10 Essentials to Pack on a Florida Road Trip or Vacation

Essentials Plus Some Travel Packing Options

Let’s start by saying we live in Florida. We travel Florida an average of twice per month. Florida Travel Blog is not selling anything – just the fun of taking a road trip in Florida.

We know what to pack. We also know that most travel blogs will tell you how to dress, what cosmetics to pack, what electronics you need and other common-sense items. We are going to suggest only the essentials of a Florida road trip or vacation. Plus, we will tell you why, when and where you will need them.

10 Essentials to Pack for a Florida Road Trip or Vacation

Plus some non-essentials that will make your vacation in Florida easier.
  • Sunscreen – Florida is called the sunshine state for a reason. We recommend you buy it before leaving home. It will most likely cost less for branded products at your local Walmart or Target, rather than a beachside boutique. We suggest either an SPF 50 for an all-day trip to the beach or SPF 30 for walking around in intermittent sun.
  • Lip Balm – we can’t count the times while fishing we sloshed on SPF 50 to protect our bodies, only to find our lips are parched and cracked from the sun a day later. Heading to Key West for some fun in the sun? Get some lip balm.
    southernmost point Key West

    The most photographed place in Florida – Southernmost Point, Key West.

  • Sunglasses – your eyes need as much protection as your skin. We would also recommend Polarized sunglasses, if possible. The polarization will help for viewing dolphins, fish, manatees, and other below the water surface sights. Even walking the sands of Sanibel, Polarized sunglasses will help you see shells in the water.
    Florida shells along St. George Island

    Shells along the beach at St. George Island Florida

  • Bug Repellent – repellent is most suggested for forested areas near water. If you are visiting Florida State Parks or the Everglades, repellent is a requirement. If you have never heard of “Swamp Angels”, you will quickly learn about them taking Florida road trips in deep south Florida..
  • Hat or Visor – the sun is not only warm, but bright too. Your eyes will get tired in direct sunlight. On a white sand beach that extends a couple miles like Lido Key, the sun is magnified by the bright sand. On a long Florida road trip, you will find many occasions for a hat.
  • Cover Up – yes, some shops or restaurants may require you to cover up that new bikini, thong or Speedo. Just something light will work fine.
  • Hand Wipes (sanitizing) – if you are around mother nature on a Florida road trip, you will want to clean your hands after picking up that box turtle, hermit crab or other creatures of the sea or forest. After the pandemic, we learned the benefits of hand sanitizing.
    Kayaking Florida Everglades

    Kayaking in the Florida Everglades.

  • Water Shoes – the specialty shoes are light and designed to walk along the Florida beaches. If you have never had a cut on the sole of your foot from roaming the beach, you haven’t been on enough beaches.
  • Small First Aid Kit – the band-aids in the kit will handle the foot cut referenced above. If you have children that don’t occasionally need a band-aid, you are a fortunate parent. The playgrounds on Clearwater Beach offer plenty of opportunities for cuts and bruises.
  • Beach Bag & Flip Flops – ok, we admit these are not “essential”, but if you want to look like you belong in Florida, then buy a pair of flip-flops and some colorful beach bag to carry all this stuff in! Holds a big beach towel too.

Non-essential Packing Items for a Florida Road Trip or Vacation

  • Waterproof Phone Covering – many phones are sensitive to small amounts of water. Even a plastic bag from your pantry will protect your phone from that thunderstorm that pops up in the afternoon.
  • Jacket (preferably water resistant) – yes, Florida is warm. However, after a little rain shower temperatures can drop to jacket weather, plus anything water resistant will keep you somewhat dry. A panhandle Florida road trip to Apalachicola in January may require a jacket.
    Apalachicola Shrimp Boats

    Oyster beds are depleted in Apalachicola, but shrimping is still active.

  • Binoculars – Florida is full of wildlife. There have been countless times while on a Florida road trip, we have wished we had binoculars to see that deer in the distance, that eagle in the tree or the occasional whale that flirts with the shoreline.
  • Pocket Poncho – for a couple bucks at a discount store, you can buy a pocket-size poncho all folded up about the size of a deck of cards. That thunderstorm that popped up may keep you stranded or very wet. The only thing is we almost 100% guarantee you will never again be able to fold that poncho back in that little packet.
  • Water – almost every popular Florida beach has someplace to buy refreshments – but not all. If you visit a remote island like Cayo Costa or get on a five-mile trail in Myakka River State Park, you will want (and need) water.
    Alligator along Tamiami Trail

    Traveling Florida is always an adventure. This guy was along the road in the Everglades.

  • SunPass – this is an automatic way to pay tolls on your Florida road trip or vacation. You can buy one to stick on your windshield or get a movable module for any car. Using the SunPass means you can drive straight through checkpoints without worrying about change or money to pay. You can find out more here. SunPass is also good on toll roads and bridges in other states also.

We hope to see you soon on one of our road trips in Florida. Drop us an email with your comments.

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