makes rash guards for everyone (even your dog!) from recycled fish nets!
If you just happen to be looking for sustainable brands to support, here are quite a few sustainable, Hawaii-based businesses that deserve your support.
As a contact-wearer, goggles are a necessary part of my trip to the beach. They let me see all the fish swimming by WITHOUT irritating my eyes.
If you want to stay underwater for a longer period of time, remember to pack some snorkel gear. After all, those sea creatures can sometimes zoom by quite quickly!
Are you an avid swimmer? Someone who isn’t afraid to get far from the shore? Consider bringing some fins with you to the beach! That way, you’ll be able to travel farther and faster without expending too much energy.
On the other hand, if you’re not that comfortable with swimming, you may want to add a life jacket to your beach packing list. While some people are embarrassed to wear one, it’s much better to be safe than sorry! Think about them like training wheels – one day, you’ll be able to go without them, but, for now, they’ll keep you safe.
For the little kiddos who just like to float around in the water, there are those little armband floaties.
For the adults who like to just float around in the water, there are those fun-shaped full-size floaties. There are donut ones, flamingo ones, pizza ones, and unicorn ones. Take your pick!
GoPro (with Accompanying Handler Mount)
Based on the other items on this ultimate beach packing list so far, you can probably tell that there is a lot to see and capture at the beach. The problem is that most electronics are not waterproof – except, of course, for the GoPro.
I recently got the GoPro HERO9, and it’s so exciting to be able to capture all of the beauty underwater! As a matter of fact, the first time I whipped out my GoPro, I came face to face with a stunning stripped eel! So glad that I was able to catch that on camera!
I would also highly recommend purchasing and bringing the accompanying handler, as it makes it much easier to keep a grip on your expensive camera underwater.
If you plan on venturing into a rockier part of the water, water shoes should definitely make it onto your beach packing list. If you’re not careful, sharp rocks or coral could scrape up your feet. Water shoes can help avoid this issue.
It’s rare that you’ll find a prime bodyboarding beach (my favorite is Sandy Beach on Oahu, Hawaii), but, when you do, you’ll want to have a bodyboard handy!
Ditto goes for surfboards. You don’t want to miss those awesome waves!
Waterproof Phone Case
If you don’t feel like splurging a ton of money on a GoPro, consider investing in a waterproof phone case! While the image isn’t as great as a GoPro, you’ll still be able to capture some of your water-filled adventures.
For the Shore
Keeping your skin protected from the sun’s harmful rays is so important. However, protecting the reef from the harmful chemicals in most sunscreens is also important. Consider adding a reef-safe sunscreen to your list of beach essentials.
My favorite reef-safe sunscreen brand is Little Hands Hawaii (also available on Amazon). This Hawaii-based sunscreen company only uses the best ingredients to protect your skin and the ocean.
Use the code BORDERS15 on the Little Hands Hawaii website to get 15% off your order!
If you’d like a few more recommendations to choose from, here’s a list of the best Hawaii sunscreen brands.
Sometimes you just don’t want to get your clothes wet from your soaked swimsuit. A great solution for this is a cover-up!
Beach towels are another essential part of a beach packing list. One of my favorite beach towels is created by Hawaii-based artist, Nick Kuchar. But Amazon has some pretty awesome ones too.
Change of Clothes
Many people don’t like to stay in their swimsuits after taking a dip in the water. If you’re one of those people, bringing a change of clothes will prove to be very useful.
You’ll, of course, need something to sit on while you’re at the beach. Personally, I’m a fan of the ones that can fold up into bag form.
If you prefer beach chairs over beach mats, there are tons of options for those too!
One necessary beach item that is often forgotten is a simple beach bag. While there are designated beach bags, I am a big fan of Lauren Roth Art’s hibiscus print tote. Stuff all of your beach items from this list into your beach bag!
Use the code BORDERS5 on this Lauren Roth Art website to receive 5% off your order!
