5 Surprising Items That You Need In Your Beach Bag

Packing a well-appointed beach bag is something of an art. You have to hit that sweet spot of having everything you and your crew need to enjoy hours of surf and sand without carting in a ton of stuff that you don’t need.

While there are the standard items that no OBX beach bag should be without (sunscreen, sunscreen, water, and sunscreen!), there are a few items that Outer Banks beach-going pros never leave home without. Keep reading here for our list of 5 surprising things that you need in your vacation beach bag!

Baby Powder

No doubt you’ve heard by now that baby powder is one of the beach pro’s ultimate secret weapons. Due to its excellent moisture and grease absorbing qualities, baby powder can turn many a sticky situation into a much more pleasant one.

baby powder | Great Escapes OBX


Here are just a few of the many ways that baby powder can be used at the beach:


  • Loosen sand from surfaces – sprinkle powder on skin, shoes, toys, and beach equipment and wait a minute. The powder will draw in the moisture and then you can easily brush off or shake away sand from the intended surface.
  • Dry shampoo – lightly sprinkle on roots and comb through hair. Powder will absorb grease and help release any sand still lurking in your locks.
  • Personal hygiene – use powder to control sweating and chafing. Just dust any area that you’d prefer stay dry and smelling good and the powder will do the rest!


Zip Top Bags

Zip-top bags are another item that veteran beach-goers always remember to pack. These handy containers are cheap and plentiful. They are perfect for keeping dry stuff dry and wet stuff contained.

Pro Tip: Plan ahead with these bags and take some pressure off of your shoulders for this part of the beach bag packing. Assign each member of the group their own large-size zip-top bag. Write their name at the top with a permanent marker and then list items that each person is responsible for keeping in it.

These list items should be personal preference things rather than the basic necessities that are already on your master list. Then, when it’s time to load up, just make sure you’ve packed each person’s bag rather than rounding up each item yourself!

ziplock bags | Great Escapes OBX


Individual bag items may include:

  • extra zip top bags
  • preferred sunscreen
  • hair products
  • goggles and/or sunglasses
  • favorite snacks
  • personal music/game player
  • e-reader or book/magazine


Basic First Aid Kit

From scraping your foot on a shell to getting sand in your eye, minor injuries at the beach are not uncommon. Fortunately, most of these amount to no more than a brief discomfort that can be quickly remedied.

first aide kit | Great Escapes OBX


At a minimum, your beach first aid kit should include:


  • tweezers
  • water-proof bandages
  • alcohol wipes
  • antiseptic cream
  • eye rinse
  • hand sanitizer

Don’t forget to include an ICE (In Case of Emergency) contact card in your first aid kit. In the unlikely event that an emergency does occur, this card will allow first responders and/or nearby good samaritans to alert your family that you need their assistance. Otherwise, it can also serve as a way for a lost beach bag to find its way back home.

Fitted Sheet

The fitted-sheet beach hack has become a popular one, and with good reason! This trick is a quick and easy technique for creating a sand-free zone while you’re relaxing on the beach, and makes a fabulous nap environment for the youngest – or sleepiest! – members of your beach party!

fitted sheet beach hack | Great Escapes OBX


The method itself is very straight-forward:

  1. Pack a fitted sheet in your beach bag
  2. Spread out along the beach sand, corner sides up
  3. Tuck coolers and other sturdy items into the side pockets, forming an enclosed area
  4. Enjoy!


Bonus Item Tips: Fill the zip top bags you’ve packed with sand and use them as corner anchors, and sprinkle the sheet with baby powder to help keep it cool(er) and dry(er)!


Collapsible Mesh Container

A collapsible mesh container is another great item to pack in your beach bag. These items can often be found at your local dollar store and come in all shapes, sizes, and colors.


mesh container for the beach | Great Escapes OBX


These containers can be used in many useful ways.


  • Smaller mesh bags and boxes are perfect for shelling activities, as they drain easily and allow sand to filter out of the container and back onto the beach.
  • Color code the mesh containers to control beach chaos. Use green for toys, blue for towels, etc.
  • End ownership battles by assigning each kid their own container. Buckets, shovels, found treasures – whoever hauls it, has it!


We hope our list of 5 surprising things that you need in your beach bag helps you pack for your best OBX vacation ever!