What to pack for a day at the beach holiday cottages

Coastal Holidays

What to pack for a day at the beach

Emily 22 July 2020

For many, a day at the beach comes high on the list of summer days out! Sunbathers can get lost in a good book, adrenaline-seekers can hit the waves, youngsters can splash in the sea and adults and children alike can play ball games, build sandcastles and enjoy quality time together. Not only that but in the UK and Europe, we are fortunate enough to have many magnificent beaches with long stretches of glorious sands that are simply perfect for a traditional day at the beach.

We have compiled a list of what to pack for a day at the beach, but we have also included a few things you might not think to take with you. Make sure you are fully prepared for your next beach day with our handy beach day packing list! 


Beach essentials

  • Water – One of the most important things to take to the beach to keep everyone hydrated and to reduce the chances of getting sunstroke. Why not invest in a reusable water bottle that will keep water cold and fresh for up to 24 hours?


  • Towels – Packing for the whole family? To avoid arguments and confusion, take different colours or designs. We also recommend investing in a light-weight towel that is quick-drying and doesn’t collect the sand.


  • Beach Bag – Get yourself a spacious, waterproof beach bag that will hold lots of small items. You don't want to be carrying an arm-full, particularly if you have a long walk from the car. 


  • Sun Cream – Even on an overcast day, you could still get burnt as beaches tend to be very exposed to the elements. Pack a sun cream that is both waterproof and a sensible factor for your skin. 


  • Food - Keep your energy levels up and your blood sugar levels sustained, a whole day on the beach and in the sun is a lot of fun but can be tiring too. It's always a good idea to take your own snacks because not all beaches are well-equipped with amenities.


  • Cool bag/cool box – An essential to bring to the beach for a day - it will keep snacks, sandwiches and drinks cold and fresh! 


  • A bag for your rubbish – Gather up all your rubbish to take away with you. Many beaches now offer recycling bins but if there aren’t any around, take it home to dispose of properly.


  • Cash – Although most places will now accept card, Apple Pay etc. you don’t want to be the one to break it to your children that they can’t have that ice cream they’ve been bugging you for all day.


  • Antibacterial hand gel – Although the sea might be fine for washing sandy hands, a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel will ensure that everyone is ready for handling food.


  • Talcum Powder - It may sound like a strange thing to pack for a day at the beach, but talcum powder is game-changer for removing sand. It dries the moisture out of your hands, and the sand just brushes away.


  • First aid kit – You know never know when accidents might happen so come equipped with a basic first aid kit containing things like plasters and antiseptic cream.


  • Wipes – To clean up any spillages or sandy hands.


Clothes & Personal items

  • Swimsuit cover-up – Something lightweight and easy to throw over your bikini is useful for when you nip to fetch ice creams or stock up on water. 


  • Water shoes – Ideal for protecting your feet when swimming where the seabed is rocky or for taking part in extreme water sports and activities. 


  • Sun hat - A must for young children in particular! Not only will it help to keep you cool, but it will protect the delicate skin on your scalp from burning. For the style-conscious, opt for a glamorous straw hat with a wide brim. 


  • Sunglasses – A stylish summer staple for many already, protect your eyes from UV rays and avoid squinting (which can lead to a headache) by packing a pair of UV protection sunglasses.


  • Swimwear – Even if you’re not much of a swimmer, appropriate swimwear will help you soak up the sun, keep you cool and will be far more practical for paddling in the sea and playing on the sand.


  • A bag for wet swimwear and towels – Take a fold-up bag so that you can separate any wet items at the end of the day.


  • Warm clothes – If you’re having an amazing day on the beach, you may find you’re still around when the sun goes down. Bring a jumper or pashmina to cover your shoulders or wrap up sleepy children as the day winds down. 


  • Spare outfit – You never know when you might need a spare change of clothes – especially when little ones are concerned. 


  • Flip flops – No one wants to be cleaning off the sand and tackling socks to go and buy the ice creams, and if you’ve ever stepped on the sand in bare feet in the middle of the day, you’ll know it can get seriously hot! 


  • Hairbrush & scrunchies – An essential to keep long locks under control after a day of salty water and stray grains of sand. 


For fun

  • Buckets & Spades – Always a winner with children and a special activity to share with babies who might be experiencing their first beach visit. Adults may even like to ramp things up and hold a sand building competition!


  • Fishing net – If you’re heading to a beach with rock pools, take some small nets with you – kids will love spotting creatures in the water.


  • Games – Keep everyone entertained with a variety of beach entertainment that they can join in with. Bring a frisbee, bat and ball, volleyball or football or set up a game of cricket or rounders.


  • Paddling pool - Little ones love splashing around on a day at the beach, and a paddling pool is a great alternative to supervising them by the sea – you can also shade them with an umbrella when the sun gets too hot.


  • Books/Magazines - There's nothing more relaxing than being able to while away the hours with your nose in a good book or your favourite magazine.


  • Goggles/snorkel – Lots of beaches offer incredible clear blue water, so why not see what delights lie beneath the waves?


  • Inflatables – Rubber rings and lilos are a great source of fun in the water for all ages.


  • Armbands and floats – For the less experienced swimmers in your group.



For comfort

  • Umbrella / Shade tent -   A great way to shield yourselves from the sun’s rays. Even if you’re a keen tanner, give yourself a break from direct sunlight – especially in the middle of the day. Little ones will need to sit out of the sun, and some may even take a nap.


  • Beach mat – Take a few bamboo beach mats for your group to use so that you don’t have to sunbathe on a damp, sandy towel!


  • Beach chair – For older members of your party who don’t want to sit on the floor or don't like the sand.


  • Blankets – These will add extra protection from the sand, and you can wrap up in them if you find yourself on the beach in the evening too.


  • Sandwich bags – Handy for numerous things. From protecting your smartphone from sand and seawater to keeping jewellery and valuables safe while you swim.


  • Windbreak & mallet – Even on the hottest summer days, a strong breeze will often blow across the beach. Put up a windbreak to shelter your camp for the day – don’t forget something heavy to hammer it into the sand.



  • Waterproof phone case – You can now buy waterproof pouches for your phone, that offers full use of your touchscreen – perfect for keen Instagrammers seeking the perfect shot.


  • Underwater camera – Go that step further and purchase a waterproof camera that you can actually take underwater and capture all kinds of cool photos and videos.


  • Float straps for devices – A safety measure! Attach to any devices that you do take into the sea to prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the deep blue if you drop them.


  • Waterproof speaker – Whether relaxing in the sun, planning an evening beach BBQ or want some tunes while you’re paddleboarding, many waterproof speakers offer high-quality sound and decent battery life.


  • Portable charger – Phone dependent? Always be prepared for when your devices run out of juice and take a portable battery charger with you.


  • Waterproof dry bag – This is useful for anyone who is heading off on an extreme adventure during their day at the beach – find one that is 100% waterproof and will protect your personal items.


Has this helped you plan what to bring to the beach? We hope you will find our beach day packing list useful for your next day at the seaside. If you're yet to book your holiday by the sea, take a look at our collection of large coastal houses in the UK and Europe! 

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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