The Ultimate Beach Packing List

a man and woman at the beach

Beach Essentials List: Beach Must Haves

Wherever you are right now, it's safe to say you'd rather be on a beach. And for good reason: There's nothing like lounging on the sand with the sun overheads, waves crashing, and your friends nearby. Packing the right beach essentials makes your day even better.

But while the perfect beach day may be relaxing, deciding what to bring to the beach can be stressful. Forgetting your beach towel or sunscreen requires you to walk back to the car, drive into town, and miss out on precious moments you could be soaking in rays by the sea.

It all raises the big question: What beach must haves should you bring for your trip?

pictures of people enjoying the beach with Coleman gear

Beach Necessities: What to Bring to the Beach

This beach essentials list includes everything you need to pack for every beach vacation, weekend beach trip, or beach day. Use it to figure out what to bring to the beach for the perfect day - from low beach chairs to lip balm.

We'll start by covering four beach must haves:

  1. Beach Chairs
  2. Beach Tents, Sun Shades & Canopies
  3. Beach Coolers
  4. Beach Grills

Let's dive in.

A couple relaxing on the beach in Coleman beach chairs

1. Beach Chairs

Laying in the sand on a beach towel is a timeless part of every beach day. So is kicking back and taking it all in from in a comfy beach chair.

With plenty of beach chairs to choose from, there's a perfect option out there for every beach trip or beach day. Consider the following chairs for your beach essentials packing list.

  • Low beach chairs give you that on-the-sand feeling along with back support for all-day comfort. They're also typically light and easy to carry, making them ideal for, ahem, long walks on the beach.
  • Folding beach chairs also pack nicely into a compact form, making them easy to transport between garage, trunk, parking lot, beach, and back.
  • Reclining beach chairs help you bring the comfort of a poolside resort or spa to your favorite spot on the beach. They also give you flexibility to adjust positions throughout the day.
  • Beach chairs with umbrellas offer the shade you need to protect your skin and stay cool on hot, sunny days. Look for one with a removable umbrella so you have the flexibility to take only the chair when you want a lighter load.
  • Beach chair for kids are sized to fit the little ones- on the rare moments they aren't splashing in the waves, building sand castles, or running wild through the sand.

Shop our top beach chairs:

images of people setting up a canopy and sitting uder it by the water

2. Beach Tents, Sun Shades & Canopies

Whether you're planning a beach day or a multi-day beach vacation, sun protection is a must. Sunscreen or an SPF shirt is a good start, but a beach tent gives you the protection you need to enjoy every minute.

Ask these three questions to find the ideal pop up beach ten, beach canopy, or beach umbrella tent for your trip.

  • How far do I need to carry my beach tent? The best beach spot isn't always one closest to the parking lot. If you're up for taking a longer walk to find the perfect zone, look for a lighter beach tent that packs into an easy-carry bag.
  • How big is my group? When you're seeking shade only for yourself or a few other's, a sun shade is a lightweight and easily packable option. For bigger groups, a pop up beach tent or a beach canopy gives you the spacious coverage you need to cover the whole crew.
  • What extras does your tent provide? Some beach tents do more than just offer sun protection. Look for extras like ceiling vents, adjustable awnings, and side pockets.

Shop our best beach tent:

Two people carrying a cooler from a boat to a dock

3. Beach Coolers

Nothing tastes better than an ice-cold beverage on a hot day at the beach. Same goes for a cold-cut sandwich, your favorite homemade dip, a crispy piece of fruit, and other refreshing snacks you bring from home.

While there are countless different treats you can pack in your cooler, there are also a million cooler options to choose from. So what's the best cooler for the beach?

It all depends on where you're going and what you're doing:

  • The best cooler for beach vacations and multi-day trips is one that's spacious and well-insulated, so you can hold ice for days without having to repeatedly restock.
  • The best backpack cooler for beach adventures can handle hot summer days while still carrying the items you'd want in a regular backpack, like towels, sunscreen, a book, and sunglasses. Bonus points if your backpack cooler includes zipper pouches for valuables.
  • The best beach cooler with wheels for sand is one that you can not just roll, but carry. Because most wheels don't work well on sand, look for a cooler that also includes durable, easy-to-grip handles.
  • The best cooler bag for beach days does more than just keep beverages and food cold. It also doubles as a beach bag by including space for your beach towel, portable speaker, sunscreen, and other beach essentials.

Overall, the best cooler for the beach is one that feels right to you. Make sure it's sized to accommodate you and your group, easy to bring wherever you're going, and ready for intense summer heat.

Shop our best coolers for the beach:

Grilling outdoors

4. Grilling on the Beach

You don't need to head back to the boardwalk, snack bar, or town to get a hot bite on your beach day. With the right beach grill, you can fire up tasty eats right from your site on the sand.

While grilling on the beach helps you bring the party to every beach day, it also brings some special considerations. Set yourself up for success by choosing a beach grill that's:

  • Portable. Like everything else on this beach essentials list, portability is key. Look for a beach grill that is light, compact, and has handles for easy carrying. Bonus points if it has space-saving features like condensable legs.
  • Easy to clean. You don't want to carry hot charcoal any longer than necessary after a long, hot beach day. A beach grill with a removable charcoal tray helps you easily dispose of coals before heading home.
  • Ready for beach weather. If you want your beach grill to last, it needs to withstand repeated exposure to humid, salty air. Features like a rust-resistant steel wire grate help your beach grill hold up for every beach trip to come.

