What to pack in your beach bag – 18 essential things to pack 

When the weather is glorious outside, a spontaneous trip down to the beach is a must. We love taking a day trip to the seaside, or booking a beach resort holiday. There aren’t many people that don’t like to spend some time in that sun.  

Most countries around the world will have some stunning beaches, our favourite beaches have to be Australia and Sri Lanka, although a good day beside the seaside is iconic in the UK. 

Once you have decided your beach destination, the next thing you need to consider is, what to pack in your beach bag? 

Don’t be that person that either forgets something, or packs their kitchen sink. This is a minimalist packing list for your beach vacation.   

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What to pack in your beach bag? 

In this essential beach packing list, we cover everything you will need for a day trip, or a week’s stay in a beach resort.  

To be practical with your packing, the first thing you need is a good, sturdy and stylish beach bag, that will contain all the essentials. 

We would also recommend, purchasing a waterproof bag, that way, if the weather changes, or the kids splash sea water on the bag, its contents don’t get wet.  

Beach bags are easy to purchase either online, in your local grocery store or bag stores. Although you may find them sold during certain seasons.  

Now you have your stylish and practical beach bag, you can start to pack your essentials.  

Beach toys 

Beach toys are great to entertain the family beside the seaside. Pack a bucket and spade, kite, beach ball, football, just to name a few.  

Your kids will be entertained for the day, with beach toys, while you relax soaking up the sun.  

For the older kids, or adults, packing some light entertainment, as you spend the day socialising. A beach ball, football or volley ball are great competitive games to play among friends.  

Leave no trace 

The worst thing about visiting a stunning beach, is when visitors leave their rubbish everywhere.  

Not only is this a hazard for young families, it’s bad for the environment and the wildlife. Plastic is the worst. 

It doesn’t take much to pack a small rubbish bag and to use it at the beach. Any rubbish, place it into the bag during the day. At the end of the day, take the filled bag home with you, or to the nearest bin. 

It’s that simple and it doesn’t take much to do it. 

If you leave with no trace, the next time you or someone else visits, it will be left looking stunning. 

Sun lotion 

I am prone to getting burnt by the sun and from my experience, it really isn’t pleasant. If you or your family is prone to sun burn, then sun lotion is a must. 

Even if you’re not prone to sun burn, it is still a good idea to pack sun lotion to protect your skin.  

SPF 50 is the ideal factor for all skin types and for protecting the skin. 

We also recommend reef safe sun lotion, to protect the sea life in the sea water. Especially so if you’re planning to snorkel, such as the Great Barrier Reef, or off the coast of Sri Lanka.  

To prevent skin problems when exposed to the sun, apply sun lotion regularly and you can purchase waterproof sun lotion too. 

By protecting the skin now, it will protect you from further health problems later in life, such as skin cancer.  

Sunglasses 

The sun beaming on the sand can make it very bright at the beach.  Sunglasses will protect your eyes from the bright light. 

Look cool and stylish at the beach, with a smooth set of sunglasses. 

Swimsuit 

When the weather is hot, the best thing for the beach is bathers.  

Ideal for jumping into the sea water to cool off.  

Book 

Whether you’ve taken a day trip to the beach, or on a beach holiday, there is no better way to while the time away, than getting stuck into a good book.  

We prefer to pack a kindle, they are small, lightweight and perfectly fits in the beach bag. Plus, we have thousands of books stored on one device. AND it saves paper, got to think of the environment. 

Stuck for what to read? We are currently reading the Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood. It comes highly recommended and so far, we are enjoying it.  

If you haven’t seen the TV adaptation from the book, it is a futuristic dystopian novel set in New England. We don’t want to give too much away, but the TV programme got us hooked and so has the book. 

We also recommend Jodie Picoult novels and Val McDermid series with Tony Hills and Carol Jordan. 

If books are not your thing, then pack your favourite magazine for entertainment on your beach holiday. 

Sandals/flip flops 

For comfort as you walk across the hot sand, or pebbled beach, a good pair of sandals or flip flops is a must.  

We have walked on the burning sand or pebbled beaches and it really isn’t easy. But flip flops or shoes will protect your feet. 

Going into the water? Then sea shoes will be ideal too.  

Dry clothing 

After a hot day at the beach, a fresh and clean set of clothing should be included in your beach bag. 

