Beach Trip Checklist

If there's a beach vacation in your future here's a beach trip checklist that's practical with a little shoreside flair thrown in.


Tips, Lists and Links to make sure your vacation is just beachy.

sun sand sea resort


Looking for a complete packing list? Go to Vacation Packing Checklists.



From there, each vacation is as individual as you are. Climate, activities, special events and modes of travel will dictate must-haves for your list.

This page is a beach trip checklist of all those items needed especially for shoreside, island and other tropical vacations.

As you would expect, it's filled with water friendly stuff to make the most of a trip to the sun, sand and surf.


Take these things along on a sun and surf and sand retreat and start making memories!


Beach Trip Checklist

  • Sandals or Flip flops - Apparently we aren't supposed to call them thongs anymore. Whatever you call them, a pair of "easy to slip on and off" shoes like flip flops, sandals or crocs are an absolute must. Something you don't mind getting wet or that are easy to kick off during beach walks.
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  • Hat - Take your shade along. A big brimmed hat protects your face, neck and shoulders from the tropical sun. Check out our favorite Packable Sun Hats here.
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  • Book - Check out our list of Best Books to Read for a selection of "great-reads" to take along on vacation. A Kindle Reader is a fantastic way to take along as many books and magazines as you can possibly read without the weight or bulk of paper bound issues.
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  • Sunglasses - Polarized sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection are a good barrier between your eyes and the sun. Your eyes are just as vulnerable to melanoma as your skin is. Remember that the sun reflects off the water and intensifies the effects. You'll also find that good sunglasses make the scenery more crisp looking.
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  • Sarong or Pareo - These brightly patterned lengths of fabric are around 3 feet X 6 feet (size varies) . The versatile sarong scores super high in our double duty category and no beach list would be complete without at least one.

    You can often buy these on the beach and if you've been on a beach vacation before, chances are pretty good that there's one in your closet. If you have one (or two) pack them.

    They'll come in handy as a swimsuit coverup, skirt, dress, beach blanket, table cloth, privacy curtain, sun shade, light blanket, etc... and they'll ask for very little space in your luggage in return.

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  • Disposable Waterproof Camera - I love my digital and it goes most places with me but the beach and water activities don't play well with digital cameras. However, there is always a Disposable Waterproof 35mm Single Use Camera in the beach bag to capture all those photos that would otherwise have been missed. The disposables are rugged and take good pictures and I'll take them places I wouldn't think of taking the good camera.
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  • Dry Bag - Dry bags are designed to float and keep water out. A small dry bag keeps clothing, towels, cameras, paperbacks, money, smoking materials, etc. dry whether you're sailing, motoring or paddling.

    The Sea to Summit 13 Liter Dry Bag is about 3 gallons in size and holds a pareo, a towel, sunscreen, water bottle, camera etc. The bigger sizes can double as your beach bag.

    These are our favorite dry bags on the boat because they're soft, flexible and the colors are fantastic but the thing that's best about them from a traveler's perspective is how little space they take up when they're not being used.

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  • Beach Bag - Beach Bags are flaunting some serious funk these days. A roomy bag to carry all your beach essentials in is a must. Pockets inside (or out) help keep small things organized and handles that are big enough to put over your shoulder make it a breeze to carry. In the right column you'll see a link to our beach boutique which offers a fantastic selection of beach bags - just right for your needs.

    As for what should be in the bag, visit our Beach Bag Booty page for the scoop.
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  • Zip Lock Bags - I can't resist picking up shoreside treasures whenever we walk on the beach. Zip Lock bags hold shells, sea glass, bits of driftwood and wave worn rocks.
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  • Hair Accessories (for the girls) - You'll probably want to put your hair up on hot days and sultry nights. Speaking of hair, check out these easy to do yourself updo hair styles and pick up some great new ideas to try while you're on vacation.
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  • Sweater/ Hoodie/ Jacket/ Shawl - At night the beach can be quite chilly and the effect is often magnified by the amount of sun and heat you were exposed to during the day. Your beach trip checklist should include something warm and cozy and also pack a lightweight sweater or shawl for those almost chilly evenings.
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    Stay at The Beach in Luxury For Free

    woman in hammock on beach

    Even though it seems too good to be true...I'm not kidding!

    Home swapping gives you the best of both worlds. Enjoy all the comforts of home at your destination living in an established residence while it's owner lives at your house and keeps an eye on things there.

    No need for ploys to fool robbers into thinking your house is occupied while you're gone, the house is occupied.

    Trade places with someone who lives in one of your bucket list destinations. Stay for days or months - whatever you work out with your trade partner.

    Tens of thousands of people who want to trade homes have signed up here.

    No house to trade? No problem

    And yet another way to stay for free at a vacation location is by pet or house sitting. Yes, there are tens of thousands of pet and homeowners that are looking for someone to stay in their house while they vacation, visit family or attend events. Many have pets that can't be left alone but some want the security of having someone reliable staying in their house while they're gone.

    Here's more about how to be a House Sitter.




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    Share Your Favorite Beach With Other Beach Lovers

    Of all the beaches you've visited which do you think is the Best Beach in the World? Tell us where it is and what you love about it.

    Is it a great walking or tanning beach

    Has something special happened to you on YOUR beach? A proposal, a wedding, maybe you met a special person.

    Everyone love to look at beach photos. Include a picture of your beach if you have one!

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    What Other Visitors Have Said

    Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

    Me, the Jersey Shore, and Two Cute Guys 
    Last year when I was thirteen I went to the beach (Sea Isle City, NJ) with my mom, my sister, my aunt and uncle, and my two younger cousins. My mom …

    1st Time Not rated yet
    This past summer I had the pleasure of visiting Florida and seeing the ocean for the first time. Wow is all I could say. The weather was wonderful and …

    my first trip to the beach  Not rated yet
    I'm 16 years old and have never been to the beach before. I'm so excited because I get to share this experience with my boyfriend even though he has …

    Our Family Beach Vacation Not rated yet
    Our family is going to Ocean City MD for a beach vacation in July. We have no idea how to find a good condo, with a penthouse for us in case Grandma …

    REAL ESTATE SALES PROFESSIONAL Not rated yet
    Living in Baja California Sur on the East Cape, Sea of Cortez side. Our local beach is an outstanding stretch of pristine sand, white with gold pyrite …

    Surfin USA Not rated yet
    We traveled down the California coast to see the 13 beaches mentioned in the song Surfin' USA by the Beach Boys. Most are state beaches or parks …

    My New Favorite Not rated yet
    This season I discovered a new favorite beach. It's Matanchen Bay, Mexico. Located on the Pacific coast of Mexico just a couple of miles south of San …

    Hugonaut Beach, Jacksonville Florida /Jekyll Island, Georgia Not rated yet
    Its beautiful there :) and camping is available. I work on the other island. Its quiet with a lot of bike trails, good food, a water park, historic sites …

    aruba Not rated yet
    The waters there are crystal blue! The sand is fine, clean and safe. The whole beach experience is absolutely amazing... including the sun, for those tanning …

    Paradise Beach - Nassau Bahamas Not rated yet
    They have the most beautiful white sand beaches. You will love this vacation if you go island hopping, you will see all the beautiful water and exotic …

    Tenacatita Not rated yet
    My Favourite Beach is at the Aquarium in Tenacatita Bay, Mexico. It's on the Pacific side of Mexico and offers everything I love in a beach. Wide expanses …

    Click here to write your own.




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