Ultimate Family Beach Vacation Packing List (+ Free Printable Checklist)

Whether you are heading on a road trip up the coast, or a destination abroad, what you pack can often make or break your family beach vacation. Knowing what and how to pack can be less than relaxing. Dare I say stressful even. So I’ve put together my list of essentials you’ll need, into a family beach vacation packing list, to help get your holiday off to a relaxing start.

Because, let’s be honest, travelling with kids requires a little more prep, and a whole lot more patience than that trip you took around Europe in your 20’s.

Wondering what to pack for a family beach vacation? We put together our printable beach vacation checklist and check it off before each trip. It makes things much easier, and I’m less likely to forget those important things.

We will take you through everything we pack for a family beach trip or a longer longer family beach vacation to say Costa Rica. To help you more easily prepare for your trips. From clothing, entertainment & electronics to documents and beach house essentials.

So put on your sandals and let’s get your sun, sand and surf adventure started.

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Beach vacations with family in the sun and surf can be fun for so many reasons. we find it’s a great opportunity to connect with our family, play games together, go for walks and build a sandcastle or two. Whether you are headed for a summer or spring vacation, the beach is a wonderful place to be.

We’ve put together the ultimate family beach packing list. While you might not need everything for every beach trip, it will help you not forget the most important items.

Feel free to adapt to your length and type of trip.

Young girl playing with her shadow at the beach. Open suitcase with clothes. Ultimate beach packing list for family.

Family Beach Vacation Checklist – Clothing Essentials

While it’s easy to remember to pack shorts, beach themed t-shirts, tank tops and summery dresses for warm weather, there are a few other clothing essentials not to miss.

Make sure to pack at least 3 sets of clothing per person, plus 2 swimsuits, at least a weeks worth of undies and a nice outfit for dinners or special occasions.

That way you don’t have to do laundry everyday.

Here are our clothing essentials & must haves to pack:

  • 2 swimsuits each
  • 1-2 Rashguards
  • 1 Swim Cover up
  • 1 – 2 Sun Hats
  • T-Shirts
  • Long sleeve shirt / Button Down
  • Shorts
  • Skirt / Sundress
  • Jeans / Capris / Yoga pants / Light pants
  • Belt
  • Socks
  • Underwear / Bras
  • Dress-up Dinner Outfits
  • Pjamas
  • Sunglasses
  • Light Sweater / Light Jacket
  • Sandals / Flip Flops / Water Shoes
  • Exercise clothes / Gear / Shoes
  • Rain Gear
PRO TIPS: Choose light coloured cotton, linen, rayon, or light merino wool clothing that hang slightly off the body, for hot and humid destinations.
Avoid clothing made with synthetic fibres, unless it’s specifically moisture wicking.
5 pages of Free Beach Vacation packing list templates fanned out.

Here are a few of our favorite clothing must haves for family beach vacation that we’ve used and loved.

Sun Hat

Hats. Could there be a more contentious item of clothing for kids then a hat?

While the struggle is real to get a hat to stay on the head of kids both young and old, sun hats with UPF protection are another must. Preferably pack at least two, in case one goes missing, or the tag itches their head, or any of the many surprising things that can happen with hats.

PRO TIP: Bring at least two sun hats per child, one for the water and one for on land.

Before our Cuba trip I found Wallaroo Hats. So many fun styles for adults and kids with UPF protection. As a bonus, many are designed to be packable. Hats are a necessary addition to your family beach trip packing list.

I loved the Scrunchie Hat and the Naomi Hat I bought for myself. Stylish, easy to pack, and reshaped nicely once unpacked. Miss Ten wore her rainbow striped Petite Nantucket hat and Mermaid Water hat non-stop.

Make sure to add hats to your family beach checklist.

Swimsuits & Rashguards

Rashguards are an ideal choice, for when you want to reduce the amount of sunscreen you have to apply to your kids.

Kids Rashguards

Rashguards for Women

Rashguards for Men

Choose one with a higher SPF rating for more sun protection and throw it over top of a swimsuit, or wear on it’s own. I prefer the long sleeve version, however they come in a variety of long/short sleeves, and one piece outfits for babies and toddlers.

Miss Ten and I pack our Kanu Surf Rashguards for all beach days. The looser Women’s Solid Long-Sleeve style works well for beach lounging, sandcastle building and swimming. They have different styles of rashguards and bathing suits for the whole family.

If your children are still in diapers, a reusable swim diaper is a good eco-friendly option.

PRO TIP: If going for more than a day trip, bring at least two swimsuits / rashguards per adult and child to avoid having to pack and wear a cold, wet suit at the beach.


I like to think of raingear as preventative packing. If I bring rain gear, it won’t rain, right?!

Unfortunately weather isn’t always predictable, so it’s best to be prepared.

