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  • Writer's pictureKwincy Smith

Family vacation packing list for your next beach vacation!

Packing for a beach vacation can feel like it's never-ending! My family recently went to Maui and had a blast! We spent every day at the beach for at least a portion of it. I often joke to my husband about how we can no longer just throw things in a bag and go anymore. Packing for me is a PROCESS!

And packing for a beach vacation is even more of a process. Going on a trip takes a lot more work when you have kids. Here is your family vacation packing list for your next family beach vacation to help ensure a smooth trip!



Water Shoes

These are so important for both the kids and the adults. Water shoes are helpful to protect your feet from the burning sand as well as keeps you from slipping on the rocks! These children's water shoes have been repurchased for the last 3 years!


Depending on where you go there might be some restrictions on the type of sunscreen you take. To stay safe I buy sun bum because it is reef safe.

I also make sure to get the face sunscreen that comes in a stick format. I love it because it makes putting sunscreen on little faces so much easier. It comes in adult, kids, and baby sunscreen.

Bug spray

Some people are lucky and some people are thanksgiving for mosquitos! As for me and my boys, we are a feast. Packing bug spray as well as ointment can make your trip a lot more comfortable.

Beach mat

On a beach vacation, you are not likely to bring chairs because of the amount of space it can take up. Bringing a beach mat will allow you to have a place to sit as well as put your bags. It is also helpful if you have crawlers or infants to give them a place to relax and rest.

Beach bag

I use a large bag like this to throw all of our beach stuff in. It has plenty of pockets and space while also allowing the sand to come out. Make sure to add some large zip-lock bags for wet clothes and water shoes!

Sand toys

When packing for Hawaii I wasn’t sure if I was being a crazy person by packing some sand toys. But I am glad I did. I packed one bucket, two shovels, and 2 molds. I chose from toys we already have even though it took up a little bit of space in the suitcase, I didn’t mind especially since we were allowed 8 suitcases. The kids had a blast with the toys and used them every single day. If I would have bought them in Hawaii I would have ended up leaving them in the condo because I would not have had space.

Water cases

Wherever your beach vacation is, you are going to want to take some photos while in the water. Make sure to bring a water case to be able to capture those memories.


This was a new purchase for Hawaii. I heard a lot of other people say to go early in the day or later in the day to the beach to avoid the sun. I didn’t think that was going to be reasonable for our family. I decided to buy this shade. It is lightweight and folds up very small making it easy to put in your suitcase. It took a little getting used to, but by the second time using it, we got it down. Very thankful to have it! It provided a lot of necessary shade on very hot days.

Outfits for kids

Now that the kids are no longer infants I pack 2 extra outfits for each kid. When they were infants I would pack one extra outfit for every two days because you know... Blowouts.

For my daughter, I pack all dresses and rompers. It will save a lot of time not trying to put together outfits.

Don't forget to bring a change of clothes for after the beach incase you want to make a few stops after the beach or just want to be comfy for the ride home.

Bathing suits

I take one bathing suit for every two days for the kids. My go to are long sleeves to reduce sunburns.

Baby carrier

A baby carrier will make walking around a lot easier when the terrain is a little too rough for a stroller.

Umbrella stroller

I am a die-hard fan of my wonderfold wagon! But for our flight to Hawaii, we decided to leave it behind. I was scared of it getting beat up in the airplane. Since we knew we were going to be mostly at the beach and not walking around too much we decided to bring an umbrella stroller. I would recommend an affordable umbrella stroller like this. If anything happens to it you won’t be devastated!

Sun hats and Sunglasses:

The perfect hat to keep the sun out of their little faces. I found these sunglasses and we loved them! They are flexible so the kids can’t break them easily. They also have a strap so they won't get lost and are also polarized!


My favorite sandals for my kids are Birkenstocks. They are so durable and are able to match with many outfits. They are great for beach vacations because they are able to get wet. My son had wide WIDE feet and these are actually the only sandals that will fit him.


If headed to a tropical location make sure to bring an umbrella. In both Cancun and Hawaii, we had lots of sun and lots of rain and it was completely unpredictable.

Small cooler

Bring a small soft shell cooler! It will save you time of trying to find a good option at your destination and will also reduce waste by not buying a foam cooler.

Snorkel gear

Save money by bringing your own snorkel gear! That way you can reuse your gear every day of your vacation. You can also ensure it is good quality and comfortable to wear.

What is your must-have item on your family vacation packing list? Comment below!


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