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The ultimate beach packing guide

A dad and his two children sat on beach chairs on the beach

You’re going for a day at the beach with the family! The seaside makes for a wonderful day out, particularly when the sun is shining during the summer holidays. But you might not have realised exactly how much you need to take.

So that you don’t forget anything for your day out to the beach, we’ve created the ultimate beach packing guide. We’ve split it into sections to help you decide what to take, from food and drink you might need, to additional clothing and even things to do while you’re there. Let’s dive straight in and get you on your way!

What to pack for a day at the beach

Health & beauty essentials

  • Suncream
  • Insect repellent spray
  • First aid kit
  • Necessary medication (e.g. inhalers)
  • Glasses
  • Sunglasses
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Plasters
  • Wipes
  • Nappies and swim nappies (if you have very small children)
  • Antihistamines
  • Bin bag

To start with, there are some health and beauty essentials that you should take to the beach with you. There are the obvious items like suncream and sunglasses to keep you and the children protected in the sunshine, but other things that usually get forgotten, such as insect repellent, wipes for cleaning sandy hands and a bin bag to take your rubbish home in.

If you or your children require certain medications, like inhalers, tablets or other treatments that need to be taken at a certain time, be sure to pack those. Don’t forget to put in any glasses and spare contact lenses for those that need them, too.

Clothes

  • Swimming costumes
  • Hats
  • Cover ups
  • Spare underwear and socks
  • Towels
  • Sandals
  • Swim shoes or jelly shoes
  • Wet suit (not essential, but ideal if the sea is very cold)

You may find it useful to pack spare clothing for your day at the beach. After all, socks get covered in sand, swimwear gets soaking wet and you’ll all need something dry and clean to wear in the car on the way home.

You can either pack your swimsuits and change at the beach or put them underneath your clothes for easy changing when you’re there. If you do the latter, remember to pack spare underwear for the whole family to put on at the end of the day.

As well as the obvious items of clothing, like swimming costumes and spare outfits, you should also remember to pack a variety of footwear, including sandals for the children and jelly shoes or swim shoes for particularly pebbly or gritty beaches.

Then there are your cover up items to protect you and your kids from the sun. Hats will keep their heads and faces protected, while cover ups can keep their shoulders from burning while they’re building sand castles or playing in rock pools.

For fun!

  • A bucket and spade
  • A book or e-reader
  • A football
  • A kite
  • A frisbee
  • A portable speaker

While so far we’ve listed plenty of practical items, a day at the beach should be a fun one too! That’s why in our beach packing guide we’ve included some entertainment items, from a football or kite to a book or portable speaker to play your favourite music while you sunbathe. Ask your kids what items they might want to take before you head off.

For comfort

  • Beach towels
  • Picnic blankets
  • Beach umbrella
  • Windbreakers
  • Camping chairs

Although you could just sit on the sand, there are some items you might want to pack to make your day on the beach a little more comfortable. Towels or a picnic blanket can be laid down for you to sit on, or you could upgrade to some camping chairs for ultimate comfort. To shelter you from the sun, you might also want to bring an umbrella to provide some shade and wind breakers to protect you from that sea breeze.

For the sea

  • Goggles
  • Snorkel
  • Inflatables
  • Blow-up beach ball
  • Surf boards

While we’ve listed some entertainment items for the beach, there are some sea-specific things you should pack too! If your children are excited about spotting some fish, pack a snorkel and goggles kit so they can explore under the sea. You could also take some inflatables or a blow-up beach ball for them to use while they swim.

Food and drink

  • Bottled water
  • Snacks
  • Lunch
  • Coolbag

Our final section of this packing guide focuses on food and drink. These are super important for a day at the beach, as everyone needs to stay hydrated and energised. Bottles of water should be an essential on a hot day, but you could pack other drinks too, such as fizzy pop, juices and even an alcoholic beverage for yourself.

Come prepared for lunchtime by filling a cool bag with sandwiches, fresh fruit, sausage rolls, mini quiches, yoghurts and more. You might also want to pack some additional snacks too, including crisps, carrot sticks and some chocolate. A cool bag that’s filled with additional ice packs will help to keep it at the perfect temperature for when your family is ready to eat.

So there you have it - our ultimate beach packing list. We hope you find this useful and that you have a fun-filled seaside trip!