Your Essential Beach Packing List - Family Beach Vacation Checklist

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Packing your bags for the summer vacation can be quite exhausting and turn into a high-level mental exercise and it even becomes more challenging if you’re travelling with children. Imagine, your house is now temporarily turned into a dressing room with stuff everywhere. Everything is taken out, stacked, packed and unpacked, over and over again. And before you know it, congratulations, you have packed a week’s worth of supplies into your suitcase for a one-day trip. 

Anyone who is packing for a trip to the beach with children must have 1/ good nerves, or 2/ the beach packing checklist from the CabinZero team, where we have listed all the beach essentials for you and your family - just relax and follow! 

You can use this beach packing list as a jumping-off point, and then make your own personalised checklist for you and your family. 

The Overall Beach Packing Tips for Your Beach Vacation 

  • The ‘sand-free’ items: Remember you’re going on a trip to the beach, which means you might come back home with your wet clothes full of sand - you don’t want that. Think ahead and pack along with those towels, beach blankets or bags that are made to prevent sand from sticking onto the fabric. 
  • If you’re carrying any electronic gadgets with you (phone, GoPro, camera, etc.), make sure they are waterproof or have a protective case with them.
  • Disposable wipes can be useful - take them along with you to the beach and there will definitely be times you need them, to wipe out those ice cream or food stains for example.
  • Reuse those plastic bags to bring food or snacks to the beach and store your swimsuits or any wet items home after. 
  • Leave those towels at home if your hotel offers towels/beach towels as a part of their amenities. This will help to save you some extra space for other stuff and avoid overpacking. 
  • If you’re planning to do other activities like hiking or trekking, then your beach packing list should look a bit more extensive, with walking shoes and lightweight pieces of clothing. 
  • Go through your itinerary of each day and think of what you will need for each activity, you might have a better idea of what to prepare. 

Things to Pack for the Beach - The Ultimate Family Beach Packing Checklist

From your personal items to your kids’ necessities, make your life easier with this checklist - as we will go through basic and essential items you will need for a family beach vacation following these categories: clothes (adults & kids), beach accessories & toiletries, electronic items, heath & first-aid items, personal items, items for kids & babies, beach family travel games and important documents. 

Clothes - Beach Trip Packing List 

Going to the beach is all fun and casual - it’s time to free all your summer clothes out of the closet and dress all light and comfortable! 

  • Jacket Pants (short and long)
  • Tops
  • Underwear and socks
  • Skirts / Dresses
  • Pajamas / Tracksuits
  • Shoes (sturdy and light) / Flipflops / Sandals 
  • Accessories (scarf, jewellery, belt)
  • Rain gear if necessary
  • Possibly sports clothes
  • Water shoes to protect your feet from rocks and corals

Photo by Rui Silvestre on Unsplash 

Kids clothing

  • Light jacket
  • T-shirts
  • Pants / Leggings
  • Pants and socks (non-slip)
  • Pajamas / Tracksuits
  • Shoes (sturdy and light)
  • Shorts / Skirt
  • Change of clothes
  • Bodysuits
  • Rain gear if necessary
  • Possibly sports clothes

Toiletries for the Family Beach Trip

  • Shower gel and shampoo
  • Body and face cream
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Hair spray/gel
  • Hairbrush/comb
  • Shower cap
  • Hair ties and clips
  • Towels / Washcloths
  • Possibly glasses/contact lens accessories
  • Cosmetics (makeup, makeup remover)
  • Shaving kit
  • Deodorant / Perfume / Cologne
  • Cotton balls
  • Vaseline
  • Pads/panty liners
  • Feminine products

Beach Essentials for a Fun Beach Vacation 

Besides the basic toiletries items for any trip, don’t forget to prep yourself with those beach necessities if you don’t want to come back with a heavy sunburn or the irritation of your legs getting all bitten by beach bugs and sandflies! Here is a list to note: 

  • Sun cream
  • After Sun lotion
  • Hair conditioner for hair that is left under the sun, to protect your hair from the sun and saltwater
  • Swim brief / Swimsuit / Swim diapers
  • Beach towel / Picnic blanket
  • Sun hat/cap
  • Sunglasses
  • Beach bag
  • UV swimwear
  • Bathing shoes
  • Diving/snorkel/swimming goggles
  • Beach Umbrella
  • Lip Balm with SPF 
  • Repellent
  • A reusable water bottle for everyone
  • Beach blanket and towels
  • A portable cooler
  • Bottle opener
  • Reusable utensils
  • Swim diapers for babies
  • Toddler swim floaties 

Note: Make sure you check the environmental rules of using sunscreen at your beach destination as some places ban certain sunscreens that are harmful to the coral reefs. You can shop for those reef-friendly sunscreens that don’t contain oxybenzone and octinoxate instead. 

