What I Packed for my Beach Vacation to the Jersey Shore

If you take regular beach vacations, I’m sure there’s nothing new I can tell you, but I had some requests for my beach packing list again this year, and I aim to please so here we are!!! This post also pretty much covers what I wore this week.

Here at the Jersey shore, the weather can be quite variable, so I have to pack for a variety of possible conditions. Last year it was overcast and chilly for much of our trip, and I regretted not bringing a pair of jeans so I learned my lesson there.

oh hey vacay tee // jean shorts // sneakers // sunnies c/o Maui Jim

This year we’ve had a lot of hot, humid days with some rainy spots thrown in there, plus I’m always cold in the house after coming in from the humidity outside, so I like to have a variety of long and short sleeves. Then of course I always pack some shorts, bathing suits, a coverup, sandals and sneakers, pajamas, and my running gear.

This thermal hooded cardigan continues to be a workhorse in my vacation wardrobe. I wear it every day — either over my pajamas in the mornings or with joggers and a tank after a day in the sun (and sometimes both!)

cardigan // tank // joggers // nails: CND Studio White

I shared more about my bathing suit earlier this year in this post. The price is up there, but I haven’t found anything else that I feel is flattering, supportive, and not frumpy.

tankini top // bikini briefs // shorts

And yes, I realize it’s ridiculous, but I wear my Tory Burch Millers to the beach — the patent ones. Amazingly, they still look like new. I’ve just never bothered to buy plastic flip flops, although I say every year I’m going to remedy that.

I brought this fun straw hat with me, but honestly, I usually wear a ball cap to the beach. It made for a good Instagram post, though! #fashionbloggerwin

hat // coverup // photo credit: Alison Cornell

I got my coverup on Amazon and this one at Zappo’s is similar. I usually just pull on jean shorts and a t-shirt over my swimsuit for walking to and from the beach, but I definitely felt more put-together wearing a coverup, and it saves my clothes from getting sandy.

I love wearing a long sleeve pullover with shorts in the summertime, and it’s been chilly in our beach house so I’ve worn this outfit a few times.

pullover // shorts // sandals // nails: CND Indigo Frock

This pullover is soooo cozy, and I’m excited that it’s still available, although I did get mine on sale. The full retail price is a little steep for what it is, but it’s a year-round top, so if you calculate cost per wear, it might average out. It also looks cute with my joggers.

I also threw my denim skirt in my suitcase, and I’m glad I did. It’s a nice alternative to shorts for dinners out.

I always bring running clothes when I travel. Yes, the shoes add extra bulk and weight to my suitcase, but that helps motivate me to actually use them!

Yikes! No makeup closeup. Oh, well, keeping it real!

Okay, that’s enough about what to wear. Moving on to my favorite products to have at the beach…

Coola makes my favorite sunscreen, and this travel set is awesome because it also has an after-sun recovery cream that I’ve been using daily. I also like the lip protection and the facial SPF cream. The spray isn’t a typical aerosol that sprays for miles. It just lets out a very light mist, but it covers well, and I haven’t had any issues burning when I’m wearing it.

I always bring a beach bag that the kids are not allowed to use. I’ve had to train them not to throw all their junk in my bag. #petpeeve If I’m feeling really benevolent, I’ll let Paul put his phone in there. Ha!

I also like to bring a small softside cooler for carrying water/drinks to the beach, although this year I was smart and brought my S’well water bottle, so the cooler wasn’t so necessary. Although, we did use it one night to keep our wine cold on the way to a BYO restaurant, so I’m glad we had it.

What To Bring To A Beach Rental

We used Airbnb to find our beach rentals both this year and last year, and we were very pleased with both experiences. Not that they were perfect, but we feel we got exactly what was promised, and both owners were extremely responsive to any questions we had before, during, and even after our stay. We were going to rent last year’s house again this year, but they were booked this week, so we found another one.

Here at the Jersey shore, most house rentals require you to bring all your own linens, so I packed sheets, pillows, and even a quilt for each bed. (We prefer to use our own, even though it means more bulky items to pack.)

I was supposed to bring bath towels and beach towels as well, but I had to buy those down here when we realized we’d left ours at home. *insert eye roll emoji*

I’ve been told there are companies down here that provide linen rentals so we don’t have to bring our own, and I hope to take advantage of that if we ever do this again. It is soooo much to pack and unpack and think about, and our car was pretty much full to the brim even without the towels I forgot. Paul thinks there may have been room in the roof rack, but still. It’s a LOT!

We didn’t bring our own beach chairs because we didn’t have room in the car, but theirs were pretty old, and I didn’t enjoy using them, so next time I plan to invest in one or two when we get here and donate them to the house if they don’t fit in the car on the way home. Although if we rent linens, they should fit. But that’s something else to think about.

We also brought 3 bikes, which we used constantly to get to and from the boardwalk. Last year our rental had 8 or 10 bikes we were allowed to use, but this year we had to bring our own. Every house is different, so you have to read the fine print and figure out what you need.

Fortunately they had a nice coffee maker here so I didn’t have to think about that, but I’m not above packing my Keurig if I think I may want it!

Packing for five people isn’t easy, no matter how you slice it or dice it, but I decided to make it easier on myself by creating a Master Family Travel Packing List that I can customize for each trip. Maybe it will be helpful for you too!

CLICK ON IT for a full-size printable version.

Family Travel Packing List Printable


Did I forget anything??


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