What to Pack for a Beach Vacation
What’s on your beach checklist? It’s a good idea to make one before taking off for a vacation at the beach. So let’s look at some must-haves for the beach.
A BEACH CANOPY FOR SHADE
There’s nothing wrong with a good old-fashioned beach umbrella. It can be a great option for couples or a solo trip to the beach. But if you’re looking for more shade, a beach canopy is the way to go.
Worried about carting around something bulky? Don’t. Today’s beach canopies are lightweight and portable. They have UV-resistant materials that protect against harmful rays. Plus corrosion-resistant metal that stands up against salt air. Which beach canopy is right for you?
- The Sun Ninja Pop-Up Beach Canopy is a solid choice. Made from expandable, water-resistant latex, the Sun Ninja has an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) of 50+ for blocking UV rays. It has a price tag of around $130.
- The Kelty Noah’s Tarp 12 is a great low-budget option. The simple structure fits into a roll-top carry bag, weighs about three pounds, and has a retail price of $74.95.
- If you seek a more luxurious beach experience, consider the Coolcabanas Beach Cabana Canopy. This eight-foot by eight-foot shelter tent looks like something you might expect to see on the sands before an upscale hotel.
Photo credit: Los Muertos Crew/Pexels
A SUSTAINABLE WATER BOTTLE
Waste from plastic bottles is a problem all over the planet. But it is especially bad at the beach; plastic debris injures and kills marine life—at least 267 species worldwide. Reusable water bottles can help prevent you from contributing to that global issue. What are some well-reviewed ones?
- The YETI Rambler 26-ounce bottle gets high marks for its easy-drink nozzle, chug cap, and no-sweat properties. It’s dishwasher safe and has an oversized handle for easy toting.
- A good option that costs under $20, the Nalgene Sustain Tritan Water Bottle is sustainably made with 50% recycled plastic.
- Going to the beach with a gang? Consider picking up a Klean Kanteen TKWide Water Bottle. It holds 32 ounces, has a leak-proof chug cap, and a rubber spout for smooth sipping.
BEACH SUNGLASSES FOR ADULTS
What makes sunglasses perfect for a beach vacation? Much of that depends on the wearer. But most people want polarized lenses to cut down on glare reflected from the ocean and protect their eyes from the sun. Durability with impact-resistant lenses is key—especially if you’re planning an active beach outing. Affordability, in case you have to replace your shades—taking a trip and coming home without your sunglasses happens. And, of course, style.
You’ll find all that and more with Knockarounds. Here are a few pairs that go well with beach getaways:
Mai Tais. If you suspect these sunglasses are perfect for sipping a tropical drink with your toes in the sand, you’re right. But just about any seaside activity goes well with these beach-ready shades. Relaxed yet sophisticated, Mai Tais embrace a summer vibe with a rounded silhouette.
- Capturing the aquamarine waters of an exotic seascape, Kawaii Mai Tais feel right at home amid a soft ocean breeze.
- Few sunglasses say fun under a tropical sun like Tropi-lectric Mai Tais; a glossy frame effortlessly blends hues of light blue, pink, and peach.
Pacific Palisades. Named for a popular spot on the California Coast, these shades bring a warm summer vibe to any vacation. Rounded rectangular lenses, topped by a retro brow bar, fit perfectly with beachside gatherings.
- Want a subtle vibe that complements an easygoing beach trip? The Coastal Dunes Pacific Palisades offer an earthy feel with amber-hued lenses, and green and sand-colored frames.
- Soul Surfer Pacific Palisades capture the vibe of wave-riding with sky blue coloring across glossy frames and polarized lenses.
What other styles work for days at the beach? Check out Fast Lanes, Songbirds, Mary Janes, and more. If you’ve got an idea of how you want to look on your beach vacation, we’ve got the shades to match!
BEACH SUNGLASSES FOR KIDS
Just as they do for adults, sunglasses for kids usually serve two purposes: to protect their eyes and look cool. We’ve got you covered with both! Our collection of kids’ polarized sunglasses have full UV400 protection and FDA-approved impact-resistant lenses. With styles that kids love! Styles that epitomize summer fun at the beach. Here are a few that your kids will want to sport in the sand:
- Got a child who wants to wear a chill summer vibe? Dockside Premiums offer that and more! Navy blue fronts capture the essence of deep ocean water. Warm striping on the arms evokes the natural tones of sand with these beach-ready shades.
