There is nothing worse than getting to the beach, towel all laid out, sitting on said towel while applying sunscreen, when BAM! You realize you forgot your water and you are dying of thirst. Or you forgot your earphones and you can’t stand the music the people next to you are playing. Or you are getting a horrible headache and you have to go home because you forgot your Motrin. Suddenly, your idyllic beach day is cut short before it has even begun.

We’ve all been there.

I pride myself on being a Professional Beach Goer. (Now, if only I could get someone to pay me for this job, I’d really have life figured out.) I have learned my lessons through trials and tribulations over the years on my many beach day outings. I’ve found that a big part of executing the perfect beach day is all in the preparation. For every trade, there are necessary tools required to be successful. For the Professional Beach Goer, there is the Ultimate Beach Bag.

And thus, I present you with The Ultimate Beach Bag Packing List. It is my hope that it will help you, too, to win every beach day you embark on from here going forward. May your beach day never be cut short by something as silly as a forgotten can of OFF!

1. Start with a solid beach bag

A good sized, tough bag, preferably one with pockets is best. Beach bags with pockets are much like dresses with pockets… priceless!

2. Beach towels – two per person

While this may sound excessive, this one is all about comfort. One towel is for laying on and one is for drying off with. Unless you like laying on wet sandy towels, I think you’ll come to agree with me on the two towel rule.

3. Mask and snorkel

Or at the very least, a pair of swim goggles. Looking for things underwater is what makes swimming at the beach fun, am I right?

4. De-fog

A travel size bottle of Johnson’s Baby Shampoo does a great job as a fog deterrent for your mask/goggles so you can see clearly underwater.

5. Finder’s Keep

Are you as addicted to collecting beach treasures as I am? If so, a mesh bag to stow your shells and sea glass is an awesome convenience.

6. Sunblock of choice

A few different kinds of sunblock are good to have on hand, either in spray or lotion form (or both) ranging from SPF 4 oil to SPF 70, as well as sunblock for the face and the lips. I’ll be honest, sometimes I like to tan and sometimes I like to be safe. It’s nice to have options.

7. Insect Repellant

Because nothing can ruin beach fun like no-see-ums and mosquitoes.

8. Baby powder. (Yes – baby power. Trust me.)

No, I don’t wear diapers but this stuff works great to rub on sandy bodies before getting into the car. It helps the sand to slide right off you – and stay out of your vehicle. Try it!

9. Hat of choice

For obvious reasons like keeping the sun out of your eyes and face… or to corral your wild beach hair after swimming.

10. Sunglasses

Because, obviously.

11. Hair ties

It never hurts to have extra ties handy. Personally, I want to see coral and fish when I snorkel, not my hair in my face.

12. Water-resistant phone pouch

Apparently getting sand and water on your phone ruins it.

13. Travel phone charger

These wireless battery packs can be a real life saver if you need your phone to work all day. Or not. It depends on how badly you want to get away from it all.

14. Waterproof bluetooth speaker

If you want to take your beach day fun to the next level. Please, just be respectful of your neighbors, volume-wise. And also – please don’t judge the way I dance.

15. Earphones

Because sometimes the music the people next to you are listening to can really be a vibe-ruiner.

16. Reading material

A trashy romance read or a gossipy magazine always does the trick.

17. Beach spiker

Quite possibly one of the best inventions to hit the beach. These magical cups keep you from drinking grit and amount to far less spilled wine.

18. Water bottle(s)

Preferably, choose a brand that keeps things cool for hours. If you must go old school with plastic bottles, freezing them first can extend their chill factor. What you put in your bottles is your business, but I really do suggest water.

19. First aid kit

Make sure yours includes band-aids, gauze, tape, Motrin, Benedryl, Neosporin, and vinegar. The vinegar works well for jellyfish stings or if someone accidentally steps on a sea urchin. It’s better than asking your friend to pee on you.

20. Snacks

Because sitting there with all that space and time makes you hungry.

21. Brush / Comb + Leave-in Conditioner

If you have thick, long hair like mine, it’s nice to brush it after being in the water in order to not look like Medusa. The leave-in conditioner helps wrangle the toughest of sea-formed knots.

22. Trash Bags

Because I care about our beaches and oceans, so I pick up the trash I see. I think you should too. Everyone now say, awwwwwww. Bonus: trash bags are also great for packing up extra sandy stuff at the end of the day to keep the car sand explosion to a minimum.

23. Hard-sided Container / Tupperware

For delicate findings like sand dollars or urchins, containers help protect them on their journey home. I learned the hard way that they don’t last on way home when you put them in your pocket.

24. Water shoes or SCUBA boots

If your beaches are like mine with pokey things like rocks and shells beneath the sand, it’s nice to wade in soft shoes. Just be careful that you’re not actually stepping on coral –  protect our reefs by keeping off of them!

25. Wet Bikini Bag and Change of Clothes

When you’re done in the water, you can avoid the dreaded Island Swamp Ass by changing out of your wet bottoms. A wet bikini bag is a great way to keep them from soaking the contents of the rest of your beach bag.

–   –   –

Did I miss anything that you deem essential?

What is always in your beach bag?

Written By:

Current Rock of Residence:

An island in the Caribbean

Island Girl Since:

Forever. Actually lived in the Caribbean since 2016

Originally Hails From:

Colorado, US

Ahhh… the Caribbean. Where one can enjoy the sunshine, drink the rum, relax by the sea, and completely forget about responsibilities for a while. It’s an everyday (or most everyday) bliss that feels like a constant vacation where adulting is overrated and playing like a kid is embraced. And with the many different hues of the blue water grouped with warm sandy beaches, green lush hillsides, and the friendly hospitable people, one can’t go wrong moving here. Enter Quinn… a girl from land-locked Colorado who has dreamt of living in the Caribbean since she went SCUBA diving in Roatan, Honduras back in high school. Twenty-some years later, she made her dream come true and lives here in all her crazy glory…. and is loving every minute of it.

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