Beach Essentials List (Items You Should Never Forget)

Hot sand, cool water, beach birds’ sounds, and a cracking BBQ smell. The beach is a great spot to unwind, camp, swim, or even jet ski. Whatever the reason, you’ll want to pack all the essentials in your bag. Don’t worry about remembering it all because we’ve got a detailed list of all the essential items below!

Beach essentials you don’t want to forget to pack on your trip include a sun hat, sunscreen, swimming gear, and a beach blanket. Other essentials you might not have considered packing are beach activities, a beach shirt, cleansing wipes, and a waterproof speaker.

Below are 33 essentials you’ll want to pack before heading to the beach. We don’t expect you to pack all 33 into a bag. Some of these items are activity specific, so tailor this list to your needs!

33 Beach Essentials To Pack

Below we’ve got 33 beach essentials that you’ll want to pack before your trip. Some of these might be slightly too big for your bag, but they can still travel in your car!

1. Tent

A tent can be useful at the beach for two reasons. You can pack a tent to camp overnight on the beach or a beach tent for shelter during the hot days.

It’s always handy to have some shade. Whichever tent you need, make sure it’s well-ventilated. You don’t want to be cooked alive.

I have curated a list of the best tents for beach camping in my article; feel free to check it out.


2. Sleeping Gear

If you’re planning an overnight stay on the beach, pack sleeping bags if it’s likely to be chilly in the evenings. If it’s going to be milder, you can opt for a blanket.

It’s also nice to have a sleeping pad or inflatable mattress between you and the sand for optimum comfort.

My articles offer a variety of the best sleeping pads and sleeping bags for you to choose from. Check them out to find the perfect one for your needs.

3. Beach Blanket

It’s essential to pack a beach blanket or picnic rug that you can use to relax on or eat your meals on. It’s always nice to have a softer surface to lounge around on instead of lying down on the course sand.

Sand also gets everywhere! So we recommend using a beach blanket as a sand-free zone.

4. Towels

Taking a towel to the beach is a no-brainer, but we recommend taking 2! You might be dipping in and out of the sea all day and need an extra towel to help you dry off.

If the beach has showers, having a towel that’s not sandy can also be handy.

If you’re limited to how much you can carry, you can always pack a fast-drying towel instead.

5. Dustpan and Brush

The best way to keep that sand out of clean spaces is to pack a dustpan and brush. It’ll make your life so much easier when tidying up!

You can find dustpans and brushes that are compact and lightweight, so they’ll fit easily into your bag!

6. Extra Long Pegs

As you’re probably aware, the beach can be a windy place. If you plan to take a tent for the day or overnight, the best way to keep your tent in one place is to use extra-long pegs.

These pegs will provide good holding power on soft ground.

We’d recommend packing pegs that also have screw-like structures. This will help anchor your tent to the beach. 

7. Extra Tarps

Tarps are our new best friends at the beach. Tarps make the best sand-free zones as they are exceptionally easy to clean.

They are best used in the doorways of tents so you can clean your feet before you make the inside of your tent sandy. They are also fairly lightweight, so you won’t notice them in your bag.

8. Solar Panels

If you’re spending the night at the beach or planning to be there after the sun’s gone down, taking some solar panels with you is handy.

These can power lights around your campsite or campfire, power a pressure shower, or even charge your mobile phone.

Don’t worry about fitting them into your bag. There are plenty of compact solar panels that are much easier to carry.

Solar Panels

9. Shovel

A shovel can be seriously helpful if the beach you’re going to doesn’t have toilets or you want to pack down the sand before pitching a tent. It’s best to get a small, lightweight travel shovel.

Remember, if you’re digging holes to go to the toilet, they must be at least 6 inches deep and 200 meters from a body of water.

10. Sled (or Beach Wagon)

Carrying a heavy bag across the beach can be hard and energy-draining. The best way to avoid this is to take a sled along.

By popping your bag and beach items into the sled, you can easily transport your belongings!

You could even ditch your bag altogether and use a beach wagon if you’re not hiking to the beach.

11. Beach Permit

You may not need a beach permit for a day trip, but it’s a different story if you plan to stay overnight. Many beaches throughout the USA will require you to purchase a beach permit before or on arrival.

To wipe the worry from your mind, consider getting and packing your beach permit before you arrive.

12. Sunscreen

Nothing ruins a trip to the beach more than sunburn. Don’t forget to pack enough sunscreen for the duration of your stay. It’s best to reapply throughout the day if you’ve been in the water.

Make sure you pack a product suited to your skin; you can choose from chemical or mineral-based sunscreens.

13. Aloe Vera

As well as packing sunscreen, aloe vera can be a blessing for your time at the beach. Aloe vera products are hydrating and soothing.

They work to cool down your skin which makes them perfect for sunburn.

14. Beach Shirt

If your skin is getting a bit too toasty, it can be handy to pack a beach shirt.

Beach shirts are usually baggy, light, and airy. They let you stay out in the sun, preventing your skin from burning.

A popular beach shirt you’ve probably seen around has a Hawaiian print, but any beach shirt can work.

Beach Shirt

15. Beach Umbrella

Although it may not fit in your bag, it can be handy to take a beach umbrella along in your car.

Beach umbrellas don’t only add to the aesthetic of the beach vibe, but they also provide great shelter from the sun.

If you get a fancy-colored one, it can be a good marker for your beach spot if it’s a busy day.  

16. Water!

Make sure you pack plenty of drinking water for your trip to the beach.

On a hot summer’s day, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine recommends consuming 2.7 to 3.7 liters of water.

