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What to Bring to the Beach

When the sun comes out, and it does almost year round in Southern California, you know it’s time to hit the beach! We’ve created the perfect beach checklist of essentials, food ideas, fun things to bring, and extras for that perfect beach experience.

What To Bring To The Beach

Beach Checklist

Beach Essentials

Packing for the beach is actually incredibly simple and very little is needed. This list is almost too much so run from any “essential” list that has more!

  • Sunscreen/Lip balm
  • Polarized sunglasses
  • Beach towel/blanket
  • Beach chair
  • Flip flops/sandals/water shoes
  • Lunch and/or snacks
  • Water

A beach bag to throw your items in is definitely recommended.

Food to Bring to the Beach

  • Fruit or veggies or both
  • Cheese sticks, slices, or blocks
  • Dips, sauces, or salsas
  • Yogurt
  • Cured meats
  • Crackers, Goldfish, chips, or popcorn
  • Cookies, brownies
  • Beef jerky
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Rice cakes or celery sticks & peanut butter
  • Bell pepper, carrots, or pita chips & hummus
  • Candy, treats, donuts
  • Raisins, nuts, or pretzels
  • Squeeze pops
  • Sandwiches (pb & j, ham and cheese, BLT, deli, or fast food)
  • Leftovers
  • Water, electrolyte drinks, juice boxes, lemonade, adult drinks
  • Ice packs

Fun Things to Bring to the Beach

  • Sand toys
  • Boogie/Body board
  • Surfboard
  • Skim board
  • Fins
  • Snorkel gear
  • Volleyball, football, or soccer ball
  • Whiffle ball & bat
  • Kan Jam
  • Spike Ball
  • Paddle ball
  • Tennis ball
  • Frisbee
  • Kite

Beach Extras

  • Portable speaker/music
  • Book, magazine, E-reader, or audio book
  • Reading or prescription sunglasses
  • Power bank
  • Air pods, earphones
  • Waterproof camera, phone case, Go Pro, etc.
  • Insulated tumbler
  • Bags for trash
  • Folding snack table
  • Tote/Cooler/Insulated bag
  • Collapsible utility wagon/Wheeler
  • Tent or E-Z Up
  • Umbrella sand anchor
  • Waterproof bag or sand free mesh tote bag
  • Beach blanket
  • Beach umbrella/sun shade
  • Extra clothes
  • Sun hat/Beach hat
  • Beach coverup, sarong
  • Brush, claw clip, etc.
  • Rash guards/Sun protective clothing
  • Water shoes
  • Bug repellant
  • Sanitizer wipes
  • Aloe vera
  • First aid kit, epi pen, medications
  • Feminine products
  • A friend for each kid (seriously)

What Not to Bring to the Beach

  • Alcohol: We put this here because alcohol is not allowed on any Orange County beach. Many people push the limits here so do so at your own risk
  • Rafts, large floaties, etc.: These are dangerous because of the waves and winds that can cause them to drift out to sea
  • Glass containers
  • An aggressive dog/pet
  • Chocolate. Sun + chocolate, not good
  • Valuables, keep them safe and leave at home

Beach Hacks & Tips for the Perfect Beach Day

  • Stay stay close to a lifeguard
  • Don’t swim alone
  • Wear sun protection
  • Reapply sunscreen
  • Bring shade
  • Stay hydrated
  • Go early, get parking, claim your spot
  • Leave early and beat the traffic
  • Avoid the crowds and skip the main beach
  • Check out a bayside beach for a calmer experience
  • Overpacking can be overwhelming to carry
  • Freeze drinks ahead of time
  • Check the tides so you know where to setup
  • Sit next to people similar to your group e.g. toddlers, adults, teens
  • Bury your cooler in the sand
  • Pack lunches individually
  • Bring a spray bottle with fresh water
  • Leave a small handheld broom in the car to keep sand out
  • Use lemon juice to lighten your hair
  • Stash your valuables in an empty sunscreen bottle or similar
  • Don’t dive into the ocean head first
Orange County Beaches: Dana Point
Orange County Beaches: Huntington Beach
Orange County Beaches: Laguna Beach
Orange County Beaches: Newport Beach
Orange County Beaches - San Clemente
OC Beaches: Seal Beach

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Monique McArthur is a mother of two, writer, and creator of delicious recipes. In her spare time she enjoys exploring all that Orange County has to offer, traveling, shopping, running with her dogs and spending time with family.