17 Essentials For Beach Camping (Don’t Forget The Snacks!)

When it comes to essentials for beach camping, there are some things that you just don’t want to forget (like sunblock!)

According to the Annual North American Camping Report, “Year-to-year, around 80% of campers try a new form of camping they are unfamiliar with.” Are you a seasoned beach camper, or this is your “new form of camping” this year?

Not only will we tell you the necessary essentials for beach camping, but we’ve also included some meal ideas, safety precautions and fun activities for you to enjoy during your next seaside (lake or river) excursion.

Essentials For Beach Camping

Camping at the beach requires some special considerations. Here are some beach camping essentials to think about:

  • Tent: Choose a tent designed for the beach to protect against wind and sand. Make sure it has a sturdy frame and a waterproof rain fly.
  • Sleeping Bags: Bring lightweight sleeping bags that are suitable for the expected weather conditions. A sleeping pad or air mattress can also provide insulation against the cold sand.
  • Food and Water: Pack non-perishable food items like trail mix and bring plenty of water. Consider a portable stove or cooler for food preparation and storage.
  • Sun Protection: Don’t forget sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat to protect against harmful UV rays.
  • Bug Spray: Keep bugs at bay with some DEET-FREE bug spray.
  • First Aid Kit: Accidents can happen, so be prepared with a well-stocked first aid kit that includes basic medical supplies.
  • Beach Umbrella or Sun Shelters: Sun shelters and umbrellas will provide shade and protection from the sun.

Essential Camping Supplies

In addition to the items listed above, here are some other essential items to consider when you’re camping:

  • Cooking Equipment: Bring pots, pans, utensils, and a portable stove for cooking meals.
  • Water Bottles or Hydration Systems: Most likely, there won’t be a potable water source for you so you need to bring your own. Salt water can be turned into drinking water, but it’s pretty complicated.
  • Navigation Tools: Don’t get lost. Bring maps or GPS devices to help navigate the area.

Sleeping on the Beach

Sleeping on the beach is a unique and memorable experience (I’ll never forget my first time!) Here are some tips for a comfortable night’s sleep when you’re camping on the beach:

  • Bedding: Bring lightweight sheets and blankets appropriate for the expected temperatures.
  • Air mattress or sleeping pad: These will provide insulation against the cold sand. Trust me from experience, you don’t want to just sleep on the sand.
  • Pillow: Bring your pillow from home. A bunched-up sweater works, but your neck will hate you in the morning.
tent on the beach

Choosing The Right Tent

When it comes to choosing the right tent for camping on the beach, there are a few things to keep in mind. Here’s what you need to look for:

1. Keeping Sand Out

Getting sand inside your tent is inevitable, but a bathtub-style floor with raised edges can decrease the amount of sand inside your tent (and prevent water seepage if it rains.)

2. Ventilation

Beach camping often means dealing with hot temperatures and humidity, so opt for a tent that offers excellent ventilation. Look for tents with mesh windows and doors to allow airflow while keeping bugs at bay.

3. UV Protection

The sun’s rays can be harsh at the beach, so choose a tent made from UV-resistant fabric to protect yourself from harmful rays during daytime naps or breaks inside your shelter.

4. Durability & Stability

In coastal environments, wind gusts can be strong; therefore, invest in a durable and stable tent designed to withstand these conditions.

Dome-shaped tents or those featuring sturdy pole structures are ideal choices for windy beaches.

beach camping by a river

More Essential Gear for Beach Camping

Here’s our list of some additional must-have items that will make your beach camping adventure one to remember:

  • Sand stakes: Regular tent stakes won’t cut it on the sandy terrain. Invest in some sturdy sand stakes designed specifically for beach camping.
  • Tarp: A tarp is not necessary, but it can be used to create a tent entrance where you can knock off excess sand. You can also use this tent entrance to get out of wet swimwear.
  • Cooler with ice packs: Keep perishable food fresh by bringing along a cooler filled with ice packs. We recommend using reusable ones instead of regular ice cubes as they last longer.
  • Folding chairs & portable table: Create an outdoor living space by setting up folding chairs around a portable table – perfect for enjoying meals, playing games, or just relaxing after an active day at the beach.
  • Firewood: Who doesn’t love a beach bonfire? Make sure to check out my article on choosing the best firewood for campfires.

With these essential items packed in your bag, you’re all set to embark on an unforgettable beach camping adventure. Now let’s take a look at preparing food for camping as well as some activities you can enjoy on the beach.

chairs on a beach

Preparing Food for Beach Camping

When it comes to camping, you want food that’s easy to prepare, store, and transport without sacrificing taste or nutrition.

Fear not. We’ve got some delicious ideas that’ll keep your taste buds happy and your energy levels high during your seaside adventure.

