What To Pack for A Family Beach Trip: 22 Essential Items

what to pack for the beach

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I enjoy every trip we take as a family, no matter where our travels take us. Throughout our travels, in the U.S. and abroad, we’ve visited dozens of beaches.

Each trip was memorable in its own way (especially Hot Water Beach) because no two beaches are the same. 

There’s something really special about going on a trip to the beach with your family. Some of my favorite memories as a family were made on beach vacations.

The beach is one of the best places to spend time together, have unique experiences, and make lifelong memories. 

Packing the right things allows you to have a fun, safe, and stress-free visit to the beach. To help make that possible, I’m sharing a roundup of items I recommend bringing when you go to the beach.

What To Pack for A Family Beach Trip

What To Pack for A Family Beach Trip



If you’re heading to the beach, chances are that you’re going somewhere warm. In this case, you’ll want to pack shorts, skirts, or lightweight pants. Pack one pair for each day of your stay.


You’ll want to pack a few different styles of tops, as well. Pack at least one or two tanks or tees for each day of your trip. 

Light Jacket

You’d be surprised by how much the temperature can drop once the sun goes down. I recommend packing a light jacket or sweater for those chilly nights on the beach. 


Don’t forget to pack something comfortable to sleep in. A pair of cozy pajamas make it easier to unwind after those especially long days at the beach. 


I typically recommend packing one pair for each day, but if you’re traveling with accident-prone kids, you may want to pack enough for at least two pairs per day.


Even if you plan on spending the length of your stay in sandals, pack one or two pairs of socks. This way, if you need to slip on your sneakers, for whatever reason, you’re prepared. 


Depending on what activities you have planned away from the beach, I recommend packing 2-3 pairs of shoes. A pair of flip-flops for the beach, a dressier pair of sandals, and a pair of sneakers.

Don’t forget your water shoes if you wear them. Use packing cubes for your shoes to keep the rest of your items clean. 

Beach Gear


Swimsuits are essential items for spending time at the beach. Pack 1-2 swimsuits per person. I usually recommend packing two for kids, just to be prepared. You never know what can happen!

Consider the color when picking out a swimsuit for your children. The safest colors are ones that are easily seen in the water, as explained here.

Sun Hat

A good sun hat is a must-have for both kids and adults. This sun hat is great for babies and this one works well for older kids. 

Beach Towel

Depending on where you’re staying, some places provide beach towels for guests. If you need to bring your own, I recommend packing lightweight, quick-drying beach towels like these. Usually, you’ll want one towel for each member of your family. 

Swim Diapers

This is the one item that parents tend to forget the most. If you have a little one who is still in diapers, pack plenty of swim diapers. If you’re not a fan of disposable ones, reusable swim diapers are a handy, eco-friendly option.  


Beach Bag

When it comes time to get everything from your room to the beach, you’re going to be extra thankful for a good beach bag. A beach bag like this one is handy because it can be folded and stowed away while you travel.

Wet Bag

Your beach clothes are going to get wet. It’s only a matter of time. A good wet bag like this one provides a designated space for wet clothes to keep them separate from your other items.

Sand Toys

If you’re heading to the beach with young children, you’ll want to bring along some sand toys. I like these beach toys because they come with a handy bag to store them in.

Cooler Bag

If you’re planning to spend a long time at the beach, I recommend packing a cooler bag with drinks and snacks for everyone.

A cooler bag is a more convenient version of a standard cooler because it can be folded down and packed away during your travels. 

Don’t forget to throw in a few ice packs to keep your drinks cold, rather than bothering with ice. 

Beach Essentials

Personal Items

Toiletry Bag

The easiest way to ensure you don’t pack more toiletries than you need is to use one toiletry bag for the whole family.

You can reusable family travel containers for things like shampoo, conditioner, and body wash.

Cellphone Charger

If you use your phone to take pictures as much as we do, you’re going to want to pack a portable charger in addition to your regular cellphone charger. Then, you can rest assured you won’t be stuck at the beach without a phone and a camera.

Safety And Sun Protection


Sunscreen is easily one of the most important things to pack for a beach trip, if not the most important thing. This travel-sized twin pack of sunscreen is perfect to protect your whole family from the sun. 


Don’t forget a pair of sunglasses for each member of your family. I love these kids’ sunglasses and this pair for adults

First Aid Kit

It’s always a good idea to have a first aid kit on hand when traveling with kids. I like this portable one because it easily fits in your purse, beach bag, or glove box. 

Aloe Vera

No matter how careful you are, and how meticulously you apply sunscreen, it’s always a good idea to pack aloe vera or after-sun lotion in case of sunburn.

Lip Balm With SPF

Don’t forget to protect your lips from the sun too. Lip balm with SPF is a must-have for trips to the beach.

Family Beach Trip Packing List

Family Beach Trip Packing List template

Packing the right stuff makes for a fun, safe, and stress-free beach trip. 

There’s nothing like spending time together as a family on the beach. Packing the right things for your trip makes all the difference.

Use this post as a guide, rather than scrambling at the last minute to gather everything you might want or need. Then, you can relax and enjoy your trip.

To read about making the most of family trips to the beach, check out this St. Thomas Guide or my post on things to do in Myrtle Beach with kids.

You can also find lots more travel tips, as well as destination ideas, on the blog

Kay, The Mom Trotter

Hey Fam, I’m so glad you’re here!
I am an entrepreneur and travel enthusiast who is passionate about sharing an alternate way of living surrounding travel, homeschooling, parenting and financial independence, with a mission to inspire other families.

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