Rain ponchos are a light weight versatile choice. As ponchos are roomier, they fit over top of you, keeping your clothing, backpack and electronics protected from rain. They also can be used as a tarp, or a ground cover.

The Tuffo Muddy Buddy all in one rainsuit was a favourite for our daughter from 12 months, until she outgrew the largest size (5T). The rainsuit is light, waterproof, and easy to pack.

A rain jacket would be a better choice if you are expecting strong winds and heavy rains. Here are a couple of top recommendations for packable rain jackets:


Bring comfortable sandals for wandering the beach and town.

Water shoes are also a good idea to protect little (and big) feet from scrapes and bruises, especially if the beach will be rocky.

Our family found Crocs to be the ultimate beach shoe for our last vacation. I know, hear me out.

I too swore to never wear them, BUT, they are quick to dry, good in the water and comfortable for strolling the beach, and town. Plus they have so many styles now, and Kids love them too!

Family beach vacation packing list. Sandals on a sandy beach, with foot prints leading to the ocean.
Beach Mornings

Want something more fashionable?

This woman’s Teva Verra Sport Sandal has a more upscale, sporty look and feel.

Or try on one of these comfortable, highly recommended fashionista approved woman’s sandals:

Keen are a great brand if you are looking for a sporty, versatile, comfortable walking shoe:

🏖️ Grab more Family Beach Trip Tips for a successful & fun family vacation

Beach Essentials: Beach Gear Must Haves

We’ve highlighted some important beach day essentials to bring if you have the room.

If flying, you likely won’t be bringing big heavy items.

Focus on one or two age appropriate beach toys / activities you think your kids will enjoy for a day at the beach. Plus the essentials like towels, sunscreen, hats, and life vests.

Often beach house rentals will provide toys and other beach gear for you to use. Or you can rent equipment and buy a set of beach toys there. Just factor that into your budget.

Beach gear must haves for your beach checklist for family:

PRO TIP: Bring a compact Travel Clothesline to hang up wet items at the end of the day. Do you really want to keep throwing your family’s wet stuff over the chairs, couches, tvs at your rental?

These are a few of our favorite Beach Day essentials we’ve added to our family beach trip packing list over the years.

Wet Bag

Bring a wet bag to stick all those wet, sandy bathing suits and towels into. We still use wet bags every summer. They come in many fun patterns, and you can avoid the pitfalls of plastic bags.

Water Bottle

Hot sun and beach fun lead to thirsty beach goers. Taking a refillable water bottle is good tip for any type of vacation, but especially for a beach destination.

If water quality is an issue, choose a waterbottle with a filter. Don’t forget a sippy cup if your kids are little.

Find out tips for bringing a water bottle on a plane.

PRO TIP: Freeze water in your waterbottle overnight. This keeps your water colder, longer for a day at the beach with your family.

Swim Goggles or Snorkel

Swim Goggles and kids go together like peanut butter and jelly. If you ever forget them, be prepared for some unhappy kids!

A snorkelling set is a good option for older children that can keep them entertained for hours.

Young child wearing goggles, swimming  in the ocean. Things to pack for the beach.
Swimming with Goggles – Varadero Beach

Extra Beach Supplies for Babies & Toddlers

I like to be pretty minimalist when I pack for the beach. I like to encourage my daughter to play with whatever natural objects she can find. Although now that she is older, and sees the other kids with beach toys, floaties, snorkels and such, our packing list for the beach has grown.

Fewer items, also means less for the adults to carry.

Let’s face it, it’s not usually the kids who have to carry the bulk of the supplies. A win-win in my books. Now only if there was a fool proof way to avoid bringing home sand.

Other items that may be helpful to have on hand at the beach if you are heading out with a baby or toddler. Some of these may only be suitable if you are renting a car, or driving your own.

Extra beach supplies to add to your family beach packing list:

Beach Family Packing List: Toiletries to Pack

  • Medicines / Prescriptions
  • Vitamins
  • Toothpaste / Toothbrushes / Floss
  • Soap
  • Hand Lotion
  • Lip Balm
  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo / Conditioner
  • Hair Products
  • Hair Brushes
  • Hair Elastics
  • Make up / Make up Remover / Make up Case
  • Menstrual Products
  • Razors
  • Shaving cream
  • Nail Clippers
  • Glasses
  • Contacts / Contact Solution
  • Toiletry Bag

Beach House Essentials

Many Beach houses and rentals will have most of the beach essentials you’ll need. Double check with the owner ahead of time what they provide.

I bring my own natural soaps and laundry products, as I can’t use anything with chemical / perfume smells. If you have sensitivities, it’s best to bring your favorite products from home.

If you’re heading to a Beach House, pack these essentials:

PRO TIP: Have basic groceries delivered to your beach house with local grocery delivery or instacart. That way you don’t have to rush out right away to get food & supplies.


Health & Safety

Safety First!

