Beach Bag Essentials to Pack for a Day at the Beach

It's officially high summer, aka time to hit the beach! So what do you pack in your beach bag? I always find myself stumped, no matter how many times I have been to the beach I’m constantly forgetting an essential, or something fun to do like a book to read, beach toys, or a towel. Below is a handy summary of the items I always intend to bring along to the beach, whether or not I actually remember to take them along is always a question.

We’ll start with the essentials, these are the things that will be most needed and appreciated during your day at the beach. As long as these are in your bag, you will have a great day!

Plastic Water Bottle

Warm days on the beach require remaining completely hydrated as we lose a lot of fluid in hot weather, and dehydration can end the fun day at the beach with a trip to the hospital for treatment. Remaining hydrated via a plastic water bottle can ensure your health at the beach and keep you feeling energized. Make sure the water bottle is plastic and not glass, as most beaches do not allow glass containers.


It is important to apply sunscreen regularly throughout the day to avoid painful sunburns and potential skin cancer. Place sunscreen as well as other liquid-like items in sealed plastic bags. The sealed plastic bag will keep your sunscreen from getting all over your bag in case it leaks.

A Towel for Each Person

While one towel for each person is sufficient, I like to take two along. One for laying on at the beach, and one to dry/clean off with after a good swim.

A Beach Hat

My floppy white beach hat is my best friend at the beach. As a pale blonde woman with an Irish heritage, any form of shelter from the sun is much appreciated. Beach hats just serve as that extra form of protection from the sun on top of the sunscreen.

A T-Shirt, Cover-up & Change of Clothes

A T-shirt or cover-up to place over your suit or swim trunks during a break from swimming or to protect your skin from the sun is another great essential to have with you at the beach. Just slip it on over your suit between swim sessions. The change of clothes will come in handy so you can put on something dry when you are ready to go home.

Beach Umbrella

beach umbrella that you can unfold, assemble and simply stake in the sand provides the perfect shelter from the sun. They provide you with the perfect place to flock to between swim sessions and relax under with a book, magazine or snack.

You can even get accessories with them like an umbrella hook for hanging up clothes, towels or your beach bag. The beach umbrella table is another great accessory you can use to keep your snacks, phones, cameras and drinks off the ground.

While the below items are not essentials, they are helpful to have around when you spend the day at the beach. I like to refer to them as fun essentials.

A Good Novel

If you are the type who likes to read like I am, a good book is the perfect way to spend your time at the beach. I could spend hours under the umbrella with a good book in my beach chair.

Beach Toys and Games

Your kids or your group of friends will enjoy fun beach games like beach volleyball, badminton or swim toys. Having these on-hand at the beach will ensure a fun and active day.

A Picnic

A good picnic is perfect for sustenance on a day at the beach. Pack your cooler with cold pasta salads, sandwiches, hoagies or whatever your family and friends like to eat.

At the end of the day you’ll be left with the memories of a fun day at the beach and eager to go again soon. After all, that’s what summer is for, enjoying the warmth and taking advantage of the beautiful day.