35 Beach Essentials To Pack For Your Next PNW Adventure

Post Summary: The complete beach essentials list (for the PNW!)

Rain or shine, the beaches in the Pacific Northwest are some of the most special places in the US and have lots of special features that you will want to prepare for.

This may not look like your typical beach trip packing list. That’s because the Pacific Northwest beaches are so unique!

We’ve got a complete beach essentials list for you here, full of essentials, what to wear, and what accessories to make your trip as easy and memorable as possible.

Let’s get started!

Beach Day Essentials For the Pacific Northwest

What’s so different about Pacific Northwest beaches?

When you think of the word, “beach,” you probably think of the sun, warm water, the soft sand under your feet, and swimming.

While there are beaches like this in Southern Oregon, most of the Pacific Northwest’s beaches are very different from the classic, tropical beach vibe.

Pacific Northwest beaches usually have rocky shorelines (especially on Washington beaches), cold water, lots of tide pools, and tons of beach camping opportunities.

Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip Stops - Rialto Beach

Depending on the weather, you can have lots of cold, rainy days or warm and lovely bluebird days at Pacific Northwest beaches–either way, they’re definitely worth visiting!

Even with the wide variety of weather, there are tons of typical beach activities you can do at Pacific Northwest beaches.

These include surfing (especially in Tofino, B.C. and southern Oregon!), having a beach bonfire, camping, building sand castles, watching the sunset, picnicking, or lounging!

With all this in mind, your beach packing list for the PNW might look a little different. Keep reading to learn all about what you’ll need for your next visit to Pacific Northwest beaches!

What To Wear To the Beach In The Pacific Northwest (Clothing)

1. Rain Jacket

REI Co-Op Rainier Rain Jacket

Because you never know what kind of weather you’ll get in the PNW, you’ll want to bring a rain jacket.

Even if the forecast is sunny, there can sometimes be small bouts of rain here and there!

This is also a good thing to have if you’re planning on hiking in Olympic National Park where there’s more temperate and rainy coastal weather patterns.

2. Warm Fleece

REI Trailsmith Fleece Jacket
REI Trailsmith Fleece Jacket

You’ll especially want to pack a warm fleece if you’re visiting higher elevations or are visiting the northern Pacific Northwest coastline.

The Patagonia Synchilla is a solid option, but there are tons of great ones by Cotopaxi, Mountain Hardwear, and other outdoor brands.

3. Beanie

Patagonia Brodeo Beanie - Hiking Gifts For Him
Patagonia Brodeo Beanie

Keep your head and ears warm in the cooler evenings with a beanie! A warm headband also works.

4. Swim Trunks…

Despite what you might hear otherwise, swimming is a popular PNW beach activity in the hot summers. Add a swimsuit to your beach packing list!

5. …Or a wetsuit!

Wetsuit - Beach Essentials for Ocean Shores, Washington

Yes! You can surf in the PNW! It’s particularly popular on the Oregon Coast, in addition to Tofino, British Columbia.

A wetsuit is also useful when boogie boarding or swimming in the cold Pacific Ocean waters!

One of the best places to try boogie boarding is the long 10-mile beach in Ocean Shores, Washington.

Hot Tip: Buy your own wetsuit if you’re committed to the sport, otherwise we recommend renting one from a place at your destination!

6. Rash Guard

Pacific Northwest Beach Day Essentials

Pack rash guard swimwear if you have sensitive skin, want to protect your skin from the sun, or are going to go surfing!

7. Water Sandals / Flip Flops

Beach Essentials - Water Sandals

Water shoes are a must in the Pacific Northwest! Not only are they the current style, but they’re also functional!

Some classic PNW footwear include Chacos, Tevas, or any other type of water shoes.

8. Beach Cover Up

You can wear an oversized button up, sun shirt, or any lightweight top layer you may already own. No need to go out and buy something new (unless you want to, of course!)

It’s nice to have an easily removable layer while at the beach–especially on a hot day!

9. Change of Clothes

Whether you’re swimming or wading in the water during a long beach walk, chances are your clothes might get wet.

Bring a change of clothes in your beach bag and extra plastic bags to store them!

Ecola State Park Beaches - Crescent Beach

Outdoor Essentials For A Day At The Beach (Gear)

What kinds of beach essentials do you need besides clothing? Keep scrolling for our recommendations!

10. Beach Wagon

Beach Essentials - Beach Wagon

Got a big family with lots of gear? Bring a beach wagon with you!

The CGear Multimats Multipurpose Wagon 2.0 for $150 from REI holds a lot of stuff and is very durable.

11. Sand-proof Beach Mat

Beach Packing List Essentials - Sand Proof Beach Mat

The Maxi Gathre Mat is a bit on the pricier side, but worth it for how well it cleans up and keeps the sand away! It’s a great option for those with kids.

A cheaper option is the HIHOHO Beach Blanket on Amazon for $20-$30, which even packs down into a small cinch sack!

12. Beach Towel

Whether you’re swimming, tidepooling, surfing, or just lounging on the beach, you’ll want to bring a beach towel.

This is especially true if you’re visiting some of the sandier beaches in the PNW where you can lay comfortably on the shore.

We’re talking Gold Beach, Bandon Beach or even Beverly Beach on the Oregon Coast.

13. Sunscreen

Yep, you still need it in the PNW! You can still get sunburned even when it’s cloudy, making this one of the top necessities for the beach.

14. Beach Umbrella

The CGear Multimats Sand-Free Beach Umbrella ($65) from REI is a sturdy and light option.

Just watch the weather – it might be too windy for an umbrella!

15. Or a Beach Tent

A beach tent is great for small kiddos, as it’s a safe place to contain them. It’s also a good way to take a break from the sun and get some shade!

