Florida Travel Blog

Travel destinations, beaches, attractions and fun things to do in Florida. 

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What to Pack for Florida – 10 Essentials for A Vacation

What to Pack for Florida Trip

Let’s start by saying we live in Florida. We travel Florida an average of twice per month. Florida Travel Blog is not influenced by advertisers – just the fun of taking a trip in Florida. We know what to pack for Florida and a weeks vacation or just a road trip.What to Pack for Florida - Facts

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 aren’t going to dress you!

We are going to suggest only the 10 essentials of what to pack for Florida for a week long trip to the Sunshine State. Plus, we will tell you why, when, and where you will need them.

Florida is a huge state with a wider range of different weather, hazards and activities than any other state in the country. Make your trip fun and less worrisome when you know what to pack for a week in Florida.

What to Pack for Florida Vacation – The Essentials

Knowing what to pack for Florida for a week is essential to make your trip 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. All sunscreens are not alike – check out some options here.
  • Lip Balm – we can’t count the times while fishing in Florida 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 inexpensive lip balm.
    southernmost point Key West What to pack for a week in Florida
    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. Find inexpensive polarized sunglasses here.
    Florida shells along St. George Island what to pack for a week in Florida
    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 trips in deep south Florida. This is big on our list of what to pack for a week in Florida. Bug Repellent comes in different sizes here.
  • 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 you will want a hat. Hats for the family.
  • 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 like these at Amazon.
  • 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. This is especially true for a family. Kids touch everything – most of which you prefer they don’t. Pack these simple travel hand wipes.
    Kayaking Florida Everglades what to pack for a week in Florida
    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. Inexpensive water shoes could save you from cuts that could ruin your trip. Check out water shoes at Amazon(Note: buy the inexpensive water shoes – it’s all you need!)
  • Small Travel 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. When figuring out what to pack for a week in Florida, this is the one most forgotten for families. The playgrounds like the ones on Clearwater Beach offer plenty of opportunities for cuts and bruises. For under $10, you might salvage a $1000 vacation day here.
  • 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.

What to Pack for Florida Week Long Trip – Non-essential Items

The items below may not be necessary in some locations. Many of these essentials we recommend on a Florida vacation will make your week 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. Here are some ideas from Amazon.
  • 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 at 55 degrees in the winter.
    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. Check out travel binoculars.
  • 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. You can buy enough for the whole family for under $15!
  • Water if Driving – 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 trip if you are driving. 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.

What To Pack for Florida – Your Quick Packing List for Florida

Packing for a trip to Florida largely depends on the time of year you visit and the activities you plan to engage in. However, Florida’s generally warm and humid climate means you can follow some basic guidelines year-round. Here’s a suggested packing list for a typical trip to Florida:

 Clothing

  • Lightweight, Breathable Clothing
    T-Shirts and Tank Tops
  • Opt for cotton or moisture-wicking fabrics.
  • Shorts: Comfortable and casual shorts are perfect for the warm weather.
  • Lightweight Dresses and Skirts: For a more dressed-up look that’s still cool.

Swimwear

  •  Swimsuits: Bring at least one or two for the beach, pool, or springs.
  • Cover-ups: Ideal for transitioning from the beach to other activities.

Footwear

  • Comfortable Walking Shoes: Sneakers or sandals for exploring and walking around.
  • Flip-Flops: For the beach and poolside.
  • Water Shoes: If you plan on visiting springs, rivers, or engaging in water sports.

Evening Wear

  • Lightweight Long Pants: For cooler evenings or dining out.
  • Long-Sleeve Shirts or Light Sweaters: For air-conditioned restaurants or cooler nights.
    What to pack for Florida beach
    Packing for a beach trip requires a little more planning for the intensity of the sun in Florida – that is why you are here!

 Accessories

things you need when flying
  • Sun Protection:Hat or Cap: To shield your face from the sun.
  • Sunglasses: With UV protection.
    Sunscreen: High SPF to protect your skin from strong UV rays.
  • Rain Gear:Lightweight Rain Jacket or Poncho: Florida is known for sudden rain showers, especially in the summer.
  • Umbrella: A compact travel umbrella can be handy.

Other Essentials

  • Reusable Water Bottle: To stay hydrated in the heat.
  • Beach Bag: For carrying essentials to the beach or pool.
  • Towel: Quick-dry travel towels are convenient.
  • Insect Repellent: Especially important

Specific to Activities

  • Outdoor Activities:Activewear*: If you plan on hiking, kayaking, or engaging in other outdoor activities, pack moisture-wicking athletic clothing.
  • Snorkeling Gear: If you prefer to use your own equipment rather than renting.

Formal Outings

  • Casual Evening Wear: Lightweight, dressier outfits for nicer restaurants or events.

By focusing on light, breathable clothing and including a few specific items to protect against the sun and sudden rain, you’ll be well-prepared for a comfortable and enjoyable trip to Florida.

What to pack for Florida trip Miami Beach
Packing for a place like Miami Beach may require some semi formal evening cloths at some of the big hotels.

What Are The Parts of Florida and Packing Requirements by Region

When packing for a trip to Florida, certain regions require extra attention due to their unique climates, activities, and environments. Here are some specific considerations for different parts of Florida:

South Florida (Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Key West)

  • Climate: Hot and humid, with frequent rain showers.
  • Dressy Outfits: Miami’s nightlife scene can be upscale, so pack some dressier clothes and shoes.

Central Florida (Orlando, Tampa, Kissimmee)

  • Climate: Warm and humid, with afternoon thunderstorms common in summer.

Northern Florida (Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Pensacola)

  • Climate: More variable, with cooler winters compared to the rest of the state.
  • In winter, bring a light jacket or sweater for cooler evenings.

Florida Panhandle (Panama City Beach, Destin, Pensacola)

  • Climate: Hot and humid summers, mild to chilly winters.
  • Cool Weather Gear: A light jacket for cooler winter evenings.

What to pack for Florida Everglades

Packing for the Florida Everglades will require more than normal beach wear. Bugs, swamps, and wildlife make this a unique place.

The Florida Keys

  • Climate: Hot, humid, but breezes from the seas.

The Everglades

  • Climate: Hot, humid, and buggy.
  • Long-Sleeve Shirts and Pants: Lightweight, breathable fabrics to protect against insects.
  • Insect Repellent: Essential for dealing with mosquitoes and other bugs.
  • Sturdy Footwear: Closed-toe shoes for hiking and exploring.

By tailoring your packing to the specific region of Florida you’re visiting, you can ensure you’re prepared for the local climate and activities, making your trip more comfortable and enjoyable.

Our List of What To Pack for Florida Weeklong Trip Applies to Short Road Trips in Florida

Our packing essentials were referenced for a week. However, even short trips in Florida require some of the same essentials. These items can turn a bad day into a great day!

We hope to see you soon during your week in Florida. Drop us an email with your comments. Tell us what we forgot in our list of 10 essentials to pack, plus a few non-essentials. 

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