Whether you’re driving out to the beach in the summer or flying south for a coastal vacation, after a year of being stuck inside the beach has never looked so good. The US alone offers over 95,000 miles of shoreline so there is no shortage of incredible beach destinations just waiting to be explored.
From day trips, to long weekends, and week-long vacations; we’ve got you covered with all the beach essentials to pack for your next trip. So get some sun, hit the water, and explore a beautiful beach this year!
Beach Bag Essentials Packing List
We’ve written this guide based on a long weekend so scale the quantity of items listed up or down depending on your trip duration.
Casual and light will be your go to clothing for a beach trip. One of the best parts of visiting a beach town is the laid back atmosphere, and that directly translates to the clothes you should pack. Unless you have a specific occasion there’s no need to bring anything formal.
Remember to pack light-weight, breathable fabric whenever possible. Even for clothes you aren’t necessarily wearing on the beach, comfort is king when you’re relaxing in a beach town.
- Multiple T-shirts for everyday use (moisture-wicking fabric is always a great option)
- 1 long sleeve shirt (we recommend linen for when it gets humid)
- 1 sweater for cool nights
- 2 pairs of shorts
- 1 hat
- 1 pair of sunglasses
- 1 pair of running shoes
- 2-3 pairs of socks
- 1 pair of sandals
- 1-2 swimsuits
- 2-3 pairs of underwear
- 2 sports bras
- 1 sundress
Primary Travel Bag:
If you’re driving to your beach destination it's the perfect opportunity to break out a stylish weekender bag. The DamnDog Over Gear Box Duffel was our most recent choice as we didn’t need to worry about the carryon size compliance and with it being in our hands or car, we weren't worried about it getting dirty or roughed up in a cargo hold.
For trips on a plane consider a mid-sized travel backpack or carry-on sized suitcase. You’ll have plenty of room for all your clothes and you can fly through the airport without worrying about a checked back. We used the Onli Travel Venture Pack to get the best of both worlds. This innovative bag starts as a carry on roller bag for the plane and has an included daypack for your personal item.
A duffel bag or travel bag between 25-30 liters is perfect for a long weekend and 30-35 liters for a trip closer to a week. Duffels are great options for a road trip bag; they open wide making it easy to pack and organize, they look great, and they’re really convenient to use. This bag isn’t going to get roughed around in a cargo hold or get dirty so it's a great opportunity to use a stylish, high quality weekend duffel bag.
We always recommend organizing your clothes in packing cubes for an extra level of organization. This is particularly useful for keeping your dirty (or sandy) clothes separated from the clean ones.
Include a lightweight daypack to carry all of your daily gear to the beach. Approximately 15 liters should be the perfect size to carry a towel, water bottle, snacks, books, and whatever else you need for a day in the sun.
Get one that’s made from durable nylon that’s easy to clean. Unlike your primary bag, your beach weekend daypack will most likely get wet and dirty in the sand, so prioritize one that can easily be cleaned at the end of the trip and that you won’t mind it sitting in the sun, getting wet, and covered in sand.
A packable daypack is a great option because it folds up into a small, self contained carrying case when not in use, making it easy to toss in your bag.
Beach Bag Essentials: Accessories
Water Bottle - A long day in the sun and surf will leave you parched so pack at least one leak proof water bottle. Again, consider the fact that it will likely get dirty and sandy so consider a well made metal water bottle that’s easy to clean and offers insulation to keep your beverage cool like the Xact Hydrogen.
Towel - No surprises here, grab your favorite beach towel before heading out. Invest in a great beach towel that you can use over and over again, unlike a regular bath towel, a beach towel is longer so you can lay out on it. A microfiber travel towel is a fantastic option because it dries quickly and doesn’t collect sand, and at the end of the day it can pack down much smaller than a traditional towel. A microfiber towel is much easier to travel with, it takes up less room in transit and it will fit in your daypack with room to spare so you’ll never be caught without it.
Waterproof Pouch - Keep your phone, keys, and cash safe from water and sand with a waterproof pouch. After a few trips caught in the rain or doing water-based activities we’ve learned the value of always traveling with a waterproof pouch.
Dry Bag - A must have item to keep your valuables dry and protected. A compact dry bag can either be carried standalone as a secondary or alternative to a daypack or stashed inside your daypack to keep the valuables inside protected. Great for phones, wallet, keys, headphones, and anything else you don't want wet or sandy.
Beach Hat - There’s a beach hat style for everyone. From a wide full brim to a baseball cap, the most important thing is getting one that’s lightweight and breathable so that it's comfortable to wear all day while keeping the sun off your head and face.
Our exclusive Flashpacker snapback is beach-ready! Its light & breathable, and the warm air & humidity contributes to the beautiful patina on the leather patch.
Your regular toiletry items for a long weekend including toothbrush, toothpaste, and deodorant.
Include some moisturizer to soothe your skin after long days in the sun, and of course load up on sunscreen. Bug spray is also worth packing for the evenings.
Keep it all organized in a spacious toiletry bag. Because it's staying safe in your hotel or AirBnb this is another great opportunity to mix style with function.
Beach Bag Essentials: Electronics
Your electronics list should be pretty light for a weekend at the beach. If you’re going to be working at your beach destination check out our Digital Nomad guide which includes all the gear you’ll need to work and travel.
E-reader - An e-reader is a great option to cut down on the weight of books. Keep it safe in your waterproof pouch at the beach.
Camera - Based on personal preference.
Laptop - Even if you aren’t working, there’s no harm bringing a laptop. While it wont get used during your days on the beach it might be helpful in the evening for streaming music or Netflix.
Retractable HDMI Cable - After a long day at the beach, relax with your favorite Netflix show. An HDMI cable will let you plug your laptop into the TV so you can watch it on the big screen.
Power Bank - If you’re spending long days on the beach, especially if you’re playing music through your portable speaker, you could be draining your phone battery pretty quickly. A durable power bank can keep you out on the beach all day with no power concerns and if you get one that’s solar powered you never have to worry about running out of power.
Beach Bag Essentials
With vaccinations up and destinations opening there are beautiful beaches on every coast just waiting to be explored. Pack all the right beach essentials to get the most of your time in the surf and sun!