Family Beach Vacation Packing List – Must-have Items

Family Beach Vacation Packing List

You must have a comprehensive family beach vacation packing list when you are a planning for a sun and sand rendezvous.

And why not? After all, the US has more than 94,000 miles of coastline, with some of the most fantastic beaches in the world. That, plus the many water sports and adventures that you can take part in on the beach, is enough to send you packing.

It is one thing to take a vacation alone, or with your spouse. It is a totally different thing to plan a beach packing list for the whole family.

You cannot take chances. However, at the same time, you should not pack as if you are moving house. In this post, you will see what should go in your beach packing list.

If you have been to the beach, then you know that a family beach vacation is one of the best pastime for families. The combination of sun, surf and sand is just irresistible.

A beach vacation is relaxing and quite therapeutic. The sand massages your feet, and the waves lull you to sleep. Heaven!

However, it can also be nerve wracking if it is your first time or if you have kids. You need to prepare amply for their entertainment and safety in the water and on the beach.

On top of the basic travel essentials, you have to have several things in your beach packing list. 

Things to include in the family beach vacation packing list

Sun block or sunscreen

Sun block or sunscreen

It is ironic that we go to the beach for sun, sand and fun and at the same time, we have to wear sunscreen to protect ourselves from the same sun.

But a man gotta do what a man gotta do. Besides, skin cancer is not something that you really want to tussle with.

Different people have different levels of sunburns resistance, thanks to the different skin types. When going to the beach for water adventures and sun, pick a sunscreen that has SPF 50. It can be used by people with different sunburns resistance. You can pick a mix of creams and sprays. Spray sun blocks are the best because they are easy to apply.

Since the sunscreen (spray) is clear, you might not know if your skin is fully covered which needs you to be extra careful. Again, be careful when picking one from the shelves; pick one that is best suited for surface water sports such as snorkeling, paddle boarding or surfing.

Also, pack a special one for sensitive skins that is only meant for your faces. Faces can be quite sensitive. Make sure you also pick one meant for babies.

You can order your sunscreen for the beach on There, you will get more variety and better prices.

Portable beach tent or umbrella

A portable tent or a beach umbrella is one of the items that should never miss on your family beach vacation packing list.

Sunscreen is an essential item for protecting your skin from the extreme heat. However, nothing does the protection better than actual shade.

It is quite an uphill task to find a shade on the beach. That is why a beach umbrella should never miss in your list. You are spoilt for choice when buying a beach umbrella or a portable beach tent because they come in all colors.

When shopping for of the two, you can pick a pop-up tent, the traditional single pole umbrella or pick a full-on cabana.

The first two are more portable although they provide a little shade while the last one is less portable but with a better shade.

Thus, as you buy your scuba dive wetsuit, that is, if you plan to dive, you should consider getting a beach umbrella.

The best thing about pop-up tents is that they are multi-purpose tents. Pop-up tents can be used for picnics in the park. They can also be used on the beach or they can be used when going for camping.

If you are going to a hotel and you love being outdoors more than in your room; you should pack a beach umbrella. You should however call prior to know if they have them so that you don’t have to carry it.

As always, I would recommend that you buy a beach umbrella on Besides, you will also find other gear such as flip-flops, sandals for walking and many more.

If there is a campground on or near the beach, you may also bring a large family tent for camping. That way, you will have a home away from home for the few days that you will be camping on the beach.

Back the best flip flops

Flip flops should never miss on your beach packing list. I mean, how are you going to walk on the beach barefooted? The sand can be nasty hot!

Besides, you don’t want to ruin your sneakers or your nice sandals with water. With flip flops, you are assured you’ll not be carrying a whole load of sand back to your room because they are easy to clean.

Flip flops are also easy to dry meaning you can wash and wear them. Just shop for simple and waterproof flip flops and let your feet look stylish.

Pick a color that’s going to match with all the beach outfits you have in your suitcase if fashion is your second name.

