Perfect Packing List for Beach Vacations

If you’re headed to the beach this summer and wondering what to pack, I’ve got you covered! I’ve been on beach vacations all over the world and have crafted the perfect packing list for beach vacations.

My hot take about packing for the beach? Most people overpack, but there are some things you should never visit the beach without. I think it’s possible to keep your packing list to essentials if you’re flying, but it will include some nice to-haves, too. 

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Table of Contents

Tips for Packing for the Beach

As you plan for your beach vacation, here’s a few tips for packing for the beach I’ve learned over the years.

1. It’s really easy to overpack for the beach.

    • Plan your outfits, and bring versatile clothing and things you can mix and match. I have a great vacation outfit planner that can help with this! 
    • If you’re going with the group, have everyone bring a few of the bigger items. One person has a cooler, great! Does another person have a speaker? Perfect! Split it up if you can, and remember, you don’t need to have the larger items, but they are nice to have.
    • Check where you are staying before your trip – do they include towels? Beach toys and chairs? Many resorts, Airbnbs, etc. include these or offer them for a fee which may be easier than packing them yourself!

2. Pay attention to the weather

  • Knowing the forecast can help you pack appropriate clothing and gear.
  • If the weather is going to be bad but you can’t change your trip, make sure you research other things to do. We had to do this in Mykonos, which wasn’t ideal, but we still had a fun time!

3. Things will get wet at the beach.

  • Prepare ahead for this: If possible, pack waterproof items, moisture-wicking fabrics, or quick-dry fabrics. 
  • Think ahead about your accommodation—will you have room to lay things out to dry, or will you likely need to pack extra because things will stay wet?

4. Sun protection is sooo important!

  • Bring extra sunscreen, and make sure it’s reef-safe and waterproof. 
  • Take frequent breaks from the sun, bring shade, and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

5. Don’t forget about entertainment.

  • Having a phone isn’t enough. It will likely overheat in the sun or run out of battery quickly needing to be on full brightness. Plan other entertainment.
  • I always bring my headphones to listen to music and my Kindle. If it’s a group trip, consider bringing some games along with you.
camps bay beach in cape town south africa

Packing Items and Bags

Organization Packing Items

    • Hanging Toiletries Bag: Many parts of the world (including cruise ships on the high seas) will not come with tons of storage space or large countertops.
    • TSA Approved Travel bottles: perfect so you don’t have to throw out your favorite self-care products at the security check.
    • Toiletry Bag: Easy to pack and water-resistant, this is a great toiletry bag. Comes in several colors.
    • Packing Cubes: Packing cubes are a great way to organize your bag and make the most of the space in a larger bag.
    • Travel Compression Bags: Use these bags to save space in your bag when traveling.
    • Pill organizer: Great option for a travel first aid kit if you don’t want to buy the travel size of each medicine you’d like to bring or have prescriptions you take.
    • Jewelry organizer: Great for keeping all your little pieces easy to get to and organized on a trip. This is something I held off on buying for a long time but now love having on trips!

Carry On Options

    • North Face Backpack: Plenty of pockets and room as an under-the-seat carry-on.
    • Black Hole® Duffel Bag 55L: My personal favorite and current carry-on bag. This is a great option if you want to bring just one carry-on.
    • Small Duffle Bag: This bag will fit under the seat while you’re traveling and hold your essentials. You can easily put it on top of the hard case luggage linked above for easy carrying.
    • Hard case roller bag: Durable and easy to clean, hard case luggage is another great option.

Consider packing carry on only for your trip! It’s a great way to save some extra money and will save you time at the airport.


Checked Bags

  • Hard case luggage set: consider getting a set with a carry-on and checked bags. Durable, easy to clean, and organization built in.
view of amalfi amalfi coast italy

Beach Packing Essentials

folly beach charleston south carolina

Other Things to Put on Your Packing List


This is what I recommend for a 3 day beach trip, add/remove depending on length of your trip!

    • Swimsuits (2-3)
    • Cover-ups (1-2)
    • T-shirts/tank tops (2)
    • Shorts (2)
    • Lightweight dress/skirt (1)
    • Flip-flops/sandals (1)
    • Comfortable walking shoes (1)
    • Light jacket or sweater (for cooler evenings)
    • Undergarments (5, yes extra because changing before/after the beach!)
    • Sleepwear (1-2)
    • Outfit for flight both ways




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beach vacation packing list pdf
Ready for your beach trip? This packing list will help you pack smart and ensure you have everything you need for a perfect beach vacation.
Ready for your beach trip? This packing list will help you pack smart and ensure you have everything you need for a perfect beach vacation.

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