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10 Essentials to Pack on a Florida Road Trip or Vacation

Essentials Plus Some Travel Packing Options for Florida

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 10 essentials to pack on a Florida road trip or vacation.

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 10 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

These things to pack on a Florida vacation or road trip will make your day delightful instead of disastrous! Just take a few minutes to pack these items and you are good to go.
  • 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 the 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 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 10 essentials to pack on a Florida road trip or vacation
    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 in 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 10 essentials to pack on a Florida vacation
    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. This is big on our list of essentials to pack on a Florida road trip or vacation.
  • 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 – these specialty shoes are light and designed to walk along 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. Shells can be sharp.
  • 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. Of the essentials to pack on a Florida road trip, this is the one most forgotten for families. The playgrounds like the ones 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

The items below may not be necessary in some locations. Many of these essentials on a Florida vacation will make your vacation in Florida more comfortable.

  • 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 - essentials to pack on a Florida road trip.
    Traveling Florida is always an adventure. This guy was along the road in the Everglades. Of our essentials to pack on a Florida road trip, you will need bug repellent for the Swamp Angels.
  • 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. Tell us what we forgot in our list of 10 essentials to pack on a Florida road trip and vacation.

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