Thankfully, you can buy flip flops for men, women and children on Who knows, you may also use the flip flops as your beach shoes next time that you plan to go diving or snorkeling.

Back the best flip flops

Beach blankets

A beach blanket is like that blanket that you carry when going for a picnic in the park. Lying on the sand is therapeutic. But there’s nothing therapeutic about removing sand grains from your hair or skin. Therefore, carry a beach blanket to lie on when relaxing under your beach umbrella or beach tent.

It is advisable to use have a blanket or a towel to use on the beach and a different one to use when taking a shower. By having two different towels, you are able to keep things tidier.

Imagine using a beach towel to shower and then placing it on the bed with all the sand from the sand. It is quite messy.

When looking for a beach blanket, think about the shape and the size. How many items do you want to place on the blanket? How many people will be using the blanket? Most blankets are rectangular in shape but there are some round ones too.

Beach blankets are made from different materials like fleece, microfiber, parachute nylon or water-resistant nylon. Most blankets have soft fabrics, comfortable for people to lie on. They also have fabric treatments that prevent sand from clinging on it. 

Beach bag in your beach packing list

A good beach bag is one of the items that should appear on your family beach vacation packing list.

You will need to carry some items to and from the beach, whether you have kids or not. You can buy a backpack, which comes in handy for people with kids since it’s easy to carry and still carry the kids.

As much as a backpack is awesome and convenient, it carries quite an amount of sand that might be hard to remove when cleaning.

A large mesh tote bag is also recommended since it’s easier to remove sand and once washed, it dries quickly. Whatever you pick, make sure it serves you to the best. Ensure the tote bag has room enough to carry all your swimming essentials (swim belts) without needing to carry two bags.

It is also advisable to pick a beach tote bag that has patented double layer mesh to allow sand to sift through. If you get one that doesn’t allow sand to get in, the better; it can be quite hectic to remove sand.

A good beach bag should have a waterproof zipper compartment for your essentials such as keys, mobile phone and other items. Getting one with convenient clips for your keys is also something you should look for. Get a bag with comfortable handles if you will be carrying your bag for quite some time.

If you are looking for a waterproof beach bag, get one made with polyester or nylon. If you are looking for sand resistant bags, sand resistant silicone comes in handy. You can view the best beach bags on

Insulated water bottles

Let us agree that being on the beach for long hours in the scorching sun can be quite dehydrating. An insulated water bottle comes in handy when you want to keep yourself hydrated before you go back to your room.

Warm water on a hot day does not quench the thirst. That is why it needs to be insulated to keep your drink as cool as possible. You can carry your favorite juice or just plain water; whatever tickles your fancy.

Heat exhaustion or heat stroke is not cute. That is why it is recommended to carry enough water for everyone. And it should be plain warm water, maybe with a tinge taste of your favorite fruit. Sugary drinks like soda or sugared juices make you thirstier.

When shopping for a water bottle, make sure the bottle is properly insulated to prevent having to deal with small ‘puddles’. Some insulated water bottles tend to sweat when the temperatures out there get too hot. Get water bottles that are easy to hold because some can be slippery especially for kids.

You can put ice cubes in the bottle if you have them in your freezer. Better still you can leave the water in a freezer for the night and you’ll have cool water to drink when relaxing on the beach.

Waterproof wallet

Waterproof wallet

The best way to protect your valuables is to leave them in your hotel room under lock and key. At other times, you can leave them in your car.

However, sometimes you just have to carry your valuables with you because you will need them at some point. Some of the things that you need to bring with you to the beach are your car keys.

Including a waterproof wallet in your beach packing list. It comes in handily because with a remote controlled car key; you don’t want to walk back to your room.

A waterproof wallet ensures that you have a great time on the beach. You do not have to keep eye-balling your items. Sometimes, when you want to take your kid for a swim in the ocean, you want to know your items are safe.

