Ultimate Beach Vacation Packing List for Women
Last Updated on April 2, 2023 by Dana Berez
Beach Vacation Packing List
If you are about to dip your toes into the ocean on a beach getaway, you might be wondering what to pack for a beach vacation. Here is your ultimate beach vacation packing list for everything including what clothes and shoes to pack, and other odds-and-ends items you end up forgetting.
In this ultimate beach packing list, I’ve got you covered for everything from clothing, toiletries, makeup, and everything else that I recommend you bring for your beach vacation.
What I am covering in this post:
- Beach Clothing
- Other Items
Things to ask yourself before packing:
Car vs. Plane: With a plane, you’ll have to be more strategic with how much you pack depending on how many bags you plan on bringing. And remember any liquids in a carry-on need to be under 3.4 OZ.
For a road trip in a car you can bring much more items such as a beach umbrella, beach umbrella,
How long is your trip? This will dictate how many clothes, outfits, and toiletries you bring.
With that in mind, now let’s get into this detailed packing list:
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Toiletries to Pack for a Beach Vacation
First, let’s get into what toiletries and essential items to pack for a beach vacation. Now, this is definitely more of a personal decision on products that you love.
But let me share 3 tips to help you pack toiletries for a vacation:
- Go through your normal shower, morning, and nighttime routine in your head. Pack all those items you use on a daily basis.
- Please, do NOT pack the full-size bottle of the items. Depot large bulky items like shampoo & conditioners into smaller containers.
- Rember the magic number 3.4 oz. This is how much you can take per container through security in a carry-on bag.
PS. If you have TSA PRE, I wouldn’t worry about your liquids fitting into one plastic bag. I took over 50 flights last year with TSA PRE and never had an issue with my liquid items not being in one plastic bag (of course, I am not bringing over the recommended amount)
Small Travel Containers
To save space, I love repacking my favorite shampoo, conditioner, and face products into small travel containers.
You can find all kinds of travel containers on Amazon. However, I personally like buying smaller-sized containers, so I can bring more items with me. For trips under a week long, I won’t use the entire product of larger-size containers. Also, carrying your favorite full-sized products is a bad idea.
This Kitch Ultimate Travel Set comes in a variety of sizes, perfect for creams, serums, and hair products. I have used this set for the past year now, and I have not run into any leaking yet.
Pro Tip: If you buy the travel-size item in the store, you’re definitely paying for a markup. It’s best to buy a few small containers and use the products you already have at home.
By putting my favorite products into small travel containers, I like to keep everything organized in one toiletry bag.
This hanging toiletry bag is a best seller on Amazon because it fits so much and keeps things upright. Plus there are loads of pockets, and elastics to hold your things in place.
Because this one is extra-large, you can put your makeup in this bag as well, and this will fit into a carry-on suitcase.
- Shampoo & Conditioner
- Body Wash / Bar Soap
If you are staying at a hotel, your shower products usually are available in the room. If you want to save room in your suitcase, you can just use the hotel shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and soaps.
But if you are more particular about the brands you like to use, put your favorite shampoo, conditioner, and body wash in small containers for your trip.
Travel Size Dry Shampoo
It took me too long to realize you can bring a small dry shampoo on an airplane, just if they are under 3.4 oz. This is seriously a game-changer if you don’t want to wash your hair every day, or just need a refresh.
I have tried a few travel-sized dry shampoos and the Kloraine is my favorite. It comes in a convenient travel size and it’s available on Amazon (sometimes they are 50% off and I usually stock up during a sale)
This formula really soaks up all the oil and adds volume to my hair, whereas other formulas just matted down my hair more. This is a must for any vacation!
Hair Styling Tools
Pack any tools you need for styling your hair. I like to pack my curling iron to add some curls to my hair. This is great to touch up for the daytime or add a little bounce for dinner.
If you are just using a carry-on bag, it’s best to leave your hairdryer at home. Most hotels will have a hairdryer for you to use, and you’ll save yourself room in your suitcase.
Don’t forget your hair ties, styling items, and hairbrush.
My favorite hairbrush is the WET Detangling brush. This brush makes my hair silky shiny smooth, and it won’t dame wet hair.
Sunscreen is a MUST for all beach days! I like to pack one sunscreen for my face, and another for the rest of my body.
It’s very important to have sun protection to ensure that you are going to practice skin safety on your beach day.
Favorite Face Sunscreen:
- Supergoop Mineral Matte Sunscreen $38: Minimizes the look of pores and protects against UVA, UVB & IRA rays. Formulated without chemicals. Travel size friendly.
- Beautycounter Counter Sun Daily Sheer Defence SPF 25: Formulated non-nano zinc oxide and all harsh chemicals. This travel-size-friendly sunscreen protects against UVA, UVB, & IRA rays. Lightweight sheer formula.
