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September 20, 2021 15 min read

things to pack for a beach party

Heading for a fun time in the sun and surf makes for a pretty awesome experience. A beach party is one of the best ways to celebrate nearly any occasion. Getting perfectly prepped for your festivities in the sand means that everyone will have a great time.

Packing for a beach party can be a little overwhelming. However, it’s important to make sure you have everything you need for a fun and safe beachside event. This is especially true if you are commuting a long way to your sandy celebration.

Luckily, we have created a checklist of all of the items that you may need for your fun in the sun. Some of the items are practical items that are must-pack essentials. Others are ideas of things to bring along to make your beach experience more exciting and memorable. Either way, making sure you have everything you need will allow you to focus on enjoying your time at your beach party.

Basic Items to Pack for the Beach

These are items that you’ll likely need for every trip to the beach. If you go to the beach frequently, sometimes it’s smart to keep a pre-packed bag of these items on hand. That way, you’re good to head out the door and to the surf in no time!

  • Beach Bag
  • Beach Towels and Clips
  • Beach Blanket
  • Sunscreen
  • Cooler
  • First Aid Kit
  • Umbrella
  • Chairs
  • Cash

Awesome Bags for a Day at the Beach

Before we get into everything you need to take to your beach party, let’s talk about how you’re going to get it all there. A great bag is a must-have for any beach-goer. With your unique needs, budget, and preferences, take the time to find the best one for you.

If you are looking for a fashionable choice that’s still sand-friendly, there are plenty of options out there. Earthy, woven straw totes are adorable while still not trapping sand inside. Or, look for stylish options made from recycled materials that are washable and durable.

If function is what you are looking for, a mesh bag with plenty of departments allows you to organize and see all of your belongings. Or you can go with a large, sturdy, open-top tote that allows for easy access. If you plan to wander from your belongings, a locking bag is a good idea. It comes with a cable to secure it to your beach chair for safekeeping.

The Best Bags for the Beach Include:

  • The Original Bogg Bag
  • Rothy’s The Essential Tote
  • J. Crew Woven Straw Market Tote
  • CoolBag Locking Anti-Theft Travel Tote
  • The Best Beach Towels to Take to the Beach
must have items to take to the beach

When looking for towels for the beach there are a few features that are an absolute must. Make sure to consider both the appearance of your towels with the functionality. The right towel will make you much comfier and allow you to enjoy your day more.

The first thing to consider is the size. Make sure you find one that gives you plenty of space to layout on. As a rule of thumb, look for a towel that’s at least a few inches longer than your height. If you are on the taller side, search for oversized options that will give you the space you need.

Absorbancy is also key. Terry cloth towels are super absorbent yet can be heavy seemingly take forever to dry. There are some great lightweight Turkish cotton options out there that dry quickly and are super absorbent. Microfiber is another good option for the beach as the smooth fabric doesn’t trap sand within its fibers. Try a few different towel materials to find your personal preference.

Keep your towel secure to your chair with towel clips so it doesn’t blow away with the ocean breeze. Look for heavy-duty clips and pack at least two per towel, sometimes four is more ideal. If you plan to lounge in the sand, bring beach towel stakes to keep it secured to the ground.

A Beach Blanket is a Must

A great outdoor blanket is one of the best investments that you can make. Not only is it perfect to use at the beach, but it’s also ideal for a ton of different outdoor situations. Look for one that’s foldable and keep it in your car for a handy seating surface.

Outdoor blankets are often sold as outdoor picnic blankets, beach blankets, or picnic mats. Look for one that is a spacious size but conveniently folds flat for storage. One that comes with a case or secures closed with clips or velcro is ideal.

Options with multiple layers provide the most cushion and comfort. Make sure you find a design that’s waterproof and stain and sand-resistant. And look for choices that are easy to clean with a simple wipe down.

Don’t Forget Sunscreen When Heading to the Beach

A good sunscreen is an absolute beach must-have. Forgetting your sunscreen could leave you miserably sunburnt. Plus, too many UV rays can cause skin damage and a ton of premature aging. So, grab your fave sun protection and be sure to reapply regularly.