You could pack a dress, shorts, T-shirt, a thin wrap around. Something that is light and will keep you cool.  

Stylish sun hat 

There is very little shade at the beach, unless you can find a shady tree, or hide under a parasol.  

A stylish sun hat will protect your head from the sun and heat and should be packed in your beach bag. 

Towel 

Dry off after taking a dip in the sea, with a cool beach towel. 

Beach towels are great for laying on a sun lounger or beach chair with and to cover up. 

For ease, they can be rolled up, to fit nicely in your beach bag. 

Beach mat 

Packing a beach mat in your beach bag, is perfect for laying on something on a sandy beach.  

Sand free beach mats are ideal, as they help to prevent that sand, dust or dirt from getting all over you and the mat. Making life more comfortable at the beach. 

Beach umbrella/beach tent 

There is very little shade down beside the seaside, so if you want a little safe haven away from the sun, then a beach umbrella or beach tent is perfect. 

Travelling with small children or babies, then they will definitely need some shade too, especially to protect them from the hot rays. A beach tent is the ideal solution to protect them. 

First aid kit 

It’s not uncommon to get a few scratches and scrapes at the beach, that are not serious enough for further medical treatment, especially with young children.  

The best way to bandage you or your family back up, is to pack a small but handy first aid kit. We have plasters, painkillers, bandages, just to name a few.  

We pack this whether we are taking a day trip to the coast, or just out travelling. 

It would be recommended to pack your own DIY first aid kit too. If you’re not sure what you should pack. Don’t worry, we have you covered with this extensive list of what to pack in your first aid kit. 

Water bottle 

One of the worst things that could happen when you’re visiting the beach, is to become dehydrated. This can cause you to become unwell, which will only spoil your holiday and trip. 

To keep hydrated, you should drink plenty of water. Pack a large bottle of water or two. We use reusable water bottles, as we try to avoid plastic waste as much as possible.  

Having a few beers, or cocktails, while relaxing on the beach can be refreshing, but it can also make you dehydrated. Only consume a small amount, followed by plenty of water. 

If your kids don’t like water, then include some sugar free fruit juice to the water for flavouring.  

Picnic 

Who doesn’t love a picnic. AND taking a picnic to the beach, is one of the best budget friendly ways to travel. 

A picnic cost far less to make than buying a takeaway meal or buying a sandwich from a shop. 

You can pack the food you want, with as little stress as possible.  

We will always bring our own picnic, snacks and food with us as we travel, so we can keep to a budget and travel more.  

What to pack in your picnic? 

Sandwiches are always a good shout, our favourite sandwiches are egg, tuna or coronation chicken. Far healthier and you know what you are putting in it.  

Salads is another great picnic option, with some cocktail sausages, small sausage rolls and a small bag of crisps.  

To keep the food cool, pack some ice packs too and keep them under the shady beach umbrella or tent. 

Waterproof pouch 

A waterproof pouch for your essential gadgets could be a lifesaver.  

A good, reliable waterproof pouch, will keep your valuable items from getting wet, even if the worst was to happen and you dropped your phone in the sea water. 

They’re also splash proof and spillage proof. 

Why would you leave home without packing a waterproof pouch in your beach bag. We don’t! 

Power bank 

Most of us love to stay connected on our mobile phones, or smart devices. But you can’t if the battery dies.  

A portable power bank will come in handy in those situations. You plug the device in and the battery will be charged in no time.  

Headphones 

Relaxing on a cool sandy beach, listening to good tunes, while soaking up the sun, is exactly the type of beach holiday we like. 

But not everyone on the beach wants to hear our music.  

We love our little ear buds that fit comfortably in the ears, where we can listen to our music without distracting other people.  

There are plenty of headphone brands and styles on the market, so pick what is suited to you, pack it in your beach bag and you’ll be ready for music on the beach. 

Conclusion 

Packing unnecessary things for the beach just isn’t practical. If you have to walk a short distance from the car park or train station to the beach, you’ll be carrying all these heavy things with you and back again.  

Our simple packing check list, has everything you need for a beach vacation, making that trip to the beach simpler.  

What have you got packed in your beach bag? Is there anything that you would pack but we haven’t mentioned? Let us know, with a comment below. 

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