- Sun Bum Travel Size 30 SPF $9.99: This 3oz size is perfect for traveling and will last you and you and a family member for the entire vacation.
- Sun Bum Reef Safe Sunscreen $11.49: This sunscreen is perfect if you are visiting a tropical destination that requires you to wear reef-safe sunscreen to protect marine life and coral reefs in the water.
Facewash & Makeup Remover
A good face wash and makeup remover is key to removing hard-to-take-off makeup. I use Bioderma makeup remover with cotton pads to remove my makeup. This does not come in a TSA-approved size for carry-on bags, so I put my makeup remover into a smaller container.
Toothbrush & Toothpaste
Probably the most forgotten item on my vacations is my toothbrush & toothpaste. So I made this BOLD so you won’t forget these items too.
It’s always handy to have a small amount of detergent (like these Tide Packets or just bring in a small bottle) in case you want to wash something during your trip in the sink. Sometimes hotels even have laundry machines, and it’s great to get a head start on laundry so you don’t have to do it when you arrive home.
Other Toiletry Items:
- Skincare: moisturizer, serums, eye cream, etc.
- Reef safe sunscreen
- Contacts / Glasses
- Pain reliever
- Aloe Vera
- Cotton Balls & Q-Tips
- Hand Sanitizer
- Tampons / Pads
- Moisturizing Eye Drops
- First aid kit
- Nail clipper/ Nail File- I can’t tell you how annoying a chipped nail is!
Clothing to Pack for a Beach Vacation
Alright, packing clothes for a beach vacation is personal based on your own individual style. However, there are some key clothing items that I pack for every beach getaway that just works.
Generally, I like to pack a few swimsuits, beach coverups, daytime clothing for touring, and evening outfits for dinners.
Consider how many days you will be on vacation, and pack accordingly.
An example of a 5-day 4-night stay would look something like this:
- 4 swimsuits
- 3 swimsuit coverups
- 1 Rash Guard
- 4 casual tops
- 3 bottoms (shorts + pants)
- 3-4 sundresses (some maxis for dinner)
- 5 pairs of underwear & socks
You’ll basically live in swimsuits when you are on a beach vacation, so definitely pack a few. I always like to bring a white swimsuit with me that I wear underneath shorts and a top for an easy on-the-go outfit.
The best thing about swimsuits is they don’t take up a lot of room in your suitcase!
And P.S. I have loads of swimsuit blog posts if you’re looking for a new swimsuit for your vacation including:
- 13 Favorite Cupshe Swimsuits I Wear All Year Round
- Best Amazon Swimsuits for Women Under $40
- The Best Swimsuit Brands to Shop
- 30 Best Swimsuits for Big Busts that Support (2022)
Pack a variety of beach coverups, because you’ll be wearing them almost daily! I like to bring a linen tunic to wear over one-piece swimsuits & shorts. Or if I am staying at a resort, I’ll wear a crochet-style dress.
Here are some of my favorite beach coverups:
- Beach Coverup Set: Go to Amazon Set
- Crochet Beach Coverup Dress: My go-to coverup
- Oversized Linen Tunic: Essential for dressing up/down
Bring some casual tops you can wear with shorts and pants for excursions and lounging around.
- Crop Tops: East to wear with high-waisted pants and shorts.
- Linen Button Down Tunics: Can be used for coverups and for daytime wear
- Casual T-Shirts: Neutral colors work great with all outfits
Lightweight Wide Leg Pants
There’s something so chic about wide-leg pants, especially in white. The look is so effortless, and they make me feel like I am in the South of France with a glass of wine in hand.
And as an added bonus, they go with everything from bandeau tops to one-piece swimsuits or paired with your favorite coverup shirt.
Pro tip: Opt for lightweight and moisture-wicking material such as 100% Linen. It may seem like a luxury (it is!) but you will never go back because it’s just that good for a beach vacation.
Read Next: Best White Linen Pants for Women
Denim shorts are so versatile and can be worn dressed up or down. While they aren’t the greatest material when wet, you can wear these on your travel days, touring, excursions, and walking around the beach/ resort.
My color picks are blue denim shorts and white denim shorts. These will definitely give you plenty of outfit options, and besides, they take less room in your luggage than regular jeans!
Abercrombie has great denim short options- my go-to is the Dad Curve Love Shorts.
Sundresses & Evening Dresses
Got a love a fun flirty sundress to wear on a beach vacation. In fact, I tend to pack a few dresses because they easily can be worn dressed up for dinner, or casually throughout the day.
Because you can just throw on a dress and don’t have to worry about matching tops or bottoms- dresses are my go-to!
