The Ultimate Beach Vacation Packing List

It's nearing the time of year that all sun-lovers embrace beach time! And with the summer months fast approaching, beach vacations will become more and more popular. Whether you've had a two-week vacation planned for months or are looking forward to a long weekend at the beach, here is a list of things you should make sure you pack before you head out.

First, before leaving, make sure to take care of a handful of things so you can have peace of mind while you're enjoying the sun and sea.

Before You Go

Finalize everything with your sitter

If you have a child-, pet-, or house-sitter, be sure you've got everything written down for them, including instructions in case of any emergencies.

Leave Keys

If you leave a spare set of house keys with a trusted friend, neighbor, or family member, you won't have to worry if your sitter(s) lose theirs.

Clean Up

Check to ensure any foods in the fridge that could spoil, are either eaten, donated, or tossed. Although vacations are intended to be rejuvenating and fun, chances are when you return, you won't be quite in the mood to clean up so coming home to a clean house and a made bed will help your transition back into the grind go smoother.

Pay Bills

Take care of any bills that you have that will come due while you are enjoying fun and Sun.


The night before you leave, double check your baggage and make sure you have packed everything for your trip. If you are traveling abroad, be sure your passport is in a safe and secure place.

So, what to pack?

Since you're going on a beach vacation, chances are you'll be enjoying a sandy ocean adventure so be prepared for any occasion and any weather by preparing with these things.

  • Sunblock

The Sun can have long-term and short-term effects on your skin but at the beach, these risks are amplified because of the reflection of the sun from the water and sand. Be sure to carry a good sunscreen to protect your skin.

  • Cover Up

Likewise, using a good quality cover-up will provide additional protection against harmful rays. Plus, with today's huge array of varieties, a cover-up can double as a fashionable dress, pants, comfy romper, or stylish tunic.

  • Aloe Vera

If you do end up with too much sun exposure despite precautions, having a good-quality aloe product to soothe and nourish the skin can mitigate discomfort.

  • Sunglasses

Protect your eyes from the effects of the sun with a good pair of sunglasses.

  • Camera

Be sure you have an SD card, so you have enough storage to hold all of the breathtaking and fun photos you're sure to get! (If you're going to use your phone instead, consider getting a waterproof phone case).

  • Towel

Although you'll probably be provided basic towels through your accommodations, having a nice, familiar, quality towel or bath sheet from home can make your Sun-worshiping more comfortable.

  • Insect Repellent

Sand flies can be quite menacing at some beaches so having a good quality repellant is helpful. If, however, you are traveling abroad, check to ensure it's okay to pack not only with your airline but with the destination country (some items that are okay in the US are not okay in other countries).

  • Extra Swimsuit

Vacationing in tropical locations means multiple trips to the beach so being able to swap out your bathing suits provides you with variety and also cuts down on your tan lines by covering different parts of the body.

  • Umbrella

Between the months of April and September, most tropical locations experience a "rainy season" which usually involves a daily rain. Some of them can be torrential and some are quick showers in the afternoon so having an umbrella handy, is a wise choice.

  • Music/Book

While tanning, it's nice to fall asleep to the sound of your favorite playlist or keep yourself occupied with your favorite novel.

  • Hat

A broad-rimmed hat helps with keeping the UV rays of the sun from damaging your hair, eyes, and skin. 

  • Sandals/Beach shoes

A pair of comfortable beach sandals will be a convenient and simple way to keep your feet from becoming too hot on the sand when beachcombing. 

  • Beach Bag

Make sure you have an appropriate beach bag to take all of your beach necessities along!

  • Plastic Bags

Plastic bags are great to have handy for when an article of clothing gets wet. It will keep it separate from other clothing and electronics in your beach bag.

  • Sundresses

Vacations are all about relaxing! So imagine yourself walking along the boardwalk in a nice, flowing, light, comfortable sundress. Sundresses are quite versatile and come in a variety of styles and colors so you can have one for just about any occasion.

  • Shorts

Be sure to stock up on beach-appropriate shorts since you're probably not going to want to wear pants at your destination. Be sure they are either loose-fitting, cotton and comfortable or specially designed for a beach vacation.

  • Tops

Keep it light! When you have a selection of interchangeable tops and bottoms, you can change your look from casual to a great night on the town!

  • Skirts

These can be life- and time-savers whether you want to make a quick run to the store or enjoy an afternoon cocktail. Comfortable and versatile, a nice selection of skirts is ideal for a beach vacation.

  • Evening Wear

Once the Sun sets, a night enjoying the lights and festivities of your destination will surely come along. Be sure to spoil yourself with a nice set of evening wear to show off the beautiful tan you'll be getting while you're enjoying your vacation!

Swimsuits Direct has everything you need for your beachwear needs. Plus, if you sign up for an account today, you can take 20% off your first order! 

ultimate beach vacation list