Double-check that your sunscreen is formulated to protect you from both UVA and UVB rays. Look for “broad spectrum” options with plenty of SPF. An SPF of at least 30 is ideal but if you have fairer skin or the UV index is high, a higher SPF might be a good idea.

It’s also important to look for water-resistant options, especially when hanging at the beach. Even then, your protection can still wash away with the surf and sweat. Make sure to pack plenty to reapply every two hours.

Keep in mind that you also want your sunscreen to be safe, healthy, and environmentally friendly. A hypoallergenic formula prevents skin irritation and vitamin E hydrates skin. Some of the chemicals in typical sunscreens can be harmful to ocean life. So, look for sunscreens that are labeled as Reef Safe to avoid damaging the fragile ecosystems.

Great sunscreen choices to pack for the beach include:

  • Sun Bum Original SPF 30 Sunscreen Spray
  • COOLA Organic classic Sunscreen Spray Broad Spectrum SPF 30
  • Reef Repair Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Mineral Sunblock

Make Sure You Have an Ideal Cooler to Pack for the Beach

A great cooler is a must for your beach party. No matter what you are bringing to eat and drink, you want to make sure it stays perfectly chilled. But you also want an option that’s not bulky and is easy to carry through the sand.

A high-quality bag cooler is an awesome choice for the beach. It will keep your drinks and snacks cool while not weighing a ton. Look for options that have velcro enclosures that fold down for the best insulation. Then, when empty, your cooler can fold flat for the trip home.

If you are looking for more space, a wheeled cooler can also be a good choice. Just make sure to look for one with wheels designed especially for sandy terrain. You can also purchase a wheel kit for your current cooler to make it easier to pull through the sand.

When packing your cooler, make sure to include plenty of ice or ice packs. If you have time, make oversized ice packs by laying gallon bags of water flat in the freezer a few days before your beach trip. These larger ice packs will take up less space and melt more slowly than typical ice cubes.

Don’t Forget Your First Aid Kit

things you need to pack for the beach

No one wants to plan for the worst when packing for a beach party. But it’s important to pack a first aid kit just in case. That way, you’re ready for anything and can prevent a minor accident from ruining your great time.

You can either purchase a pre-made kit or create your own. Your first aid kit should include the following:

  • Sterile gauze
  • Various sizes of adhesive bandages
  • Antibiotic ointment or foam
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Gloves
  • Tweezers
  • Thermometer
  • Emergency blanket
  • Aspirin, pain meds, and antihistamine
  • Epinephrine injector and inhaler (if prescribed)

Keeping these items on hand can stop a minor incident from becoming a major one. It’s a good idea to keep a kit in your beach bag at all times.

Bring Your Umbrella Along to the Beach

Sure, the sun is nice but sometimes you need an escape to the shade. Pack an umbrella for a way to get a break from the heat, even on the sunniest of days. Think about the size of your group when deciding what size umbrella you may need.

Just like sunscreen, umbrellas have protection ratings so you’ll know they are really blocking out harmful rays. Look for a high-quality umbrella with a UPF rating of 50 or higher. Many also have a special coating on them to reflect the heat and keep you cooler underneath.

Don’t let the sea breeze steal your beach umbrella. Make sure to purchase one with sandbags for weighing it down. You can also look for poles that have a twistable sand anchor to secure it in the ground. Fun features like attached stands or cup holders add functionality. And tiltable versions allow you to adjust for shade as the day moves along.

Bring Beach Chairs Along to Your Party

Beach chairs are completely optional for a typical day at the beach. However, when having a party, it’s a good idea to have various seating choices for guests. A supply of chairs provides a good option to those that don’t love lounging in the sand.

Low-slung beach chairs are the best of both worlds. They allow you to dig your toes in the sand or relax near the waves. But they also give you a supportive back to lean on. Plus, their compact design allows for easy storage.

