Hi Everyone! Last week our family was in paradise at Fort Walton Beach, FL! We had the best time, but my how it feels good to be home! I’ll be putting out a post on places we ate and things we did while on vacation later this week! We were super close to Destin, FL and a lot of what we did was there. I know Destin is a very popular vacation spot and we have stayed there before so it was nice to see some familiar places!
As we were traveling home I thought it might be helpful to do a list of “What to bring & What not to bring.”
While a lot of the items we took were very useful there were a few that we didn’t end up needing! So let’s get started with…
What to Bring:
*All of these items were things we have or popular items I saw on the beach!!
** We had our kids wear life jackets while in the ocean. It was split between how many kids were and weren’t. I think you need to do what you’re comfortable with! None of ours can swim yet so it was a must!
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Beach Towels // We don’t have this style of beach towel, but they definitely had me curious! My Sister-In-Law had some and tons of people on the beach! They’re supposed to wick the sand away and dry fast! They’re super light and easy to fold up in any beach bag! I found some with great reviews and they will be a future purchase for our family!
Cordless Speaker // This appeared to be the most popular speaker brand. I spotted them everywhere. While they’re a bit on the pricier end they do come in several sizes. Even the local Ice Cream truck on the beach was carrying this speaker. Again, another item added to the list for next time! The great thing about a portable speaker is it’s not just a beach item!
Phone Protector // These were hands down one of our MOST used items. Yes, you can use a Ziploc… but these come with a neck strap which was so handy while the kids were catching waves and for night time crab hunting. Keep in mind you’re not going to get the best pictures if you take them while your phones in the protector. I would suggest taking it out for photos!
Shell Finder/Sand Dipper // We didn’t have one of these, but again another item we saw so many people with! We had nets which were great for crab hunting, but not for shell finding! This allows the sand to go right through the holes. Here is a photo of what it looks like. I’m not sure how much they typically run so it might be something you’ll want to hold off on until you get to your destination! I saw them at a surf shop and believe the prices online are increased a lot!
Head Lamp // Instead of worrying about dropping your flash light or phone in the water grab one of these head lamps! They were super handy! We used them at night while we were crab hunting!
Beach Bag // This beach bag can fit 6 full size beach towels and has a total of 8 pockets for easy access to your sunnies, sunscreen, snacks and more! It has holes in it so the sand can easily be shaken out! This would also make a great bag for your beach toys. You can hose the toys off while in the bag. This beach bag was seen a lot on the beach. It is pricey, but cute!
Wagon // I can’t tell you how many people we saw with wagons! If you go to the beach annually or more, it might be worth it to get one especially for the beach. Otherwise, I’d go cheaper and get one that you can use for other activities! We saw a variety! It’s the perfect way to carry out all of your beach necessities!
Sandals // This style of shoe was perfect for the beach! These were easy to rinse of when coming off the beach and convenient to slip on! Here are 3 options at different price points! I have the Arizona Birkenstock, but I’ve heard great things about the Target and Amazon options!
Snorkel + Goggles // On days when the water is calm the snorkelers were out! Our daughter enjoyed using her set at the pool as well! I’m also sharing our favorite google brand. They’re often sold out, but I love the mesh strap – especially for girls!
Body Board// If you don’t have one of these they’re a blast! We used one from our last beach vacation two years ago. While on vacation our twins loved being pulled around so much we got two more! So if you’re catching the waves or using it on the beach to keep the sand out of… places you don’t want it to be! A Body Board is a must! I’m sure you can find them cheaper at some of the surf shops!
Kite // There were lots of kites being flown on the beach! This will be an item to pack for next time!!
Beach Chair // Want to dip your toes in the sand while the waves crash in! Get yourself the real deal and sit low to the ground in a beach chair! We bought a beach chair umbrella set a few summers ago from Sams that we used this go around. If you’re a member to Sams or Costco check there because sometimes they have better deals!
Sunscreen // Of course you need sunscreen! For all of our families favorites check out this post!
Koozie // Who wants to be on the beach with their favorite drink on hand and have it lukewarm!? These @burmate koozies are great! They also make a duo option that has one for skinny cans and regular ones. If you’re looking to add a bit of flair then check out these from @swig!