For a more fancy sit-down dinner, you can wear your dress with heels and bold accessories to make your day dress styled for nighttime.
Tip: When packing dresses, look for wrinkle-free materials like jersey fabrics.
More Clothing Items to Pack
- Light Jacket / Sweater
- Underwear & Bras: 10 Best Strapless Bras for Big Boobs that Actually Stay Up
- Workout Clothing
Shoes to Pack for a Beach Vacation
The easiest and most comfortable option for walking around the pool or going to the beach. Rubber flip-flops from Havaianas are great because you can wash them with water after they get sandy.
Plus, they don’t take up much room in your suitcase, and they are so easy to put on and off for quick runs around the resort. It’s a casual necessity when just kicking it back and lounging!
There’s nothing like a fabulous sandal/espadrille to pull together an outfit on your vacation. I always pack at least one pair that goes well with all of my dressier outfits for evening looks.
These Espadrilles are so comfortable I have been wearing them for years, and are a staple in my closet. They can be worn dressed up or down and are easy to walk in! I have never had blisters from wearing them- even when I was wearing them all day long!
If you are looking for a comfortable espadrille, these Amazon finds are amazing!
A white classic white sneaker is a must on any vacation. Why? A white sneaker is comfortable, goes with every outfit, are great for excursions and tours, and can be used as a last-minute workout shoe.
I wear my white sneakers on the airplane, which makes a great travel outfit, and saves me room in my suitcase. Plus, I wear them if I plan on going on any excursions and need comfortable shoes.
My favorites are the Adidas Advantage sneaker. These are an affordable option under $60 and are so comfortable. I legit wear these every day around NYC, and I bring them with me on my vacations.
If you plan on hitting the gym on vacation and like to wear a particular shoe, pack them!
I have recommended these water shoes in all of my beach itineraries. If you are into water activities, then a water shoe is super helpful and can protect your feet.
The last thing you want is to step on a sea shell or reef and have a cut on your foot- especially if you are traveling to a more rocky beach. Another reason to wear these is if there is hot sand and you want to avoid getting your feet burnt on the bottoms ouch!
These water shoes are super affordable and barely take up any room in your luggage and come in a ton of colors on Amazon.
Accessories to Pack for a Beach Vacation
Pack your favorite pair of sunglasses for your beach vacation. I personally like bringing an affordable pair that you don’t have to worry about losing or breaking while on vacation.
My favorites are from Amazon– you can find chic styles for under $20!
How did I live without this for so long? I’ve been guilty of wearing more than one hat on my head through the airport- hopefully, I was not seen. But, this hat clip attaches to your bag and clips on your hat, so you can be hands-free and hat-free when you are traveling through the airport or heading to the beach.
When you get compliments from flight attendants, you know it’s a savvy travel accessory.
My bag of choice is a chic straw beach bag tote that would pair well with any outfit and fit everything you need and your personal items such as cell phone, and credit cards for a day in the sun.
However, if you are looking for a packable beach bag that is stylish- I recommend these:
- Amazon Straw Bag $22: This bag fits quite a lot inside and is packable!
- LL Bean Zip Tote $39.99: The tote comes in 4 sizes and has a convenient zipper!
Packable Backpack Cooler
I brought a packable cooler to my trip to Greece, and it honestly was a lifesaver for keeping beverages and food cool! Plus the backpack style is comfortable and easy to carry. If you are headed to the beach, not to a resort, this is a must.
This is the best-selling backpack cooler from Amazon for under $40.
There is no beach vacation without some beach chairs! These are hands down the best beach chairs that I have ever used. It is full of multiple compartments so you can put your water bottle or beverage of choice in an insulated cup holder.
The best part is that you can lay flat and sunbathe flat on your back. It’s also adjustable to up to five different heights. It will hold your towel with the towel bar behind. I can’t speak highly enough of this beach chair. My partner and I both have one each and they are easy to carry with backpack-style straps.
Jewelry is a great way to add variety to your outfits while on vacation, without taking too much room in your suitcase.
I love really affordable and trendy jewelry that I won’t worry too much about losing or ruining- like this rattan earring set.
Having a sun hat is very stylish but also functional because you want to make sure that you’re protected from the sun and you don’t get sunburned. While I like to bring a stylish sun hat, like the one pictured above, I also like to consider packable options.
- Rattan Sun Visor $19.99: Stylish packable sun visor that easily rolls up.
- Cotton Bucket Hat $12.99: My go-to favorite! Comes in so many colors, and feels much more expensive than it actually is!
Makeup is definitely more personal, so pack your favorite makeup items.
However, if you want the most natural and non-cakey makeup- pack creams, gels, and liquid products. If you are really, really oily then fine use matte and powder products to set the makeup for all-day wear. My go-to drugstore foundation that is sweat-proof is Maybelline.
