Don’t Forget: Beach Trip Essentials

Is it really the summer if you don’t take a getaway trip to enjoy some sun at the beach? We are extremely fortunate to only be about a two hour drive from Carolina Beach in North Carolina. I love being able to just relax, not worry about work, and read a good book. Just remember to bring these beach trip essentials to make your day a memorable one!

If you are making a weekend or week out of your trip to the beach, be sure to check out VRBO or AirBnb for good deals on some beach condos. I love to find places that are within walking distance to the beach or close to the boardwalk area where there are a lot of shops and restaurants.

Making a road trip just for the day? Check out my post with must-have items for a road trip with kids.

Beach Day Essentials

Beach Chair

There is nothing like sitting on a beach chair with your toes in the sand! I don’t like to be completely covered in sand, so beach chairs are my #1 item to take to the beach.

Tommy Bahama chairs are my absolute favorite when it comes to picking a beach chair. I bought mine years ago from Costco and they still hold up. The best part is they come with backpack straps to keep your hands free and a built in cooler. They are 100% worth the cost!

Beach Umbrella

If you are like me and pale as can be, a beach umbrella is another necessity that keeps me from becoming a lobster. Keep yourself cool and shaded with a beach umbrella.

Again, Tommy Bahama is my go-to brand for beach items. Their beach umbrellas are sturdy and they come with a twist bottom making it easy to set up (and stay up). They also tilt to keep you shaded throughout the day.

Beach Towels

Even if you are not the type to get wet at the beach, a beach towel is great for relaxing and sunbathing. I personally love an oversized beach towel to make sure I don’t end up with sand all over the place.

Beach Blanket

Beach blankets are great for families with kids. It helps create a larger space to keep kids off the hot sand.

Our family uses this large one, which easily wipes the sand away when we are done. You keep it anchored to the ground by filling the little pouches with sand.

Baby Tent

If you have a little one, invest in a small beach tent. This tent keeps out the sand and provides a lot of shade, which is ideal for a beach nap. It even has windows to allow for a cool breeze to blow through so it doesn’t get overly hot inside.

Beach Trip Essentials

Beach Attire

Flip Flops

Flip flops are a must for going to the beach to keep your feet from burning on the hot sand. I personally love my Rainbows, but they are not always ideal for getting wet. If you want a comfortable, waterproof option then look into Crocs flip flops.

Floppy Hat

Keep the sun off your face by wearing an oversized hat. I bought one on our trip to Thailand for hardly any cost, but this one from Amazon is great too. I also love to just wear a baseball hat on the beach.


Sunglasses are another must for keeping the sun out of your face. I have lost sunglasses in the ocean after getting knocked over by a big wave. So, I tend to wear really cheap ones when I go in the water. If am sitting on the beach though, I prefer my nicer Ray Bans. If you have sunglasses for your little ones, then you might want to consider getting floating straps that can attach to their glasses.

Cover Up

Cover ups are great for wearing to the beach because they can get messy or wet and not be a big deal. They are also good to have if you plan to stop into a local beach shop or restaurant. You don’t want to be lounging around in your wet bathing suit.

If you have kids, I also recommend bringing a change of clothes. It is easy at the end of the day when they are wet and sandy to just change them into other clothes or pajamas for the ride home.


This is a no brainer when it comes to the beach. I have a rule in our house where we always start with lotion so I know it gets everyone fully covered, then we use the spray for retouching while on the beach. The roll-on stick versions are great for kids that can’t sit still when putting sunscreen on their face.

Water Shoes

I don’t think water shoes are necessary for most beaches. However, if you are visiting a beach that has a lot of seashells, then water shoes are great for little kids (and yourself). This will help prevent the inevitable breakdown that happens from accidentally stepping on a sharp seashell.

Beach Trip Essentials

Beach Bag Items

Beach Bag

A beach bag is a much-have item when headed to the beach. I am extremely partial to taking a large tote style bag to the beach to hold all of my things.

I want a bag that is big enough to throw my book, towels, phone, personal items, and sunscreen in. I love a bag that is water resistant and has a lot of pockets so it is easier to find things.


Things get messy when you are at the beach; there is simply no way to avoid it. When you are sitting down to eat, it is helpful to have wipes on hand to feel somewhat clean before diving in.

You never know what kids are going to pick up along the beach as well, so having wipes on hand can just be helpful in the event of a messy emergency.

