Skip to main content

Beach Packing List 101: Essential items


Want to go for a swim? Going to the beach might feel like the easiest thing in the world to pack for, but au contraire! Those UV rays, the hot sand, and the cool ocean breezes mean that temperatures can change quickly and being soaked to the bone isn’t the most comfortable.

You might be wearing less but there’s plenty more to think about when sitting out in the summer heat. Here’s a quick beach packing list to make sure you’re covered (in more ways than one!) when you hit some of the hottest beach destinations around the world.

Sun Protection: Hats, Sunglasses, & Sunblock- oh my!

You may be one of the lucky people that hardly ever burns, but we can’t emphasize the importance of these sun protection must-haves that you should be carrying with you.  At the very least, you should be bringing a hat for your head, sunglasses to protect your eyes, and above all else sunblock! Sunburns aren’t a good look, so  keep that golden tan from turning a lobster red!


Ladies, this one is for you.  This versatile piece of fabric can be fashioned into a dress, used as an extra beach towel, or used to cover up when the temperatures cool down. Don’t believe us?  Check out this great video below from Chriselle Lim. She’s one of the beauty gurus who created a fantastic Rome-inspired fashion tutorial when YouTube stars Michelle Phan & Andrea’s Choice took Contiki’s Italian Espresso tour.  Here, she creates 5 beach looks with ONE scarf.

Beach Towel Tote Bag – Two for one!

Having a beach towel is an absolute MUST for any beach-goer – to lay out and get a suntan, dry off after taking a dip in the ocean… but did you know you could also turn it into a tote bag?  Check out this cool DIY project to turn your beach-towel into a tote bag – which means packing less but getting much more!

A pair of durable flip flops

Whether you’re rinsing off at a nearby shower or you’re protecting your feet from the heat of the sand, leave the designer sandals at home and opt for a pair that you don’t mind getting dirty or wet!  They’re easy to slip on and off when switching from sand to surf, and they come in so many different colors, you can always find your flip flops on the sand.

Music for your ears

If you can’t quite unplug when you’re out at the beach, bring your iPod and headphones so you can DJ your own remix with the ocean sounds and that favorite songs.  A headphone splitter is great if you want to share some tunes with a friend on the beach!

Lip balm with SPF

Sometimes we’re so worried about our arms, legs, necks, face that we forget that our lips also need some TLC too!  Pack a lip balm to keep your lips from getting wind chapped or dried out.

Hydration station

The beach offers you access to plenty of water but it’s not the type of water you want to drink.  Being out in the hot sun, you’re bound to be dehydrated.  Always bring some form of hydration, whether you’re a fan of plain ol’ H20 or our latest fave – coconut water.

Waterproof camera

Capture those fun beachfront moments without worrying about dropping your camera in the water!  If you don’t have the funds to purchase a waterproof camera, there are plenty of cases that can help protect your existing camera from getting water damage.

Sports Equipment

Frisbees, a volleyball, a jump rope-turned-limbo stick!  Stretch those legs after you’ve been laying out in the sun for a few and get active.  Bringing something that gets you up and moving at the beach can also garner new friends who might want to join a game of impromptu volleyball.


Now you’re ready to hit the beach.  Stay cool, protect yourself from UV rays, and have a great time catching the waves!

Up next

Recommended by us

Stop dreaming and make sh*t happen!