The Ultimate Beach Bag Packing Checklist

Everything you need, nothing you don’t. Keep this essential beach bag checklist handy for stress-free summer fun!  

Beach Bag Checklist

Does packing for the beach feel like a logistical challenge? (Where’d we put the waterproof sunscreen, anyway?) Keep a large tote packed with these beach essentials tucked into a hall closet or in the garage, and the next time you want to head to the shore, you’re already halfway out the door. Wear your swimsuits, sunglasses, and flipflops in the car, toss your beach reads into the backseat, and away you go to the waves.

Pack at the bottom:

  • Extra clothes or a cover up

Pack upright on the sides:

  • Tightly-rolled beach towels
  • Refillable water bottle

Pack in the center bottom:

  • Plastic bag containing sunscreen and lip balm with SPF
  • Comb or hairbrush with hair elastics wound around the handle (you may want to keep this in a plastic bag too, to protect your hair tools from the sand)
  • Plastic bag to bring wet swimsuits home in

Pack in the center top:

  • Beach toys: A bucket and a shovel at the very least!

Toss on top:

  • Sun hat
  • Small waterproof cosmetic case (or opaque plastic bag) for your ID, phone, keys, a bit of cash, and a credit card, just in case.


Good ideas:

  • If you like to hit the beach with an umbrella, chairs, or a beach tent, keep them folded up in the same spot in your garage or closet, alongside your pre-packed beach tote.
  • Can’t hit the hot sand without a cooler of chilled snacks? Consider keeping a couple of full, refillable, BPA-free water bottles in the freezer, so when you’re ready to head to the beach, you can toss them into the cooler with your snacks on top. They’ll do double-duty as ice packs and as refreshing drinks once the ice has a chance to melt. Alternatively, store a soft-sided cooler bag in the freezer (we like this one because it folds up flat so it doesn't take up much space), and you've got a cooler that's ready to go as soon as you are—or at least, as soon as you can throw in a couple of sandwiches and drinks!