Packing For A Day At The Beach

There are a few things we always have in our beach bag that you may not think to take. Today I am sharing what we are packing for a day at the beach. 

For the most part, you can have this bag packed and ready to go all summer. Switching out clean and dry towels or items that need replacing. What do you always pack for a day or afternoon at the lake or ocean?

We have streamlined our beach bag to have the bag ready to grab or keep in the car. Our beach bag is simply a large reusable canvas bag, or you could use a shopping bag. 

We tend to be beachcombers more than sunbathers. Also, being in a northern climate we only have a few months per year for sunbathing on the beach. We love to explore beaches early in the Spring and well into the Fall.

What to pack in your Car Beach Bag:

  • Beach towels – Be sure to pack enough for the whole family. These microfiber ones are a nice size and super absorbant.
  • Beach Blanket/Mat or Bamboo Mat – Pack an old blanket if you prefer to have a large sitting area separate from the beach towels.
  • Plastic Bags/Waterproof Reuasble Bags -These are great for wet towels and clothes. 
  • Sun block
  • Sun Glasses & Hats
  • Baby Powder or Cornstarch– We use it for rubbing on our feet and legs to remove sand. Works like a charm!
  • First Aid Kit – Make your own using pencil case filled with Bandaids, Polysporin, etc. This is a nice travel size one already assembled.
  • Lip Balm – We often forget to protect our lips from the sun. Have a tube of high SPF lip balm in your beach bag (maybe in the first aid kit)
  • Water Shoes, Flip Flops or Crocs
  • Baby Wipes– perfect for wiping faces & hands.
  • Hair Accessories – Hair ties, leave in conditioner, and a comb. 
  • Children’s Life Jackets – Did you know, you can borrow life jackets from your local Red Cross? It’s true! If you are at the beach or around water often, it may be worth investing in your own.
  • Mesh bag– Mesh laundry bags are perfect to put beach toys in. Carry the wet, sandy toys back to the car and shake them off. It should help reduce the amount of sand you take home!
  • Beach toys – pails, shovels, molds (you can take things you have at home, no need to buy “beach toys”…ladles and plastic containers from your kitchen will do the trick.

** Swim toys– inflatable wings, rings, and other blow up or floating toys are fun, but please keep in mind that using them where there is a current is often not allowed. Check the beach rules before packing up the car with these items. They are safer and best kept for pool fun.


In addition to our beach bag, I often have a sunshade (umbrella or sun tent) if it is not too windy.

FOOD: Another must-have for a beach day is a picnic lunch! Coolers or cooler bags are perfect for keeping any items that need to remain cool.

Using a divided bento style box, toolbox, or tackle box are all great options for packing a variety of snacks for the beach. Just ensure they are made of food grade materials (like this one with removable dividers and lots of options)

Don’t forget lots of water and water bottles for each family member. Depending on facilities, you may be able to refill your water bottles, but just in case, pack your water bottles full.


Happy Beach Days!!!


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