Electronic Items to Pack for a Beach Trip

  • Cellphone
  • Headphones
  • Camera / action camera
  • Foreign adapters
  • Power banks and charging cords
  • E-book reader / Kinder 
  • Portable speaker 

Health & first-aid kit Checklist

  • Disinfectant spray
  • Plaster / Bandage
  • Personal medications (prescription)
  • Pain relievers for adults
  • Ointment
  • Syrup against cough
  • Nasal spray / drops / aspirator
  • Insect spray
  • Possibly earplugs
  • Fever gauge
  • Suppositories for vomiting/fever
  • Vitamins

Anti-COVID Hygiene Products:

  • Masks
  • Alcoholic wipes/ disinfecting wipes
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Disposable plastic gloves

Beach Items for Kids and Babies - What to Pack Well for the Children?

Who doesn’t want a bit of fun taking the kids and babies for a day out at the beach? However, the packing bit can be a bit of a pain if you don’t know where to start - We’re here to help! See the list of the items for babies and kids below and feel free to add more to make it more customised for your family beach packing list

Items for Kids

  • Shower gel and shampoo for children
  • Body and face cream
  • Wound protection cream
  • Sunscreen for children
  • Children's hairbrush
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Cotton swabs
  • Scissors and nail file, tweezers
  • Plastic bags for dirty laundry
  • Toilet paper (camping or excursion)
  • Individual detergent packages

Items for Babies

  • Pot cleaner
  • Drinking bottles (filled)
  • Special foods (powdered milk)
  • Snacks!
  • Thermos bottle
  • Tupperware
  • Nuggis / Nuggi chain
  • Tissues
  • Layers
  • Changing mat
  • Travel towel/swaddling
  • Possibly travel cot/sleeping bag
  • Baby monitor
  • Soft toy (& replacement)
  • Sun protection for the car
  • Car seat
  • Baby carrier
  • High chair
  • Stroller / Buggy
  • Change of clothes

Beach Family Travel Games - Don’t Forget the Entertainment Bit on Your List!

Going on a family vacation without any family travel game? Sounds like a bad idea. You’ve gotta keep the kids (and yourself) entertained and tie that family bond. Here are our suggestions of games and activities you can do to spice up your quality family time. 

  • Card games or other board games
  • Electronic reader / Books / Magazines
  • Toys (don't overdo it) / Sand toys
  • Painting materials
  • Volleyballs
  • A portable speaker
  • A selfie stick
  • Books & Magazines
  • Printable travel games
  • Paper, pen and coloured pencils
  • A floating raft: Most all-inclusive places have paddleboards and kayaks you can borrow, but nothing beats an inflatable floating raft in the pool or the ocean. 

Important Personal Items and Documents Checklist

  • Passport / Identity card
  • Driver's license, vehicle documents
  • Cash / Credit Cards
  • Insurance certificates
  • Vaccination cards
  • Travel documents (tickets, hotel confirmation, map)
  • Emergency numbers
  • Wallet / Coin pouch

Photo by PNW Production from Pexels

>> Check out: The Travelling Checklist - The Essential Travelling Packing List for Your Next Trip

A Step by Step Guide to Pack Your Beach Vacation Items - Cross off the Checklist! 

Step 1: Choosing a Right Travel Bag for Your Beach Trip

Travel bags come in so many different styles and designs, and choosing the right bag for your beach trip will pretty much depend on your preferences, how much stuff you are going to pack, and whether you would prefer checked luggage or a carry-on backpack. As a rule of thumb, always go for a lightweight, durable and comfortable backpack - because after all, you’re going to enjoy the beach for most of the time, and too much hassle carrying a big suitcase wouldn’t be an ideal option. 

It is important to think of the materials of the backpack for the beach. Bags that are made with mesh or nylon materials are what you should look for. Also, your bag should be easily spotted in the crowd as it is easier to find in case you lose eyes on it, so make sure you go with the patterned beach backpacks or easy-to-spot colours. 

Other than your main travel bag, there are several other accessories that you might want to take with you - those bags you don’t think you need but you actually want!

