Summer is right around the corner, and now is a perfect time to refresh your summer packing lists for beach vacations! Pack for a beach vacation quickly and easily with a few of my top items.
I grew up in Delaware just a short drive to Rehoboth Beach, Dewey Beach, the Jersey Shore, and Ocean City, MD. I don’t want to claim to be a “beach expert,” but I’ve been known to frequent beaches more often than not in the summers, even up in Boston. Castle Island in South Boston is one of my favorite local beaches that is totally under rated by locals.
There’s nothing worse than getting to your vacation destination and realizing you forgot something at home. I’ve put together this handy checklist so you won’t forget the most important beach essentials for your next trip.
Some might seem pretty straightforward, but I am going to recommend some favorite items you might not have thought of!
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A beach chair is a beach vacation packing list “must.” It keeps you up off the sand, keeps you dry in case the tide comes up to you, keeps you cool since it allows air to flow all around you, and is a lot easier shoppinggetting up and down than the ground (I now know the value of easily getting up and down after hip surgery!).
Here are some of my favorite types of chairs that fold down flat for easy storage but can be really great for staying cool and comfortable on the beach.
This Tommy Bahama backpack chair is like the HG of beach chairs. It folds down flat, has a cup holder, a pillow, and can be carried like a backpack. This chair is my next beach buy.
The Nautica beach chair comes in at a close second for me. It has an insulated pouch for drinks, but no backpack straps. Still, it’s a high quality chair with some great color choices.
We registered for these Terralite portable camping chairs and I really can’t wait to try them this summer! We tested a similar model in REI, so I know they are really comfortable, lightweight, and pack down small. These won for us because the feet have more surface area so they won’t slip down as much in sand or mud if we’re watching a concert outdoors.
There are so many types of great coolers out there, but I especially love the one below by PackIt. You can stick them in the freezer for a few hours and the gel packs freeze, keeping your drinks or snacks cool all day! We’ve used them in Disney World a few times, and they fit in a backpack perfectly. They also come in great colors! I love this watermelon print, but we own the owl print, and a black and white print.
The small size is perfect for singles or couples. It can fit a few drinks, sandwiches, or snacks. PackIt also sells this amazing larger freezer grocery bag which is great for larger groups or families. You fold it up and freeze it, and the gel packs in the sides and bottom stay cool all day! I think this is super cute and a great alternative to a bulky hard sided cooler!
But did you know some sunscreens contain the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate, two chemicals that are toxic to some marine life and coral reefs? While I still need to use up a bunch of chemical sunscreen, I am going to pick these new mineral sunscreens up this summer by Thinkbaby, Alba Botanicals, and Badger. They use zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide to act as a physical block of the sun. These mineral sunscreens can leave a whiteish cast, so take that in mind when selecting your reef safe sunscreen. You’ll notice I included kids sunscreens here. That’s because in general I think kids sunscreens can have gentler ingredients, even for adults.
My new favorite beach towel for summer vacations is the Cacala Pestemal Turkish Bath Towel. It is super light, packs down really small (maybe just larger than the size of a soda can), absorbs a lot, and dries quickly. We’ve been using these in our windowless bathroom, and they dry really fast even though there’s not much ventilation. We even registered for more on our Amazon.com wedding registry! They’re perfect to pack for a beach vacation since they will barely take up any room in your suitcase or backpack, and gives you peace of mind that you’ll always have a beach towel or coverup!
Bonus is they come in a variety of sizes and colors!
There’s nothing worse than forgetting your flip flops and having to wear your sneakers on the beach. You’ll be dumping out sand for days.
I always pack my favorite flip flops and water shoes or snorkeling socks on vacation. The snorkel socks are quite useful since they’re thinner than water shoes but will still protect your feet on rocky shores.
I especially love the Oofos recovery flip flops. They are soooo comfy and padded! Perfect for walking on the beach or boardwalk, or treating your feet after a workout.
Summer parties need music! These lightweight speakers connect to your phone via bluetooth, letting you bring the party anywhere! I especially love the size and sound capabilities of the Anker Soundcore bluetooth speaker.
Beach umbrellas are a great way to stay protected from the sun, block the wind, or lay under for a quick nap. the Sport-Brella beach umbrella is a great option for blocking wind and sun while still allowing plenty of air to flow through. And I love the Sport-Brella clip on version to attach to the back of your chair for some quick coverage!
I’m trying to protect my skin now that I am in my 30s (although I should have started when I was a teenager). I have a few UV sun shirts that are SPF 50+ and I have really been loving them. They protect my arms, chest, and shoulders, dry quickly, and are breathable. They are also a cute and quick coverup if you have to run into a store or restaurant!
My favorite to pack for a beach vacation is the zip up Caracilia rash guard for women. They have some super cute styles and I love that it zips on and off.