How To Pack Light for a Week-Long Family Beach Vacation

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Are you going on a vacation to the beach with your family soon and want to simplify your packing? You can pack light for a week-long vacation by taking the essential items.

However exciting the thought of bonding with your family while laying out in the sand under the glistening sun is, packing may feel stressful. 

And carrying heavy bags from the airport to the train station to your beach house can only add to this stress. But you can ease the tension by taking no more than you need and leaving the rest behind.

Of course, packing light is easier said than done and requires careful planning. And you may need specific items depending on where you’re going, who is coming with you, and other particular considerations.

Using our ultimate beach packing list, here’s how to pack light for a week-long family beach vacation.

Why You May Want to Pack Light

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Family vacations are more enjoyable when transportation is easier, and transportation is easier when you have fewer things!

It can be fun to bring plenty of options for outfits, shoes, and gear for your trip, but you’ll pay the price in the long run by having to lug too many things around.

Here are more specific reasons why you and your family may want to pack light for your next beach trip.

  • You can reserve energy by not having to carry around heavy luggage.
  • You can save time getting on and off your plane, train, or other forms of transportation.
  • You will save money if you don’t have to pay an additional cost to check-in bags if you only use a carry-on.
  • You can leave space in your bags for gear, wet clothes, bathing suits, or souvenirs during your trip.

Whatever your reason for wanting to pack light, know that it is possible to do so without sacrificing the items you need for an enjoyable trip.

How To Pack Light for a Week-Long Family Beach Vacation

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There are certain beach vacation checklist items you’ll need to include, no matter where you’re going. 

These items are essential for any week-long beach vacation – unless you know that your accommodation will provide them – and you’ll want to pack them first to ensure you won’t forget them.

The essential items for week-long beach destinations include:

  • Sunscreen with 30+ UV protection
  • Sunglasses
  • Swimsuit
  • Beach towels
  • Flip flops
  • Driver’s license or ID card
  • Light clothing (tank tops, t-shirts, shorts, etc.)
  • Bug spray

This short family beach packing list is the perfect starting point to prepare for a beach trip.

And when it comes to clothing, a good rule is 2-3 swimsuits, 2-3 lightweight tops, 2-3 lightweight bottoms, seven pairs of underwear unless you know you’ll have easy access to laundry, and 1-2 formal outfits for nice dinners,

Other more specific items might be necessary depending on your particular circumstances, location, activities, and personal preference that will require additional items.

Non-Essential Beach Items

Depending on your destination and trip preferences, you may want to bring the following items, some for convenience and others for entertainment and outdoor activities. 

  • Rash guards for surfing or boogie boarding
  • Swim goggles
  • Beach chairs – especially if you’re driving to the beach
  • Beach bag
  • Beach blanket
  • Water-resistant bags or dry bags
  • A book
  • Waterproof camera
  • A sun hat and additional sun protection
  • Swimsuit cover
  • Water bottle
  • Water shoes
  • Beach tents
  • Light jackets 

International Beach Vacation

If your beach vacation destination is international, there are other crucial items you do not want to forget on your beach packing list, including:

  • Tickets
  • Passports
  • Visas
  • Neck pillow for a long plane ride
  • Power adapter if necessary for your location
  • Emergency contacts
  • International license if required in your planned destination

Packing for a Baby or Toddler

When you’re packing for a baby or toddler, don’t forget to include:

  • Diapers and swim diapers
  • Baby wipes
  • Baby powder
  • Baby food and formula
  • Blankets
  • Beach toys
  • Sunscreen made for babies
  • Stroller

Packing for a Pet

If you’re bringing along a pet, you’ll want to make sure to include:

  • Food and water bowls
  • Leash and collar
  • Pet bed
  • Sand toys
  • Poop bags
  • Food and treats
  • Vet records
  • ID tag with your contact information


Your personal items are important, especially if you have space. However, many of these items you can easily purchase at your destination. And many hotels and resorts may provide toiletries for you.

Still, if you are going somewhere more remote and less touristy, it’s best to bring these items.

  • Body wash 
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Shaving cream
  • Aloe vera if you tend to get burnt skin
  • Lip balm if you tend to get burnt or dry lips


The following safety items are important to have on any trip. These might be essential if you’re traveling with young children, have health conditions, or are visiting a foreign country.

  • Safe travel bag with lock
  • First aid kit 
  • Life jacket
  • Inhaler
  • Contact lenses
  • Emergency Contact Information
  • Medicines and Prescriptions
  • Extra Cash and Change
  • Medicines and Prescriptions

We know that’s quite a long list, but you only need to add the things you need to your beach vacation checklist. We recommend crossing off items as you pack them to keep track.

Packing Tips for Week-Long Beach Vacations

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Below are several helpful family travel tips for beach packing that will be useful to the whole family before your next beach vacation.

  1. Check to see what your hotel room or beach house includes. For example, do they include beach gear, a boogie board, dryer sheets, a beach towel, etc.? Knowing this means you won’t have to worry about bringing those things. 
  1. Select versatile, neutral-toned clothing items you can wear multiple ways instead of one new outfit for each day.
  1. Instead of using multiple bags, take advantage of any open space in one bag by filling it with small items such as socks and underwear.
  1. Use packing cubes to help organize your belongings. Packing cubes make getting in and out of your belongings easier when you have a smaller bag or suitcase.
  1. Pack efficiently by tightly rolling your clothes instead of folding them. The rolling technique helps save space and prevent wrinkles.
  1. Instead of trying to fit all your belongings into one carry-on bag, you can bring a small purse for your hand-help items. 

Final Thoughts

The perfect vacation can be rough if you have to carry too many bags along with you. 

That’s why minimalist packing is essential for a stress-free and enjoyable beach vacation. With our beach vacation packing list and tips, you can be sure to enjoy your time in the sun on your next family vacation without worrying about what to bring or leave behind.

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