Ultimate Beach Packing List For Family Vacations

by | Sep 12, 2023 | Family Adventures, Travel Tips

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Ah, the beach. Is there a more idyllic setting for a family vacation?  The sun, the sand, and the inevitable forgotten item that can send an otherwise perfect day into a tailspin of maternal regret. Whether your child is still eating sand or is too busy Snapchatting their beach day to actually experience it, we’ve got you covered with the ultimate beach vacation packing list.

This family beach vacation packing list includes all of the essentials needed for the perfect beach day. Whether it is a day trip or a stay that lands you in a hotel room or beach house, family travel is so much more fun if you are prepared.



beach packing list pin


Moms of Babies

The ultimate beach packing list begins with the littlest in mind because they are the one family member who requires so much stuff.


family beach day - Ultimate Beach Packing List For Family Vacations

All smiles because Mom and Dad packed everything we needed! Shutterstock


Diaper Duty

Not just a great idea, but one of those essential items – diapers. This isn’t baby’s first rodeo. Bring enough diapers for the day and then a few more because, let’s face it, nature always calls at the least opportune moments.

A great option to begin the day is to use a reusable swim diaper. These adorable swim diapers have received excellent reviews, come in more than 60 colors and patterns, and they are good for the environment!


Reusable Swim Diapers - beach vacation packing list

Making baby tushies even more adorable all summer long. -Amazon


Beach Tent

These handy contraptions give baby a shady spot to play. They are better than a beach umbrella because they keep baby completely in the shade while inside. Plus, it’s a great way to hide when the cute lifeguard sees you trying to change a diaper, and it all goes sideways. We like this one, because it’s simple and handy. It comes with several pockets to store all the toys, and it is made with UPF50+ fabric. 


pop-up tent - beach vacation packing list

Shade for days in this tent. -Amazon


Formula and Snacks

Enough for the day, and a bit more for those “just-in-case” moments. Because you never know when a 20-minute nap will miraculously become a 2-hour one. This adorable, reusable squeeze pouch kit with a funnel makes feeding baby super easy, absolutely anywhere. It’s a good option that makes mealtime pleasant. Be sure to pack some ice packs to keep things fresh.


bottles with different colored liquids inside - beach vacation packing list

Baby food squeeze pouch. Just don’t let baby squeeze it. – Amazon


A Tiny Baby Inflatable Pool

The best way for baby to get some water time? A little inflatable pool. Because playing in the waves is fun, but sometimes baby has more fun playing in calmer waters with fewer sting rays and sharks. They can still splash and play without getting sloshed in the face by giant waves. This one is nice because it even comes with a tent to keep baby safe in the shade.


Portable Shade Pool - beach vacation packing list

No giant waves in this shade pool. -Amazon


Moms of Toddlers


All the Buckets and Spades

Repeat after me- “No, my toddler does not need 15 shovels.” One hand bucket with 3-4 sand tools is enough to entertain any toddler for the 5 minutes in which they will be able to lend their attention to the activity. This eco-friendly kit is durable and adorable. It also has a 100% 5 star rating on Amazon! Toddlers and young children will love the adorable sea creatures. 


Just the right amount of toys and picture perfect! -Amazon


Wipes, Wipes, and More Wipes

For hands, face, feet, and everything in between. They will get sandy and sticky, and, of course, it won’t bother them at all until it will. If you hit the beach often, consider investing in this nifty sand-removal kit. We love it because it works on humans and on our four-legged friends.

Speaking of sandy stickiness, rash guards are one of those beach essentials that will make your day a million times better.


sand removal brushes

So magical you might be caught chasing your family member down the beach, wagging these brushes.  – Amazon


Water Shoes

Because the one tiny seashell with a jagged edge will undoubtedly find its way under your toddler’s foot. No one, absolutely no one, needs the meltdown that will surely follow. These cute water shoes from the beloved Osh Kosh look like sophisticated baby sandals, so they can be worn out and about too. Just pack a change of clothes, and head straight to dinner after the beach!


water shoes

Oh baby! Look at those water shoes! – Amazon



Life jackets should be worn by any child who cannot yet swim, and while they are super fun, floaties do not save lives. Especially the ones that also double up as toys because, let’s face it, everything’s a toy when you’re three. This floatie two-pack has a fire engine and a pirate ship – both with operating hoses. These are sure to elicit all the giggles from your little one. Forewarning – splashes are inevitable, so wear those sunnies.


car and boat floaties - beach vacation packing list

Wear your goggles, mama! – Amazon


Moms of School-Aged Children



Not for them, for you. Remember reading? Now might be your chance to get through a page or two! If you haven’t read The Mostly Real McCoy by Julie Christianson, get yourself to the library! Grab a sun hat and your beach chairs and relish this me-time!



