Our Beach Road Trip Essentials

July 5, 2016

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and The Coca-Cola Company. All opinions are mine alone. #ShareTheLyrics #CollectiveBias

Summertime calls for road trips. No matter if you’re headed across the country to the mountains or the beach, driving along with friends or family with the radio up is a quintessential part of summer. When Nick and I first started dating, we took our first road trip to Myrtle Beach. We have so many great memories from that trip and the other trips that followed. In fact, we have probably spent more time in a car than most other couples! But, we haven’t had a chance to visit the South Carolina beaches after living for five years in Texas. So, we decided that we were due for a trip!

As we were preparing for our upcoming trip, I started to think about what kinds of items we would need to pack. Food, drinks and entertainment all spring to mind when headed down for a day (or two!) at the coast. I wanted to share with you all how we plan for a beach road trip and some of our favorite items!

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Step 1: Visit your local Sam’s Club and stock up on your favorites. We got our first Sam’s membership earlier this year and I’ve been using it non-stop. Growing up, this was our go-to stop before any beach trip. We grabbed cookies, chips, beach towels and of course, Coca-Cola. Sam’s Club has 28- or 35-packs (depending on your store) of Coca-Cola and Diet Coke, which is perfect for stocking up for a vacation. Don’t forget that most beaches don’t allow glass, so keep that in mind when choosing your beverage.

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Step 2: Collect all of your items in one spot. This sounds crazy, but I promise it works! Before you start throwing items into a cooler or bag, look at everything you want to include and how they work with each other. These are just a few of my favorite items for a beach trip:

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Insulated cooler on wheels – Once you load in all of your items, it’s going to be HEAVY. I don’t remember who gifted us this awesome cooler but it has come in such handy for occasions just like this!

Your favorite Coca-Cola products – Coca-Cola and summer go together like no other combination. These cans are part of the “Share a Coke and a Song” campaign and every time I see the lyrics on the side of the bottle or can, I always smile because the lyrics always bring up memories for me! I connect to music so much so the lyrics are a reminder that every day is a reason to celebrate. Plus, anytime I hand Nick a can, I sing to him. What’s more romantic than that? ;)

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Magazines and books – While you’re relaxing and soaking up the sun on the coast, you’ll need something to occupy your brain! I just started reading “Outlander” so it’s definitely going into my beach tote. Southern Living is the go-to magazine for me anytime of the year! What are your favorite beach reads?

Sunscreen and bug spray – You want to be prepare for whatever Mother Nature throws at you. Sunscreen at the beach is a given. I love this type because it stays on even if you get wet or sweat, but you should definitely get a sunscreen that’s about 30 spf and apply regularly! As for bug spray, any evening walks you take might leave you with a not-so-great souvenir. Take care of your skin and prepare!

Snacks – Need I say more? Snacks are essential for any road trip or day at the beach! Planning to bring your own snacks before helps cut down costs and avoid bad decisions at the gas station. I believe bringing a combo of dried fruit, trail mix/nuts and jerky is a great balance and isn’t too heavy on added sugars.

Step 3: Load up your phone or mp3 player with all of your favorite songs. Do you like to “Drop It Like It’s Hot?” Do you “get a good feeling” listening to your favorite tunes? (Ok, I admit it, those were terrible puns.) Save your data and download songs directly to avoid those high data charges. Even my favorite online music streaming service allows me to download a playlist to my phone. Music is KEY to any good road trip. Belt out to some classic rock tunes or pump up the bass with some rap or hip-hop (or in my case, Hamilton.) Oh, and don’t forget to bring a car charger for your phone.

Step 4: Make sure it all fits. Take the heaviest items and put them on the bottom. (Hint: Do you subscribe to a food subscription box? Take your long-lasting ice packs and use them for a long trip to keep your Coke nice and cold!) Then, layer any lighter items on top. (And put your sunscreen in there too! The cool sunscreen will feel great on your skin and won’t be as runny.)

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Voila! I think we’re ready to head down to the coast, don’t you? I can’t wait to be on the beach and soak up the sun. I can’t think of anything more perfect for our first summer back in South Carolina!

Now, I want to know: what are your beach road trip essentials? Anything you think I missed?

  • B.

    I think my list is pretty much the same! I hope I’m able to make it down the beach this year.

