You’re in the car jamming to some beachy pop music, heading for the coast. As you near your destination you get a few glimpses of the ocean. So excited. You park, exit the car, and are hit with a warm salty breeze, and smell the unmistakable vastness of the ocean. You trudge through the sand and down towards the water, find the perfect spot, and set up camp.
And then it hits you. You’re searching through your bag. It was there, you’re sure it was there—but it’s not. You forgot the sunscreen! How could you get all the way to the beach before realizing you forgot the sunscreen.
Save this list of items and run through it next time you head to the beach. You’ll be prepared for the best day ever.
Beach Clothing and Accessories
Change of Clothes
A fresh change of clothes feels so good after a day in the ocean and sand. Go with something comfortable and easy to throw on, like an oversized shirt and a pair of shorts.
Bring along a hat to keep the sun off your face. From a baseball cap to a giant floppy hat, the fun accessorizing possibilities are endless!
A stylish rash guard is a good idea to bring as well. It gives you an extra style option to throw on over your suit, and it’ll keep you from getting too much sun.
Flip flops will make your life easier at the beach. From the car to the beach, from the beach to the car—and then out to dinner.
Sunglasses will help protect your eyes not only from the bright sun but also the glare from the water. Oh, and they’ll look super cute in your beach pics. They’re the perfect, fun accessory!
These are the beach necessities you aren’t going to want to go to the beach without.
Portable Phone Charger
Don’t head to the beach without one! You want to make sure your phone is charged so you can listen to music and snap fun pics all day long.
Bring a few large beach towels. You’ll use at least one to lay down on the sand, and another to dry off after an ocean dip.
Please wear sunscreen when you go to the beach. Even if you’re hoping to get that sunkissed tan, you definitely should not go the whole day without sunscreen, if at all. It’s recommended to wear sunscreen even on cloudy days. Don’t forget a protective oil or spray for your hair and scalp as well!
Yeah, it’s great laying out on a towel in the sand, but chances are after a while you’ll wish you had a proper chair to sit on. Bring along a classic folding beach chair, or one of those camping chairs that you fold up and carry around in a cloth tube.
Bring an umbrella along on extra sunny days. Beach umbrellas have a spiral anchor at the end so you dig them in the sand and it’ll stand firm.
First Aid Kit
It’s not a bad idea to pack a first aid kit, at least to have in the car. You don’t want to plan on needing it, but you never know what you might step on that could cut your foot. Or even if you get a headache, it’s nice to have some medicine on hand. Don’t forget some antibacterial wipes as well!
Food and Drinks
Bring food and drinks along with you to the beach to keep people hydrated and energized. It’ll make the day more enjoyable and help people last longer as well.
Water and Water Bottle
Bring water and a water bottle with you—no questions asked. Between the direct sun, the heat, the reflections from the water and sand, and the physical activity that comes with a beach day, it’s easy to get dehydrated. Make sure you drink at least three liters of water on a beach day.
Lunch and Snacks
A day at the beach can be tiring, so remember to pack a picnic! Pack a lunch and some snacks to munch on throughout the day. Beware of seagulls: don’t leave opened food unattended.
Insulated Bag or Cooler
An insulated bag or cooler will make sure your food and drinks stay nice and cool and safe. If you’re bringing lots of drinks or food that has to stay refrigerated, a bag of ice or two is probably a good idea. If you’re just bringing light refreshments, a couple of ice packs should suffice.
Nothing quite like sipping on your favorite beverage on the beach. The main reason to bring that cooler? Frozen cocktails and wine spritzers on the beach, because a beach day isn’t complete without an umbrella drink in your hand.
More To Consider
It’s one thing to have all the essentials covered, a great and important thing. But you can take it to the next level pretty easily. Think about what you want to do on the beach: what will you and your companions enjoy? Then all you need to do is figure out what you need to bring to make it happen.
If you’ve got kids coming along with you, they’ll thank you for packing some beach toys. Bring some plastic shovels and pails so they can try and construct a sandcastle (be prepared to offer help). Other beach toy ideas are beach balls, hula hoops, and that game with the velcro tennis balls and the plate-like mits to catch them on.
If you’re bringing your pup along, make sure you pack for them as well. Bring a leash, ball, water bowl, treats, and baggies. Also, make sure to double check the beach you’re heading to is dog friendly.
Bring a novel, a magazine, or something enjoyable to read. Whatever you’re reading, there’s no better place to read than on the beach.
The beach has lots of space to play games. Bring frisbee, spike-ball, paddleball, or volleyball with you. You can also bring something more chill and easy to transport, like a deck of cards or a game of UNO.
Bring a portable speaker to add to the beach vibes. Bring some headphones to tune into your favorite music while you lay out or go for a beach jog. If somebody plays guitar, have them bring it along to play during a beach bonfire.
Surfboard, Boogie Board, Skimboard
Don’t forget your board! Of course, you can usually find someplace to rent boards from near the beach, but if you’ve got your own, why would you?
Beaches are usually windy and make a great place to fly a kite. Find an open space so you can run a bit if you need to, just until it gets up in the air. Then watch it fly!
Some beaches are better than others when it comes to snorkeling, but it’s always pretty remarkable to breathe underwater. Pack a snorkel in your beach bag and see what kind of wildlife you can find.
The Best Beach Days Are Well Prepared For
A day on the beach is hard to mess up, but it only takes a bit of preparation to make it even better. When you have everything you need on a trip to the beach, you can stay longer, enjoy more activities, and maximize your relaxation.
Next time you go to the beach, be the person that makes people say, “Wow, you thought of everything!”