Packing for Florida: 11 Must-Have Items for the Sunshine State

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Are you ready to soak up the sun, sand, and sea and embark on a three-day Floridian adventure?

Well, hold your horses! Before you hit the road, let's make sure you're not caught with your pants down.

We know packing can be a hassle, but don't fret! We're here to help you pack like a pro so you'll know exactly what to pack, even if you're only going to spend three days in Florida.

We'll make sure you have everything you need to have a whale of a time in the Sunshine State.

What Should I Bring For A Short Trip In Florida?

Florida is a beautiful state with plenty to offer visitors no matter how long their vacation is.

However, if you're only visiting for a short time, it's important to make the most of your trip.

This means packing appropriately for the weather and activities you plan to do.

Unless you have visited Florida before, you may not know what to expect regarding the weather.

The state is known for its hot and humid summers, making packing a challenge.

However, a few must-have items will help you stay comfortable during your trip, no matter the season.

Let's take a look at each item and why it's essential for a Florida vacation.

Breathable Clothing

Breathable clothing is one of the most important things to pack for a trip to Florida.

As we mentioned, Florida is known for its hot and humid summers. This can make it difficult to stay cool, even when you're in the air conditioning.

Wearing breathable clothing will help you stay comfortable in the heat. Natural fabrics like cotton or linen are ideal, as they allow your skin to breathe.

You might also want to pack a few lightweight layers that you can take off and put on as needed.

If you plan on going out to dinners, breathable dress shirts or blouses are essential. In addition, be sure to pack a light jacket or sweater for cooler evenings.


An attractive young woman applying sunscreen to her face

There is a reason Florida is called the Sunshine State! The state gets close to 240 sunny days per year, so it's important to pack sunscreen no matter what time of year you're visiting.

Even if you don't normally burn, the sun in Florida is intense. Wearing sunscreen will help protect your skin from harmful UV rays and prevent sunburns.

If you plan to spend time outdoors, pack sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.

You should also reapply sunscreen every two hours or more often if you're swimming or sweating.


Yellow swimsuit at a retail store

If you're visiting Florida, chances are you'll want to take a dip in the pool or ocean.

So whether you're staying at a resort or planning to visit the beach, be sure to pack swimwear.

If you don't have a bathing suit, now is the time to buy one! There are many stores in Florida that sell swimwear, so you'll have no trouble finding something to suit your style.

When packing swimwear, be sure to choose a comfortable and flattering suit. You'll also want to pack a cover-up or rash guard to wear when you're not in the water.

Hat Or Visor

Girls on the beach wearing sombrero hats

Another essential item for a trip to Florida is a hat or visor. As we mentioned, the sun in Florida is intense, so protecting your face from the sun's harmful rays is important.

A wide-brimmed hat will offer the most sun protection. If you don't like wearing hats, a visor can also be a good option. Be sure to choose a comfortable hat or visor that won't get blown off by the wind.


If you don't want to be blinded by the sun, be sure to pack a pair of sunglasses. Sunglasses will also help protect your eyes from the sun's harmful UV rays.

When choosing sunglasses, be sure to pick a pair that blocks out at least 99% of UV rays.

Also, since you will be wearing them the majority of the time, be sure to choose a style you like that is comfortable.

Woman wearing sunglasses and a sombrero hat

Bug Spray

With ample water and lush vegetation, Florida is a hotbed for mosquitoes. So if you don't want to spend your trip covered in bites, be sure to pack bug spray.

There are many different types of bug sprays on the market, so be sure to choose one that is effective against mosquitoes.

You should also pack a small can of mosquito repellent to keep in your purse or backpack when you're on the go.

Woman applying bug spray on her legs

Comfortable Shoes

It may seem obvious, but comfortable shoes are a must when packing for a trip to Florida

Also, since you'll be doing a lot of walking, you'll want to make sure your shoes won't rub or cause blisters.

A good pair of sandals or sneakers will be your best bet. You may also consider packing a pair of hiking shoes if there is a hiking trail that you want to visit.

Pair of legs wearing rubber shoes on the beach

Beach Towel

Unless your host has beach towels, be sure to bring your own from home. A beach towel is essential for drying off after a swim in the pool or ocean.

Beach towels can also be used as a blanket or mat when you're relaxing on the beach. Be sure to choose a large enough towel to lie down on and one that dries quickly.

Beach towels drying on lounge chairs on the beach


Florida is beautiful, and it wouldn't be a vacation if you didn't capture some moments.

While some new phones have good cameras, there's nothing like a real camera to get great shots.

This may not be essential for everyone, but if you like taking pictures, be sure to pack a camera. Don't forget the charger and extra memory card too!

Professional DLSR camera

Reusable Water Bottle

For the sake of convenience and preventing waste, be sure to pack a reusable water bottle to use during your trip.

Not only will you be doing your part for the environment but you'll also save money on buying bottled water.

So be sure to fill up your water bottle before you leave for the day to stay hydrated in the heat.

closeup of a glass reusable water bottle on a seashore

Raincoat (Depending On The Season)

If you are arriving during the rainy season, be sure to pack a raincoat. A rain jacket will keep you dry during Florida's sudden downpours.

A raincoat is also useful if you plan on hiking. Finally, be sure to choose a lightweight rain jacket that can be easily packed away.

Bonus item: A Day Pack

Day packs can be useful for carrying all your essentials when you're on the go. If you plan on doing any hiking or exploring, be sure to pack a day pack.

Your day pack should be large enough to fit everything you need but not so big that it's cumbersome.

A good day pack will have a water-resistant coating and comfortable straps.

Here's our list all at once!

  1. Breathable clothing
  2. Sunscreen
  3. Swimwear
  4. Hat or visor
  5. Sunglasses
  6. Bug spray
  7. Comfortable shoes
  8. Beach towel
  9. Camera
  10. Reusable water bottle
  11. Raincoat (depending on the season)

Suitcase with beach essentials

When Is The Best Time To Visit Florida?

When it comes to good weather, low crowds, and low costs, the best time to visit Florida is in the spring, from mid-March to early May.

The weather is warm but not too hot, and the prices are reasonable. However, this is also Spring Break season, so expect crowds at some attractions.

Another great time to visit is September and October. Due to kids being back in school, there are fewer crowds, and the weather is still pleasant.

However, hurricane season runs from June to November, so check the forecast before booking your trip.

Florida is a great destination all year, but the best time to visit will depend on your budget and what you're looking for in a vacation.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA skyline at dusk.

When Should You Not Go To Florida?

There are a few times of the year when you might want to avoid Florida. The busiest time is during the winter, from mid-December to March.

However, the weather is at its best during this time, so it may be worth braving the crowds.

Another time to avoid is during the summer when the humidity is high and the temperatures are unbearable.

If you can't stand the heat, it's best to visit Florida during the shoulder seasons.

Hurricane season is also a time when you might want to reconsider your trip. Hurricanes can cause widespread damage and disrupt travel plans.

Nonetheless, everyone has different tolerances for crowds and weather, so ultimately, it's up to you when you want to visit Florida.

Ready And Packed Up For Your Florida Getaway?

By bringing these essential items with you on your trip to Florida, you'll be prepared for anything.

From the heat and humidity to the sudden downpours, you'll be ready to enjoy your vacation.

Remember, stay safe and have fun!

Made it to the end? Here are other articles you might find helpful:

What To Do At The Gulf Islands National Seashore

Blue Spring State Park, FL: A Visitor’s Guide

What’s The Best Time To Visit Pensacola, FL?

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