Sand toys

Sand toys are some of the things you should never forget. As much as kids love water, playing with the sand building castles never gets old. Some kids can play with sand for hours on end without wanting to play in the water. Therefore, make sure they do not miss in your family beach vacation packing list.

When buying sand toys, pick those sold in a set for easier portability. You already have so much to carry to the beach and you do not have to carry more than you need. Choose toys that can be used across kids of different ages to reduce the number of purchases you have to make.

Water launchers are good examples of toys that can be used across all ages. Other toys are tumbling timber sets and beach kites.

In short, buy toys that can be used for years to come. A set like Green Toys Sand Play Set can last for up to 6 years.

Bring a beach ball too. You will use it for beach volleyball. A family that plays together stays together.

Beach Sunglasses

Your eyes are just as important as your skin and they should also be protected from the harsh sun. Make sure everyone going to the beach has a pair of sunglasses.

When shopping for sunglasses, look for a pair that complements the shape of your face. The rule of the thumb is to buy a pair that is opposite the shape of your face. Use the same tactic when picking a pair for your kids.

Just as you would do when buying a BCD for scuba diving, pick a pair of sunglasses that can be worn for many years. No one likes to go shopping every time you decide to hit the beach with your family.

Before buying a pair, make sure the sunglasses have a 100% UV protection mark to ensure you are getting the best. It is sad that most people do not bother to check the mark.

Bigger sunglasses are better. They cut down the amount of UV light reaching your eyes. It is also important to know that darker sunglasses do not necessarily block more sun from your eyes. Color is not so important. Just pick the ones that tickle your fancy.

Polarized sunglasses do not reduce the amount of UV rays; they just reduce the glare. The lack of glare on these sunglasses just makes the driving or riding more enjoyable. Do not  worry about the cost so long as you are sure the sunglasses will serve the purpose.

More expensive does not always mean better protection.

Scuba diving equipment in beach packing list

If your children have learned how to scuba dive, you can be sure they will not want to miss an opportunity to be in the water. However, plan for scuba diving in advance so that you can choose a beach vacation spot that offers diving.

After all, junior did not take that scuba diving certification course just so he could watch the ocean and contemplate. The feeling of buoyancy in the water is just out of this world, and addictive too.

Prepare well for diving, bring the scuba diving equipment for everyone who wants to dive. Well, if you do not want to make this a beach cum a diving vacation, well, just strictly say there will be no diving.

In your scuba diving list, you will want a scuba diving computer, wetsuits for everyone and all the other diving items. That is why we said that you had better decide whether there will be diving.

Snorkeling equipment

Actually, snorkeling is much easier to include in your beach packing list than scuba diving. It is a surface water sport, but one that is quite pleasant and enjoyable. Snorkeling gear is also easier to carry with you.

You may bring snorkeling floatation belts for family members who aren’t skilled in swimming. Remember to bring your snorkeling masks and snorkeling fins. No one should miss the water adventure because you forgot to bring some gear.

You can always rent some of the items for snorkeling at the local dive shops. If you are staying at a hotel, you can find out whether they give out snorkeling equipment.

Coast Guard approved life jackets

If you don’t know how to swim, it is important to have Coast Guard approved life jackets. They also come in handily when you have kids especially if they are below 12 years.

It doesn’t matter whether your child is a good swimmer or not. A lifeguard jacket on the beach is one of those items that should appear on your family beach vacation packing list.

Besides, it is ok for your children to use life jackets for snorkeling. That way, you will feel safer with them in the water.


This is obvious. It is a must-have in any vacation packing list. The ocean makes a nice background for pictures. A good camera captures the majesty of the ocean. Besides, this will be perfect for capturing those awesome beach moments that you will have with your family.


Your vacation packing list should be as comprehensive as possible, of course, without carrying too much stuff with you. Decide what is important to you. Do you need to bring your gear for diving, or just beach stuff? That is why you should always plan carefully. You must find a balance so that you do not bring too much or too little stuff in your family beach vacation packing list.