What Should You Really Pack For Your Beach Trip?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Heading to the beach or pool this Summer? Check out what's in my beach bag and learn what you really need!

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Beach and pool trips are two of my favorite things. I love lounging out in the sun and dipping my toes in the water. I love the smell of sunscreen and my inevitable freckles. However, if I'm not careful, I can get so excited about my trip to the beach or pool that I forget to pack all of the essentials in my bag. So today's post is all about what we should pack in our beach or pool bags in order to stay sun-safe and to make our beach or pool trip the best it can be this Summer!

Since I was raised at the beach, I always feel at home when I get there. I grew up knowing what to pack for a beach day, what to skip, and what is not essential but still nice to have with me. And really, we would pack basically the same items for a pool trip. But not everyone grew up going to the beach. Nor did everyone spend time at the pool as a kid. These things are a no-brainer for me, but that doesn't mean they are for everyone. Plus, I've already admitted that sometimes I get too excited about my day at the beach (or pool) and forget to pack everything.

So today I am sharing a list of what I pack in my beach/pool bag, in addition to some tips to go along with it. I am also specifying whether the item is a necessity or just enjoyable to have. Be aware that I am using "beach" and "pool" interchangeably since I generally pack the same things either way. And if you have an upcoming trip to the beach, you should definitely check out this post where I share a fun Summer playlist. It's perfect for your drive to the beach, lake, or pool. You're welcome! 😉

What to pack in your bag for a pool or beach day. #summer #beach #pool #travel

Sunscreen (Necessity)

I know, I know. You already know you should wear sun screen. But personally, I think it's even more important when you're near water for an extended period of time because the sun reflects off of the water and, in my experience, makes sunburn a lot worse. So even though I know I should be wearing sunscreen anytime I spend a prolonged amount of time in the sun, I am much more willing when I am laying by or swimming in the water, lest my skin resemble a not-so-adorable lobster. 

My favorite Sunscreens: 

Coppertone Water Babies - Smells so good and is hypoallergenic. 

Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch - Also smells good. Has super high reviews.

Australian Gold Spray Gel - Smells INCREDIBLE and adds a glow.

Tanning Oil 

Ever since I was little, I have always loved the smell of tanning oil. I love any of it really, but my absolute favorite is Australian Gold. For me, the smell of it rivals my love for the smell of coffee, so you KNOW I mean business about this stuff.

Tanning oil is not a necessity, and should only be warn in addition to sunscreen (NOT in place of), but I always pick up a bottle when I am going to be at the beach or by the pool. 

Sunglasses (Necessity) 

I get the worst headaches if I am out in the sun without sunglasses. If I didn't have them, the trip would be miserable and I would just end up with a migraine. Trust me. Pack the sunglasses. If you can't find yours, go buy some.

A few cute (affordable) options:

Hat (Necessity)

For a while I avoided hats, but lately I've realized that not only do I feel really cute in a hat, but I also get less headaches when I wear one. My dark hair absorbs so much sunlight, and a hat helps a lot! Hat's also help shield my face from the sun, which is added sun-protection. I've actually hit a point where I need the hat even more than I need sunglasses. 

I tend to lean towards a more athletic style, so I usually end up wearing a ball cap, but there are so many cute hat styles available. 😍😎

Cute and Affordable Hat Options:


For whatever reason, I have always loved bandannas. I love wearing them at the beach in particular because they hold back the wisps of hair that usually fly into my eyes while still protecting my head like a hat would. So while a bandanna is not a necessity, I try to make sure I have one in my bag. Plus, I think wearing a bandanna with my hair in two braids is so cute! Am I the only one who feels this way? (Tell me in the comments if you have an opinion).

Chair (Necessity for all-day trips)

Growing up, it was the "mom thing to do" to bring a chair to the beach. In my mind, a young, thriving woman should be able to lay on a towel all day and not have any back pain as a result. But 10 years later I've changed my tune.

I still bring a towel to lay on (and because of that whole "drying off" thing), but if I want to read a book or sit on the shore for an extended period of time, a chair really is a necessity.

Affordable Beach Chair Options:

Low chair with cup holder (perfect for sitting in the water)

Portable chair set with table and umbrella

A Good Book or Magazine

Speaking of reading, I am of the opinion that one of the most relaxing things in the world is sitting on the beach and listening to the waves roll in, while reading a really good book or magazine.

My tip: Bring something happy. After all, who wants to sit on the beach or at the pool crying because of a sad book? Not this girl!

