The Ultimate Beach Vacation Packing List for Families

So you’re off to a lovely beach vacation…with kids! Either way, going on an amazing beach vacation means you probably have a lot of packing to do. That’s why I’m here to share my ultimate beach vacation packing list. After all, I’m a planner. It’s what I do best.

Maybe if you stick around long enough you can cash in all that charm for my ultimate beach vacation packing list printable just waiting for you at the bottom of this post!

The general rule of having children is that whatever you would normally bring to a location with you, triple it. Per child. But seriously, travelling with kids can be a lot of work, but it is also super rewarding to see their little faces light up.

Reason #1 why I love the beach with kids is because they find such joy in the simple things. My kids can play in the sand and surf until no end.

Reason #2 why I love the beach with kids is because it tires them out like crazy. During our trip to the Quintanroo Mexico it was a quick morning session on the beach, come back for lunch, take a nice long nap, and then do a short afternoon beach session, and then early to bed. The sun and fresh air really wipes them out, in a good way.

At any rate, I could go on, but I know you really just want to hear what you need to pack. So here goes:

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The Ultimate Beach Vacation Packing List in written form:


You will need clothing for the adults and children. I recommend at least two pair of underwear per day. For any females a few sundresses or beach cover ups are clutch. You’ll want the usual t-shirts, shorts, one dressy outfit, shoes, sandals and pajamas. Chances are where you’re going is warm, so only one sweatshirt or hoodie should cut it.

Sun Accessories

The big one here is sunscreen. Bring multiple types and plenty for the kids. I recently discovered the Baby Bum/Sun Bum Face Stick which I love. It’s basically a mini deodorant style sunscreen stick and it’s easy to put on the kids faces. I’m a bad mom, I don’t even rub it in! They look a little ghostly but who cares? Aside from sunscreen don’t forget a hat for everyone in your party, and sunglasses too.

For the Beach

Obviously you will need swimsuits, I recommend two per person. This way if one is drying the other one can be worn. Also for the beach you should try to include beach chairs, umbrellas, towels and a fitted sheet to put down if you have a baby who will need to crawl around. The fitted sheet can be placed upside down and heavier items like coolers can be placed in the corners to make a small play area without sand getting all up in their diaper!

**If your baby is very small (like less than 6 mo.) try the Fisher Price on the go Baby Dome. It is the perfect travel bassinet that can be used on the beach. It is a round pack and play with a dome that keeps out the sun and bugs. We had one and absolutely loved it. It was great in the backyard, pool yard or the beach.

You probably also want a beach bag, coolers, and beach toys. A great beach toy is a kite. My daughter had a blast playing with a kite with her papa, and at the time she was only 18 months.


This part of the list is quite long, and I’ll leave most of it on my FREE Printable Beach Packing Checklist that you can download for free- but think hygiene. Basically everything you will all need for showering and bathing. If you’re traveling with babies or toddlers you’ll need the diaper caddy stuff too like diapers, wipes, creams etc. It might also be a good idea to stash some child medicine and a thermometer just in case. We like to pack a small first aid kit because you just never know and its best to be prepared!


This part of the list depends on whether or not you are flying or driving, but how will everyone stay entertained during the trip and during the drive or flight? Do you allow technology use? If so, how much? If you are bringing technology don’t forget the chargers!

One strategy we use is to use our Amazon Prime account and download some free episodes of kids shows we like to the iPad. This way they can be pulled up and watched at any time during the drive, even without wi-fi!

You’ll want other activities (coloring books, small toys, and books) for your kids to use/play with in the car. And you might want to pack a deck of cards, because nothing says awesome beach night more than playing some cards on the deck with family or friends late at night after the kids have gone to bed. Did I say late? I meant like 9pm.

A Note about Packing the Car

If you’re driving you may want to keep your kids entertainment or baby necessities organized. Think books, coloring books, toys, extra snacks and cups. I would recommend a car organization caddy. It could be used on the floor of an SUV or Minivan, or in between seats as well.

Things to Find Out Before You Go That Will Affect Your Packing List

If you’re using a rental from Air BnB or HomeAway or a site like that, you want to check whether or not the beds come with linens and the house comes with towels. These would be two areas that you would need to account for on your list. If you download my FREE beach vacation packing list HERE, it is already accounted for you. If you don’t need it you just cross it off!

Also does your rental or home have laundry machines? If so you might want to bring laundry detergent. If not, you can always buy a small amount of it when you get there, that is a good way to save space.

What to do before you head out

The other great part about my FREE Beach Vacation Packing list is that it contains a checklist of things to do before you leave your home. Do you have petsitting all set up? If you need lodging or flights, do you have those booked? Is your house closed up and the thermostat programmed? Who will take care of your trash when you’re gone? What about snacks? Will you pack some or just buy them when you get to your destination.

Have you notified your banks and credit card companies you will be traveling? This is important so they don’t shut off your funding or freeze your card while you’re out.

Is your vehicle all cleaned out and serviced recently? You want to make sure you have your emergency kit handy as well. My goodness there is a lot to remember to do before you go.

And finally, don’t forget to do a little research about the location you’re headed. You might be interested in finding the best restaurants or tourist attractions. If you have a long ride you could always do this on the way to your destination, but you can do it ahead of time too.

In all seriousness, if you’ve read this far and haven’t downloaded my FREE Beach Vacation Packing List, then please just go ahead and do it. You won’t regret it. After all it is free!


Planning is kind of my “thing.” I enjoy making lists and planning events, vacations and parties. Planning for a family vacation can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be if you approach it in an organized fashion. If you get everything else prepped and ready to go on paper, putting your plan into action will be that much easier.

My family is off on another adventure this spring, this time to South Padre Island. We rented a condo that is oceanside, so I cannot wait to check it out. Although, truth be told I can’t wait to get back to the beautiful beaches of Mexico.

There aren’t a lot perks of being a state auditor, but I tell you what, the opportunity to be able to spend more time with your children is ONE HUGE PERK. I work additional side jobs that help bring in income to be able to provide these kinds of activities. It’s not easy, but I think it is worth it.

Am I missing anything you really love for the Beach Vacation packing list? What’s your favorite beach vacation spot?

Let me know, I’d love to hear of some must have new products to take on our next trip!

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