- Looking for something a little more lively? Let your little one celebrate color with Pinata Party Premiums! Polarized yellow mirrored lenses meet a front design with multi-colored confetti. Rainbow striping brings the festive spirit to both sides.
- If your kid prefers a slightly more grown-up style, a chic pair of Black on Black Premiums could be the perfect companion for a beach vacation.
Photo credit: Rasulov - stock.adobe.com
WATER SHOES FOR SWIMMING
While flip-flops are great for the beach, especially for walks across hot sand, they’re not ideal for the water. They can easily fall off and don’t protect the entire foot (especially the toes). Instead, consider a sturdy pair of water shoes for your next beach outing.
- KEEN, a renowned maker of shoes for outdoor adventures, has top-rated water shoes. Their Newport H2 Closed Toe Water Sandal is formidable footwear. They're tough enough to take on hiking trails, yet comfortable for easygoing ocean dips.
- VIFUUR Water Sports Shoes are a great low-cost option. Thin yet durable, these water shoes are more like socks. They're about as close as you can get to not wearing shoes while protecting your feet. Best part? You can often find them online for $10 or less.
ADVENTURE TOWELS FOR THE BEACH
Why don’t we call them beach towels? Because they’re so much more! Sure, your adventure could be a day at the beach. Sand-resistant Knockaround adventure towels are perfect for joining a seaside getaway. When the day’s over, a few good shakes of this microfiber towel and it’s ready to pack up and go. It folds easily into its own side pocket.
But it’s also one of the best camping towels you’ll find—quick drying with an attached hang loop to dangle just about anywhere in the wilds.
Design is also why these lightweight towels are great for hitting the beach.
- The Bermuda Blues towel puts island style on full display with a lively pattern in bold blue and white.
- Looking for a big pop of beachy color? The vibrant Pink Zigs towel is perfect for summer fun in the sand!
Browse our collection to see which adventure towel you’d like to pack for your next beach vacation.
Photo credit: Pexels/Pixabay
A GOOD SUN HAT
While sunglasses are an amazing way to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays, a hat can help shield the rest of your face. So what are the best beach hats? U.S. News and World Report answers that question with information from dozens of review sites, online retailers, and travel experts. Here are a few of the top picks:
- The Brixton Joanna Hat was named the Best Beach Hat for Women. Equally casual and elegant, this wide-brimmed straw hat has a quintessential summer feel.
- Decidedly less formal, the Lanzom Women’s Big Bowknot Floppy Foldable Sun Hat was crowned the Best Floppy Beach Hat of 2023. Made of breathable soft straw, the hat has a foldable, packable design that makes it perfect for stuffing into a beach bag.
- The Outdoor Research Kids Rambler Sombrero Hat was named the Best Kids Beach Hat. Recommended for kids four to seven years old, this wide-brimmed foam-stuffed hat floats, so no worries about wearing it in the ocean!
Photo Credit: Kampus Production/Pexels
A SAND PROOF BEACH BLANKET
When you want more space to spread out on the sand, there’s nothing like a good beach blanket. But you don’t want to just bring any old blanket. Good beach blankets are big enough to fit friends, easy to clean, and provide a solid picnic surface. Travel + Leisure has some top picks:
- Their Best Overall beach blanket is the oversized UrbanEco Outdoors Lightweight Beach Blanket. It’s waterproof, sandproof, and has sand pockets to ensure it won’t blow away in a gust of wind. Weighing less than one pound, the blanket tucks into a compact carrying case.
- Travel + Leisure’s pick for Best Style is the Eighth Generation Ribbons Wool Blanket. Produced by a company owned by the Snoqualmie Tribe, this blanket features designs from Native artisans. Two designs. The double-sided blanket has engaging visuals on each side, making it like two blankets in one!
- The Scuddles Picnic Blanket is the Best Budget pick. The triple-layer blanket has a waterproof bottom layer, a foam cushion middle layer, and a soft woven fabric top layer. And it travels well, rolling up into an attached carrying handle. You can find one online for about $25.
What would you add to your ultimate beach packing list? Once you know what to bring on a beach vacation, the rest should be as easy as a cool ocean breeze.
Written for Knockaround by William McCleary.