Top 10 Things to Pack for a Beach Vacation

Are you wondering what to pack for a beach vacation?  We thought a fun “Top 10” list would be a great way to share our ideas of what we like to bring on a vacation to the beach.  We both came up with ideas so you really get a “Top 20” …  so, here it is in our best David Letterman voice and background music…

“Top 10 Things to Pack for a Beach Vacation”

*****Patricia’s List*****

As our trip to Galveston, Texas, is fast approaching, I am making a list of all I need to pack and take with us. If you asked my husband Donny, he will tell you I always pack too much when going on trips. But I am one who hates to run to the store and buy things I forgot and have at home. So, without any further ado, I share with you, my Top 10 Things to Pack for a Beach Vacation…

Image courtesy of artur84 at
Image courtesy of artur84 at

#10. Beach Towels. A beach towel is something I use a lot on the beach. I use them to sunbathe when working on that tan. Usually, this lasts only 10-20 minutes before I get bored or get hot and sweaty. Also, I use beach towels to cover my chair from getting too hot from direct sunlight and finally to dry off when getting out of the water either at the beach or the swimming pool.

#9. Sunscreen. This is important as I get older I want to protect my skin. I use 80 SPF or above. Remembering to apply it frequently while swimming in the Gulf of Mexico or the swimming pool is important and sometimes I easily forget. It is nice to have friends who will remind you that you are getting sunburned and to apply. (Thanks, Kathryn)!

#8. Floatation devices. I enjoy going in the water and riding the waves with an inflatable float. Usually, this provides comical episodes for my husband and friends as I try to stay on while riding the waves and dealing with the undercurrent that is always noticeable in Galveston.

#7. Fishing Pole and Tackle. Fishing is something I have always loved to do but don’t get to do often enough. I hope to be able to fish later in the evening with Kathryn, Roger and my husband Donny. Even if I don’t catch anything it is just a relaxing activity to do while on vacation.

Image courtesy of phanlop88 at
Image courtesy of phanlop88 at

#6. Drinking water. Yes, it is extremely important to stay hydrated while out on the beach in the sun, even when it is cloudy.

#5. Swimming shoes. Another must if you swim in the Gulf of Mexico. I have sensitive feet and don’t like stepping on anything. Wearing swim shoes makes it a lot easier to swim and walk. I have tried old tennis shoes and flip flops and all those were unsuccessful due to not being able to move freely once in the water.

#4. Waterproof camera. I enjoy taking pictures of the waves and recording memories of our time on the beach. I usually take 10-20 pictures during our beach time to save the memories. Wave action pictures are my favorite to try and get, but it takes a lot of practice and being very quick. Kathryn is an excellent photographer and takes awesome wave pictures.

Image courtesy of adamr at
Image courtesy of adamr at

#3. Reading material. A good book for that down time on the beach when you are under the canopy out of the sun and enjoying down time just sitting and reading on the beach.

#2. Sunglasses. The sun and the glare can hurt your eyes. Sunglasses are a necessity so make sure you take a pair and, as I do, keep them attached around your neck with a lanyard.

#1. Bathing Suit. I love getting in the water whether it is the Gulf of Mexico or the resort swimming pool. This is a way to cool off, get some exercise and make memories for your vacation. I left mine at home before and we were a distance from shopping so I tried to swim in shorts and a t-shirt, it was not a fun time for me. Make sure you pack your bathing suits and have fun.

*****Kathryn’s List*****

Packing for a vacation is so much easier with a list.  Get a piece of paper and start writing things down a few weeks in advance.  Put down everything that comes to your mind.  You don’t have to take everything – pare it down once you get ready to pack based on where you are going, what activities you will be doing, and how long you will be gone.  I came up with a few things that are great to have for a day, or a week, at the beach…

Image courtesy of winnond at
Image courtesy of winnond at

#10.  Hat.  Having a hat on the beach is a must.  Go find a big floppy hat to keep the sun off of your face, chest, and shoulders.  At least wear a ball cap or sun visor, anything really, to save your face from burning and future wrinkles.

#9.  Cover-Up.  It is always nice to have a cute swimsuit cover-up.  There are so many styles to choose from.  I have a terry cloth cover up that I love because it is easy to slip on and off and it is a wonderful bright green color.  I also got to embroider a cute butterfly on the pocket when we were visiting our aunt in Maine a few years ago.  I also have a large colorful tie-dyed scarf that makes a great wrap-around cover-up.

Image courtesy of khumthong at
Image courtesy of khumthong at

#8.  Ice Chest.  Nothing is worse than hot water!  Get a decent ice chest, ice, and pack a lot of water and any snacks (see #7) you want to keep cool.  Another good trick is to freeze some of the water bottles to help keep things cold.

