How to Pack for A Beach Vacation + Packing List
THE COUNTDOWN IS ON! Dustin and I will be on a plane before we know it, flying across the country and back to my beloved New England to spend a week at our grandparent’s beach cottage and I. cannot. wait. It’s been a really crazy summer for us, in mostly good ways, but also in a few stressful ways. This trip is exactly what we need to remove ourselves from our lives for a little bit and reset for fall. But, of course, before we get there, I have to pack for a beach vacation first. *Sigh* Packing is not my favorite thing.
Ever since my junior year of high school, we’ve spent a full week at my grandparent’s beach cottage, a few miles away from the Hampton boardwalk in New Hampshire. We were staying at the cottage the day I was officially proclaimed in remission, in August of 2008. I was at the cottage the day Dustin flew out for his two-year mission for our church, wondering how we were going to make it through those two years apart. It felt fitting to spend a portion of our honeymoon at that same beach cottage, 2.5 years later. Regardless, the beach cottage is a super special place for me and I’m so excited we could make it work to go home for beach week this year (BIG shout out to my sister and brother-in-law for taking the doggos while we are gone.)
Packing for the beach cottage was always easy when I was living in New England because we’d literally just pack 5 bathing suits and a sweatshirt. We only live 45 minutes from the cottage, so if we forgot anything super important, we could always drive back inland to get it. However, since we’re flying across the country for this trip and have plans to do some traveling into Boston, I know I have to pack more than a suit before I can call it a day. But! I don’t want to pack TOO much, ya know? I used to be the queen of overpacking, but I hate doing laundry after returning from a trip, so I’m going to do my best to pack everything I need and not everything I think I need.
So, in an attempt to keep myself under control (and to hopefully help those of you who are packing for similar vacations) I wanted to list out everything I’m packing on HTC. That way, we can all have a reference when it comes to packing justttt enough for a trip like this!
Beach Trip Packing List – Clothing:
Let’s be honest. I live in my bathing suits when at the beach. Like, from the time I wake up until it’s time to go to dinner, I am in my suit. So, I am not going to go overboard with the clothing for this trip or list. I’m being realistic – this is all I’ll truly need.
- Easy Swing Dress – Literally. Nothing. Easier. then a swing dress. ESPECIALLY in summer, at the beach. I got a really cute striped one for 9 bucks at Walmart (they are really stepping it up with their Time and Tru line, folks. Worth checking out.)
- 1 Pair of Denim Shorts – Bringing my favorite pair from Old Navy (although they are a little bit big because I’ve lost a little bit of weight.) They are so comfortable, the perfect length, and easy to slide on and off over bathing suits. Plus, they are affordable.
- 1 Tee – It’s just nice to have a tee to throw on in the late afternoons when you want to go get Beach Pizza but you don’t want to change out of your swimsuit. Probs going to rock my TwentyOne Pilots tee because I am PUMPED for their new album to drop in October.
- 2 Tops – I won’t be able to wear my bathing suit to the arcade or on the boardwalk, so I’ll need to pack a couple nicer tops to throw on. I’ve got a stripped flutter sleeve top from Time & Tru and a peplum from my favorite Utah boutique, My Sister’s Closet.
- Sweatshirt – I’m bringing my favorite cowl neck sweatshirt from Mindy Mae’s Market. Seriously, this is one of the softest, coziest sweatshirts I own. I actually went back and ordered a second one in a different color during one of their sales because it is that amazing. It always gets cool in the evenings with the sea breeze, so I will definitely wear this every night.
- Maxi Dress – Easy to put on for dinners out on the pier, but still fancy enough to look like I made an effort. I have a beautiful floral wrap dress from My Sister’s Closet that I’m bringing because it’s made out of that material that will NOT wrinkle, even if it’s thrown into a suitcase for a cross-country flight.
- 3 Swim Suits – All my suits are from Lime Ricki and I have #noregrets. I LOVE their suits because they come in really fun patterns and they are supportive enough for girls like me. Plus, they have the most amazing mission: to create swimsuits for EVERY BODY. As someone who isn’t always confident in her body and it’s scars, I really appreciate having suits that help me feel good!