Higher versions of traditional beach chairs are easier to get in and out of, making them ideal for older guests. Look for ones with cup holders for the ultimate convenience. Some also have adjustable backs so guests can be as comfy as possible.

Keep Emergency Cash on Hand at the Beach

These days, it feels like no one carries cash anymore. However, it’s a good idea to keep a small amount of cash on you in case of an emergency. Stash a few bills and coins in your beach bag to ensure you don’t run into surprises.

Beach parking can be tough. Don’t miss out on a great parking spot because you don’t have change for the meter. Sure, some locations have meters that take credit card or mobile app payments. But some beaches, especially those off the beaten path, still have meters that only take coins.

Throughout your beach adventure, you might run into anything from a surprise arcade to a delicious-looking ice cream cart. Oftentimes, these businesses are cash-only. Having a few bills on hand means you’ll be able to spontaneously grab a cone or play a few games of skee ball.

Packing Items for a Beach Party with Friends

packing list for a beach party

Meeting your friends for a day at the beach is a great way to have fun and make a ton of great memories. Ensure you have all you need to enjoy your day to the fullest. Packing plenty of food, drinks, and activities means that you’ll have endless fun! Check out these things to make your time on the beach with friends a blast:

  • Swimsuit
  • Snacks and Drinks
  • Beach Games
  • Waterproof Phone Pouch
  • Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker
  • Power Station
  • Drone
  • Float or Board

A Photo-Worthy Swimsuit

One of the most important parts of planning a beach party is what to wear of course! Make sure you have the perfect suit for your fun event. You’ll also want to find a great cover-up or t-shirt that complements your swimwear look. Keep in mind you’ll likely be taking tons of through pics throughout the day so look for a suit that’s flattering, photo-friendly, and that you feel confident in.

Look for swimsuit colors that bring out the best in your skin color and body type. Simple colors and subtle patterns photograph best. Then, snap away and share your photos on social media so everyone can share the awesome time at the beach.

The Best Snack and Beverages to Bring to Your Beach Party

Everyone knows that the food and drinks make the party. This is especially true at the beach. So planning, shopping, and packing carefully for your beach party is an absolute must!

Beach party snacks need to be fun, portable, and easy to eat. Here are some great ideas to feed a crowd:

  • Individual fruit cups
  • Ice cream bars
  • Veggie skewers
  • Bite-sized pinwheels
  • Fun size bags of chips
  • Snack mix

At the beach, refreshing drinks are also a must. However, glass containers can be dangerous and cans can easily spill. The perfect solution is to use refillable drink pouches full of delicious cocktails and mocktails. Mix these recipes up ahead of time, fill your pouches, and stock your cooler with ready to sip drinks:

  • Minty mojitos
  • Margaritas on the rocks
  • Tropical pina coladas
  • Blueberry lemonade
  • Salted watermelon juice

Collect the easily washable pouches and use them, again and again, every time you throw a beach party. Not only will you be saving the earth and some cash, everyone will be talking about your fun beachy juice pouch beverages.
Pack Beach Games for Fun with Friends

items you need for a beach party

Playing beach games is a super fun way to spend the day being active on the beach. However, you can also pack a few more chill versions for those that like a slower pace. The key is having a variety so everyone can get in on the entertainment.

Take it up a notch from tossing a frisbee in the sand. Bring some team games along for a little friendly competition. More active games that are also portable and easy to set up include:

  • Spikeabll
  • Kan Jam
  • Cornhole
  • Bocce Ball
  • Ladder Toss
  • Soccer
  • Volleyball

Sometimes, though, it’s nice to just sit back and chill. Bring along a few games for some downtime as well. Easy to pack, beach-friendly games to take are:

  • Waterproof playing cards
  • UNO Splash
  • Beach blanket checkers
  • Travel-size Battleship

With all of these options, why not make a whole day of competition and have a game-themed party on the beach?