If you’re a family headed to the beach for a day, odds are you’ll have a TON of stuff – much too much for just a beach bag. A great solution to this is a beach wagon. You can literally shove everything you could ever want to bring to the beach into this wagon, and just roll it along.
Beach jams can completely set the mood of a beach day. Make sure you have a portable, waterproof speaker to play your favorite songs!
Pro tip: Spotify’s “Beach Vibes” playlist is perfect!
Protect your eyes from the sun with some quality sunglasses! You don’t want to be squinting during your entire beach trip!
If you’re protecting your eyes with sunglasses, a wide-brim hat will be perfect for even more protection. And, as an added bonus, it can be quite aesthetic!
Flip-flops (also known as “slippers” in Hawaii) are basically the only type of footwear acceptable at the beach. Well, besides being barefoot of course. So don’t forget them!
If you want to support an amazing local Hawaii business, you can buy a pair of Olukai slippers for your adventure.
Kindle or Books
When I’m at the beach and I don’t feel like going in the water, my Kindle or a hardcopy book becomes my greatest source of entertainment. If you’re looking for a list of books you might enjoy reading in the sun, here are ten books you should read before heading to Hawaii. Or perhaps The New York Times Best Seller List is closer to what you’re hoping to read.
*Pro Tip: If you’re looking for the best gifts for beach lovers, a Kindle or a book are both great ideas.
I’ve previously mentioned how much joy a hammock at the beach can bring in my Kailua Beach post. Imagine just listening to the ocean waves, swinging along with the sea breeze, and slowly drifting to sleep…
A beach can be a perfect day for kids, especially if you remember to bring all of their beach essentials. Buckets and shovels are perfect for building a sandcastle, and toy construction vehicles can be used to scoop up the sand.
If you want to go all out, Amazon even has an advanced sand castle building kit with 37 pieces!
Frisbee, Soccer Ball, Volleyball, or Football
If you’re an active person, you can bring your activity to the beach. Remember to bring a frisbee, soccer ball, volleyball, or football with you on your adventure!
Throughout this beach packing list, we’ve come up with quite a few different ways to ward off unwanted sun rays. My last suggestion for this is an umbrella. With an umbrella, you’ll be able to create a nice little circle of shade to provide a little relief from the heat.
External Battery Pack
Between the use of iPhones, iPads, and Kindles, your battery will likely get drained quickly at the beach. Instead of trying to preserve your battery, be prepared with an external battery pack (and, of course, the necessary charging wire).
For the Food
Something to Eat
I don’t know about you, but I almost always get hungry at the beach. You can lose a lot of energy swimming around or simply just soaking in the sun.
Be prepared for this energy draining by bringing something to eat. If your beach day just so happens to be in Hawaii, consider trying some foods from the Hawaii food bucket list!
Something to Drink
To go along with your delicious food, don’t forget to pack some drinks. If you want them to stay cold, invest in a hydroflask or two to store them in! Then, not only will you have nice chilly drinks, you’ll also be helping the environment by using a reusable bottle!
Portable Cooler (with Ice Packs)
During a hot day at the beach, it’s always so much more satisfying to enjoy food or drinks when they are nice and cold. To keep them a at a nice cool temperature, invest in a portable cooler and fill it with a few frozen ice packs.
After taking a dip in the salty ocean or playing with the sand, your hands will probably be quite dirty. Give them a quick clean with some wet wipes before chowing down.
Did you like this beach packing list? Consider checking out our Hawaii packing list as well!
Where is your next beach vacation taking you? Tell me about it in the comments!
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4 Replies to “The Ultimate Beach Packing List”
Oh super useful! Thanks for the sunscreen recommendations especially, I’ve been looking for a natural sunblock that’s reef safe and I’ve had a hard time finding one I like. I’ll give some of your suggestions a try, I know the perfect one is out there somewhere!
So glad I could help you in your sunscreen search :)!
Good list. I constantly use my waterproof iphone case.
Glad you enjoyed it, Sue!