The Kelty Cabana Shelter from REI is a great option with high reviews.

An image of the Guava Family Lotus Everywhere Travel Crib, a lightweight and portable crib designed for travel and convenience. The crib is set up indoors, showcasing its sleek and modern design with breathable mesh sides and a padded mattress. The crib is surrounded by a cozy and inviting atmosphere, suggesting comfort and safety for a sleeping baby or toddler.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a piece of gear that has multiple uses, consider the Guava Family Lotus Travel Crib. We use if as one of our favorite baby travel sleep options

16. A Beach Chair

Commercial Work

If you’re not up for laying on the beach or are going to a rockier beach, you’ll want to add a beach chair to your packing list.

Berty Mandagie holding a green igloo cooler, pulling it from the trunk of a car. He is smiling and ready for a day at the beach

17. A Cooler

Keep your drinks and snacks cold with a cooler! Check out these cooler options on REI!

If you don’t have a cooler, an insulated lunch box will do as well.

18. Beach Games

Outdoor sports on the beach can be such fun activities with friends and family. We love bringing a frisbee, spike ball, cornhole, etc!

We have even more ideas that don’t require gear – check out these fun camping games!

19. Plastic Bags (For Wet Clothes)

It can be so helpful to have a few plastic bags or grocery bags on hand while at the beach.

They’re great for storing wet clothes, kids’ toys, trash, or snacks.

An image capturing the scenic beauty of Cannon Beach, Oregon, featuring its iconic Haystack Rock against a backdrop of sandy shorelines and rolling waves. Visitors stroll along the beach, enjoying the breathtaking coastal scenery and clear blue skies.

20. Waterproof Camera

While vacationing on the beach or to take photos in the waves, put an instant camera or waterproof camera on your beach checklist!

A GoPro is both waterproof and dependable; however, a cheaper, budget-friendly camera like the Polaroid Underwater Camera also does the job well.

21. A Kite

PNW beaches can get pretty windy, making the perfect conditions for flying a kite!

There are some cool options under $100 on REI or you can get this kite from Amazon for $17.

Looking for a fun reason to fly kites? Join the Annual Kit Festival at Long Beach, Washington every August!

22. Sand Castle Equipment

This is essential for families with kiddos. If you don’t have a sand castle set, there’s plenty of fun to be had with a bucket or recycled container!

Use whatever you have around the house (tupperware, plastic cups, etc) for some free fun in the sun!

Swiftlet Portable Hammock

23. Beach Hammock

For ultimate relaxation on the beach, bring a hammock! Being in the PNW means lots of trees, so you can bring your ENO hammock to hang in the trees.

Don’t have a hammock? The Wekapo Inflatable Lounger ($40) from Amazon is another great option that can sit directly on the beach.

Oregon Beach Towns - Pacific City - TheMandagies.com

Accessories For Your Beach Day Packing List

24. A Beach Bag

You’ll definitely want to bring a sand-proof or waterproof bag or tote to the beach. Bonus points if you can use it to go beachcombing!

25. Sunglasses

Bring a pair of sunnies with you on your next trip to the PNW!

Even if it’s cloudy, it can get pretty bright, so you’ll want them while driving along the coast or at the beach.

26. Hat

A sun hat or baseball cap (and even a beanie at times!) are essential while visiting PNW beaches.

You may be surprised, but you CAN get sunburnt, even through the clouds!

Sea To Summit Dry Bags

27. Tech Dry Bag

Bringing a dry bag to your PNW beach trip is a great way to keep all your important gear out of the water and sand. There are tons of great options on REI, but the ALPS Mountaineering Torrent Dry Bag Multipack is a great deal ($40 for three sizes)!

28. Portable Battery

It’s always a good idea to bring a portable battery pack with you when going on an adventure. It ensures that you can reach (and can be reached!) on your phone for emergencies.

Especially when going to the beach where there is little access to electricity!

29. Lip Balm with SPF

Did you know that your lips can get sunburned? Protect your lips with this hydrating Aquaphor Lip Repair Lip Balm with Sunscreen ($4) from Amazon!

Other Beach Essentials to Pack

30. Snacks

Whether you need an energizing snack while hiking around beach trails in the Pacific Northwest or are getting hungry while lounging on the beach, you’ll want to bring lots of nutritious snacks.

To fuel your day, we like protein bars, energy chews, or even a portable charcuterie board (you’ll just want to pack it in small, stackable food containers!).

31. Water / Drinks

Rain or shine, you should always stay hydrated. This is one of the top beach day necessities!

32. A Good Beach Read

If you’re looking for a quiet, relaxing day at the beach, bring a book or your Kindle! Sunny days on the PNW coast are perfect for sitting on the beach and reading a good book.

33. Hand Sanitizer

While many PNW beaches are near beach towns and have easy access to bathrooms and sinks, there are some that don’t.

Bring hand sanitizer on your PNW beach trip to keep those nasty germs away!

34. First Aid Kit

Bringing a first aid kit on adventures is always a good idea–you never know when you’ll need it!

This small first aid kit is a great option to add to your beach bag or keep in your car.

35. Waterproof Speaker

Bring the tunes with you wherever you go with a Bluetooth speaker! With all the water and sand, a waterproof speaker is a great way to go.

The JBL Clip 3 ($45) from Amazon is perfect for those who want something portable with high quality sound.

Beach Essentials List (Free Download)

Looking for an easy way to make sure you’re packing all the right beach essentials? We’ve made it easy for you by making a free printable download! Click below to join our email list and receive this freebie!

What are some of your beach day essentials? Share your tips and tricks in the comments below!


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