Your Essential Guide to Packing for a Beach Holiday

Planning your long-awaited beach holiday? This list of essentials will make packing for the beach a breeze. If it’s your first time camping or you want to make sure you don’t forget anything, check out our camping packing list too.

We hope your beach holiday is warm and sunny, but we’ve included a few items just in case the weather has other plans. All of our beach campsites have plenty to do both on-site and a short drive away so you’ll have a memorable holiday no matter what’s in store.

Food & Drink | Clothing | Kids | Entertainment

The essentials for your beach packing checklist 

Beach bag – You’ll need a bag big enough to carry all of your essentials down to the beach from the campsite or car park. Go for a versatile backpack, or opt for a fun summer shoulder bag.

SPF – Don’t forget that the UK sunshine is just as powerful as overseas. Pack high protection suncream and remember to reapply as stated on the back of the bottle. You can also buy lip balm with SPF and UV protective clothing, which is especially good for kids getting in and out of the water all day.

Reusable water bottle – Keep dehydration at bay and say no to single-use plastic at the same time with any of these top-rated water bottles.

Beach mat – Take something comfortable to sit on. You can buy beach mats that prevent sand from settling on them or pack a few extra blankets or towels.

Towel – Take a towel for the specific purpose of drying off after a paddle. Don’t use the towel you’ve been sitting on unless you don’t mind the sand.

Face masks –Essential for popping into a shop, shared facilities, a café, or for waiting in a long line for an ice cream.

Insect repellent – A repellent with DEET is priceless when the bugs come out to play. There are many varieties available, and you can even buy insect-repelling wristbands if kids don’t like sprays.

Hand sanitiser – Hand hygiene is crucial at the beach. Make sure you’ve always got a bottle on hand so everyone can clean their hands before eating or drinking.

Small first aid kit – Cuts and scrapes are almost expected at the beach. A small first aid kit with plasters, alcohol wipes and antiseptic cream can be invaluable.

Clothing and accessories

Sun hat – Ensure everyone you’re visiting the beach with has a sun hat. For kids, buy a hat that covers the back of their necks too.

Sunglasses – Protecting your eyes is just important as protecting your skin.

Swimming costume – Whether it’s trunks, a bikini, or a one-piece, you won’t want to forget this if you enjoy going for a dip.

Lightweight layers – Make sure you pack comfy clothes that you enjoy spending an extended amount of time in. Layers are key as you can add and remove depending on the weather.

Beach shoes – Pebble beaches and sea life such as jellyfish and weever fish are common in and around the UK seaside. Shoes with a sturdy bottom are going to provide comfort and avoid any painful run-ins with wildlife.

Windproof umbrella – Great for both shade and shelter if the wind picks up.

Waterproof jacket – It’s always a good idea in the UK to have a waterproof layer if the weather changes. A good waterproof also doubles as a windbreaker for coastal or clifftop walks.

Walking boots – There are some brilliant coastal paths, and blustery walks are almost a guarantee on any beach holiday. A good pair of walking boots are essential for those looking to explore.

Entertainment

A good book – Spending a day at the beach means you’ll need to take some entertainment. Don’t forget to pack your favourite travel book, a colouring book or sticker book for the kids.

Waterproof phone case – Keep the sea and sun away from your phone with a waterproof case. These are inexpensive to buy, and you can still use your device while it’s inside and protected.

Battery pack – If you’re using your phone to take pictures, to play music and for directions, your batteries going to need a boost during your visit. A portable charger is a great option.

Headphones – Listen to your favourite music or podcast without disturbing other beachgoers.

Beach holiday essentials for kids

Toys – A bucket and spade, beach ball, frisbee and even a kite are great toys to keep kids entertained at the beach.

Baby essentials - Waterproof nappies, high factor SPF, a UV sun tent and armbands are all beach essentials for babies. View our full guide to camping with a baby for more tips and things to pack.

Biodegradable wipes – Easily clean up spills, sandy feet, or messy post ice cream faces.

Shade - Everyone should stay out of the sun in the middle of the day. This is especially important for babies and young children. Packing an umbrella or sun tent is essential.

Food and drink

Cooler bag – Keep drinks and snacks cool in an insulated box or bag.

Snacks – Take some food to the beach to make sure you have a bit of what you fancy when hunger strikes.

A rubbish bag – Never leave your rubbish on the beach. Take a bag with you and put it in the bin or take it back to the campsite to dispose of.

Enjoy your beach holiday! For more inspiration and expert tips, view our holiday ideas.