What To Bring to the Pool: A Guide

The sun is up, school is out, and everybody is itching for a trip to the pool. It’s time to whip out all our favorite pool must-haves. Though, we likely haven’t had the opportunity for a pool day in a while. It’s safe to say our usual pool gear may be scattered about the garage, and we may need to go hunting for a few things — if we can remember just what we had!

It’s time for a refresher on what to pack in your pool bag! If a day of swimming and suntanning is on your agenda, read on for a refresher on what to bring!

Suit Up

Before you start packing your bags, you’ve got to have your gear. Make sure you’re dressed for the pool with these items:


There’s no question that this should be the number one item on your list. The only thing you might want to ask yourself is what kind of swimsuit you’d like to wear! From one-piece suits to tankinis to swim dresses, there are tons to choose from.

Swim Shorts or Swim Skirt

Enjoy a bit of extra coverage while you’re out of the pool with a pair of bottoms. Swim shorts, board shorts, or a swim skirt can be worn inside and outside of the water. They’re also great for pulling over your swimsuit bottoms while you relax poolside.

Cover Up

While you’re surely hoping for some sun at the pool, the weather can easily change — that’s why a cover-up, sweater, or hoodie is good to have around just in case. Beach and pool cover-ups can also add a stylish flair to your look.


Flip-flops are the perfect footwear to keep your feet protected without stifling them in the heat. Look for a comfortable pair with extra grip in the soles to prevent any slipping.


If you’re planning on getting your hair wet, get yourself a pair of goggles. These will keep the chlorine from stinging your eyes and make it easier to play diving games!

Stock Up on Refreshments

If you’re willing to hit up the poolside kiosk or restaurant, you might not need to worry about bringing a ton of snacks — otherwise, having a small cooler or pouch of refreshments is a must-have to make the poolside fun last!


Especially in hot summer temperatures, keeping hydrated is vital to staying happy and healthy. Spending time in the water makes you forget to drink — but remember that dehydration can quickly lead to fatigue or even heat stroke. If you prefer a bit of sweetness over water, a couple of juice boxes are a tasty way to stay cool!


What kind of fruit you bring is up to you, but our personal favorite is the fruit of the summer: watermelon! This sweet treat has a high-water content, perfect for ensuring everyone stays hydrated. Cantaloupes, strawberries, raspberries, and grapes are some other delicious choices.

Light Snacks

Because you’ll likely be jumping in and out of the pool, you don’t want any heavy meals weighing you down. Stick to easily digestible, light foods, like cold sandwiches, crackers, and pretzels.

Ice Cream

I scream, you scream — well, you know the drill! Nothing says summer fun like ice cream and popsicles.


Biting into a juicy slice of watermelon is much more satisfying when it’s nice and chilled. Keep your drinks and snacks from sizzling in the sun with a small, portable cooler.


Before the little ones dip their ice-cream-coated hands in the pool, hand out some napkins to keep the messes to a minimum.

Prepare for the Sun

Wearing sun protection every day isn’t just good for warding off sunburns — it can lower your risk for diseases like skin cancer and prevent signs of aging. 

Baseball Cap or Sun Hat

Combine sun protection and fashion statements with some fun headwear! Match your hat to your swimsuit or cover-up for a bit of extra style.

Sunscreen, Sunscreen, and More Sunscreen

Everybody, no matter age or skin color, should wear sunscreen daily — and more so when you’re planning on spending the day outdoors! Make sure you get a waterproof sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher.


Whether you’re keeping an eye on your family in the pool or scanning the pages of a good book, you won’t want to forget your sunglasses at home.

Sun Umbrella

While more common at the beach, a sun umbrella is a great way to stay cool in the shade. Go the extra mile and set up a cool little area for yourself or your family.

Tools for Rest and Relaxation

Pool days are a great way to enjoy some well-needed rest and recreation. Taking a relaxing break from everyday stressors isn’t just fun, it’s actually beneficial to your mental and physical health. Try having these items handy so you can kick back and unwind.


This is a no-brainer; towels are good for drying, as well as laying out on or rolling up into a makeshift neck cushion!

Foldable Chair

If the pool you’re headed to doesn’t already have lounge chairs, bring your own—and make sure it has cup holders.


Tearing through a thrilling page-turner or swooning over a romantic epic is always a wonderful pastime. Doing so in a comfy pool chair while you get a tan — even better!

Personal Music Player

Whether it’s a personal disc player or a modern smartphone, there are many ways to enjoy some tunes as you doze on your towel. Just don’t forget to bring your headphones! These days, you can even find waterproof ones.

A Cushion

Whether you're propping up your head to read or looking for a place to rest your feet — a cushion will add a bit of extra comfort to your day.

Fun for in and Around the Pool

Not every pool will allow you to bring toys, but in case they do, here are the ones that you should bring!

Beach Ball

A lot of pools have larger areas that include parks, playgrounds, tennis, or volleyball courts. Come prepared with your own ball so you can join in on the fun. Once you’ve worked up a sweat, it’s back to the water!

Pool Noodle

These are especially useful when you’re bringing kids who are still working on their swim skills. Whether it’s a swimming aid or a lounge device, a pool noodle is a must-have pool toy.

Pool Floaties

While we wouldn’t advise bringing a giant inflatable dolphin to a public pool, pool floaties are a fun addition to delight pool party guests.

Diving Rings

Tossing rings in the pool and diving for them is not just a good source of entertainment — it can also be a handy tool to help kids improve their swimming and observational skills!

Bucket and Shovel

These won’t come in handy at every pool, but many pools have a sandpit for kids to play in. In that case, a bucket and shovel will be the perfect tools for a little sandcastle building contest.

Final Thoughts

Before you head out the door, be sure to check out the amenities and regulations of the pool you plan to visit. They may give you specifics about what to bring and what to leave at home. 

Many pools provide lockers in the changing room. This is a safe place to store extra clothes and your purse or wallet. Hopefully, we’ve helped you compile a checklist of your own to prepare for your next pool day!


Ask an Expert: Six Tips for Staying Hydrated This Summer | USU

Sunscreen | The Skin Cancer Foundation

Take It Easy: The Benefits of Relaxation | North Shore