Beach Bag Essentials: What to Pack for a Day in the Sun

Sunday, June 14th, 2020

Sunny days are here again and what better way to spend time outdoors than a day at the beach. Whether you already live near the coast or are planning an epic summer road trip, you’ll want to have your beach bag essentials packed up and ready to go. From water bottles to food storage containers and beach blankets to umbrellas or other accessories, we’re sharing what to pack for the beach or your road trip essentials for your next adventure. 

Water Bottles for Everyone

With soaring temperatures and lounging in the sun all day, it’s crucial to stay hydrated. To eliminate the use of single-use plastic bottles and prevent beach pollution, a S’well bottle is a go-to for any beachgoer. What’s better is there are various sizes, which allows each person to have their own (more sanitary) and gives you the options of filling different bottles with different types of beverages (more variety!). 

Water is the best drink option, and the original 25 oz. S’well bottle keeps drinks cold for 48 hours, an advantage other reusable bottles don’t offer. The larger, 40 oz. Roamer is an optimal choice for families who want to share lemonade, fruit punch or another summertime drink. Mix up a batch of your favorite beverage beforehand, pack individual, reusable cups to pass out, and everyone can have a refreshing sip to pair with their beach lunch or snack. 

However you want to stay hydrated during your day at the beach, keeping the beverages cool is the most important. Forget about having to pack a cooler full of ice or settle for lukewarm water when you need to quench your thirst. S’well keeps everything nice and cool for your perfect beach vacation. 

Food Storage for Seaside Picnics

Beach commitment requires setting up camp for the day and bringing plenty of provisions with you so don’t miss your prime spot in the sand or parking space. The S’nack by S’well stainless steel food containers are the ideal solution to keep your beach picnic foods hot or cold during the day and sealed up nicely to avoid ants, seagulls and sand from getting into your food. Add these food containers to your must-have beach gear to take your family beach vacation to the next level. 

In addition to individually-wrapped sandwiches, pack pasta salad, fresh fruit, and other easy-to-eat foods that don’t require any prep as beach bag essentials. You can also get creative and pack each bowl with a different ingredient to make a wrap or salad, such as a cold, shredded chicken, lettuce, tomato, cucumber and vinaigrette. 

These portable food containers are also the right size to store afternoon snacks like trail mix, applesauce and dip for chips. It helps to limit messes and makes cleanup easy when you get home. Another excellent item for the beach or as part of your road trip essentials is frozen grapes or frozen mango chunks. Keep them intact longer inside one of your S’well food storage containers for an icy afternoon treat.

Drink Chillers for Aluminum Cans and Bottles

There’s nothing wrong with the traditional koozie, but if you want something that’ll keep your drink colder longer, it may be time to upgrade to a chic drink chiller. With triple-layer insulation, they keep drinks cooler for up to six hours without any condensation. They’re perfect to hold your canned soda, bottled beer or slim-can wine while enjoying your beach day. 

Additionally, they’re a great, lightweight choice to take when boating, paddle boarding or any other low-key water activity. Since they’re dishwasher safe, once you get home, just load them in and then have them ready for your next excursion. When considering what to pack in a beach bag, make sure to have enough food and drinks to get you through your day of playing and swimming in the sun. 

Oversized Blankets and Towels

Food and drinks are the first thing to think about when it comes to spending an entire day out in the sun, but you’ll want a place to sit as well. Pack a beach blanket and towels to dry off with once you get out of the water. These help to claim your space in the sand and prevent you from getting burned when the temperatures get hot. Depending on the time of day, walking on the sand can feel like a game of hot potato as you make your way to your blanket. 

For additional seating and comfort, consider packing beach chairs with straps for easy carrying or a beach tent. However you want to relax on the beach, make sure you have a seat that fits your needs. Furthermore, it’s a good idea to keep extra beach towels in the car to lay down on the seats, in case you still have a damp swimsuit when you’re ready to head back home. These extra beach towels can double in use when needing to get the extra sand off your sandals or beach toys!

Also, depending on how many people and how many beach bag essentials you have to spread out, you may want to reserve one blanket for the food and beverages, covered by a beach umbrella or beach tent for shade, and another one to lounge on. Make sure everyone grabs a bag full of beach goods as they head to the sand to make transport a breeze where you can take everything all in one trip.

Sunscreen, Sun Visors, and Sunglasses 

In addition to hydration and general comfort, you simply cannot spend a day at the beach without sun protection essentials. Your perfect beach bag should be packed with several bottles of sunscreen, both for the face and a spray for the body. Pick ones that are sweat- and/or water-resistant and reapply often. The smell of sunscreen and the salty, ocean breeze are two of the best scents of summer. 

Throw in a couple of sun visors, baseball caps, or sun hats for extra coverage, especially if you’re not going to spend any time in the water. It will provide extra shade from the sun and keep your head and ears from being sunburned. The same goes for sunglasses to protect your eyes and keep you from squinting from the bright rays. Making sure you have the necessary items to keep your skin safe should always be included as a part of your beach essentials.

Having a beach bag dedicated solely to sun protection isn’t a bad idea. You’ll likely need more than you think, and in the end, you’ll be thankful you slathered on the sunscreen and limited your exposure, rather than returning home with a crispy, red skin.  

Boogie Boards and Beach Toys

Pack a few fun items for the kids and kids-at-heart. While boogie boards may not necessarily fit into a beach bag, you’ll still want them to make the trip. Sturdy, plastic pails and mini shovels plus an inflatable beach ball or volleyball will keep everyone entertained when they’re taking a break from being in the water. 

Kids can sit for hours in a pile of sand, creating beautiful sandcastles and digging the deepest holes. While you’ll want to limit how many toys you bring to the beach, having these staple items will come in handy. Can you imagine a day at the beach without a few toys to keep you entertained? We can’t! Add them to your beach packing list for the perfect beach day. 

Beach Clothing and Shoes for the Sand

Beach coverups, flip flops, and even water shoes are items that don’t take up much room when planning what to pack for the beach. These will help to protect your skin and feet from the hot sun and sand. Packing a change of dry clothes, like a simple tee and cutoff shorts, is also a good idea, especially if you’re spending the entire day at the beach. Or consider bringing a toiletry bag filled with a few items like deodorant or mints to keep you feeling fresh all day long. 

Wearing a bikini or board shorts is beach-appropriate, but you may want to bring a swimsuit coverup if you’re heading somewhere afterwards that requires a little bit more clothing or need them as overnight camping essentials. Keep all the jewelry, socks, and tennis shoes at home. When deciding what to wear, less is more.

Last-Minute Beach Bag Essentials

Lastly, slip in travel-size bottles of hand sanitizer and hand wipes to keep things as clean as possible. Aloe vera for sun burns and bug repellent should also make the list. Prioritize your beach bag essentials by how long you’ll be at the beach and who is part of the beach-day plan. For a party of one, a beach towel, water bottle, snacks and sunscreen are really all it takes to have an enjoyable day. 

For families who are making it an all-day affair, it’s best to come equipped with enough to keep everyone happy and comfortable for hours on end. Like with any trip, a drive to the beach requires some forethought to ensure you have all you need without interruption. Make a beach packing list and decide what is a must-have and what can be left behind to conserve space. Everyone will have their own beach essentials that will make the list, and as long as there’s room, we say, take it all.