Related: The Best Christian Books for Women (And Why You Need to Read Them)

Snacks (Necessity for all-day trips)

I know that a lunch box, cooler, or a big bag of Cheese-Itz won't exactly help you accomplish that wind-blown-beach-hottie look, but trust me, pack the dang snacks. No one is paying attention to you anyway, so you might as well not starve. Just sayin'.

Bottled Water (Necessity)

Hydration is so incredibly important. In your excitement about going to the beach, don't forget your water bottle. I recommend getting a large, reusable bottle that you can fill with water before you leave the house.

My Tip: Fill the bottle up halfway with ice and the rest of the way with water. That way your water stays cold longer.

Great reusable water bottles for the beach:

Insulated Tumbler with Flip Lid and Straw

What's in my beach bag? What are the necessities for a good beach trip? What should you really pack?  Find out more at The Peculiar Treasure!

I know that some of these are common sense- like the sunglasses, water, or towel. But honestly, it's easy to forget the necessities and it's also easy to get carried away and bring too much. So hopefully this list will help you find a balance and pack the right things without packing so much that you end up needing 10 hands to carry it all.

Do you have a trip to the beach or pool coming up soon? Or do you live in an area where you have constant access to them? Tell me in the comments below.


  1. I always feel at home at the beach too! I need a hat and an umbrella though instead of tanning oil! I don't mind getting some color, but being outside so much, I need to be super cautious so I dont have gross leathery skin when I get older!

  2. Have fun Kristin!!! I'd love to be heading to the beach. Take pictures and share please :)

  3. I am so ready for a beach trip! My necessities are water, snacks, a book or two and SUNSCREEN! The last one is imperative because skin cancer is a real thing. Hope you have fun!

    1. Yes! So true! I have really tried to be conscientious about sunscreen too.

  4. I love being at the beach. My hubby & I got married on the beach and we'd live there if we could! Maybe some day when our kids are grown.

    I love youe beach bag essentials. I definitely need all the sunscreen and cute sunnies and snacks!

  5. With a new baby, having this list is going to come in handy. His bag comes first and ours second but making extra stops now to get things that we left behind is just no longer a sensible option.
    What would you suggest if you had young children with you?

    1. Hey! That's a great question, Nathalie!
      I would say to 1.) Make sure you use sunscreen that is made for kids, and with around 50 spf. Apply AT LEAST every two hours. Also, if you are going to let the kids be in the water at all, I suggest either life jackets or arm floaties. Also take a t-shirt for each of them so that if they start to look a little pink on their shoulders or back, you can keep them covered and stay out a little longer.

  6. Enjoy your beach trip! I love the beach, too. We lived on the coast when I was little and I have been a beach girl since.

    I like your beach bag list -- a good read is always a necessity for me too!

    1. That's awesome, Trish! What beach did you grow up near?

  7. All perfect things to have in a beach bag! Have fun at the beach!

  8. This was honestly so helpful! And it sounds so dumb to me now, but I never thought of using tanning oil ALONG with sunscreen... DUH! I always just used oil (which is terrible of me). I haven't been to the beach in AGES but I always bring a good ol' trash magazine to flip through! We live outside Atlanta, so I think a little day trip to the ocean or gulf is in order now ;) haha

    1. I'm really, really glad that was helpful to you! You are not the only one who does that. I really didn't start taking sunscreen seriously until a few years ago when my MIL had a few cancerous moles on her skin. Since then I have tried to be more conscious about it.

  9. Most of these are in my beach bag too. I don't bring a bandana or tanning oil but the rest are always ready to go. We also take either out umbrella, which can also act as a shelter, or our E-Z Up. With the babies shade from the sun is key. They make being at the beach for several hours much nice. One of these days I want to spend all day at the beach and bring a grill and have a super relaxing day. The beach is my therapy! Hope you had fun on your vacation!

    1. The bandanna is essential for me because of how hot my hair gets. Gives me the worst headaches.
      Yeah! I can imagine the extra shelter is so important for Sweets and Bow.
      I really did have a good time. It was far too short, but I am so glad I got to go.
      I love the idea of an all-day trip. That's the sort of thing I would love too.

  10. Love your picks! These are definitely all necessities for me too! I love the beach, I'm always happiest there! I always keep a spare change of clothes in my beach bag too and hydrating face mist!

    1. Ooo! That sounds awesome! I've never had a face mist before!