Beach Bag Essentials That Will Simplify Your Life
Packing the beach bag might be the most important part of your trip.
You want to achieve that perfect balance between bringing everything you need and not overloading yourself in the process. And, doesn’t it figure that the smaller your children (and the less they can carry themselves) the more STUFF you need to keep them happy and safe?
We're going to help you out with our list of the absolute essential items for the perfect beach bag. We will also include things that simply make your day easier and fun.
Can’t wait to see you on Topsail Island’s sunny shores soon.
The Absolute Essentials
It happens to the best of us. We start thinking about every possible scenario and start packing the beach bag to handle them all. While we love the old scouting motto to “be prepared”, we have also learned that sometimes less is more when it comes to the beach. Here are the items we think are absolutely essential:
There are a lot of cute beach bags options out there! Choose a large canvas bag, a backpack style, or our favorite, a lightweight mesh bag that will allow sand and wet toys to drain out instead of piling up! There are even bags that have detachable coolers attached to the bottom (try this one).
We like to apply sunscreen before leaving the vacation rental, but bring some along to reapply if you are staying awhile or swimming often.
Towel or mat for sitting
Ok, beach chairs are really awesome. But if you are trying to reduce your load to and from the beach, you might just leave them behind. A large towel or mat (or even a sheet) can work and is less awkward to carry! Alternatively, you can rent a beach setup from a local company... read more about that here.
Microfiber towels for drying off
Super lightweight and absorbent, these microfiber towels will have you wondering why you ever used anything else. Sand doesn't stick to them and they dry super quick. Try something like this.
Water & simple snacks
Freeze your reusable water bottles at night to use as ice packs the next day (leave a little space to add water for immediate drinking). Pack easy snacks like crackers, chips, fruit, and sandwiches.
Confession: Wet wipes are useful way past the baby stage and should be in every travel bag. Wipe hands before snacks, clean a scrape, or wipe sunscreen off your phone.
Super lightweight but oh so useful. Shove these mesh bags into your day pack for shell collecting, holding wet clothes and towels, and collecting trash from your beach excursion. Washable and reusable, these are a great choice for the environment (and your wallet).
Shade & sun protection (hat, coverup, tent, or umbrella)
Even the most adamant sun-worshippers need a little shade during a long day on the beach. An umbrella or tent is harder to carry but worth it if you are planning on a long day in the sun. For a shorter visit, you can get away with a wide-brimmed hat and a light coverup.
Don't carry these items: Wear them!
Here are the other essential items you need, but save yourself room in the beach bag. Wear them instead.
Hat & Sunglasses
Bathing Suit & Coverup
Just wear your suit with a coverup to the beach and then wear it home so you don't have to change.
If you like to keep your little ones in life preservers while at the beach (something we recommend), just have the kids wear them to and from the beach. Less bulk to carry!
Ok, these items aren't "essential", but depending on the ages and interests of your group, they can really enhance your beach day!
Magazines, a book, or a Kindle. Now is the perfect time to relax with your favorite print media.
Waterproof bluetooth speaker
Don't forget a charger for your phone so you can keep the party going.
A simple shovel and a bucket can go a long way for little ones. No need to pack a huge bag of plastic starfish and seahorses. The beach itself offers unlimited fun.
A dry bag is useful to store the stuff that need to stay protected and, well... dry! Items like your speaker, clean clothes, phone, chargers, or cash could be kept in your dry bag.
Games & diversions
IF you have able-bodied helpers to carry things and IF you are so inclined, bring something fun to do on the beach. Think kites, frisbee, or a sand-friendly game.
What about beach carts & wagons?
The jury is still out on this one. A cart or wagon can make your trip to the beach easier and allow you to carry more stuff. It is especially useful for the walk from the vacation rental to the beach because it's all paved or gravel roads. Note that getting down to the beach can be tricky (if there are stairs). Also, some wagons and carts are better in sand than others. We have seen more than a few people stuck in the sand with a heavily-laden beach wagon! If you decide to use one, don't load it too heavily. You could also consider leaving it near the stairs and walking your stuff to your desired home base on the beach.
Here are some more great resources to help plan your trip:
What's in your beach bag?
Tell us in the comments