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27 Essentials for When You're Wondering What to Bring to the Beach

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27 Essentials for When You're Wondering What to Bring to the Beach

The weekend is here, the sun is out, and everyone has the same thing on their mind: a beach trip. There is no better place on the planet to chill out and leave all the hustle and bustle of life and work behind for a few hours.

But while getting ready for the beach seems easy, it never goes quite so smoothly in practice. There always seems to be something you forget, or you end up bringing way too much unnecessary gear.

Don’t sweat it—we’re here with the ultimate list of essentials you need for your next beach trip, so keep this on hand for the next time you hit the sand and surf.

Sun and Sand Essentials

If you’re hitting the beach on a whim at the last minute, make sure you have the following items ready to rock—these are non-negotiable.

1. Sunscreen

Sunscreen is a beach best practice, and it’s not just about avoiding sunburns. Sunscreen helps preserve and protect your skin—on your face in particular. That’s the best way to keep wrinkles and dark spots at bay, not to mention more serious concerns down the road.

Pretty much any sunscreen will do, but we always suggest sticking with all-natural products, if possible, for the health of your skin and the planet. Just remember to reapply after swimming or sweating.

2. Sunglasses

Sunglasses are stylish, sure, but they also protect your eyes from the brilliant rays of the sun. Bring a pair with a carrying case, or use a string to keep them safe around your neck throughout the day.

3. Lip Balm with SPF

Unless you want to rub sunscreen on your lips (we sure don’t), you’ll need a lip balm with SPF to protect against burns. One stick lasts a long time, and you can even look for beachy scents like coconut.

4. Bug Spray

If you live in a humid region of the world, you’ll know that bugs can be a serious problem when chilling at the beach, especially when the sun goes down.

We know bug spray doesn’t smell great, and some versions contain some iffy ingredients. But it does the job, and no one wants to be slapping at bugs all day.

5. First Aid Kit

Scratches and scrapes happen at the beach, and you’ll want to keep things clean and bandaged right away. You don’t need a huge first aid kit—just something small that contains the basics so that you don’t have to leave the beach in search of supplies.

Beach Gear Basics

Securing the perfect spot for your towel at the beach is crucial for a good time. Here’s what you need to set up camp and make it comfortable for catching rays all day.

6. Beach Bag

The best beach bags keep your valuables safe and secure, protected from sand, sun, and saltwater. This is where you should store your phones, wallets, and everything else that shouldn’t be exposed to the elements.

7. Cooler

When the sun is blazing, you want to keep drinks and snacks as cold as possible. Dragging a cooler to the beach is kind of a hassle, but it’s so worth it when you pull out an ice-cold Junie in the middle of the day.

8. Towels and Blankets

The unspoken laws of the beach state that your territory begins and ends where you place blankets and towels, so use them wisely.

Choose towels that give you plenty of space to sprawl out and relax. You’ll also want some extras, so you can dry yourself off without getting super sandy.

9. Beach Chairs

Laying on a towel is nice for a while, but beach pros know that fold-out chairs are vital for a relaxing seaside experience. Put your feet up and rest easy, knowing that no one is about to kick sand in your eyes. 

10. Beach Umbrella

We all need a bit of shade from time to time, so bring your own with the help of a beach umbrella. Just plant it in the sand, and you’ve got instant shade wherever you want it.

11. Portable Speaker

You’ve been building that beach playlist all winter, and it’s finally time to let it rock. Set the vibe of the beach with your favorite tunes via a portable Bluetooth speaker.

Clothes and Wearables

Your beach attire matters, and there are some items you’ll want to have just in case. Pack the following items so you can stay comfy all day long.

12. Footwear

Some folks prefer sandals or flip-flops, while others bring waterproof beach shoes to navigate more rocky and wet terrain.

It’s up to you what type of footwear you rock at the beach. Just avoid wearing shoes with socks, and definitely don’t bring any kicks you want to keep looking fresh and clean.

13. Bathing Suit

Well, duh. You’ll want a quick-drying suit that you can wear in and out of the water all day without your suit bugging you or stretching out.

14. Swimsuit Cover-Ups

Long-sleeve tees are perfect for extra coverage for when the sun is too strong, while sarongs make a fantastic statement. 

You can also wear a cover-up if you want to duck into a shop or restaurant near the beach. Make sure the cover-up you choose is lightweight so that you stay cool and comfy.

15. Hats

Baseball caps work fine for shielding your vision from the sun, but bucket hats and floppy hats designed especially for protection from UV are even better.

