12 Simple Beach Checklist Tips to Have a Memorable Beach Vacation

beach tips

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12 Simple Beach Checklist Tips to Have a Memorable Beach Vacation

There is nothing quite like the gentle ocean breeze, the sound of the waves crashing on the shore, and feeling the sun on your skin while you’re relaxing on the beach. Beach it like a pro with this simple beach checklist that will allow you to relax with your toes in the sand.

Wear Sunscreen & Reapply FREQUENTLY

PSA: This beach checklist item is not a joke and I know it seems like a given but hear me out. Did you know that your skin if your body’s largest organ? Getting a sunburn is not only uncomfortable to get while on vacation, but it can also be detrimental to your health and make you sick. Protect yourself by using SPF 30+ while spending time on the beach or really anytime you’re outdoors. Make sure you reapply every hour (or more) for the best results.

My suggestions for sunscreens are Thinksport, All Good, or Blue Lizard. These sunscreens are a few of my favorites because they offer great SPF protection, don’t have harmful chemicals, and are reef-safe so you know you aren’t potentially hurting any ocean life.

Sunscreen on a beach blanket Beach checklist - tips for visiting the beach
While this sunscreen has a great SPF it isn’t reef safe!

Protect Your Eyes With Sunglasses

Did you know that skin cancer can also be found in your eyes? The most aggressive form is called ocular melanoma. To protect yourself, look for sunglasses that block 99-100 percent of UVA/UVB radiation and screen out 75 to 90 percent visible light. Splurging for polarized lenses is the best way to do this. Also, make sure to apply a facial sunscreen around your eyes and visit your optometrist for yearly eye exams. Beach checklist.

Sunglasses on the sand - Beach checklist and tips

Avoid Getting Blisters

This beach checklist tip may not apply to everyone if you already have good sandals. But remember those cheap rubber flip-flops we all wore once upon a time? Every year I’d get a new pair and every year I’d turn up with a horrible blister right between my toes, especially while walking on the beach. My favorite sandals are from Superfeet. They have become my favorite pair to date because they’re supportive and have yet to give me even the slightest sign of a blister.

Superfeet Sandals - beach checklist

Try to Arrive as Early as Possible

No matter what time of year you’re taking your beach vacation, it’s best to arrive early. Even if you aren’t a morning person, heck I’m not… you can fall right back to sleep with the sounds of the waves as your lullaby. The reason it’s best to arrive early is so you can secure a prime location on the beach but you might also get to catch a lovely sunrise or cool morning temperatures with it!

Sunset on the water - tips for visiting the beach

Build an Awesome Beach Fortress

Going along with arriving before the crowds, set up your beach gear so you’re sure to be comfortable all day. You can do this in a variety of ways.

  • SAND LOUNGER: Mold and sculpt the sand to make yourself a sandy pillow, throw your beach towel on top and voila, you have yourself a sand lounger.
  • BEACH BLANKET: Find yourself an old quilt or another thick blanket and lay that out for ample amounts of space. This one is great for large parties!
  • COZY BEACH CHAIR: Shorter beach chairs are becoming ever more popular and they can be more comfortable than lying on the ground. They also are perfect for sitting slightly in the water.
  • UMBRELLA/CANOPY: If you need a break from the rays or have children in your group, you might think about bringing a large beach umbrella, tent, or canopy to provide some shade. It’s also a great place to eat and avoid pesky seagulls.
Beach chairs and umbrella - beach packing tips

Pack a Cooler With Drinks & Snacks

Being outside in the hot sun all day WILL make you dehydrated and hungry. Prepare some healthy snacks and drinks in a cooler before you go. Fresh fruit, cheese, nuts, or even chips make the perfect beach snacks.

Keep in mind that alcohol will dehydrate you even more and may make you more susceptible to sunburns so if you plan to drink alcohol make sure you have a lot of water too! Also, make sure to check with the beaches you’ll be visiting because some do not allow alcohol and most do not allow glass bottles.

As far as coolers go, make sure you bring a cooler that is big enough to store your drinks and perishable snacks but also not SO big that you can’t carry it!

Cartons of berries are a great snack to take to the beach.
Fresh berries make for an excellent snack on the beach or you can add them to your water as a flavor enhancement.

Bring An Extra Set of Clothes

So you’ve got your beach snacks and maybe packed lunch but if you want to grab some dinner, drinks, or shop after your day of chasing waves have an extra set of clothes on standby. Not to mention wearing a soggy swimsuit isn’t fun. I usually pack a lightweight dress or leggings if it’s going to be cooler in the evenings and Logan brings nicer gym shorts and a T-shirt.

Tips for the Beach
A tote bag is great for carrying extra clothing to change into after a trip to the beach.

Don’t Forget to Bring Entertainment!

Some like to listen to the waves all day but the beach is also the perfect place to listen to your favorite Spotify playlist or sink into that book you’ve been aching to read. I usually bring my phone and Bluetooth headphones with me so I can listen to or read an audiobook with my Kindle or Libby app which allows me to download books for free from my local library.

Books to read on the beach

Waterproof Your Electronics

While some cell phones are now water-resistant it’s still a good practice to keep your phone sand and waterproof while you’re taking those perfect sunrise photos, reading your e-book, or laying out by the water. One cost-effective way to do this is by putting your phone in a plastic zip-top bag, or you can also use one of these.

Taking a photo of a beach sunset on a cell phone.

Leave a Small Broom in Your Car

Bringing a small handheld broom is an easy, inexpensive way to make sure your vehicle doesn’t turn into a sandbox. Use a broom to brush sand off shoes, feet, coolers, chairs, etc before loading all of your gear up to go home. I purchased mine from a dollar store but you can also order one here.

beach tips

Make Sure to Leave Nothing Behind

These next beach checklist tips are probably the most important of all so stay with me! After having the peaceful serenity of your beach day make sure you leave no trace as you’re heading out. Pick up all trash, recyclables, and other goods to protect other people, wildlife, and our world! Most beaches have stations where you can dispose of your waste properly but if not, take it with you and dispose of it when you get back to your hotel or rental.

Beach sign that says "please leave nothing but your footprints." | Beach checklist - packing tips for the beach

…And Take Nothing With You

I cannot stress this enough. PLEASE DO NOT TAKE SAND DOLLARS OR STARFISH OR OTHER ITEMS WITH YOU. I’ve seen it countless times while visiting the beach. You do not get to take living creatures from their home as a pet or as a beach souvenir. Plus, even touching these sea creatures can harm them due to your sunscreen or even the oils on your skill. If you happen to see a beautiful starfish or crab on the beach, snap a photo instead! 🙂

Red starfish on the beach - beach checklist, Tips for the Beach | Protect Where We Play | Ecotourism | Eco-friendly Travel

What are some of your go-to beach checklist items?


  • Reply
    Rita Sanders
    March 31, 2020 at 2:02 PM

    I can’t believe that I didn’t’ think of using a dust broom to brush off shoes, feet, and other things before we get into the car because it’s a brilliant idea! I remember once we went to a beach and it was windy so our car filled up with sand pretty fast. A dust broom would have been a great idea then!

  • Reply
    Vivian Black
    April 8, 2020 at 5:07 PM

    You made a great point about bringing extra clothing in case you get uncomfortable with a wet and soggy swimsuit. My husband and I are looking for a beach near our vacation spot that we can go to with our kids. We will keep these tips in mind!

  • Reply
    Dave Write
    October 27, 2021 at 12:51 PM

    Have read your article, my friend. I am very happy to share this amazing checklist with all our friends here.

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