Baby Powder

Nothing gets sand off your body and hands faster than baby powder. I like to keep a small travel size in my beach bag. This is great for your feet before getting in a car if there is no water hose nearby to rinse off.

Portable Fan

If you are going to the beach in the dead of summer, it is going to get pretty hot. Keep yourself cool by bringing small portable fans.

I love this three pack of portable fans, which are chargeable by a USB cord. We use these fans when we travel to amusement parks because the battery will last us the whole day.

Explore More: See what else is on our must-have list for a hot day at the park.

Waterproof Pouch

As you know, things get wet and sandy at the beach. Keep your phone safe from the elements by keeping it in a waterproof pouch.

It was nerve-wracking the first time we tried these in the Dominican Republic, but they actually keep your phone dry! They are also great for taking some underwater photos.

Personal Beach Safe

Speaking of keeping things safe, invest in a small personal safe to keep your belongings locked away. This is great to put your phone, keys, and wallet in while you go play in the ocean.

Hair Brush

My kids make fun of me because I rarely dip my head under the water when we go to the ocean or the pool. However, when I do, I am sure to have a travel hair brush on hand to make sure I don’t get any knots in it. The Wet Brush is great for kids because it won’t hurt and end in tears.

Portable Phone Charger

I am a strong believer in disconnecting when I am at the beach. I try to put my phone away to relax and just read a book.

However, if you are going to be there all day, you might want to bring a portable phone charger just in case. I like these ones from iWalk because they plug directly into your phone without the need for any added cords.

Beach Trip Essentials

Fun Beach Must-Haves

Beach Games

For those who don’t like to sit still at the beach (like my husband) and need to keep moving, check out some of these classic beach games. Water footballs are a must for throwing down by the ocean.

My dad and I personally loved throwing a foxtail when I was growing up. This amazing ’90s toy is like playing catch with a baseball, but instead you try to catch it by the tail.


Flying a kite is another classic must-do when you go to the beach. I used to travel to the Outer Banks as a kid and we would always fly a kite on the beach. We would then walk it back to where we were staying and tie it off on the porch for the rest of the day. I love see what new fancy kites they come out with each year.

Shell Collecting Bag

Keep your kids busy by searching for seashells along the shoreline. To my kids, every single shell they pick up is somehow the best and most beautiful. So, naturally, we end up with more shells than we can carry.

Get these mesh shell collecting bags for each of your kids. These are great because they easily filter out all that extra sand you don’t need to take home with you.

Book or Kindle

Reading is truly my favorite thing to do at the beach. I rarely get the opportunity to sit down and read at home, so, when I’m at the beach, it is all I want to do.

I personally love to read a physical book. However, when trying to travel light, many choose instead to read on a Kindle. You can carry an unlimited amount of books at your fingertips and only take up minimal space.

Are you team paperback or team digital? Comment below!

Sand Toys

My husband and son love to dig in the sand together and make sandcastles. I bought this set for my son when we started going to the beach more regularly.

I love this set because of the variety of items, but mainly because of the mesh carrying bag. It keeps everything in one spot and the strap makes it easy for my son to carry to the beach himself.

Bluetooth Speaker

If you love to listen to music at the beach, then a waterproof bluetooth speaker is a must. When my friends and I head to the beach, we like to blast some ’90s/’00s pop tunes. I personally love watching people around us dancing to some good ‘ol boy bands and Britney Spears.

Food Items


My family mostly loves to graze while we are at the beach. We don’t really do a big meal other than maybe some sandwiches. We instead munch on a bunch of individually wrapped snacks.

You don’t want to be sharing much food with everyone’s sandy hands. The one exception to this when we pass around a can of Pringles (but that’s what you packed wipes for!).

Water Bottle

The most important thing to do at the beach is to stay hydrated. It gets hot, so keep drinking water. I like to use my favorite water bottle with time stamps on it to make sure I am getting enough water throughout the day.

Ice Packs

My favorite part about the Tommy Bahama beach chairs are the built in coolers for snacks and drinks. To keep your food cool, invest in these slim ice packs. Pop them in the freezer the night before, add them to your cooler and they will keep all your items cool enough throughout the day.

Let me know in the comments below if you have any other beach day essentials or any special hacks you use at the beach!

Are you taking an entire beach vacation? Don’t forget these must-have items from my ultimate packing list.

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