11 Things You Can’t Forget When Going To The Beach

(I may earn a small commission on the products mentioned in this post.)

Every time I go to the beach I go through a mental checklist in my head for all the things I need.

Do I have my keys? Check.

Do I have sunscreen? Check.

Yet time after time I forget something as I walk out of the door or as I exit my vehicle and begin walking on the sand.

It’s okay, people can be forgetful! However, there’s a price to pay for not remembering an essential item. The price may be a sunburn, it may be thirst and dehydration, or it may be not being able to swim because you forgot your swimsuit.

In this article I’ve listed 11 items that you can’t forget when going to the beach. Without these items, you’ll pay the price. Obviously, some items are more important than others but I hope this helps you as you plan your trip!

11 Things Not To Forget When Going To The Beach Things not to forget when going to the beach

  1. Sunscreen

Number 1 on my list is sunscreen. If you’re headed to the beach it’s likely a nice day. You’re planning to soak up the sun and enjoy the fresh air.

If you forget sunscreen your beach trip might be cut short. This has happened to me before and I had to limit my stay at the beach to a half hour (not good if you’re traveling from a distance).

You might think that sitting under an umbrella will save you but don’t be so sure.

Related: Best Sunscreen For Kids and The Environment

Ultraviolet rays from the sun do penetrate shaded fabrics (not much but still). More concerning should be the reflection of UV rays off the ocean and the sand that can penetrate your skin indirectly and still leave you sunburned.

  1. A Towel

Unless you plan on walking the beach, you’ll need a place to lay down. If you plan on swimming you’ll also want a towel to dry off with.

Beach towels are multifunctional (I ranked the best towels for the beach). They dry us off and protect us from the sand.

Sure you can air dry after a swim in the ocean, but you’ll still want a towel to wipe the sand off your body before getting in the car (no one wants to take sand home with them).

  1. Your Keys

If you’ve ever locked your keys in the car you know how important this item is. Car keys are an item we’d prefer to leave in the car but it’s better to play it safe and take them with you.

Still, some people will choose to put them under the bumper, other people have a code they can use to open their door (this are both alternatives).

Most people will need to take their car keys with them. Don’t forget that they’re in your pocket when you jump in the water!

  1. Your Swimsuit

Yep, this has happened to me before. I go through my mental checklist and my hands are full of items, however, I’ve forgotten to change clothes.

Minutes later I’m at the beach and realize that I’m still wearing my shorts and underwear.

If this happens you can visit a beach shop to buy an expensive pair of swim trunks or you can hang out on the beach and avoid the water.   Don’t forget your bathing suit!

  1. A Hat

Don't forget these things when going to the beahHats are an underestimated beach item, however, most people will have a hat at the beach. If not, apply a few extra layers of sunscreen to your face and neck.

Beach hats do a great job of protecting the face, ears, and neck – these areas of the body get more than enough sun as it is and it’s important to keep them well-protected. Some beach hats can be worn in the water too.

Check out the material to determine the thickness and UV protection of the hat – many use a quick-drying material which I prefer.

  1. Sandals

No one wears shoes to the beach. If you do wear shoes be prepared to find sand in them months after your visit.

A simple pair of sandals will protect the soles of your feet from the hot sand and as an added bonus, they can be stylish. Beach style usually has the minimalist look (clothes included) so there’s no excuse not to take sandals.

People who frequent the each often keep an extra pair in the trunk of their car.

  1. Cash

One thing you won’t want to take to the beach is your wallet. A wallet is bulky and is loaded with important personal information.

Here are a few reasons not to take your wallet:

  • If you plan on swimming you won’t want to leave important items unaccompanied on the beach.
  • Sand can get into the wallet and ruin pictures and cards.
  • Unfortunately, thieves often walk tourist beaches looking for things like wallets and keys.

If you’ll need money, take a small amount of cash from your wallet that can be used for food and drinks. Losing 20 bucks isn’t as bad as losing your wallet!

  1. Snacks

Depending on how long you’ll be at the beach you may want snacks. Snacks are not as important as drinks, however, it’s always good to have something to munch on between sleeping and swimming.

It’s better to take snacks that won’t melt. Dried fruit, nuts, and chips are good options. Anything with chocolate (including trail mix) tends to work out badly.

Chocolate will melt, causing your chocolate bar to become a messy, liquid meal (read more about the best snacks for the beach).

  1. Hydration

Hydration is much more important than snacks. At the beach, you’ll be sweating in the hot sun. You’ll likely be exercising too (swimming or playing on the shore).

Freezing a water bottle works well because it will slowly melt throughout the day. Sodas and other sugary drinks will quench your thirst but they won’t do a great job of rehydrating your body.

Many beaches have drinking fountains near the bathrooms and showers these can be used as well.

  1. A Book

Whether you’re headed to the beach on your own or with the family, it’s wise to take some reading material. Don’t take your Kindle or other electronics as they sand can damage them.

A paperback book holds up well at the beach and it’s sand resistant!

If you forget a book it won’t ruin your beach trip, however, it’s always nice to have something to entertain you if you get tired of swimming, sleeping, and people watching.

  1. Friends

Lastly, don’t forget to bring your friends. Friends and family will make your beach visit more memorable and they can help remind you what items to bring.

Sometimes the best friend you can take to the beach is your dog – so don’t forget him/her either!


You’re headed to the beach and you know you’re forgetting something.

Do I have my swimsuit? Check

Do I have water? Check

It’s always a good idea to ask someone, but don’t be afraid to refer to this article!

People can be forgetful and it’s okay to forget some items (like food or a book). But make sure you don’t forget sunscreen, your keys, your towel, or water. Without these essential items, you’re likely to have a short stay at the beach.

Thanks for reading another Beach Life article. Be sure to share this with your friends and family!