  • An elegant fanny pack: In case you haven’t heard it, the ‘90s are back. And what’s more of the ‘90s than the fanny pack? Consider it a money belt for your beach trip. A fanny pack ideally provides a secure way to carry your hotel room key card, cash and phone without the hassle of carrying a shoulder bag. Fanny packs are available in an endless number of colours and patterns. See CabinZero Bum Bag collection. 
  • A swimsuit bag: You'll likely use a swimsuit bag on your way home as you would want your damp, salty and chlorinated fabric to be separated from the rest of your clothing. Something with a waterproof cover or made with nylon fabric like this CabinZero ADV Dry, or one of these packing cubes
  • A beach tote: Put all your snacks and chips into a tote bag - easy to access and carry around. 

How to turn your dry bag into a beach/pool shoulder bag:

Step 2: Listing Items for Your Beach Vacation Essentials

While there are endless beach packing lists on the internet, including detailed ones and tickable checklists, it’s up to your preference to download them or follow and create your own customised beach checklist for your family. The easiest way is to put your beach packing list into specific categories, including clothing items, electronics, documents, health & first-aid items, family travel games, etc. 

This step is very important as it helps you avoid missing essential items, especially if you’re packing for your children, and it will save you a good amount of time in the packing process. 

Step 3: Fold Your Beach Clothes and Lay Everything Out  

Now that you have completed a beach packing checklist for your own reference, it’s time to get your clothes folded and lay them all out before you pack them into your luggage. Laying everything out in categories will make it easier for you to see which item is missing and which is redundant. After you have your stuff ready to pack, it is worth going back to your beach packing list to make sure you’ve got everything. 

There are several ways to pack your clothing items, interfolding, bundle packing or rolling. Which packing method to use is really up to your personal preference, as long as it keeps your items nice and neat, and easy to reach when you need them. 

Step 4: Get Your Beach Accessories, Health and Toiletries Items Ready

Your accessories and toiletries should be packed in a separate bag to avoid getting them mixed up with other items, and for a better reach when you need them. 

You can put the bottles in a zipper bag or use a plastic wrap between the lids and the opening of the bottles to prevent leakage. Also, try to replace the liquid toiletries with solid ones to reduce the weight, like using soap instead of body wash, and to avoid leakage. 

Step 5: Pack Them All Up!

A useful tip in packing is to use packing cubes for different categories of items - beach stuff in one cube and accessories in another, and so on. These magical cubes are not new on the market but they could turn your packing experience into a whole new level as they make your belongings neat and easy to access. You can even use these cubes to carry your stuff to the beach. Here is an example:

  • Cube 1 - Electronics: phone, power bank, cables, an outdoor Bluetooth speaker, a camera, an Amazon Kindle (or a regular book) 
  • Cube 2 - Beach towels, swimsuits, a beach hat, a beach blanket, flip-flops, extra clothing items (if any), a high SPF Sunscreen and an SPF lip balm.

You can refer back to your beach packing list of different categories and pack them into cubes following the categories on the list. 

Step 6: Prepare your Personal Items in an Extra Bag

The key to staying organised during a trip is to keep your personal belongings close at hand. If needs be, you can make a sublist for these personal items to have them sorted out as these little things are easy to forget. 

This ‘extra bag’ could be a compact fanny pack to keep your essential items during a plane, or a beach accessory for your phone, wallet and key card when you’re out having fun under the sun.

Why a bum bag is the most ideal bag to fit your little personal items to the beach: 

Step 7: Collect Important Travel Documents 

Refer back to your beach packing list one more time to get these documents ready. Some documents might need extra time to prepare, so you might want to have them ready ahead of time to avoid any delay in your travel plan. 

Step 8: Don’t Forget to Stay Healthy when Travelling

You’re excited about the trip, that’s for sure, but don’t forget those prescription medications and other items to stay healthy. You don’t want to get sick during the trip and let the whole vacation slide down the hill. Especially in this time of COVID-19, always put yourself and your family on cautious to stay hygienic and safe.

If you’re travelling abroad and not sure what you should do, check the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website for the necessary vaccination certification, medication and other travel advice. 

That’s it and you’re all set to go! The beach packing list is not that big of a nightmare if you know how to do it your way and make everything organised and simple. We hope you find the checklist and guide useful and please let us know if we have missed anything in the comment section below. Bon voyage! 

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