These types of products are going to ensure that your makeup doesn’t separate as you sweat while you are lounging and enjoying your time in the sun.
As you pack here are my must-haves for makeup:
I love these clear bags from Amazon (sold as a 3 set) You can see all your products without having to open them! Plus you can use the bags for other items you might want to bring to the beach, etc.
Having a layer of sunscreen underneath your makeup is a must for face protection in the harsh sun. This face sunscreen from Supergoop is matte and works well as a primer for your makeup!
Natural foundation option: If you want that all-natural makeup look then you’re going to want to go with a tinted moisturizer with an SPF so that you can have a double-duty product. My favorite is the NARS Tinted Moisturizer.
Waterproof Foundation: MAC Prolongwear is hands-down the best waterproof foundation that I’ve ever tried. The foundation will look the same at the end of the day, even in full sun. Plus it’s waterproof so you can enjoy the water & keep your makeup on. It’s a medium to full coverage foundation and oil-controlling. Plus it comes in a lightweight packable size!
Tinted Lip Balm
Being in the sun our skin and lips tend to get dried out, and I love going for a naturally tinted lip. Tinted lip balm is going to give you a nice flush on the lips to give you that put-together look without making it look like you’re wearing makeup.
Afraid of raccoon eyes on vacation? Then you’re definitely going to want to pack a waterproof mascara. Humid environments plus water activities are easy ways for your mascara to get all over the place- waterproof mascara will definitely be your friend!
Other Makeup items to pack:
- Concealer: NARS is my go-to!
- Blush: Gorgeous creamy blush
- Bronzer: This drugstore bronzer is my holy grail.
- Eyeliner: A long-wearing waterproof eyeliner in brown
- Eyebrow Pencil: Drugstore find
- Eyeshadow Palette: Tartelette has great neutral colors.
Electronics to Pack
Besides your phone, chargers, and laptop these electronics are great additions to pack for your beach vacation.
A good book or E-Reader Tablet
Spending time at the beach is a great way to catch up on your favorite beach reads. Pack your next read, or magazine, or bring an e-reader!
Camera / Go Pro Action Camera
Packing a camera is a must to create fun and unique travel photos. While you don’t need to get a professional camera- you can opt for more affordable point-and-shoot cameras or a GoPro.
GoPros are great because they fit in the palm of your hand and are waterproof. You can take really awesome underwater photos and have great vacation memories!
I love having a portable charger at the beach to charge my phone on the go. The hot sun can drain your battery faster, especially if you are using it.
A great beach vacation has some music, am I right?! A small portable speaker is great to play music at the beach with nice audio.
Other Beach Vacation Things to Pack
Packable Beach Towel
If you are not headed to a beach resort, you’re going to need to pack your own towel. I like these 100% cotton extra-large beach towels because they are thin, dry quickly, and come in so many colors.
I am all about space-saving options. These are a great idea to pack because their size is large enough to use as a beach blanket.
Insulated Water Bottle
Want to keep your drink cold? Packing a reusable water bottle is a must for a beach vacation and is always a good idea- especially if you are staying at an all-inclusive resort, cruise, or beachfront hotel.
Drinks are usually served in plastic containers and you can bet that drink will taste warm and watered down before you finish it. These insulated mugs will keep your drink cold and tasty. And if you plan on using it for cocktails, make sure the top opening can fit ice cubes.
Waterproof Cell Phone Holder
This waterproof phone case comes in handy to protect your phone from water- and is perfect for any excursion or water activity that you want to bring your phone on.
I remember horseback riding on the ocean, and my horse decided to go into the water. The phone was completely soaked- and it did not turn back on. A waterproof case would have been ideal!
You can also take photos underwater with the case on but don’t expect the best quality.
These dry bags from Amazon help against any splashes or spills and come in handy in your beach tote. You can keep your essentials inside, or you can save them for wet clothes, wet bathing suits, and wet swimsuits all while keeping your other items dry. Plus, the style is so fun and cute!
I found this snorkel mask on Amazon and they come with their own case! Love having my own mask to see what’s underwater, and you won’t have to worry about germs from shared or rental masks! And P.S. you’ll look like a serious pro with your own gear.
You can also add in some fins if you have enough room in your carry on luggage and you are sure that you are going to go snorkeling.
Don’t forget to pack any needed medications on your trip.
With medicine, I like to pack a small container of Advil/ Tylenol- just in case I wake up with an unlucky hangover.
Beach Packing List Summary
Alrighty, I covered all the odds and ends when it comes to packing for a beach vacation. Hope these beach essentials were helpful for your next sunny beach destination getaway.
Be sure to download your *Free* Beach Packing List below where everything I mentioned is easily ready to be checked off!
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