If this is too much to carry, ensure you know where to source fresh water when you get to the beach.

17. Cool Box

You’re likely taking food or snacks for your trip to the beach, and a cool box is essential.

Remember, some food items can be dangerous to eat if they heat up in the sun, so keep them fresh!

A big cool box may not fit in your bag, but you can always get a small compact lunch box that will keep food cool.

18. Ice

It’s also handy to have some ice in your cool box. Your cool box might struggle to keep cool on a hot day, so help it out by using ice packs.

It’s also nice to have some ice available to pop in your drinks or cool down your skin if you get toasty in the sun.

19. Bug Repellent

On your day at the beach, you might run into mosquitoes and ticks, especially on the dunes. It’s a good idea to pack some robust bug repellent for any trip.

You don’t want to be picking ticks out from under your skin before you go to bed.

If your kids are joining you on your trip, pack a bug repellent that can be used on sensitive skin.

20. Swimming Gear

An essential for any trip to the beach is swimming gear, of course! If you plan to spend most of your time sunbathing, take a smaller costume or trunks.

If you plan to swim a lot, you might want to pack a short wetsuit to ensure you don’t get too cold in the water.

If you’ve got a baby or toddler joining, remember to pack a swim diaper!

Swimming Gear

21. Beach Activities

No day at the beach is complete without games!

Larger beach activities can range from volleyball to rounders. But if you’re short on space, you can always pack a ball or frisbee.

Beach activities don’t have to be exercise heavy either; you could take binoculars to do some bird watching during your trip.

My article on beach game ideas is filled with exciting suggestions. Check it out to discover some fun activities!

22. Sea Activities

Sea activities are all based on the water. These can include snorkeling, fishing, or swimming.

If you know some water sports centers run activities such as wakeboarding or jet skiing, check to ensure they provide life jackets before diving in.

Searching the rock pools is a great sea activity that doesn’t get you deep in the water, which is a good idea for small children.

23. Firewood

If you’re planning to light up a fire in the evening, be aware that you might need firewood. The beach you’re visiting may have driftwood along the tideline, but that’s all down to chance.

Another good tip: if you’re planning to light a fire, pack some kindle or fire starters in your bag to make it quick and easy to get lit.

24. First Aid Kit

First aid kits are a necessity for any trip anywhere! Pack a fully stocked first aid kit to ensure you’re prepared for any situation.

It’s not uncommon to graze your skin on a reef while walking or swimming in the sea, so make sure you rub antiseptic on that wound asap! So don’t forget your first aid kit!

25. BBQ

One of my favorite beach essentials is a BBQ. I always pack a reusable BBQ that can light quickly and has a windshield. This ensures it will keep hot while you’re cooking.

If you’re going to the beach with friends, they can always bring other essentials in their bags if you are filling up yours with something bigger like this.

26. Food and Snacks

Avoid getting hungry at the beach by packing enough food and snacks for your stay. Assuming it’s likely to be hot, pack snacks that won’t be too affected by the heat, such as crisps or nuts.

For bigger meals, take food items that are compact and will fit inside your cool box, such as sausages!

Food and Snacks

27. Cleansing Wipes

Sand can get everywhere, but the last place you want it is in your mouth. Sand is not tasty! By packing cleansing wipes, you can clean your hands quickly and get back to enjoying your day.

These are also super for family trips to the beach when everyone can get messy at mealtimes.

28. A Good Book

A good book can be the perfect accompaniment to a relaxing day at the beach.

Unwind to your favorite author as you hear waves breaking and feel the sun gently heat your skin.

Nothing beats getting drawn into a good story while you chill out on the sand.

29. Waterproof Speaker

Don’t forget to pack your speaker, as this can create the perfect summer beach vibe. Make sure you take a waterproof speaker and watch out for sand getting stuck in the charging port.

Be respectful of your neighbors on the beach if you are taking a speaker. Not everyone has the same music taste as you!

30. Hammock

If there are woods near the beach, you plan to visit. It can be a nice idea to pack a hammock. Imagine that mid-afternoon nap as you sway in the gentle breeze.

You can purchase small, ultralight hammocks that can attach to your bags outside for easy traveling. 

Feel free to explore my article for some of the best camping hammock suggestions, and find the right one for your needs

31. Bin Bags

Even if you plan to take all your food and drinks in reusable ware, it can be handy to pack a bin bag. You want to ensure that when you leave the beach, it’s the same as when you arrived.

Bin bags can also be handy for putting wet clothes in at the end of the day so the rest of your bag remains dry.

32. Sunglasses

Hopefully, if you’re headed to the beach, the weather looks pretty good. Even if it looks like a cloudy day, don’t forget to pack your sunglasses!

Scorching days can get very bright, and you want to protect your eyeballs from the ultraviolet light that can damage your eyes, lens, and eyelids.


33. Sun Hat

The last item you don’t want to forget to pack is your sunhat. Sunglasses are great but might slip off your face if it’s hot. That’s why it’s essential to pack a sun hat too!

Hit the beach in style with a sun hat that encapsulates your style while protecting your face. 

Don’t Forget Your Sunscreen…

We hope this detailed list has everything you need to feel prepared for your trip to the beach, whether you’re camping on the sand, riding a jet ski, or lighting up a BBQ.

Whatever the reason, ensure you’re prepared for a fun-filled day and don’t forget your sunscreen!

Shailen Vandeyar

A proud Indian origin Kiwi who loves to plant trees and play with his pet bunny when not out in the woods, exploring the infinite beauty of mother nature.

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