This time, you will get past page one! – Amazon


Boogie Boards and Floats

To keep them occupied and also because you secretly want a turn. We always hit up the dollar store for our boogie boards and floats, as my boys tend to be rough with theirs. I don’t mind buying a couple each summer for all the use that they get out of them. 



With all this activity, your kids are bound to get hungry, if not downright hangry. Pack some water and healthy snacks, just in case. It’s a good idea to freeze those Capri Suns or waters to serve as coolers for the fruits and veggies.


Pro-tip: always bring cash – you don’t want to be empty-handed when the Italian Ice girl shows up with her cart, and she never seems to take credit cards.



First Aid Kit

For the inevitable cuts and bruises. Even if it doesn’t really need a bandaid, you know, sometimes they are really just love stickers anyway. Include a water bottle because dehydration can happen on a hot day. Lip balm will also provide comfort and protection against chapped kisses with all that sun and saltwater.


selfies on the beach - beach vacation packing list

Besties and selfies on the beach! Shutterstock


Moms of Teens


Portable Charger

Your teen’s worst nightmare? Their phone dying in the middle of the ultimate beach selfie. Do them a favor. Bring backup power. (Truth is, you will need it too.) This one is our fav.


pink iphone charger - beach packing list

Walk and talk at the same time! – Amazon


Beach Games

Frisbees, beach balls, or paddleboards – beach toys that require minimal effort but provide maximum fun. Our favorite beach toy is Surfminton. It’s super portable, comes with its own adorable mesh net bag, and very fun! Draw a line in the sand, and battle it out. 



If badminton and pickleball had a really chill baby. – Amazon


Beach Blanket

Better than a beach towel is the beach blanket. The perfect beach blanket is equal parts sandproof, a place to set up “camp,” and an attractive backdrop for selfies. The ECCOSOPHY Sandproof Beach Blanket is all three. It comes in a variety of colorful patterns. It’s sandproof. It’s huge, but it rolls up into a tiny ball. It also comes with tiny anchors so that it doesn’t blow away.


beach blanket - beach packing list

The perfect backdrop for the ultimate beach Snapchat. -Amazon



We all are Swifties at heart, but does she really need to be at the beach with you all day long? Be sure to pack earbuds so everyone gets to enjoy their own jams in peace. Especially pack them if your personal preference is Justin Bieber because your tweens will be mortified.




A Cooler with Wheels

Because dragging a traditional cooler across the sand is only a workout we said that we wanted in January. This all-terrain cooler holds 50 cans! It comes with a detachable cart (sand-pulling-friendly), and there are a variety of colors to choose from! 


beach cooler - beach packing list

Sand wheels for the win! – Amazon


Sunscreen and Sunhat

I’m a fair-complexion gal who grew up in the 80s and 90s. Meaning I slathered myself with oil and sprayed Sun-In all over my redhead during the summer. I didn’t know any better, but nowadays, we all know better. Sun protection is a must. It should be at the top of the ultimate beach vacation packing list. Start with a cute sunhat, then slather on the lotion.

The best sunblocks have the word “mineral” on the bottle. This spray bottle is a great option. We also love reef-safe sunscreen because it doesn’t hurt the environment, and it would be great to take our grandbabies to the beach one day. 



You might look ghostly on the beach today, dear child, but you will thank me when you look like Martha Stewart at 70. – Amazon


The “It’s Okay Bag”

There are soooo many adorable beach bags out there. My current favorite beach bag, because of its price and size, is this one by Bluboon. Pack your bag with extra clothes, extra cash (the Italian Ice Cart never takes the card), personal items, and a magazine or two. 


beach bag

So cute that it will make you want to go to the beach every day. – Amazon


In the end, all of these items are great to add to your family beach packing list, but remember that all you really need for a good time at the beach is a good attitude and low expectations, like the Holderness mama says in this video.





DOWNLOAD our FREE beach packing list here!




beach packing pin