- Bathing Suit Coverup – I got the cutest athletic drawstring dress from my ThredUp GoodyBox (Full unboxing and review HERE) and it’s the perfect swimsuit coverup.
Beach Trip Packing List – Shoes:
- Flip Flops – Just to keep my feet protected from the hot sand when walking down to the ocean.
- SAS Shoes – For the rest of our adventuring, I’m packing my SAS Shoes in the Marina style. I’ve talked about it before and I’ll talk about it again – I’ve learned the hard way that wearing flip flops for longer then a quick walk down to the beach is #badnewsbears for my knee. I need sandals with arch support and that stay snug to my feet or else I’m in a world of pain after walking for a while. These sandals by SAS shoes hit both of these requirements. They have a shock-absorbing sole, which is 100% what I need for my knee. They also have an adjustable buckle SAS EZ Strap around the ankle to provide a customized fit, so they will stay nice and snug on my feet. And, I’m sorry, but how CUTE are they? The color and chevron pattern just are the icing on the cake because they are vibrant and perfect for all the outfits I’ll wear while on the beach.
Beach Trip Packing List – Beauty:
I love makeup (not a secret) but when you’re living on the beach for a week, makeup is the last thing I really worry about. I pack just enough to be able to put on a quick, natural face for dinner if we decide to go out, but that’s about it. Everything else is dedicated to skincare because the combo of salt water and sand can do mean things to someone’s face!
- ItCosmetics ByeBye Foundation – Light but full coverage and so much moisture for the skin. This stuff is. everything. for the summer. I love the original CC cream but it did tend to get greasy on me in the summer, so this version is everything for those hotter months.
- Tarte Shape Tape Concealer – I’ll be honest, I’ll probably only put foundation on once during beach week and just rock this concealer every other time I need to look somewhat put together. It’s so full coverage, it doesn’t crease, it looks so good on the skin…etc. All the beauty bloggers are raving about it, but that’s because it is that good.
- TooFaced Sweet Tea Bronzer – This is my favorite bronzer for the summer. It gives such a beautiful glow to the skin and really gives you that “sunkissed” look. 10/10 would recommend.
- Becca x Jaclyn Hill Champagne Pop Face Palette – Even though this palette isn’t available for purchase, you can still get your hands on Champagne Pop. Since that’s the highlighter I’d bring anyway, I decided to pack the palette instead of the highlight and a separate blush. I’m ALL about that summer glow and Champagne Pop is the perfect highlight for it.
- L’Oreal Lash Paradise Mascara – This made it in my 10 All-Time Best Drugstore Beauty Products post and for good reason. It’s the best mascara at the drugstore right now and it’s all I will wear on my eyes when we are going out and about. No need to eyeshadow or liner when at the beach!
- Maybelline Brow Tattoo Pencil – This. THIS! This is a new purchase and I’m obsessed. I love the applicator – it looks like three small applicators in one, so when you apply it, it looks like brush strokes. It looks SUPER natural and it’s also super bulletproof. It doesn’t budge. So, you know, important when living in the ocean all week.
- NYX Cosmetics Butter Gloss – I’m only going to worry about gloss this week because I don’t want to worry about lipstick getting everywhere while living my best beach life. I love the NYX Butter Gloss because it’s got a beautiful color payoff and it wears beautifully throughout the day (as in, the color fades beautifully.) It’s also not a super sticky gloss, so 10 points to Gryffindor for that. I’m going to be bringing the Strawberry Shortcake shade so I can have a little color on the lips.
- Neutrogena Makeup Wipes – Easy makeup removal and easy to travel with.
- BabeLash Lash Serum – If your lashes need a little love, this is the serum for you. It 100% works and has really helped my lashes recover from my super heavy extensions. I apply it every night and I don’t want to skip a whole week of using it, so it’s coming with me.
- First Aid Beauty Cleanser – I switched to this cleanser when I ran out of my BeBe and Bella and so far, I love it. It does a really great job of breaking down any excess makeup or dirt on my skin, but it doesn’t strip my skin.
- Elemis Marine Night Cream – Sent to me in PR and pricey, but will probably repurchase it because it’s that good (even though it’s PRICEY.) I know that my skin is going to be a little raw after being at the beach with all the salt and sand, so I’m going to be traveling with the big guns for this.
