What to Pack for a Day at the Beach

by Country Inns & Suites
Friday, June 27, 2014

Summer is officially here, which means beach season is in full swing. Whether you’re spending your days by the ocean or on a sandy beach at the lake, forgetting to pack something can make your beach day much less fun. We’ve put together a handy and simple list of essentials you’ll want to bring to the beach so you can focus less on the packing and more on the splashing and sunbathing!

Beach towel

Sun Protection

One of the main allures of the beach is all the glorious sunshine. A sunny day is the perfect backdrop for building sandcastles, playing beach games, or just lounging and catching some rays. Unfortunately, too much sun can quickly turn the tide on your beach day. Protect yourself from overexposure by packing waterproof sunscreen with at least 30 SPF—the spray-on varieties are so simple to use! You should also bring a sunscreen lotion with a higher SPF specifically for the sensitive skin on your face. Don’t forget that sunscreen can wear off throughout the day; remember to reapply based on the instructions! You can also prevent a painful sunburn by bringing a large, floppy sun hat to protect your face, or even a beach umbrella or pop-up shelter to create a shady area that several people can enjoy.

Drinks and snacks

Lounging in the sun can be relaxing, but it can also make you hot and hungry. If you’re running around on the beach or splashing in the waves, you’ll need even more of a pick-me-up throughout the day. Be sure to pack several beverages—including water, sports drinks, or kid-friendly juice boxes—as well as a variety of easy-to-eat (and melt-free) foods. Snacks such as granola bars, trail mixes, fruit, and crackers are great options. If you plan on being on the beach all day, you may want to prepare a full lunch or bring snacks that are hearty and more filling. The beach can be hot, so plan to pack your snacks and drinks in a portable or rolling cooler to keep everything nice and cool all day long.


Whether you’re planning on relaxing all day or participating a variety of games and activities, you’ll need to bring your own entertainment for your beach day. For beachgoers who like to relax, pack a book, e-reader, or music player to enjoy while you’re lounging in the sand or under the sun shade. Active beachgoers should remember to bring a few games or toys with them, such as buckets and tools to build sandcastles, beach-friendly games like bean bag toss or ladderball, and a football or soccer ball for beach pick-up games.

Lounge Gear

What’s a beach day without spending some time sunbathing or lounging while reading a book? When you’re packing the car for your beach day, don’t forget to bring along a few beach towels, a large beach mat, or some beach chairs. You’ll appreciate them even more when you’re not covered in sand at the end of the day!

End-of-Day Essentials

If you’re only taking a day trip to the beach, don’t forget to think about the ride home. You won’t want to ride home or back to your hotel in a wet swimsuit that’s covered in sand, so bring a comfortable change of clothes with you. You may also want to pack a few toiletries, such as disposable wet wipes, a hairbrush, and some after-sun lotion or aloe vera in case you get a little sunburned. Some public beaches offer free public restrooms and showers where you can freshen up and change at the end of your beach day. If you can’t find one nearby, you and your group can stop at a rest stop, gas station, or restaurant before you hit the road.