Shop our top beach grill:

four people talking under a canopy at the beach

Beach Picnics: Beach Day Essentials

Coolers and grills help you stay cool and enjoy hot eats on the beach. But if you're going all-out to plan the ultimate beach picnic, they're just two of the items you'll need.

Here are some other helpful things to have when you're planning a picnic on the beach.

Hand sanitizer
Plates and/or bowls
Cups, glasses, and/or tumblers
Forks, Knives, and/or spoons
Serving spoons and forks
Portable cutting board
Tongs and/or spatula for grilling
Zip-lock bags or food storage containers
Paper towels
Trash bags
Foldable Table

Beach Picnic Tips and Tricks

Keep these considerations in mind when you're planning for your beach picnic, so you can pack, eat, and clean up like a pro.

  • Prep your food ahead of time. Whether you want tomato slices for your sandwiches or cut-up carrots for hummus, it's easier to prep food (and wash dishes) in your kitchen. Prepping ahead of time also requires you to bring fewer kitchen utensils and saves time once you're on the beach.
  • Leave extra packaing behind. The less you pack, the less you have to carry from your car to the beach- and back. Toss extra packaging- like the cardboard box around a bag of crackers- before you leave for the beach so you don't have to take any more than necessary.
  • Avoid glass. Many beaches prohibit the use of glass. Going with plastic bottles and cans or reusable drinkware also helps you avoid the risk of broken glass in your beach cooler, beach bag, or on the sand.
  • Choose pop-top cans. Look for tuna fish, olives and other canned goods that come in a pop-top can so you can leave your can-opener at home.
  • Use locking food-storage containers. Prevent your homemade chicken salad or coleslaw from spilling into your beach cooler by using locking containers.
  • Bring the right trash bags. You don't want your trash to split open when you're trekking back to the car. Bring at least two sturdy, heavy-duty bags-one for trash and another for recycling.
  • Don't forget your table (or tablecloth). Keep the crumbs (and ants) off your beach towel or beach blanket by nringing a separate tablecloth or foldable table for your beach picnic.

playing games and relaxing on the beach

Beach Vacation Packing List

We've outlined all the beach vacation must haves you need to eat, drink, lounge, and beat the heat. Whether you're gathering eassentials for a weekend wander or checking off your 7-day beach vacation packing list, here's everything in one place.

Beach Bag Essentials

Beach towel
SPF lip balm
Beach hat
Beach blanket
Cover up
Change of clothes
Flip flop or beach sandal pair
Water shoes

Food, Drink, and Furniture

Beach cooler
Backpack cooler for beach
Cooler bag for beach
Beach grill
Beach chair
Beach umbrella
Water bottle
Kitchen gear: See Beach Picnic list

Gear, Games, and Gadgets

Snorkeling gear
Boogie board
Inner tube or swimmies
Beach ball
Pickleball equipment
Portable speaker/charger
Waterproof phone case

Beach Extras

First aid kit
Aloe vera gel
Reef safe sunscreen
Sunglass strap
Quick dry towel
Quick drying swim shirt

a family sitting on a blanket at the beach

What to Bring to the Beach: The Final Word

No matter how far away your nearesr beach is, the perfect beach day is within reach. If you've made it this far, you're already well on your way.

Before we leave you to it, here's one final piece of advice: Make planning part of the fun. Whether you're shopping for the perfect beach cooler or prepping beach picnic foods in the kitchen, the adventure has already begun. Here's to enjoying every second of it.

Want to learn more about packing and preparing for the best outdoor adventures? Check out our resources here:

The Ultimate Camping Checklist

Game Day Essentials for Sidelines Sports: Top 5 Must-Haves

Coolers HQ


What to bring to the beach for a beach picnic?

Whether you're bringing charcuterie or chicken salad, planning a beach picnic is an ideal way to spend a day by the sea. Here are a few ideas for what to include in your beach picnic set up.

Cooler bag or cooler tote to keep food and drinks cold
Forks, knives, and spoons
Plates and bowls
Hand sanitizer
Paper towels or napkins
Portable cutting board
Locking food storage containers for leftovers
Heavy duty trash bag with drawstring
Folding table and/or tablecloth
Beach chairs
Beach umbrella
Beach towel

Coleman's Tip: Minimize mess, utensils use, and prep time for your beach picnic by preparing your food ahead of time, like slicing up tomatoes for sandwiches.

For more tips and trips on the ideal beach picnic set up, see our Beach Picnics guide here.

What to bring to the beach for a day?

A beach trip should be relaxing, but are you wondering what to bring to the beach for a day? You're not alone: Packing for your beach trip can feel stressful. Use this handy checklist to make sure you've included all the beach trip essentials you need for the perfect day:

Beach towel and/or beach blanket
Sun hat
Cover up or sun shirt
Flip flops or sandals
Beach bag or tote- bonus if it includes a cooler
Water bottle
Snacks, lunch, and drinks
Beach chair
Beach umbrella
SPF lip balm
Portable speaker or headphones
Waterproof phone case

What to put in a beach bag?

If you're packing up for the beach, there's some fun on your horizon. But what to put in a beach bag? Along with essentials like flip flops and swimsuit you'll be wearing as you trek to the beach, include these items in your beach bag to make sure you're fully prepared:

Beach towel
SPF lip balm
Cover up or sun shirt
Water bottle
Portable speaker or headphones
Waterproof phone case

Looking to pack more than just your beach bag? See our full Beach Vacation Packing List.

Tips & Guides