- Toothbrush & Toothpaste – I always forget this. Always. And have to buy a toothbrush wherever we go. BUT NOT THIS TIME.
- Shampoo & Conditioner – I am trying out the Caviar Volume Line right now and got some travel sizes to bring with me. Will report back.
- Detangler – A MUST for the beach. My least favorite part about the beach is brushing my hair out after being in the Ocean all day. I did get my extensions taken out before this trip, so my hair is pretty short, but I know that it’s still going to throw a hissy fit. I really love the Kristen Ess detangler – it’s lightweight, but it does a great job.
- Bathpack Brush – I will say this until the day I die: HANDS DOWN better than the WetBrush.
- Kristen Ess Air Dry Cream – Another Kristen Ess favorite because it’s lightweight but does an amazing job. It’s perfect to throw in my hair to help it embrace it’s natural (or beachy) texture without having to use any heat tools to style.
Beach Trip Packing List – Accessories:
- Towel – Technically I don’t need to bring a towel because the cottage has like 50 towels, but I’m adding this in case YOU need a towel!
- Hat – Can you even take an Instagram photo if you don’t have a big, floppy hat to wear?
- Qalo Ring – Okay, this is important. I am absolutely TERRIFIED of losing my wedding ring in the ocean. The diamond in my wedding ring is from my great-grandmother and my wedding band is my grandmother’s, so they are very, very precious to me. Dustin and I bought Qalo silicone rings to wear on vacation so that we don’t have to worry about losing them.
- Necklace & Earrings – I’m only packing one necklace and one pair of earrings because I’m going to be on the beach 90% of the time. However, I know I’ll want a little sparkle for when we go out to dinner!
- Straw Crossbody Bag – I loveeee this one that I got at Target. It’s small, so it won’t feel heavy or in the way, and it’s easy to sling across my body for afternoons walking the boardwalk.
- Thred Wallet – Because my crossbody is so small, I don’t have the room (nor desire) to carry my giant wallet around with me. I need room for sunglasses and keys and that sort of thing. So, I ordered a small Thred Wallet so I can carry just the essential cards and ID and not worry about anything else!
- Sunglasses – I always swing by Burlington Coat Factory before Beach Week to grab a couple pair of Sunglasses. They carry designer brands of sunglasses for 10-15 bucks, so I won’t feel bad when I inevitably lose them at the beach.
- Hair scarf – I fully intend to rock the beach hair all week, but am bringing my Simple & Blush hair scarf (use code HEYTHERE10 for 10% off –not an affiliate code, just a save-you-money code-) to use as a headband so I can keep my hair out of my face when we are out on the boardwalk or at dinner. It’s the perfect hair accessory to make that crazy beachy hair look polished and put-together.
Beach Trip Packing List – Misc:
- iPad & charger – Dustin and I love to watch QueerEye when flying, so obviously we need the iPad and charger to keep us entertained. Anyone else love QueerEye like we do?
- vloggingcCamera & charger – I want to do some more video content, so I bought a cute little vlogging camera to take with us on all our trips. Can’t wait to show you our little piece of paradise!
- Books – I have been listening to a lot of audiobooks lately, but nothing beats the feeling of having real pages in between your hands while sitting in the sand. Crazy Rich Asians was recommended to me, so I ordered it and it should be here before we leave!
- Headphones – Gotta have my podcasts for my early morning walks on the beach!
- Phone Charger – #doitforthegram yo.
- Sunscreen – Self-explanatory, I think.
- Water Bottle – I like bringing an insulated water bottle with me when I’m traveling so I can refill it and have cold water all the time – even when it’s super hot out on the beach. I really like this one from Amazon, but will be bringing this one with me on the trip because it has a cap on top. It’s so much easier to have one of these instead of buying plastic water bottles all the time.
- Aloe – cause you know Dustin is going to refuse to put sunscreen on and then get burned.
WHEW! That took me a little bit to list out, but I’m really glad I did because now I’ll be able to pack with confidence the night before, instead of running around like a chicken with my head cut off (typical.)
Let me know if you are going on any beach trips before the summer ends!
Thank you SAS Shoes for the complimentary shoes