Things to pack for your Florida vacation
We love Florida. Like, REALLY love Florida. It’s a travel destination that is known throughout the world! Florida has great beaches, Disney World, Universal Studios, Key West & the Florida Keys, 30A, and historic St. Augustine; just to name a few! And Florida is the type of place that you’ll want to visit again and again! But of course, you’ll want to make a packing list for Florida!
Before traveling to the Sunshine State, it’s a good idea to make a list of all the things you may need for your time in the Florida sun. While Florida is definitely a warm-weather destination, it can also have its ups and downs. Here are my tips for making your packing list.
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The Best Packing List for Florida
Most people visiting Florida know to pack plenty of t-shirts and tank tops, a few pairs of shorts, tennis shoes, and their normal personal items.
Bathing suit – It seems like a no-brainer, but if you’re traveling to Florida, you’ll need a bathing suit. Most hotels and resorts in Florida have heated pools, so even if you’re traveling in the winter, you may still want to take a dip! Planning to boogie board or surf? A rash guard will help protect your chest from the sand – and the Florida sun.
Expecting? This maternity swimsuit was my absolute favorite – and the price is right.
Sun hat – Having a red, sunburned face is absolutely no fun! I recommend traveling to Florida with some type of hat. Although a full-brimmed hat would be best (I love this one from Columbia), even a hat that covers your face will provide some sun protection.
Refillable water bottle – No matter the time of year, packing a reusable water bottle is a good way to save money on water AND help the environment. We love our Contigo water bottles and take them everywhere.
Beach towels – The resort you are staying at may offer pool towels, but most do not offer beach towels. Having one per family member is best if you can find room in your bag!
Beach bag – If you’re visiting a Florida beach, camping, or may have wet towels or bathing clothes, I recommend traveling with a waterproof bag. These Bogg bags are very popular.
Water shoes or some waterproof footwear – flip-flops are the easiest option, but sometimes flip-flops are difficult to keep on your feet on the beach. Crocs would be another versatile option. Many of the gulf beaches are covered in shells, making it uncomfortable to walk barefoot.
Portable charger – A portable charger probably isn’t necessary for a beach vacation, but if you are hitting any of the Florida theme parks, you’re going to want a portable charger so your phone stays charged and you don’t miss any of those precious memories.
Light jacket – Yes, Florida is a year-round destination, but that doesn’t mean you won’t need a jacket. An afternoon thunderstorm is normal, especially during Hurricane Season (June – December). A lightweight, waterproof jacket will ensure that your travel plans aren’t interrupted by rain.
While Florida is a fantastic warm-weather destination, it does have cold spells! If you are traveling from in the winter months of December to February, be prepared for abrupt changes in the weather. We went to Orlando in January 2020 and had glorious 80-degree weather, our friends that went the next week suffered through highs in the 50s! A light sweater or sweatshirt can be nice in the winter months, or for those who get too cold in air-conditioned restaurants and malls.
Sunscreen – It should be a no-brainer, but the Florida sun isn’t something to mess with. If you’re spending a day out in the sun, make sure you reapply sunscreen to yourself and your children. Water activities like scuba diving mean you need to find a reef-safe sunscreen.
Insect repellent – Bug spray is one of the best ways to avoid getting eaten alive by the many pests of Florida. Florida has a lot of swamps and lakes, so mosquitos can be a real problem. At the beach, sand fleas can leave your ankles full of bites! Make sure you bring
First aid kit – I always travel with a first aid kit, because let’s be honest, kids can hurt themselves so easily! However, in your Florida first aid kit, I’d be sure to add aloe vera for sunburns. Bug bites can be soothed with Benadryl and calamine lotion. For more medical needs, check out my first aid kit for international travel.
Things to pack for Florida when traveling with kids
Pool and beach toys for kids – If you’re flying to Florida, it may be cheapest to pick these up once you land, but if you are driving to Florida, save some money by packing all of your kid’s favorite beach and pool toys. Diving sticks, goggles, and their favorite floaties will save you scrounging to find these on your first day. A life jacket for those who aren’t ready to swim may also be helpful.
Check with your Airbnb before you leave as to whether or not they offer beach toys. Many vacation rentals will offer things like beach toys, boogie boards, and beach chairs for renters to share.
Travel Tip! Visiting the beach with a baby that sits up but can’t walk? An inflatable pool can be used on the beach to keep them in one place and cool them off. Make sure you position a beach umbrella over the pool for sun protection.
Swim diapers – These are always so overpriced at the hotel convenience store.
Baby sun hat – girl hat/boy hat
Muslin blankets are perfect for helping to protect the baby from the sun, as well as nursing covers, or even a beach blanket.
Pack ‘n Play – Some resorts and hotels provide these, but it’s nice to have in case they are not available. Don’t plan to bring if you’re flying, just check with the hotel first! 😉
Check out my list of the best American hotel chains for families
Packing tips for Disney World
Disney World can be so expensive for families! Here are some things to add to your packing list that should save you money!
Bring packable ponchos for rainy days. Cheaper than buying at the park and less bulky than carrying around 6 jackets.
Buy Disney apparel at home to wear to the parks. Target and Walmart sell Disney character tees and they are much cheaper than buying at the theme parks! (4-pack of Minnie shirts for under $30).
My last tip is for the Fireworks. During the evening shows, the parks will be selling expensive glow balloons and glowsticks. I brought packs of glowstick necklaces and bracelets from Dollar Tree and our kids were quite happy with them!
(See how much we spent going to Disney World).
I hope I’ve helped plan your Florida packing list! If you have any questions, feel free to pop them in the comments. Or click below for my full packing list on Amazon.
See my full Florida packing list on Amazon
More questions about visiting Florida, such as where to go? We love visiting the beaches along the Gulf of Mexico in Southwest Florida. Here’s a list of our favorite Southwest Florida Beaches, a first-time guide to Sanibel Island, Ft. Myers vacation guide, and our favorite Central Florida Resort – the Sheraton Vistana. LEGOLAND Florida is also a blast! Feeling adventurous? How about a monster truck tour in Central Florida.
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