A sunglasses-and-hat combo is both stylish and practical when chilling at the beach, so you can’t go wrong with any selection.

16. Extras

Always bring extra towels, hats, shades, and t-shirts if you have a bunch of people coming on your journey to the beach. You never know when they might come in handy, and there’s always a chance that things get dirty or lost along the way.

Athletics and Activities

Aside from the main attraction of the sun and waves, you should bring along a couple of activities to pass the time at the beach.

17. Frisbee

No beach activity’s more classic than frisbee. Anyone can pick up and play, and it doesn’t take long to master the technique.

18. Paddleball

This popular beach pastime is a bit harder to pick up, but it’s a blast when you figure it out.

19. Bodyboard

If the waves are rocking, there’s no better thrill than paddling out and catching the surf on a bodyboard. This way, you don’t need to worry about balancing on a surfboard if your balance isn’t quite there, but you can still catch some waves. 

20. Snorkels and Goggles

On a calm day, see what the sea has in store with a pair of goggles and a snorkel.

21. Beach Reads

Forget tablets and e-readers—go old-school with a classic paperback book that you easily fold and read with one hand, then throw into your beach bag without a care.

Action, romance, comedy—stick with those lighter genres, and you can take a moment to yourself at the beach while immersing yourself in another world.

The Snack Situation

You need some munchies to stay fueled up for all those beach activities. Here’s how you should handle food and snacks on your trip.

22. To Grill or Not to Grill?

That’s the big question. Barbeque enthusiasts will say that a beach trip is incomplete without burgers, dogs, and all the fixings, but we understand if you don’t want to deal with the mess that comes with grilling at the beach.

Just use discretion, consider other beach-goers in the vicinity, and clean up everything so that you leave the grilling area better than you found it.

Alternatively, you can make sandwiches, wraps, or salads ahead of time and pass them around when it’s time to eat for a mega easy picnic.

23. Crunchy Bagged Snacks

Chips, pretzels, and popcorn all make the cut, so bring a few bags of each. These snacks are shareable, salty, and always hit the spot. There are even healthier versions if you want to avoid junk food (but we’re not judging either way).

24. Fresh Fruit

Fruit is nature’s candy, and it definitely travels well in a cooler. Munch some apples, oranges, bananas, or pineapple on the beach, and you’ll stay satisfied with plenty of energy to keep you going.

Plus, the water content of the fruit will help fend off the dehydration that leaves so many of us with a headache after a day in the sun.

25. Mixes and Bars

Granola is a beach favorite, and energy bars are also super convenient. You can buy these sweet and salty snacks from the shop or make your own ahead of time with your preferred ingredients.

Best Beach Beverages

The beach experience is not complete unless you’ve got a cooler full of delicious drinks to keep you hydrated and motivated throughout the day.

We already know that water bottles (with ice!) are essential, but beyond that, we’ve listed a few of our favorite beachside beverages to round out our list and give you some inspiration.

Keep in mind that alcoholic drinks are prohibited at some beaches, so be sure you aren’t breaking the rules when you’re relaxing with a beverage. 

26. Soft Drinks

Toss lemonade, iced tea, soda, or whatever else you like in your cooler. These drinks are a nice change of pace from water. Just keep the sugary stuff to a minimum since that can be dehydrating.

27. Hard Kombucha

You read that right—hard kombucha is a delicious addition to any beach adventure. If you’re tired of being bogged down by beer and uninspired hard seltzers, this is the beach beverage you’ve been waiting for.

JuneShine pioneered hard kombucha because we love the light, tangy flavors and natural carbonation of this amazing fermented drink. We think it’s the best way to catch a buzz at the beach without worrying about sucking down any artificial flavors or GMOs.

With a bunch of tasty, tropical flavors to try out, from Grapefruit Paloma to Midnight Painkiller, there’s bound to be a ‘booch for everyone on your beach trip.

Gear Up and Enjoy the Beach to the Fullest

Maybe you never thought you needed a big list of beach items, but you’re glad you have one now. Twenty-seven items might seem like a lot, but you can narrow it down to the essentials for you and your crew. 

Keep this article on hand for reference, or even just for inspiration while waiting for your next trip. In the meantime, keep dreaming of the sun and surf, and enjoy some delicious hard booch with friends no matter where you are.


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Best Foods for the Beach | Unseen Beaches

Sunscreen and Your Morning Routine | Hopkins Medicine