Umbrella // Whether you have beach service (chairs and an umbrella set up) or not – having a beach umbrella is super handy if you want to move closer to the waves with some shade! Our condo offered beach service, but sometimes we wanted the kids to be able to play closer to the water so I’m glad we had our own umbrella!
Beach Mat // If you’re planning on catching some rays and want an extra layer between your towel and the sand check this out! We used this on the beach to watch the fireworks. It’s compact and so easy to pull out and stake down! It fits 4-7 adults. This would also be great for picnics! I’m going to store ours in our car so we always have it for whatever adventure life brings us!
Water Bottles // These were nice to have for our kids. We used them on the trip as well as on the beach. Any water bottle will do, but these worked well at keeping the kiddos drinks cold! Yeti also makes a great kids water bottle, they’re a bit pricier!
Skip Fin Ball // Many people had these! They were used in the ocean on calmer days and I saw them at the pool! A fun thing for the whole family to participate in!
Beach Toys // If you’ve got kids then you need beach toys! This set was affordable and had everything we needed to dig a hole and make a sand castle! The net bag the toys come in was also super handy! You can easily rinse all of the sand off of the toys.
Hat // The extra protection of wearing a hat in the sun can do wonders for your skin and eyes! I brought three that are all different styles! The one I ended up wearing the most was my ball cap! I also brought two straw hats. One had a larger brim than the other. They both worked very well at helping keep off those UV rays. It just depends on what style you’re looking for! Don’t forget about hats for the kids!! We’ve had these for a couple of years now and they’ve held up great and had many washes!
Sunglasses + Floating Holder // Having sunglasses on the beach is a MUST! This @amazon pair is constantly on sale. These glasses are flattering on everyone! I now have two pairs! My husband ended up wearing them because he lost his in the ocean and now he wants a pair. We had the floating glasses holders, but he failed to wear them so “you snooze you lose!” I would recommend snagging a set if you’re going to be spending time catching the waves!
Cover Up // If you’re not up for walking on the beach in your suit than a beach cover up is a great option! I switched it up between cover ups and a long sleeved button up! I have a rash guard, but forgot to bring it. They’re nice to have on hand in case you’re worried about too much sun!
Other Items to Bring:
-Sweatshirt or zip up for morning or evening walks on the beach
-3 swimming suits was a perfect amount for a weeks stay! We had a washer and dryer.
-Sheets or tablecloths to cover the furniture so the kids don’t get it dirty!
-Toys and books. These got a lot of use in the evenings or when we took breaks!
What Not to Bring:
-Folding picnic table – we thought the kids would eat at this on the patio/ it was either too windy or we chose to eat inside or on the beach.
-Too many clothes, including jeans! We stayed for a week and had a washer and dryer. I could’ve gotten away with 4 good outfits and a couple casual/ comfortable ones! I do wish I brought a pair of sweatpants because I did get chilly in our condo of an evening!
-Folding Chairs – we bought our twins and ourselves some new folding chairs that never made it out of the condo! We used our “beach chairs” and the twins hardly sat! You might use them if you don’t have beach service!
We only ended up eating out a handful of times because most of our day was spent on the beach! Here are the meals that we cooked. Some of the items we had on hand and I packed them in a clothes basket for the trip (12 hours). A Rubbermaid would work well too. We grabbed the rest of the food items from a Walmart pick up we scheduled ahead of our vacation. This was soooo handy! We did have to go to a local grocery store to grab a couple items we couldn’t get at the pick -up. One being deli meat.
Here are some kitchen items we brought along with some of the meals we cooked.
Cinnamon Rolls, Sausage and eggs
Uncrustables – these were super handy!!
Lunchables – another handy item
Salmai and Cheese
Fruit, yogurt, carrots and hummus
Individually packaged snacks – if you have little’s these are handy because the sand doesn’t get in the whole chip bag!
Gatorade, Propel, Water
Ice – we ended up getting several bags of ice! Don’t forget not to overfill the fridge when you arrive! We put almost all of our beverages in our own coolers and iced them down!
Skillet – we were so glad we brought a large skillet! We used this for almost every meal! We had a full kitchen in our condo, but there wasn’t anything this size!
** The beach we stayed on had an ice cream truck that came by daily! I never had cash on me, but they did take Venmo and Cash. This might be something to keep in mind!
If you have an upcoming beach vacation what are your Must have items!? Please share in the comments below!