Lake Trip

Featured, Lake Trip, Travel Hacks

Lake Day Essentials | What to Pack For a Lake Day

There’s something magical about spending a day at the lake. Between the serene waters, the gentle breeze, and all of the sunshine, there’s really nothing better in the summer!

That being said, a lake day can get a lot less fun when you forget these lake day essentials. Be prepared and don’t forget what you really need out on or by the water with this list – read on for our ultimate lake day essentials guide.

Sun Protection

  • Sunscreen: Protect your skin from harmful UV rays by applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30.
  • Hat: A wide-brimmed hat provides extra shade for your face and neck.
  • Sunglasses: Polarized sunglasses will protect your eyes from glare and UV rays.

Shade Gear

  • Canopy, Umbrella or Tent: Sunbathing is great but make sure you have an option for shade so you and your group can stay cool and protected from the sun if you’re going to be out at the lake all day long.

Comfortable Seating

  • Beach Chairs: Lightweight, foldable beach chairs are perfect for relaxing by the water.
  • Blanket or Beach Towel: A large, soft towel or blanket is great for lounging on the shore.

 Swim Gear

  • Swimsuit: Bring your favorite swimsuit for a refreshing dip in the lake.
  • Towels: Extra towels for drying off after swimming.
  • Water Shoes: Protect your feet from rocky or slippery lake bottoms.

Fun and Games

  • Inflatable Floaties: Relax on the water with a comfortable floatie or inflatable raft.
  • Water Toys: Bring along water guns, paddleboards, or kayaks for some water-based fun.
  • Frisbee or Ball: Great for some fun on the shore.

Food and Drinks

  • Cooler: A sturdy cooler will keep your food and drinks cold all day.
  • Snacks: Pack easy-to-eat snacks like fruit, chips, and granola bars.
  • Water Bottles: Stay hydrated with plenty of water. Consider insulated bottles to keep your drinks cold.

Safety Gear

  • Life Jackets: Essential for everyone, especially if you’re planning on boating or paddleboarding.
  • First Aid Kit: Be prepared for minor injuries with a basic first aid kit.


  • Books or Magazines: Perfect for some peaceful reading by the water.
  • Bluetooth Speaker: Enjoy your favorite tunes with a portable, waterproof speaker.

Miscellaneous Essentials

  • Bug Spray: Keep pesky insects at bay with a good bug spray.
  • Dry Bag: Protect your valuables like phone, wallet, and keys from water damage.
  • Trash Bags: Help keep the environment clean by packing out all your trash.

Extra Clothing

  • Cover-Up or Extra Clothes: Bring a cover-up or change of clothes for after swimming.
  • Light Jacket: Even in summer, evenings by the lake can get chilly.

Navigation and Communication

  • Map or GPS: If you’re unfamiliar with the area, having a map or GPS can be very helpful. You can also screenshot a map of the area on your phone in case you don’t have service.
  • Phone Charger: A portable charger will ensure your phone stays powered throughout the day.

Featured, Lake Trip

Float Trip Food Ideas

Planning a fun float trip? Don’t forget the food! These float trip food ideas are perfect for keeping hunger at bay without requiring too much effort while you’re enjoying your day. 

Read on for our favorite float trip food ideas!

Jump to:

Float Trip Tips


Trail Mix

This classic snack is the perfect float trip food! Mix nuts, seeds, dried fruits and chocolate for a delicious and satisfying snack combination that’s easy to grab by the handful. If you’re going to be out in the sun though, make sure to keep your trail mix in the cooler or leave the chocolate at home!

Fresh Fruit

Apples, oranges, and grapes are all great options for float trips. They’re hydrating, easy to pack, and don’t require refrigeration for a day or two.


Whether it’s beef, turkey, or even a vegan alternative, jerky is a protein-packed snack that’s perfect for keeping your energy levels up as you paddle.

Individual Chip Bags

While a less healthy alternative, getting an assorted pack of individual chip bags is a great way to bring a snack where you and anyone you’re with have a few options to satisfy those crunchy cravings!


Overnight Oats

Overnight oats are a perfect choice to start your day with an easy and filling breakfast since they are easy to prepare the night before. To make them, just combine rolled oats, milk (or a non-dairy alternative), yogurt, and your favorite toppings like berries, nuts, and honey in a mason jar. In the morning, just grab and go!

Breakfast Burritos

Prepare breakfast burritos filled with scrambled eggs, cheese, sausage, and veggies. Wrap them in foil and keep them in a cooler. They can be enjoyed cold or heated over a campfire or portable stove if you want a warm breakfast.

Fruit Bowl

Prep yourself a fruit bowl if you’re looking for a light and healthy breakfast idea to take on your trip. Chop and slice your favorite fruits and keep it in a container in the cooler – it doesn’t get easier than that!



Wraps are a versatile and mess-free lunch option. Fill tortillas with hummus, veggies, cheese, and deli meats for a hearty meal. Wrap them tightly in foil or plastic wrap to keep them fresh and easily accessible.

PB&J Sandwich

You can’t beat a classic PB&J on a float trip – or any kind of trip! Load up your bread with creamy or crunchy peanut butter and sweet jelly for a delicious and portable lunch on your float trip.

Pasta Salad

Pasta salad can be made ahead of time and kept in a cooler for a delicious and filling lunch idea. Combine cooked pasta with veggies, cheese, and a light vinaigrette for a refreshing and filling lunch. You can also add extras like cubed ham, bacon crumbles, olives, rotisserie chicken, salami, or anything else your little heart desires!


Foil Packet Meals

Foil packet meals are perfect for float trips. Prepare packets with fish, chicken, or veggies, seasoned and wrapped tightly in foil. They can be cooked over a campfire or portable grill. This method makes for easy cleanup too!

Chili or Stew

Prepare a pot of chili or stew ahead of time and keep it in a cooler. Reheat it over a campfire for a hearty and warming dinner. Bring along some crusty bread or cornbread for a complete meal.

One-Pot Pasta

Make a big pot of pasta with the extra fixings of your choice: pre-cooked sausage, cherry tomatoes, spinach, garlic, olive oil, and Parmesan. Cook everything in a single pot for easy prep and clean up.

Grilled Kabobs

Prep chunks of chicken, beef, or veggies, and marinate them in your favorite sauce ahead of time. Then add them to skewers when you reach your destination and grill them over a portable stove or campfire.

Float Trip Tips


Don’t forget to stay hydrated! Bring plenty of beverage options so you have a few to choose from and don’t risk dehydration.

  • Water: Staying hydrated is crucial during a float trip. Bring plenty of water bottles or a hydration pack. Consider adding electrolyte tablets to your water for an extra boost.
  • Iced Tea or Lemonade: Prepare a big batch of iced tea or lemonade and keep it in a cooler. These refreshing drinks are perfect for a hot day on the river.
  • Canned Beverages: If you’re planning to enjoy a beer or soda, opt for cans instead of bottles for safety and ease of packing. Remember to drink responsibly and adhere to local regulations regarding alcohol on/near the water.

Pack Smart

Use waterproof bags and coolers to keep your food dry and fresh. Don’t forget bungee cords and rope to keep everything tied down and secure!

Plan Portions

Pre-portion your meals and snacks to avoid overpacking and ensure you have enough for everyone.

Keep it Simple

Choose foods that are easy to prepare and eat. The less fuss, the more you can enjoy your trip.

Leave No Trace

Pack out all your trash and leftover food to keep the river clean and beautiful for future adventurers.