Packing for Your OBX Vacation

Things to bring on your Outer Banks Vacation. This list is helpful so you know what you need to bring. Our vacation rentals are privately owned homes, not commercial properties like a hotel so you need to bring or purchase these kinds of items for your personal use. 

  • Paper Products - toilet tissue, paper towels, tissues, napkins
  • Soaps - laundry, personal and dishwashing
  • Cleaning Supplies- dish sponges, anti-bacterica wipes, all-purpose cleaner spray 
  • Kitchen Supplies - plastic wrap, aluminum foil, plastic baggies, garbage bags  

Now that you are here and ready to get to the beach , take a minute to learn a couple of pointers from the locals about Beach Bag Packing.

Water. It’s important that everyone in your group remain hydrated. For those who don’t like water, try taking along some individual flavor packets that can be added to bottled water. If you take your dog with you to a dog-approved beach, be sure to have enough water for him, too, and a container into which you can pour his fresh water. Finally, pack a couple of extra bottles of water to have on hand for just-in-case first-aid or emergency hand washing. [Cooler Tip: If you are planning to be on the beach for some time, consider freezing some bottles of water: frozen they keep your cooler items cool; thawed they become cold drinking water.]

Sunscreen. Experts say for best results you should put this on about 30 minutes before getting in the sun. Don’t forget to reapply if you stay in the sun for an extended time. To help with applying sunscreen on children who are fussy, you might try using lotions or creams that come in colors. You can then come up with some kind of creative story to accompany the application so your little one is more likely to stand still or even help you. For all ages, don’t forget noses, ears, tops of feet.  Don’t forget to apply lotion on overcast days – those sun rays are working on you even though the sky appears cloudy!

Shoes.  Sand can become blistering hot , particularly later in the day. Better to wear flip-flops or water shoes (or at least have them in your beach bag), than to have to spend the rest of your vacation in bandages or on the couch.

Beach Towels.  Remember that you may want some of these that are not wet and sandy when it’s time to wrap a towel around you for walking home, or to spread as protection on the car seat if you drove to the beach. During your time at the beach remember to dry towels by spreading them on your beach chairs, coolers, umbrellas, etc.

Sunglasses. Be sure your shades are UV treated to protect your eyes from both the UVA and UVB harmful rays of the sun. Both adults and children should wear glasses that have an indicated protection rate of 99 to 100%. Since glasses now come in all kinds of shapes and colors, let your personality show through your selection. [A brimmed hat can also help protect your eyes from overhead or side sunlight.]

Snacks. Non-perishable snacks can easily go in your beach bag. So arguments don’t arise about sand in the bag of chips or box of crackers, consider making individual snack packs. Color-coded, lidded containers can make this easy for you and cut down on little-people arguments. 

Phone. If you take your phone to the beach, please also pack with you the idea it is to be used for only emergencies. Enjoy the sounds of the beach! Don’t disturb the natural sounds you have paid for and traveled here to hear with sounds of ring tones and conversations you easily can have back at your house!  

Now, for the not so obvious things that you need to pack in your beach bag that locals know are must haves!

Baby Powder. This works so well at getting stubborn sand off of little (and not so little) hands. After washing and drying, sprinkle some powder onto those, almost always, still sandy hands; rub the powder vigorously between hands. Voila! Now hands are ready for that snack. 

Tissues/Napkins/Paper Towels/Anti-bacterial Wipes. These oft overlooked beach bag items can come in very handy. Sometimes, those emerging from their ocean swim don’t even realize their noses are dripping more than water! Additionally, usually when dampened with some of that extra water you brought along, these can be used for small first-aid situations.

Zip Lock Baggies. A beach-bag wonder invention. These can help you sort and store small items so they don’t become lost within the cavern of your bag or tossed onto the sand when a larger item is pulled from your bag. A few extras are great for storing treasure finds to carry home. (These also serve as convenient pooper scoopers if you have your doggie friend with you at the beach.)

Net Fruit Bags. This is great to give little ones for collecting shells. Once filled with treasures, the bag can be dipped into the water to wash away sand, then hung or draped to drip dry.

Trash Bags. PLEASE dispose of all your trash and garbage! The easiest thing you can do while at the beach is tie a trash bag to something stationary (so it doesn’t blow away) such as a chair, cooler handle, umbrella stand, etc. Have everyone in your group dispose of ANY/ALL trash immediately. This way, when it is time to go back to the house, your clean-up is made easier: you simply remove the trash bag, tie it closed, and deposit it in the trash can at the beach access or back at your house.

And, of course, don’t forget to pack plenty of fun and enthusiasm. Enjoy your time at the beach!

Check out more information:

Outer Banks Beach Things to Know

Outer Banks House Rental Information

Outer Banks Holiday Vacations