What to Pack for a Beach Trip

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Y’all, I love the beach….. I’ve honestly considered getting an RV and living at the beach full time like a hippie. Get real Kelsie. 

The only problem for me with the beach is packing for it…. I always end up packing way too much or not enough and forget soemthing. So, I’ve compiled some helpful tips to help avoid over-packing and/or forgetting something important for your next beach trip!

Before you start throwing things into your bag…. first you need to take the following steps:

  1. Count the days and nights that you will be staying. Don’t bring 14 swimsuits if you’ll only be there for 3 days…
  2. How are you getting to the beach? Are you carpooling with 6 other people and all their luggage? Be considerate and bring a smaller bag. Or are you flying there? Maybe you could fit everything into a carryon and won’t have to check a bag and can save that money/time for drinking…
  3. Do your laundry! You’ll want all of your options available when making the final cut of what makes it into the bag
  4. Are you going for a special occasion like a bachelorette party, the 4th of July, honeymoon, Spring Break, etc? What you pack will depend on the occasion as well.
  5. Find out the itinerary. Are you going to any nightclubs and need stilettos? Are you going hiking and need to bring your Nike’s? Are you going to a fancy dinner?
  6. Sit down and make a list of everything you need to pack a few days before the trip and keep it handy so you can jot stuff down as they pop into your head later. Trust me it’s a lot easier when you have a list that you can check off as opposed to looking around your room/bathroom saying, “okay, what do I need?”

A live look at my actual list + my horrible handwriting

Now that you’re ready to make your list, here are the important things to add to it:


  1. Swimsuits for each day at the beach (if you’ll be at the beach for 4 days, bring 4 swimsuits)
  2. Coverups for each day at the beach – cute cover ups or just an old sorority tank
  3. Lounge clothes for mornings/nights – I like to bring comfy but cute outfits for nighttime when we’re playing drinking games or just hanging out around the house/hotel. I’ll usually bring one or two cute/comfy tops and wear my cute shorts from earlier that day
  4. A few cute outfits if you go to lunch or dinner
  5. One pair of panties for each day – you’ll be wearing a swimsuit all day anyways so no need to pack extra underwear
  6. One pair of pajamas – wear the same pair every night. I sleep in t-shirts and panties so I’ll pack one shirt to wear the whole time
  7. Shoes – beach shoes and non-beach shoes. I bring a gross pair of sandals or flips flops to wear at the beach because they will get dirty and will be in my bag the whole day and then I’ll bring a cute pair of sandals to wear in case we go out to eat. Unless you’re going clubbing, hiking, or to fancy dinners… You don’t need more than 2-3 pairs of shoes
  8. Travel outfits – one to travel there in and one to travel back in – I typically stick to the yoga pants and cute/comfy tops


  1. Hairbrush
  2. Hairstyling tools – I like to bring one styling tool and style my hair that way the whole time. I usually just leave my hair natural at the beach because it’ll either be in a messy bun or in the water, so I’ll just bring my curing iron and curl my hair if I ever need to be “fancy”
  3. Hairspray – I like to spray my face with hairspray after I apply my makeup so it’ll last longer 😉
  4. Hair ties (ponytail holders, whatever you call them)
  5. Shampoo/conditioner
  6. Razor
  7. Soap/shower gel
  8. Makeup – don’t forget the waterproof mascara!
  9. Makeup remover
  10. Contacts, contact case, and contact solution 
  11. Extra pair of contacts – I always bring an extra pair of contacts whenever I travel in case I lose one or rip one
  12. Toothbrush/toothpaste
  13. Lotion
  14. Face wash 


  1. Any medications you take daily – for me, I take birth control, ADD medicine, and bloating pills daily
  2. Allergy medicine
  3. Sleeping medicine if you need it – sometimes staying in a house with a lot of people it can be hard to sleep with others making noise (cough cough, my boyfriend snoring….)
  4. Gas-X and/or Pepto Bismol to avoid any embarrassing/humanly moments in front of your significant other
  5. Ibuprofen/Advil/Tylenol/whatever
  6. Blowfish or Pedialyte in case you get a nasty hangover

Actual Toes-in-the-Sand Beach Stuff:

  1. Beach towel
  2. Beach chair – only if you have one/are taking a car
  3. Beach bag or backpack to carry all your beach things
  4. Sunblock/suntan lotion
  5. Bug spray
  6. Hat to block the sun
  7. Sunglasses
  8. Yeti/Tumbler for mixed drinks
  9. Water bottles
  10. Ziplock bag for your phone so it doesn’t get wet or sandy
  11. Cooler? (if no one else is bringing one)
  12. Book to read while you lay out?
  13. Bluetooth speakers to listen to some beach jams?
  14. Volleyball? Football? Boogie-board? Blow-up raft? Whatever activities you like to do at the beach

The end result

**If you’re staying in a beach house and don’t want to eat out for every meal**

Food/Drinks: (you can buy this when you get to the beach to save room in the car)

  1. Breakfast – I like to make breakfast tacos or I’ll bring donuts and grab-n-go food
  2. Lunch – I like to bring stuff to make sandwiches or hot dogs
  3. Dinner – I always try to do something easy but still filling; like hamburgers on the grill, grilled chicken or steak + sides, spaghetti, or just go out for dinner…..
  4. Plenty of water
  5. Some kind of caffeine – whether that be coffee, sodas, or tea. I can’t function without my caffeine, especially if I’m going with a rowdy group and won’t be getting enough sleep
  6. Alcohol – beer for drinking games plus whatever you want to drink during the day at the beach. I like to drink Malibu or Vodka (+ a mixer of course) at the beach because it’s lighter and “beachy”
  7. Ice for the cooler & mixed drinks

Food & Alcohol

Helpful Tips/Hints for Organizing What You’re Packing:

  1. Try on all of your outfits and swimsuits prior to packing them to make sure they look cute/fit right.
  2. Lay everything out on the bed or floor before packing it away so you can see what you’re still missing and if you packed extra of something.
  3. Bring a plastic grocery bag for your dirty clothes/wet swimsuits so they won’t stink up your clean clothes.
  4. Use a small bag for your toiletries and fit that small bag in your suitcase/duffle bag. That way you can take the toiletry bag out of the big bag and put it right in the bathroom.
  5. Pack all of your beach items in your beach bag prior to getting there so you’ll be ready for the beach. If you’re taking a car with a lot of people, you might not be able to bring multiple bags.
  6. Fold everything…. I’m sure this is a no-brainer, but I have seen my boyfriend/other friends arrive somewhere and they literally just piled everything into their bag without folding…. *screams internally*
  7. Use travel-size toiletries and medicine if you can.
  8. Don’t forget your phone charger!
  9. Keep in mind that if you do end up forgetting something, it’s nothing that you can’t buy at the store or borrow from your friends/your mom. It took me a longggg time to realize that and I would always have so much anxiety about forgetting something when going on vacation.

Side note: here is my puppy, Boo supervising me while I packed (don’t worry, she got to come too)

Hopefully this post is helpful for everyone out there planning a beach trip and don’t know where to begin with packing or for everyone out there already packed and are feeling like you’re forgetting something!

What are your beach trip essentials?! Comment below if I left anything out! 😉


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