Beach Packing List: Everything You Need for a Summer Vacation by the Sea
Updated: Aug 27, 2021
Is there anything better than a beach vacation? Whether you're planning a family trip, a girls' getaway, a romantic escape, or just some solo R&R with a good book, you can't go wrong with sunshine and saltwater.
And if you ask us, one of the best parts about a beach vacation is that no matter where you're headed—be it Mexico, the Outer Banks, Miami, the Caribbean, California—you can reuse our beach packing list again and again.
This type of vacation is all about relaxing and having a good time, so we want you to feel your best from day to night. That means staying cool and comfortable, especially in humid destinations, but also letting your stylish side shine. After all, you never know who you'll spot poolside.
From swimwear and dresses to casual warm weather loungewear and the right beauty products for a healthy, sunkissed glow and perfectly imperfect beach hair, here's everything you need to pack for your beach vacation this summer, simplified.
What to Pack for a Beach Vacation: The Ultimate Checklist
Underwear and bras
Deodorant and body spray
A beach vacation requires a good mix of swimwear, and you can't go wrong with a classic one-piece, a bold bikini, and a sporty two-piece for active days. Pro tip: Select a variety of silhouettes to keep tan lines at bay.
With so many beautiful, breezy kaftans, dresses, and palazzo pants out there, it should be illegal to just throw an old t-shirt over your swimsuit. These elevated cover-ups will take you from beach to beach bar in style.
Straw hats are functional, keeping the sun off your face on a hot day, but they're also the key to a put-together beach look. Whether you go simple, floppy, panama, or opt for a bold band, your hat will be your best vacation accessory. See our favorites here.
Like your hat, your sunglasses provide a vital function when it comes to protecting you from harmful rays—but they also bring style to any outfit. Here are our top picks from Ray-Ban, Le Specs, and more.
When selecting the perfect sundresses, go for flowing fabrics and a mix of light and bright colors. Pair with a sunkissed glow and beachy waves for the ultimate look for sunset drinks, waterfront dinners, and beyond.
Denim or linen for a day out; terry cloth or drawstring for a workout... select the shorts that work for your vacation plans, and dress them up or down.
There may be no look crisper than a pair of linen pants—a summer staple that will never go out of style. Invest in a quality pair and you'll be packing them for years and trips to come.
Linen, ruffles, pretty pleats—pack tops that will elevate your outfit, whether you're wearing your linen pants, jeans, a skirt, or just some denim shorts.
There's no need to go too hard on the feet on a beach vacation. Just get a nice pre-trip pedicure and grab some flat sandals and a pair or two with a small heel, and you'll be covered.
We prefer our beach bags in straw (so tropical-chic) or canvas (add a monogram for instant nautical prep). Want a thorough beach bag shop? See our full list of favorites here.
Breezy coastal nights and outdoor dinners call for light sweaters, even if it's hard to imagine by day when you're roasting on the beach. Go for breathable cotton or linen in a light shade. For two completely different looks, fitted cardigans and oversized pullovers work equally well.
Underwear and bras
After a long day in the sand and saltwater, and likely a bit of sunburn, you'll be looking forward to a long shower. And after your shower, you're going to want extra comfortable bras and underwear. Stock up on all of our favorites here.
Don't wait and buy the overpriced, chemical-filled sunscreen at the hotel gift shop. Plan ahead and buy a quality, good-for-your-skin sunscreen—and don't forget an SPF lip treatment.
Sunshine and cocktails can easily dry out your skin. Pack a good face and body moisturizer for after-beach comfort and a long-lasting beach vacation glow.
You don't want heavy makeup in hot weather; just a brightening vitamin C serum, tinted moisturizer or BB cream, moisturizing lip balm, a cream blush, and some setting spray should do the trick. Our go-to brand for this type of light makeup? Ilia.
Deodorant and body spray or wash
Don't let sweaty weather get you down—come prepared with a fresh-scented deodorant and light and beachy body spray or wash. Leave your weightier perfumes at home.
Gold hoops, bright colors, beads, raffia—a beach vacation is your chance to be your boldest self when it comes to jewelry. Have some fun with it.
Light cotton or silk/satin pajama sets in fun, tropical colors and prints just scream "vacation." You'll enjoy them on your trip and back at home, when you're in bed dreaming of that ocean breeze.