Don’t Forget Your Waterproof Phone Pouch

When heading to the beach, don’t forget to pack your waterproof phone pocket. This will allow you to keep your phone safe from water damage. It also gives you a way to keep your credit cards, cash, and keys secure and with you at all times.

You can look for a pouch that is designed to be compatible with the make and model of your phone. These are often touch screen friendly so you can still use your phone while keeping it safe and dry. That way, you’ll never miss a perfect Insta photo or responding to your Snaps while still enjoying the waves.

If you want more space, a waterproof waist pouch can be the perfect solution. With an adjustable strap, you can keep your must-have belongings securely around your waist. Stash your phone, keys, and cash inside so you can conveniently keep them with you all day.

Pack a Waterproof Speaker for Beach Party Music

things needed for a party at the beach

A party isn’t a party without an awesome soundtrack. Pack a waterproof Bluetooth speaker to fill the beach with your fave playlists. Choose one with optimal battery life and make sure it’s completely charged. There are some features you should look for in your ideal beach party speaker:


  • High-quality, stereo sound
  • Large volume range with no distortion
  • Intuitive Bluetooth pairing for multiple devices
  • Waterproof, dustproof, and sandproof design
  • Portable and lightweight
  • Great battery life

There are other features that are nice additions depending on how you’ll use your speaker. Floating speakers are great if you plan to listen to music while you’re actually in the water. And color-changing LED-lit speakers are awesome if you plan to party on the beach under the stars.

Don’t Forget to Bring a Power Source to Your Beach Party

A portable power source is a smart idea to include in your beach packing. It can be used for a wide range of uses and keep the fun going even when batteries drain. From charging phones to providing a source of emergency light, a power source can range from a convenience to a problem solver.

Fortunately, these portable power stations come in a wide variety of sizes and budgets with varying capabilities. You’ll want to find one with multiple AC and DC outlets and USB ports to charge multiple items. One that recharges with solar power is ideal for beach usage. And look for a unit with multiple light settings if you plan to use it often after dark.

Pack a Drone for Beach Party Fun

A drone is an awesome gadget to bring along to the beach. Flying it along the shore is a fun way to enjoy the open air. Plus, it will allow you to get some pretty awesome photos of your beach party day.

Make sure to check the rules and regulations of the beach where you are visiting. Some have size and height rules regarding drones. Others don’t allow them at all. So make sure you do a little research to avoid any disappointment or consequences.

Your drone can be a great way to take photos of beachside scenery. You can get some great nature shots from high above the water. You can also use your drone to get some unique shots of your group. Just hover close overhead and get everyone’s attention for a super cool ‘usie’ shot.

Don’t Forget Your Float or Board for Some Beach Action

While you’re at the beach, you’ll likely want to enjoy the water. Make sure you bring along a float or board. Depending on if you want to surf the waves or float along the shore, you’ll need to pack your fave water equipment.

If you are looking for a more chill vibe, grab a few basic floating loungers and kick back and relax. There are even floating relaxation islands where several party-goers can hang out on the water. Look for easy-to-deflate options that can easily be packed up at the end of the day.

If excitement on the waves is more your thing, pack a board and enjoy the surf. Boogie boards are an easy and compact option to paddle out and enjoy the tide. Or, look for an inflatable paddleboard that you can blow up right on the beach!

Things to Pack for a Beach Party with Family

items to pack for a day at the beach

Heading to the beach to celebrate with family is fun for all ages. Just make sure to pack ahead so you’re ready for a day of bonding and making memories. Here are all of the family-friendly beach party essentials to enjoy your time together:

  • Pop Up Sun Shelter
  • Utility Wagon
  • Beach Toys
  • Safety Equipment
  • Cooler of Food and Beverages
  • Extra Clothing
  • Walkie Talkies

Pack a Pop-Up Sun Shelter for an Instant Beach Party

A sun shelter can provide you with a central hub for your party, even when family members scatter about the beach. It’s an ideal place to set up tables, keep food, and take a break in the shade. If you have a large group you can put several tents side by side to create a larger space.