  • What a great packing list, I don’t drink pop but I would bring water instead, Yess to sunscreen I burn so easy I wear 80 spf lol!!!!!

  • There’s nothing better than an ice cold coke on the beach!!


  • Nicole Elliott

    Great tips! I would have never thought to put the sunscreen and bug spray in the cooler but that makes sense and super handy! These are all my road trip/beach essentials as well! ~ Client

  • These are definitely beach road trip essentials. Myrtle Beach is such a beautiful and romantic place to be at!

  • Neely

    Magazines and books for sure are my essentials! I have always wanted to visit Myrtle Beach

  • mckenna bleu

    Monster trail mix is by far the best trail mix ive tried! That definitely one of my essentials for packing too!

  • Miss ALK

    Ah this post makes me want to take a beach road trip ASAP!

    xoxo A

  • I went on a road trip to a lake this weekend and sunscreen was a MUST. I am super vigilant about taking care of myosin and when the weather is warm I apply sunscreen frequently. I love books and magazines for the beach too!

    • Whitney H

      I’m so bad about reapplying after getting in the water – it’s a habit I definitely need to learn!

  • What an awesome list! I always blank when packing my road trip bag, so I will definitely use this next time!

  • Enjoy your beach trip! I’m headed back there at the end of the month and I can’t wait!

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  • Cat

    I LOVE Monster Mix and Dried Mangos! I spotted them in the first picture and immediately started craving a trip to Target to grab some.

    • Whitney H

      Yes! Great minds think alike. Monster Mix is one of my favorite snacks.

  • Merisa Ferrell

    I’ve been carrying copies of Southern Living around with me all summer so far, glad to know I’m not the only one! haha Merisa | Monogrammed Magnolias

    • Whitney H

      Yes! That is by far my favorite magazine. It’s my dream to write for it one day!

  • Colleen Delawder

    You’re going to love Outlander…and every book that follows!!!

    • Whitney H

      I really hope so! I’m about 50 pages into it and I love it so far!

  • Heather Petrey

    I think you’ve pretty much covered it, as far as beach essentials. Though I’d probably bring water as well. I’m also a fan of dried mango…yumm!

    • Whitney H

      Yes, water is necessary to stay hydrated!

  • This is such a helpful post! I almost always forget something while packing for a road trip!

  • Ummm I LOVE the Coke cans. I’m in Canada and I don’t think we have those, at least I haven’t spotted them yet! Great list of items to bring on a trip to the beach!

    • Whitney H

      Aren’t they so cute?! I love them!!

  • I love a good beach read. I always pull for Darling Magazine or a movie that is soon hitting the theaters (or TV screen). Great beach trip essentials!

    • Whitney H

      Thanks lady! I’ve never heard of Darling Magazine but I need to check it out.

  • Tameka Wells

    This really helpful!

  • kierra

    Wonderful tips. I love the snacks and drinks the most. I’ll have other friends bring the bug spray and sunscreen :)

  • This makes me want to go on a road trip so bad! I love taking magazines to read on the beach. Real Simple is my favorite, and Cosmo and Glamour are my guilty pleasures. :) I’ve never thought of putting sunscreen in the cooler! Great idea!

    • Whitney H

      Those are all great beach reads! Cold sunscreen can be a little bit of a shock on the system at first but is so soothing!

  • Using the cooler to pack up everything is such a good idea!!! I need to take another road-trip. My road-trip to Golden Nugget was fun over Memorial Day and I want to do it again!

    • Whitney H

      That looked like such a fun trip! I always wanted to go there.

  • Great tips! I read the first book in the Outlander series last summer for book club! :) Have a fab trip!

    • Whitney H

      I hope you enjoyed it! I’m only 50 or so pages in. I really liked it so far!

  • Tabitha Shakespeare

    Awesome essentials! We are coca cola lovers in our family so this was totally close to home!

    • Whitney H

      Same here! I’m pretty sure I was drinking it out of a bottle at some point. HAHA! (kidding of course)

  • Book review coming soon? I started reading this book, but life got in the way and I never picked it back up.

    • Whitney H

      I just started it but I hope to finish in the next month or so. I’m a slow reader!

  • These are some of my essentials too! Also, I love Sam’s Club. Their produce is so good. Avocados, yes! This post makes me want to go to the beach!