With a family, it is always a good idea to bring a basic first aid kit on your beach vacation, that covers all the usual suspects like band-aids, antiseptic wipes and cream, guaze, and tweezers. Bites, slivers, scrapes, and stings happen.

PRO TIP: Write out the local emergency numbers and keep a copy in your first aid kit, as well as add them to your phone contacts. Same with your travel health insurance #’s. You don’t want to be scrambling to find these numbers in an emergency situation.

If you are traveling somewhere where malaria, or the zika or west nile virus is present, you will want to use an EPA-registered insect repellent as recommended by the CDC. Check with a travel doctor first who can give give you their recommendations for the best products to use.

Sun safe UV blocking products are also an essential part of any family’s beach kit.

There are a few other beach trip must haves to bring for the health and safety of your family:

  • Mineral Sunscreen (Reef Safe)
  • SPF Lip Balm
  • Bug Spray and After Bite cream
  • After Sun Lotion – Aloe Vera is soothing for the skin
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Masks
  • Disinfectant Wipes
  • Pain Meds
  • Anti-nausea meds / Gravol
  • Thermometer
  • Rehydration tablets / powder

PRO TIP: Most people think of sunscreen as the first line of defense. In fact this should be one of the last. There are many other things you can do to avoid too many uv rays, before even applying the sunscreen. These include:

  • Wear protective clothing (long sleeve shirt & pants, hat, rashguards)
  • Find or make your own shade
  • Avoid going out mid day when the sun is the hottest (10am-3pm)
  • Check the UV index
Family Beach Vacation Packing list. 2 kids running on the beach. Empty Beach chair and umbrella, on the sand, with a woman and young child standing by the ocean in the background.

Bring Lifejackets

Life jackets are a good idea for kids, especially if your family is planning on participating in watersports. Even on calm days, the ocean can be dangerous.

Bringing your own is essential if you’re planning on taking boat or on the water tours in places like the Philippines. As toddler & kid sized lifejackets can be hard to come by.

When choosing a kids life jacket make sure it has the following:

  • Must be Coast Guard-approved. Check the label.
  • A collar big enough to support your child’s head, with a grab strap on the collar.
  • A safety strap between the legs, to prevent the jacket from slipping up over your child’s head.
  • Reflective material.

Travel Documents, ID & Cards to Bring

  • Travel Wallet / Cash
  • Drivers License
  • Bank & Credit Cards
  • Anti-Theft Bag
  • Hard Copy of Reservations (Tours, Hotels, Flights etc.)
  • House & Pet Sitter Contacts
  • Health Insurance Documents
  • Roadside Assistance Cards / Info
  • Auto Insurance Papers / Info
  • Car Rental Papers & Contact Info

Beach Vacation Ideas

We love our beach vacations.

From childhood favorites on Vancouver Island to tropical beach destinations around the world. Here are a few family friendly destinations to check out:

Entertainment & Electronics

Perhaps bringing entertainment on a beach vacation seems like a fanciful dream for those with young babies / toddlers / kids.

Hopefully the kids will be worn out from all the sun and fun, and you’ll have a few quiet moments at the end of the day, to sit on the porch and read a book, or enjoy the view.

You’ll also want to make sure your kids have something to do in their down time, or on rainy days.

Electronics to pack for a beach trip

Here is our list of essential electronic items you’ll want to add to your packing list for family beach vacation:

Entertainment: Indoor Activities

It’s also a good idea to have a back up plan for rainy days, or for times when your children want to hang around the hotel or beach rental.

Some of our favourite travel friendly entertainment essentials include:

PRO TIP: Use a soft pencil case with a see through mesh or plastic front, to keep activities such as the craft supplies organized and easily accessible.

Grab your Beach Checklist for Family Here:

5 pages of Free Beach Vacation packing list templates fanned out.


Our Family Beach Vacation Packing List has you covered for a fun, stress-free seaside escape. With this handy guide, you can rest easy knowing you’ve packed all the essentials and a few clever extras for your perfect family beach getaway.

While this is a list of items we feel are essential for beach vacations, you don’t have to bring everything if it doesn’t work for your family.

Now, grab your sunscreen, shades, and loved ones—it’s time to create those unforgettable memories and enjoy the sun, surf, and sand. Happy vacationing!

Are there any other beach vacation essentials you won’t leave home without? Let us know in the comments below, or or social media. We would love to connect with you!

Related family vacation articles:

Ultimate Beach Packing List

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5 thoughts on “Ultimate Family Beach Vacation Packing List (+ Free Printable Checklist)”

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  4. Ahh just reading this list makes me wanna go on a vacation! A good sunscreen is a must. I used completely ignore it as I rarely get sunburnt. Now I know better 🙈

    1. I have vivid memories as a child sitting at the beach smelling the coconut scented oil that people used put on to get a better tan. I agree sunscreen is a must and am glad there are so many options.

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