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Things to Pack When Going to the Beach: Essential Items

Whether you’re planning a day trip or an entire vacation, there are few places better than the beach. Provided the weather’s good, there’s a whole range of activities you can do, from chilling out with a holiday read to raising your heart rate with an exhilarating water sport. Couples can make the most of long romantic strolls in the sand, families can play games and sports, before sunbathing and an afternoon snooze!

Thankfully, a beach trip doesn’t take too much planning either. But there are a few essentials you should take with you, which we’re going to take a look at in this article. 

Be sure to get the right bag

The first thing to decide is how you’re going to transport stuff to the beach. If you have your own transport, it’s not too much of an issue. However, if it’s part of a bigger holiday, or you’re using public transport, space and comfort will be considerations too.

A backpack or duffel is the best way to go

A suitcase just doesn’t work on sand. It’s much better to choose a backpack or a duffel bag. When we say backpack, a day pack of around 20 – 25 litres will usually do. It can fit in all the essentials (which we’ll get to later), as well as a couple of luxuries such as a book or camera. 

Don’t feel the need to fill your backpack to the brim. This can be heavy and you won’t be able to bring back any souvenirs. 

Another alternative is a duffel bag. A soft and squishy small bag, it also has room for the essentials but it’s much more flexible when it comes to stuffing it in the trunk of your car, or putting it at your feet on a bus. Duffels are also cheap to pick up – great if you’re a budget traveler.

A dry bag is good for water sports

It’s a little more expensive, but a dry bag is a wonderful option if you want to do water sports at the beach. Whether you’re paddling to a secluded cove a few kilometres away, or kayaking through magical caves, you can keep your camera, phone, and sunscreen from being damaged in a handy bag coated in waterproof fabric or film. 

Water sports equipment

We’re not saying that all of these items are essential to take at the same time, by the way. Just one of them will probably be enough for a fun day out!

Stand up paddleboard

Should you be visiting a beach that has a lot to explore with relatively flat and clear water, there’s nothing better than a spot of stand up paddleboarding. Not only will you be able to navigate your way to secluded coves and hidden beaches, but you’ll also get a full body workout. 

Paddleboarding isn’t just good for your physical health, it’ll benefit you mentally too. Water has a therapeutic effect and this gentle workout is the perfect stress reliever. It’s an activity with no obvious downsides, which is rare! 

Remember that along with your paddle and board, you’ll also need safety equipment such as your leash and personal floatation device. At more developed beaches, you may be able to rent SUPs and relevant equipment. However, it’s best to have your own should you be going off the beaten track! 

Surfboard

Heading to a beach where the waves aren’t quite so gentle? Then it’s a surfboard you’ll need. An awesome workout for your upper body and core, surfing is also one of the most sociable and friendly water sports out there. Everyone should try it at least once on their beach adventures!  

Similar to stand up paddleboarding, it’s not hard to find rental shops for surf equipment – especially if you’re in a built up area, or a popular surfing spot. 

Volleyball/Sports Equipment

Yep, we know, this isn’t exactly water sports equipment. However, you may be travelling in a large group to the beach, or you may not want to get wet. That’s where bringing something like a volleyball, football, or beach tennis equipment come into their own. 

Sports enables you to enjoy lots of fun and laughter – and it’ll really bring out everyone’s competitive side! 

General Essentials

For this last section, we’ll concentrate on the stuff that you should never leave for the beach without… EVER! 

Swimsuit

Unless you’re going to spend all of your time on the sand, you’ll need a swimsuit with you. Hey, unless you’re going to a nudist beach! Swimsuits won’t take up much space in your pack – you could even wear one underneath your clothes as you travel back. Just make sure you have somewhere to store it on your journey home away from your valuables, so it doesn’t get them wet.

Sunscreen

Sunscreen is another key product to take to the beach. In the short term it protects you from getting burned and blistered, while in the long term it protects against some pretty nasty skin conditions. Just be sure that you have a factor that’s appropriate for your skin, and re-apply it at regular intervals, especially after a swim. Reef-safe sunscreens mean that you can swim with a clean conscience, as you won’t be damaging the biodiversity around you. 

Sunglasses are another important form of sun protection – get a pair with a strap if you’re paddling or surfing. 

Microfibre Towel

Any towel is good – a beach towel is comfortable and fluffy to lie back and sunbathe on. However, a microfibre towel is more convenient and fits into a smaller space. It dries instantly too, meaning that you can put it straight back in your bag without worrying about your valuables getting wet. 

Reusable Water Bottle

Last but not least, you need to stay hydrated at the beach. A reusable water is better for the environment – no plastic waste at all! And, it can keep your water cooler for longer, no matter how hot the sun is.