Look for a high-UPF canopy made of high-quality materials. Rustproof and sturdy poles are a must. When setting up, make sure you stake it carefully in the ground to avoid any issues with the wind. Look for options that fold compactly in an easy-to-store and carry case.

A Utility Wagon is a Must to Bring to the Beach

When bringing a family’s worth of stuff to the beach, it’s important to bring a way to transport it all from the car. Investing in a utility wagon is a smart move for many families. And it definitely comes in handy when throwing a beach party!

Look for a sturdy yet foldable design when shopping for a utility wagon. Heavy-duty, all-terrain tires are perfect for making your way through the sand. Wagons that have both pushing and pulling capabilities make setting up a beach party as a group a cinch!

Load Up Your Car with Beach Toys for the Party

packing list for a beach party

Little ones love the sand and surf. Giving them plenty to do will allow them to enjoy the beach to the fullest. Load up your car with these toys to keep them busy for hours on end!

  • Sandcastle building set
  • Beach ball
  • Velcro ball toss set
  • Shovels and rakes
  • Water frisbee
  • Water bouncing ball

Make sure to bring along a designated bin or bag to prevent toys from going missing. A laundry basket is perfect for this and then you can just rinse the sand from the toys at the beachside shower.

Water Safety Equipment is a Must for Your Beach Trip

must pack things for a beach party

Remember that the beach is fun but can also be very dangerous. Make sure to pack plenty of water safety equipment for everyone attending your party. This is especially important if you have small children or attendees that aren’t strong swimmers.

Pack a wide variety of life vests in different sizes. Make sure they are all in good condition and US Coast Guard approved. It’s also not a bad idea to have a life preserver ring on hand in case of an emergency. This is especially true if you are at a beach where there are no lifeguards present.

Pack Plenty of Food and Beverages for Your Family Beach Party

Having fun at the beach will definitely cause your crew to work up an appetite. Make sure you have plenty of snacks on hand to feed growling stomachs. Ideas that kids and adults both enjoy include:

  • Goldfish crackers
  • String cheese
  • Dried fruit
  • Trail mix
  • Finger sandwiches
  • Granola bars

Staying hydrated in the hot sun is also a must. Pack a cooler with plenty of water and sports drinks. There is also nothing better than a frozen slushie or smoothie on the beach. Make them ahead of time in freezable drink bags, freeze them, and they will stay cool the whole day. Some ideas for healthy ingredients to blend together and fill your bags with are:

  • Bananas, pineapple, and spinach
  • Raspberries and mango
  • Coconut milk, blueberries, and kale
  • Watermelon and mint
  • Strawberries and crushed ice

These frozen concoctions are the perfect way to keep cool while getting the healthy hit of nutrition needed for a long, fun day at the beach.

Bring Extra Clothing Along for Family Members

It’s always a good idea to bring extra clothing along for family members when heading to the beach. With little ones, spills and messes are bound to happen. However, family members of all ages can benefit from having a few extra articles of clothing around.

Bring complete outfits for kiddos that are prone to accidents and messes. Pack empty gallon or grocery bags to store dirty clothing after changing as well. The temps at the beach can drop suddenly so it’s a good idea to bring a light hoodie or jacket for every member of the family.

Pack Walkie Talkies for Family-Friendly Beach Fun

Sometimes it’s impossible to keep track of everyone at a beach party. Plus, walkie-talkies can be entertaining for little ones. Bring a set along for both fun and communication.

Older kids might be ready to venture off a little on their own but may not have cell phones yet. Give them a walkie-talkie so they can still have some independence while staying in touch with the whole group. Make sure they are all charged, pack extra batteries, and sync up all family member’s units to the same channel before you set off on your beach day fun.

Packing Up Everything You Need for Beach Party Fun!

beach party packing list

A little prep and packing can lead to a fun and exciting day. Think about your group and their preferences and be sure to bring along everything you need for a great time. Then, load up the car, head to the shore, and get ready for a beach party full of unforgettable fun!