#7.  Snacks.  If you plan to spend the whole day at the beach, you will definitely need snacks.  Grapes, strawberries, blueberries, pre-cut apples, baby carrots, granola bars, Goldfish, lunchmeat, cubed or sliced cheese – these are all easy snacks that don’t take up a lot of room and are easy to handle on the beach.  Put snacks in containers with an easy open lid to cut down on trash and waste.

Image courtesy of zemicon at
Image courtesy of zemicon at

#6.  Canopy/Umbrella.  These are lifesavers for an entire day at the beach.  Make sure there are not any restrictions on these items and make sure you have properly secured them in the sand to avoid any mishaps.  We have a large canopy and enjoy using it because it is easy to set up and several people can sit under it.

#5.  First Aid Kit.  It is always nice to be prepared for the unexpected.  Have some tummy relief tablets, rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, aloe vera gel or lotion, rash/allergy cream or spray, meat tenderizer (for jellyfish stings), gauze and bandaids.

#4.  Beach Bag.  Put your essentials (towels, water shoes, camera, etc…) in your beach bag so you don’t lose anything along the way.  Purchase one that is functional and fun – lots of pockets, a waterproof liner, bright, bold colors, or have it monogrammed.

Image courtesy of fantasista at
Image courtesy of fantasista at

#3.  Clothing for Other Activities.  If you are staying at the beach for more than a day, your activities may include more than just going the beach.  You don’t have to bring a lot, but versatile and matching pieces will go a long way.  T-shirts, shorts, pj’s, undergarments, bathing suits, casual sandals, and flip-flops are good for everyday use.  A nice sundress and embellished sandals make a great outfit for sightseeing or an evening in town at a restaurant.

#2.  Toiletries.  You don’t want to forget your basic essentials while on vacation.  Shampoo and conditioner, brush or comb, hair ties or clips, toothbrush and toothpaste, lotions, shaving gear, medication, contacts and glasses, lip balm, sunscreen, aloe vera gel or lotion, bug spray, nail clippers, and make-up.  Also, please remember to bring any regular daily medications that you may take.  That is something that may be hard to replace while on vacation.

Image courtesy of radnatt at
Image courtesy of radnatt at

#1.  Care-Free Attitude.  You are on vacation!  Enjoy every minute of it!  Get out and enjoy God’s creation.  Turn off your electronics.  Leave your worries behind.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.  If you forgot something, you will probably get by just fine without it.  If something doesn’t go as planned, be flexible and go with the flow.  Enjoy the time you have with your friends and family and have a wonderful vacation!

So, these are on our packing lists for our beach vacation.  What other items do you pack that we have not listed?  Share with us your top 10 items for a beach vacation in the comment section.


Patricia & Kathryn

Summer Vacation Planning

This is Patricia with a little background on our friendship with Kathryn and Roger. Donny and I met Kathryn and Roger through the ERKULD Volkswagen club that they run in their local hometown. We knew each other from attending meetings and local VW events. Several years ago we got together in Fredericksburg, Texas, where we were attending the Texas VW Classic car show. Donny and I rented a house and Kathryn, Roger and their son stopped by and we talked outside by the fire pit until 1:00 a.m. Realizing we had a lot in common, especially a love for travel, that kicked off our friendship. We became good friends with Kathryn and Roger and for the last 3 years, we have been taking vacations together.

Last winter we discussed going on a beach vacation. In January it was decided we wanted to go on a beach vacation during the summer of 2016. At first, we were looking at beach houses along the Florida and Alabama coast but, we decided on going to Galveston, Texas, and renting a house which was cheaper and better fit our budget.

I am the planner of our trips. It is what I enjoy doing. I usually use or to search for houses that are pet-friendly as we have an 11-year-old Black Lab named Stevie who goes with us on all our vacations. I usually find two or three houses that meet our criteria and show them to Kathryn and Roger for their approval. As soon as I can I will contact the owner or the manager of the property and inquire about the dates we want to stay. Then my next step is finding out the cost of the vacation along with deposits and payment terms. In all cases where I have used, I have had to put a deposit down and/or pay half the cost. With this rental in Galveston, we had to pay the remainder of the cost 30 days before our vacation date. With all rentals, I have found that you have to sign an agreement and this must be returned before the reservation is valid. I have found that keeping copies of all my documentation and emails, helps if there are any issues or questions that arise in the booking or reservation. Last week, I paid the balance owed and the management company sent documents on all the specifics of check-in, our stay at the rental and what time we have to check-out.

Beach Vacation 5_edited-1

This year we are going to be at the beach so we are not planning many activities. Plans are to cook all of our meals at the house. Kathryn and I will make a meal plan for each day so we can budget the food purchases and not overspend on vacation. Our husbands, Donny and Roger, plan on doing some fishing and lots of relaxing while we are at the beach.

Beach Vacation 4_edited-1

With the date fast approaching, Kathryn and I are planning on sharing several posts with our readers about our vacation.

Who does the vacation planning in your family? How far in advance to you plan your trips? Would love to hear everyone’s comments on vacations, weekend trips or day trips!