pack the perfect beach bag

The Ultimate Family Beach Packing List for Your Gulf Shores Vacation

What do you look forward to the most when you’re planning a vacation to a beach destination? From picturesque white sand to thrilling watersports to family-friendly activities, Gulf Shores has it all! Before you can hit the sand, you’ll need to gear up and pack the perfect beach bag. As locals, we have the best travel tips so you can be sure you’ll have the best day at the beach ever. Check out our family beach packing list below! 

Aside from planning the best beach trip packing list, you’ll also want to plan some special activities! Let our team do the searching for you, so you can focus on what matters most: making unforgettable memories with your loved ones. You can experience sunset cruises, sailing charters, parasailing, and more! 

Family Beach Packing List: Find the Best One for You 

What do you need to pack for the beach? Depending on your family dynamics, your needs will differ. Read on to find the perfect family beach vacation packing list for your group! 

Must-Haves for Any Family Beach Packing List 

No matter how young or old your children are, there are some items we call can agree on that are necessary for any beach day. 


  • Bathing suits 
  • Beach towels 
  • Flip-flops
  • First-aid kit 
  • Water bottles 
  • Beach chairs 
  • Sun hat 
  • Cooler  
  • Umbrella  
  • Snacks  
  • Sunglasses 
  • Sunscreen 
  • Books/magazines  
  • Cash 
  • Waterproof bag to keep your phone dry and sand-free 
  • Cover-ups  
  • Insect repellant 
  • Essential medications 
  • Lip balm with SPF 

Families With Babies 

Is this your first beach getaway with your new baby? That’s so exciting! Don’t forget these items below, and your day is sure to be fantastic. Don’t forget to take lots of pictures! 


  • Swim diapers 
  • Change of clothes 
  • Bottles/formula 
  • Wipes 
  • Pacifier  
  • Blanket 
  • Beach toys 
  • Beach wagon 
  • Beach tent 
  • White noise machine 
  • Ziplock bags 
  • Fan  

Families With Kids 

Are you vacationing with kids that are old enough to swim, run, and play? This will be a magical time that you’ll never forget. Bring these items along with you to ensure that they have a safe and fun-filled day. 

kids at beach

  • Water shoes 
  • Boogie board 
  • Floaties 
  • Swim goggles 
  • Sandcastle toys 
  • Inflatables  

Families With Teenagers 

If you’re hitting the beach with teens, they might want to be in charge of their own beach bags. However, here are some recommendations in case you want to be extra prepared! 


  • Headphones 
  • Waterproof Bluetooth speaker 
  • Hairbrush/comb 
  • Hair detangler 
  • Feminine products 
  • Makeup wipes 
  • Portable phone charger 
  • Deck of cards 
  • Beach games 

Find Your Family’s Dream Vacation Home 

Fort Morgan rental villas

For over three decades, Harris Vacation Rentals has been helping families make unforgettable memories on amazing beach vacations. We offer top-notch vacation rentals throughout Gulf ShoresOrange Beach, and Fort Morgan. Each of our properties ranges in size and shape, so finding the ideal home for your group is easy. Whether you’re looking for a property with a private pool, covered deck, hot tub, game room, or picturesque beach views, we’ve got you covered. Plus, you’ll always be close to the best things to do in the area, such as waterparksnature trailskid-friendly restaurants, and more. 

How to Pack the Perfect Beach Bag

So that’s it, it’s the night before your big beach trip, and you still haven’t packed! The clock is ticking, and you don’t know where to start. Well, lucky for you, we know everything you’ll need to pack the perfect beach bag for everyone in your group. So no need to worry, because if you follow this guide, you’ll know exactly what to bring to the beach for a day spent soaking up the hot sun!


To Spend an Ideal Day Lounging on the Shoreline You’ll Need to Pack the Perfect Beach Bag

Bring All the Beach Essentials  

First, you’ll need to find the perfect bag. Make sure that your bag is spacious and has plenty of compartments for your smaller items. This way your bag will stay organized, and you’ll have easy access to all your things. We also recommend using a tote bag that is water-resistant, so that none of your stuff gets wet. Now that you’ve got the basics, it’s time to tackle your beach day packing list!

Beach Packing List:

  • Beach towels
  • Flips flops
  • A bit of cash
  • Sunscreen 
  • Hair scrunchies
  • Sunglasses

Of course, that’s not all! For some added fun, be sure to throw in a good book, a frisbee, and speakers to play some tunes. 

Pro tip: If you’re traveling with a large group, encourage everyone to load any toys, chairs, umbrellas, and any larger items onto a beach cart.

Ask the Kids to Help You Pack the Perfect Beach Bag

If the kids are joining you, ask them for some help! By doing this, the kids will have everything they want, and you’ll be less likely to forget anything. First, help them make a beach bag checklist, then encourage them to gather their items and mark each one off the list. Once you have everything, you’re ready to pack beach bags for the kiddos. As a reward for helping in the packing process, have the kids change into their bathing suits before heading out for your beach adventure!

While you pack, double-check the packing list to make sure you have everything you need. You’ll need to include plenty of sun protection! Although the hot sun is perfect for bathing, you need to be careful when staying in its rays for extended periods. Make sure you have lots of sunscreen, hats for everyone to wear, and perhaps a beach umbrella to provide some shade. 

Don’t Forget to Pack a Few Things for Fido 

A day at the beach is even more perfect when Fido can join you! Some beach essentials for your furry friend will include a ball for fetch, and a few water bottles so your pet can stay hydrated throughout the day. Don’t forget to throw in a few treats and visit any of the dog-friendly beaches in the area! 

Book Your Gulf Shores Getaway With Harris Vacation Rentals

When you stay in a Harris Vacation Home, all your beach days will be a breeze. Our oceanfront homes are steps away from the most serene beaches on the Alabama Gulf Coast. So if you happen to forget something, it won’t be far! Our vacation rentals are some of the best in Gulf Shores, and offer spacious rooms with remarkable accommodations. So whether you’re spending time at the beach with friends or looking for a new way to entertain your family, you will never go wrong with a Harris Vacation Rental. So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and book your stay now

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