What to Pack For a Family Beach Vacation

Are you planning a family beach getaway this summer? Sunscreen, sunglasses, and sunhats are a given, but we found a few other things that are packable and practical for your next fun in the sun family getaway.  From the best beach chair to keeping your phone water-tight, we’ve got you covered.

Waterproof Phone Cases

I’m ordering these now.  Last summer we tried to make ziploc bags work for our “waterproof” and “sandproof” solutions and it didn’t work so well.  These little waterproof bags by Joto fit a bunch of different phone sizes and allow you to still use the touchscreen and take pictures through the protective case.

These Joto Universal Waterproof Case & Dry Bags have over 23,000 raving reviews on Amazon.  I can’t wait to use these this summer.

Sand Free Beach Blanket

What to Pack for a Family Beach Vacation - Beach Blanket

This sand-free beach blanket with built-in sand anchors will stay put while your family spread out.  It’s lightweight and compact and dries quickly… win-win-win – perfect for a nap under the beach umbrella or enjoying a picnic lunch.

Wildhorn Outfitters Beach Blanket

Beach Bag

Check out our full post on our favorite summer beach bags.  There are so many to choose from out there.  We did the narrowing down for you!.

These are our favorite family beach bags from the post…

Our Favorite Summer Beach Bags

Lands End Canvas Tote Bags  – These classic canvas totes are available in different sizes and color combinations.

Our Favorite Beach Bags

BOGG Bag XL – This is available on Amazon in a lot of different colors and able to hold a bunch at 19 x 15 x 9.5.

Beach Chair

We have used these beach chairs for years. It has straps and can be carried as a backpack, reclines to a few different positions and has a little carrying case and cooler case that you can fill if you are just heading down to the beach solo and don’t need to pack for a crowd 😉 They have lasted years.  Definitely worth the investment.

The Tommy Bahama Beach Chair is available on Amazon and at Costco.

Beach Umbrella

There are so many different sun shades and beach umbrellas available.  We have found that the popup tent style ones seem to trap in heat and always track sand inside.  We’ve tried a bunch of different ones and keep coming back to the good old fashion beach umbrella.  You need to keep a close eye on them on really windy days.  We’ve seen a few people chasing theirs down the beach before, but normally it’s not an issue.

The Tommy Bahama Beach Umbrella with Sand Anchor pictured above is available on Amazon and a similar one is also available at Costco.

We also found this beach umbrella that looked great, but was a little more of an investment.  The Beach Bub Beach Umbrella is tested to withstand winds of up to 35mph.  Your small children might blow away before this umbrella does 😉

Beach Towels

Even if beach towels are provided, you might want to pack a few to have on hand. A lot of the resort towels are small and cover about half of your body – ok half of my body 🙂 Or rental properties don’t have enough for the whole crew.  I love throwing on a big fluffy beach towel that’s been warmed in the sun after swimming.


These Laguna Beach cabana style beach towels are super soft and perfectly oversized.

If you want a lightweight, quick dry, easily packable towel, these Dock & Bay Microfiber Beach Towels are perfect.  They are available in a bunch of different colors.

Beach Cooler

Watermelon, apples, sandwiches, sodas, whatever you want to keep cold for a picnic lunch or snacks to keep your crew going on a hot day on the beach these two coolers are perfect for packing.

This CleverMade cooler is perfect for packing a family picnic and enough cold beverages for a long day at the beach.  It measures 18.25″ L x 12.25″ W x 12″ H.

This Coleman Cooler has a hard plastic liner that can be removed for easy cleaning and helps protect food.  It comes in a few different sizes depending on how many people your packing for and how long you plan on spending out in the sun. Colman 30-Can cooler measures 13.75 x 13.75 x 4.75″and the smaller Coleman 16-Can Cooler measures 12.20 x 6.69 x 12.20″.

Drink Coasters

Some of the beach chairs have cup holders, but we usually have more open drinks than cup holders. Each person can have a different color so there will be fewer mix-ups … “who’s water bottle is this? Is this your “juice” or mine?” and more happy beachgoers.

These Turtleback Sand Coasters come in fun 4-packs and are perfect for keeping your cold beverage from tipping over in the sand.

South Lumina Style - What to Pack for a Family Trip to the Beach

This has come down with me each and every time we head out to the beach.  I grab an ice cold can of sparkling water and pop it into this Yeti koozie and throw it in the beach bag.  It keeps my beverage of choice super ice cold.  I seriously love it. 🙂

Beach & Sand Toys

If the little ones are happy and occupied in the sand that means a few minutes of your beach bum in your beach chair.  We have a whole post about the best beach toys for kids HERE.

Paddle Ball – These Pro Kadima Beach Paddles are perfect for when the surf is rough or the kids are taking a break from swimming, the older kids love playing beach paddle ball.

These Surfer Dudes Wave Powered Mini-Surfer and Surfboard Toys are around $20 each and perfect for throwing over and over and over into the little waves in shallow water.

Large sand shovels. Because what kid doesn’t like a ginormous hole to jump into.

These are perfect for all ages.  Shell collecting bags allow the little ones to carry their own treasures on a walk and keep your pockets a little less sandy.

Again these are just a few options for toys.  Check out our full post about the best beach toys for kids here.

Happy Beaching my friends!