How to Pack the Perfect Beach Bag

The following is a guest post from regular contributor, Kalyn at Creative Savings.

How to Pack the Perfect Beach Bag at

One of my absolute favorite things about living in Florida is being 20 minutes away from the nearest beach. Well, I guess that’s not entirely true…..when the snowbirds are here, it can sometimes take up to an hour to go!

But while I love spending a day in the sun and sand, I don’t necessarily love all the stuff we have to cart with us. From beach chairs, umbrellas, and towels, to body boards, and all sorts of beach toys, it can turn into a bunch of clutter that you may or may not always need to bring.

However, a beach bag is a completely different story. This stylish accessory is absolutely essential to carry along, and can make or break your entire trip.With the right tools in your tote, you will be prepped and organized to make your day it’s very best, and the following tips on how to pack the perfect beach bag will help you know exactly what to pack!

How to Pack the Perfect Beach Bag

Choose the Right Tote

Beach bags come in all shapes, sized, colors, and materials, and you should purchase one based on the characteristics that are important to you. I like to quickly run through this list of questions depending on which beach I’ll be relaxing at:

  • Will I need multiple compartments to organize supplies?
  • Will it get really wet, and should I use a water resistant material?
  • Do I just want to be stylish today and coordinate with our swimsuits and towels?

Whatever beach bag you decide to use, just make sure you don’t mind sand in every crevice!

Stash a Mini Pouch

After you’ve chosen your tote, make sure you pack a mini pouch too. I used to waste time searching for my chapstick or phone because it inevitably would drift the very bottom of the beach bag and I always had to dig for it.

Now I keep a small pouch to carry both, as well as a variety of tools I think I’ll need, such as hand sanitizer and wet wipes, sunglasses, hairbrush, bobby pins, and a credit card. Another idea is to stash some bandaids and antibacterial ointment in there as well, just in case you have an incident with a sharp rock or broken shell.


Use Plastic Bags

In addition to the mini pouch, I like to use plastic bags to work double duty and protect my electronics. This not only keeps them from getting wet, but also eliminates potential scratches created by sand and shells.

Snack bags are also really handy for children who want to collect and save their shells {just make sure to rinse them thoroughly when you get home so they don’t smell!}, and I always try to include a few plastic grocery bags to hold wet clothing, swimsuits, and towels to keep them from soaking other items.

Pack Extra Towels

I used to only pack one towel per person when we went to the beach, but then I realized I liked having extra towels on hand so I didn’t have to mix the ones we laid out on with the ones we used to dry off. It’s not fun laying on a wet towel!

Now I pack a few extra, and roll them tightly to save space. I like to stand them inside the bag so I can quickly grab one to set out once we arrive at our perfect spot.


Bring a Beach Read

What is a beach bag without a good book? There’s no better moment than being lost in a book while the waves are crashing in the background. It’s super relaxing and enough to put me to sleep sometimes!

It might not seem like it matters, but I try to be really selective about which book I bring. It shouldn’t be super intensive because there are bound to be interruptions. Instead, make it a fun read as a special treat, and keep it in a plastic bag if you’re afraid about the pages getting wet.

I like to take my basic Kindle because the cover protects the inside and the screen is easy to read in the bright sun.

Don’t Forget the Sunscreen

Sunscreen is the most essential item you can have in your bag. Even if you tan more than burn, you still need protection from the harsh rays of the sun.

Choose an SPF that you feel most comfortable with, and apply it right after you get to the beach, and again after you’ve been in the water for a little bit. I’ve found that even water resistant sunscreens still come off and can leave fair skin vulnerable to burns.


Plan for Drinks and Snacks

If you want to bring drinks and snacks along, either wrap the water bottles or cold soda cans in the towels to catch condensation, or pack an entirely separate tote bag or cooler.

Have a plan to dispose of everything when you’re finished, as no one likes a beach filled with trash. Pull out a plastic bag from your stash to collect all garbage, then tie tightly and drop off in a garbage bin before you leave.

Now that you know exactly what sort of beach bag to choose, how to pack it, and what to include, you’re ready to spend your perfect day at the beach! Leave a comment and let me know if you plan to visit the beach this summer, and what essentials you like to take with you!

What do you include in your beach bag?

Kalyn Brooke is a full-time writer and blogger at, where she gives a fresh perspective on frugal living, and the kick-in-the-pants you need to create a budget from scratch. She lives in beautiful Southwest Florida with her news-photographer husband and the most adorable bunny you’ve ever seen. She loves making to-do lists, reading good books, eating chocolate peanut butter ice cream, and pursuing big dreams….all carefully planned out, of course.

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Filed under: Containerizing, Guest Bloggers, Travel/Auto Organization


12 Responses to How to Pack the Perfect Beach Bag

  1. 1
    KellyJMF says

    Great tips! One note on sunscreen–it’s better to put in on before you go. It’s most effective if it’s had 30 minutes to sink in. and you’re less likely to get sand stuck to it. When my daughter was small, I’d actually do it before she got her suit on so you don’t have to worry about missing a spot if the suit moves.

  2. 2
    Tanya says

    Great tips, thank you! We vacation in VA Beach every summer with extended family, and it is so much fun! Our kids always look forward to it. One tip I’d like to add – pack baby powder! It is awesome for sprinkling on wet, sandy little bodies and feet. I read this tip in Parents magazine (I think!) about 20 years ago, and I’ve been bringing it to the beach ever since! The sand comes right off!

  3. 3
    Hannah @ eat, drink, and save money says

    I just stumbled on this blog and was so happy to see this post! I’ve been planning to write a similar post since summer is upon us. I must link back to this post when I do it because these are awesome tips! I like to use those free drawstring backpacks that organizations give out as an alternative to plastic bags. They are the perfect sized wet bags!

  4. 4
    Michelle R says

    I also include bottles of bubbles and a frisbee to use as the bubble dish; along with a plastic strawberry basket to keep my 2 year old occupied under the umbrella and in the shade!! Great ideas thanks for sharing as I live in FL too and know the sentiment with the snowbirds too!!

  5. 5
    Laila says

    Please check out my beach bags they have a thermal procket for your drink as well as waterproof compartment and it all zips out so you can really get rid of the sand.

  6. 6
    Seher | Simply in Control says

    Useful post! I was wondering where you got the beach tote from? It’s really pretty! 🙂

  7. 7
    Keri Jones says

    Great tips. I recently posted a beach bag I made as well. Thinking about Moms carrying the important stuff, from car to beach while holding little hands and carrying chairs. The beach bag is longish with a wide strap, to stay close to the body while hands free.
    Thanks for the blog.
    [email protected]

  8. 8
    Lodema says

    Sounds like you take a lot of towels – and those get heavy!! One product I would recommend is called a Neat Sheet. It is extremely lightweight, waterproof, and washable. The sand shakes off effortlessly. I also have the kids sit on it in the car so their seats stay clean and dry.

  9. 9
    Gigi says

    When going to the beach with my daughter and grandsons we always have to tote sand toys along. A mesh bag works great for them as the sand falls out as we walk back to the car. Love the blog great ideas!


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