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How to Pack a Beach Bag

Three Parts:Picking the Beach BagPacking the Right StuffPacking Fun Extras

Are you excited about getting ready for a fun day at the beach? If you are staying for a full day at the beach or just a couple of hours, make sure you pack everything you need to be completely prepared to enjoy your beach day. Whether you are going with friends, family, children, or by yourself, it is essential to pack a beach bag that takes care of all your needs, and anything unexpected. There is a lot that goes into packing a beach bag, not just the essentials, but how to pack, and what kind of bag is best. Read on to learn how to pack the perfect beach bag.

Part 1
Picking the Beach Bag

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    Pick the right kind of bag. You can use a medium sized pouch, a backpack, or a large tote bag depending on the duration of your stay and how many things you need to pack.
    • Consider a large water resistant tote bag if visiting with family or children, likely you will need several more supplies than you would if you were visiting alone or with a friend.
    • Don't use your favorite bag. Because you are going to the beach, you will likely get seawater and sand in your space. Make sure to take a bag that you don't mind getting sandy.
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    Get organized. Choose a bag with compartments and pockets. Since you will be packing several different things in a variety of sizes, having a bag with pockets, can save you time and keep things within easy reach.
    • Compartments are crucial for separating things that have gotten sandy (like flip flops or towels) from clean things.
    • If you are a skilled seamstress, you may be able to add pockets to a bag that doesn't have them.
    • You can also use a purse organizer inside your bag to create extra pockets.
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    Pack to maximize space. Since you will likely have a variety of different things in your beach bag, the way you pack them is important in order to get everything to fit. Fold or roll your beach towels and put them at the bottom of your bag.
    • Save even more space by investing in a lightweight travel towel.
    • You may also want to place your towel inside your beach blanket, roll it tightly, and slide the roll vertically into your bag so you can slip it out first thing.

Part 2
Packing the Right Stuff

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    Pack skin care essentials. Be sure to bring plenty of insect and sun protection, lip balm, lotion, leave-in conditioner or hair protector, and sunglasses.
    • Choose a broad spectrum sunscreen of 15 SPF or higher.[1] Follow application instructions on your sunscreen bottle for extended sun exposure.
    • As a general rule of thumb, apply your sunscreen 30 minutes before you are in the sun, and then reapply the same amount every two hours. [2]
    • Wider or bigger sunglasses will provide better eye protection.[3]
    • Leave your expensive pair of sunglasses at home where they won't be in danger of getting crushed, sandy, or washed away in the waves by accident.
    • Pack skin care and hygiene products in a plastic bag in case they crack or burst.
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    Pack the necessary clothing. For a day at the beach, you should bring a hat with a wide brim, a clean change of clothes, a bathing suit (unless you choose to wear it to the beach), hair bands and clips, a hairbrush and flip flops.
    • Roll up your change of clothes and pack it near the bottom of your bag with your towels.
    • You may want to pack a comfortable sweatshirt or light jacket, too, depending on the weather.
    • You may also bring an extra swimsuit to change into if you want to stay in a swimsuit and stay dry.
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    Pack enough water. The average adult requires 8 full glasses of water each day as recommended by doctors everywhere.[4] Remember, when you are laying out in the hot sun, your body needs even more water.
    • A good tip is to bring a gallon of water and a couple water bottles per person.
    • Use reusable water bottles to cut don't on costs and waste.
    • You can fill a bottle half way with water and freeze it overnight, this way you will have a cold drink every time you pour water into the bottle over the ice.
    • Consider using a water bottle with a filter if you plan to refill your bottle at a water fountain.
    • Use a water bottle with double wall protection to keep your water cold.[5]
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    Bring snacks. Even if you know you are going to a beach with many restaurants, it's always a good idea to have extra snacks, especially if traveling with children. Make sure to keep all snacks out of direct sunlight once at the beach. Try bringing:
    • 1 sandwich per person. Try peanut butter and jelly or a banana sandwich if you don't want to worry about refrigeration.[6]
    • Nuts, raisins and small crackers, like Goldfish.
    • Fruit.
    • Power bars or granola bars.
    • You may want to bring a cooler if packing snacks that need to be kept cool.
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    Bring beach chairs or umbrellas (optional). It is very difficult to pack these larger items in your beach bag. If you need them for your beach day, you will need to carry them separately or consider renting.
    • Get on the Internet or make a quick phone call to your vacation rental, resort, or beach town's local municipal center. Ask if there are umbrellas or chairs available for use or rent directly on the beach.
    • Additionally, you may want to see if such rentals are available at stores near the shore to which you are headed. You'll find beach-equipment stores that offer rents in virtually every American beach town.
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    Pack a whistle (optional). Particularly when visiting with children, a whistle can come in handy when bunches of kids begin roaming the beach. Teach your family the “family whistle” and you’ll be sure to have them back by your side in no time.
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    Pack a basic first aid kit. Whether you are visiting with children or not, it is always a good idea to have basic first aid items. Make sure your first aid kit includes:
    • Band-Aids.
    • Neosporin.
    • Benadryl.
    • Calendula lotion (for sunburned skin).
    • Pain reliever for kids and adults.

Part 3
Packing Fun Extras

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    Bring sand-toys. A tip is to pack sand toys in a soft mesh bag. This way, you can easily shake off any sand after use.
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    Bring a book. Having reading material in arms reach is always a good idea. There is no better place to escape than a good book.
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    Pack a portable speaker system. This is always fun, especially when you’re sunbathing with a group of friends.
    • Waterproof cases are available for virtually every kind of electronic device, from iPhones to Kindles to cameras. It only takes a small amount of water or sand to destroy a gadget.
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    Grab a deck of playing cards. Break these out on the beach and play a game or two with friends while relaxing on the sand.[7]
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    Toss in a pair of binoculars. If you are a fan of gazing out at the endless horizon, you may enjoy having a pair of binoculars handy.


  • Instead of carrying your entire wallet, take the basics: cash, driver’s license, ATM card. The same goes for keys. Insert them in a waterproof container. Carry them in a separate, preferably zippered compartment.
  • Pack your bag with the heavier items like books at the bottom.
  • Keep any soft food like fruit at the top of the bag.
  • Put any electronics in zippered pouches to keep them extra safe.
  • Throw a big folded-up zip-top bag or a plastic grocery bag into your beach tote, and stuff your wet, sand-shrouded towel in it when you're ready to head home.
  • Pack some extra zip-top bags, which come in multiple sizes, to protect your stuff from saltwater splashes and stray sand.
  • Begin packing the night or day before to avoid stress or last minute rushing.
  • Make sure you make a list of things your taking on the beach so you know if you have everything.


  • Have one person in your party keep watch over your things while you swim to avoid theft.[8]

Article Info

Categories: Enjoying the Beach