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Our Family Beach Vacation Packing List

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This is my favorite time of year. We’re smack dab in the middle of summer. It’s hot outside. The sun is shining (well most days; today is particularly rainy.) My birthday is right around the corner and the beaches are calling my name.

A few months ago I shared some memories from our yearly outing to Seaside Heights New Jersey — click here to check it out. Every year our family spends a week at the beach and we all look forward to it. So much so the beach becomes dinner conversation right after Christmas. We love reminiscing and dreaming of what fun this year will have in store for us.

When I travel alone I’m famous for packing light, but vacationing with the family is a completely different challenge. My pack-light gene stresses me out as I realize all that we need to re-create a home environment at our beach house rental.

Without fail every year we forget one or two major things. Last year it was toys for our then 1-year old. The poor kids had absolutely nothing to play with at the house. The year before? Garbage bags and paper towels, both of which are easily bought there, but when you’re on a budget bringing them from home is a much better option.

So this year I decided to create a master list and share it here in hopes I avoid bored kids and frantic trips to the store.

Clothing (for Each Person)

  • Shorts/tops
  • At least one pair jeans and a sweatshirt for chilly nights
  • At least 3-4 extra pair of underwear, bras, socks
  • Warm-weather pajamas
  • Sneaks and sandals
  • As many bathing suits as possible
  • Bathing suit cover-ups, rash guards or extra T’s for the beach
  • Hats

Toiletries/Bathroom Supplies

  • Toothbrush/toothpaste/floss (don’t forget kid-friendly products as well)
  • Bar of soap/body wash
  • Bathroom towels
  • Shampoo/conditioner
  • Deodorant
  • Brush/comb/hair gel
  • Razor
  • First-aid kit including pain relievers, bandages and disinfectant
  • Hand sanitizer

Beach Supplies

  • Beach chairs
  • Towels
  • Blanket
  • Cooler and ice packs
  • Sunscreen and bug spray
  • Beach toys (bucket, shovels, paddle ball, football, boogie boards)
  • Spray bottle of water

House Supplies

  • Sheets and any special pillows or blankets
  • Condiments: Ketchup, mustard, salt & pepper (If you don’t want to buy them there)
  • Garbage bags
  • Paper towels and cleaner


  • Laptop/charger
  • Phone chargers
  • iPod/iPad and chargers
  • Camera and charger

Kid Supplies

  • Toys/books for the kids
  • Sippy Cups
  • Swim diapers
  • Extra diapers and wipes
  • Snacks

OK, guys, what am I forgetting?

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There are 9 comments so far. Join in on the conversation.


    July 12, 2013

    What about refillable water bottles? Saran wrap or foil? Olive oil? Reply


      July 12, 2013

      YES! I actually bring non-stick cooking spray but the saran wrap is genius! Maybe some plastic baggies. Reply

    Cathy Benjamin

    July 12, 2013

    I always bring baggies to put my cell phone in . When we are at the beach. I actually bring a bigger ziploc bag to put my camera in also. High tide can surprise you. I bring extension cords and a speaker for my phone to listen to my music. If you have cocktails whatever you would need for them. I bring our pizza cutter because my son likes his pizza cut up. Quartes for parking if you need them. We are leaving August 25th for Rehoboth Beach..I can't wait.. Reply

    Sarah C

    July 12, 2013

    Baby monitor and night light for kids room (also some form of white noise so the adults don't wake them - i.e. cell phone app). We bring a "shade shack" with us so they boys can hang out on the beach without being in direct sunlight. I always bring baby powder for getting off the sand but never remember to use it. Stroller (we forgot ours one year and rented). I usually (sadly) do a spreadsheet. Reply


    July 12, 2013

    Extra SD card and battery for the camera! Reply

    Lyn @ Life Lyn Style

    July 12, 2013

    For us, we always forget things like glasses cases for the two who wear glasses. They are much safer in their case. Also, medicine (daily or other), sunglasses. I do a list in excel and use the trip name/date. Each trip, I update it and rename it. It's been fun to see the changes in needs from when I needed to take diapers, bottles and changing pads. Have a great trip! Reply


    July 12, 2013

    Thermometer for fever Benydryl for emergency allergies Garbage bag for dirty laundry Reusable water bottles My dad always brought a "condo" kit (his actually was a wooden box with the words "condo kit" on it - ours now is a big plastic tote that we used to use for tailgating), because rentals inevitably didn't have what we wanted - Flashlights/candles for power outages, saran wrap and tinfoil, can opener, wine & bottle opener, good sharp knives, cutting board, Ziploc bags (various sizes), extra grocery bags (plastic kind for various uses, though we pack all our food for vacations in reusable grocery bags), salt/pepper/all the typical spices we use, olive oil/vinegar, lighter/matches, strainer Reply


    July 13, 2013

    Peanut butter, laundry detergent, dish detergent, non-perishable ingredients for any meals you are making, and Wet Ones or Lysol wipes. Reply


    September 24, 2014

    This is a GREAT list, and it ties in nicely with these 18 items we've found that even seasoned vacation renters tend to forget to pack (like detergent and their crib): http://goo.gl/ewRqMW Reply