Pack Some No-Cook Meals

No-cook meals are perfect for beach camping because they save time and don’t require any cooking equipment. Think creative sandwiches, wraps, salads with pre-cooked protein like chicken or tofu, and fruit bowls. 

Don’t forget the classic peanut butter & jelly sandwich – always a crowd-pleaser.

Cooking Made Easy: One-Pot Wonders

For a fuss-free outdoor cooking experience, one-pot dishes are the ideal solution. They’re simple to make and minimize cleanup time afterward (bonus.).

Check out these tasty cast iron skillet recipes for inspiration.

cast iron one pot meal

Snacks Galore:

Of course, you’ll want to bring some chips, marshmallows and licorice, but here are some healthy snacks to also pack along as well:

  • Fruit: Apples, bananas, oranges – all great options that travel well.
  • Veggies: Baby carrots or sliced bell peppers pair perfectly with hummus or guacamole.
  • Trail Mix or Nuts & Seeds: A handful of almonds, trail mix or sunflower seeds provide an excellent energy boost between meals.
  • Granola Bars: Opt for healthy granola bars that are low in sugar and high in protein.

Remember, the key to successful beach camping meal prep is simplicity. Choose foods that require minimal preparation and can be easily stored without refrigeration. Happy munching.

Staying Safe While Beach Camping

Safety should be of paramount importance when camping. From sun protection to water safety, there are several beach camping tips you need to follow for a safe and enjoyable experience.

Sun Protection

The sun can be your best friend or worst enemy during beach camping trips.

Make sure you pack your broad-spectrum sunscreen, your sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat to protect yourself.

Remember that even on cloudy days you can get burnt to an absolutely crisp!

sun protection

Water Safety

Always swim with a partner or at least make sure that someone is aware that you are in the water.

Additionally, check local conditions such as tide schedules and rip currents before entering the water – this information can often be found at nearby lifeguard stations or online.

Tent Placement

  • Avoid dunes: Setting up camp too close to sand dunes may lead to unstable ground beneath your tent due to shifting sands.
  • Elevation: Choose an elevated spot away from high-tide lines so that you don’t wake up with wet gear (or worse).
  • Campfires: Keep fires contained within designated fire rings or portable fire pits – never leave them unattended. And always put out fires completely before going off on other activities.

By following these simple guidelines while enjoying all that nature has provided us through our beautiful beaches, you’ll be sure to have a safe and memorable beach camping experience.

It is imperative to be conscious of the perils that can come with camping at a beach and take necessary safety steps. With that in mind, let’s explore some fun activities you can enjoy while beach camping.

campfire on the beach

Fun Activities for Beach Camping

Beach camping offers a plethora of exciting activities to make your trip unforgettable. From swimming and kayaking to admiring the stars, there’s no shortage of fun activities for you to enjoy.

1. Playing Around in the Water

If you’re camping on a beach, there’s generally a water source nearby.

Whether it be a lake, ocean or river, no beach camping adventure is complete without spending some time in the water (especially salt water because you float!)

Whether you’re learning how to surf, going snorkelling, or simply swimming with friends and family, these aquatic adventures are sure to create lasting memories.

2. Building Sandcastles and Other Sandy Creations

Show off your creative side by constructing elaborate sandcastles or other sandy masterpieces on the shore.

Don’t forget to snap a photo before they’re washed away by the tide.

sandcastle on the beach

3. Beach Games Galore

  • Volleyball: Set up a net and get ready for some friendly competition with this classic beach game.
  • Frisbee: Toss around a frisbee while enjoying the sun and sea breeze – just be mindful of fellow campers.
  • Tug-of-War: Test your strength against friends or family members in this fun-filled battle that’s perfect for all ages.

4. Stargazing Underneath Clear Skies

Rodney and I love stargazing and beach camping provides an opportunity for unparalleled stargazing experiences.

Generally, city lights are nowhere to be found and the night sky is the blackest black, allowing the stars to shine brighter than you’ve ever seen before!

Planning Your Beach Camping Trip

Follow these steps to plan a successful beach camping trip:

  1. Select your desired location by researching beaches that allow overnight stays.
  2. Create an itinerary based on available amenities nearby, such as restrooms and showers.
  3. Pack essentials such as those listed above. Make sure to check the weather as well so you can pack appropriately.
  4. Familiarize yourself with local regulations regarding campfires, open flames, alcohol consumption, and other restrictions.

In Summary…

Choosing the right tent, packing all of the essentials for beach camping, preparing food properly, staying safe and planning fun activities are all crucial elements for a successful beach camping trip.

Now that you know what essentials to pack, check out my article below for some fun beach-themed gifts!

Fun Beach Gifts For The Beach Lover