There is nothing that makes me happier than going to the beach. I grew up vacationing in Rhode Island with my family for a few weeks every summer, and I still try to get back there every year, even if it’s just for a few days. In fact, I’m headed there in two days to sit my bum on the beach and read for hours under the sun. Of course, I always bring all my beach bag essentials with me every time I go.
I feel like I’m a seasoned pro when it comes to beaching it up, and I definitely know a thing or two about which beach bag essentials you’re going to need to fully enjoy your day. Some of them are obvious, and others are not as much. Below, I’m sharing a round-up of items that I recommend you bring the next time you’re heading to the beach.
19 Beach Bag Essentials You Don’t Want to Forget
This is probably the most obvious item on this beach bag essentials list, but definitely the most important. You need an actual bag to carry all your stuff in. And it can’t just be any bag. My best advice is to invest in a bag that is only used for the beach. Beach totes can get hella dirty and salty, and I think it’s best to dedicate one bag for the beach each year, in case you get sand in it or it gets really wet.
There are a few different types of bags I like to bring with me to the beach. The first one is a classic canvas tote that’s large enough to fit all your stuff in it. You really can’t go wrong with an L.L.Bean Boat and Tote Open-Top canvas bag ($35). They last for a million years and I love how classic and chic they always look on the beach. They also have totes that have a zipper on top ($50) if you prefer a closed-top option, for fear of sand (or seagulls) getting into your bag.
Another easy tote that I like to bring to the beach are the BYBBA Balos Foldaway Tote ($56). They come in a bunch of colors, and I like that they are really lightweight and don’t take up space like the L.L.Bean Boat and Tote might. They are really durable and have a drawstring top that keeps everything inside and in place. Plus, they are made with 100% post-consumer recycled plastic, so they are great for the environment, too.
This is a must-have. Especially considering the planet is getting hotter and hotter, and your face needs lots of protection. There are about a million and one beach hats you can bring to the beach. I like to bring a baseball cap or a straw hat. I love the classic Alo Yoga Off-Duty Cap ($58). Also, I love a good packable straw hat from J.Crew ($70).
So, my family and I usually bring a ton of Poland Spring Water bottles to the beach in a cooler and then recycle them at the end of the day. Obviously, this is not the most environmentally friendly option. There’s nothing worse than running out of drinking water on a hot day at the beach. I would recommend to either bring a large gallon of water to the beach and share with your family. Or, bring multiple, reusable water bottles for yourself and your family.
I really love the Hydro Flask Wide Mouth water bottles ($48). You can also purchase them on Amazon. Yes, they are pricey, but we use ours almost every day and they keep ice frozen solid for days. And I mean days. It’s insane. They will keep your drinks very cold on the hot beach.
Don’t go to the beach without a towel! And don’t bring the towels you use for the shower lol. I like to bring multiple towels to the beach when I visit—one for when I’m laying in the sand, one for when I get out of the water, and a small one just for my hands, or anything else that needs wiping. I don’t really have any specific towel recommendations, but make sure it’s big n’ fluffy!
Body sunscreen is a non-negotiable. To be totally honest, I usually just bring whatever body sunscreen I’ve been sent in brand mailers through my editorial job. You need to opt for a body sunscreen that is at least SPF 30 for enough protection from the sun.
Some of the best body sunscreens I’ve tried over the years include the Supergoop! PLAY Everyday Lotion SPF 30 ($34) and the La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-In Milk Sunscreen SPF 60 ($29).
You’re probably going to regret not bringing an umbrella with you to the beach. There are a ton of options out there—some more sturdy than others. We’ve just been bringing a lightweight one that covers my fiance and I just enough on the beach.
A good book
What are you doing going to the beach if you don’t have a great book with you!? Obviously, there are a million and one book options to bring along to the beach. You can read on your iPad or Kindle, or bring a physical book with you.
Face sunscreen has always been really tricky for me because I find that a lot of them break me out. Some options that I’ve been reaching for recently are the Naturium sunscreen, the La-Roche Posay Anthelios Mineral Ultra-Light Face Sunscreen Fluid SPF 50 ($38), and the Proactiv Clear Skin Face Sunscreen ($24). None of these really break me out at all, and they look great under makeup, too.
Any time I don’t bring a cooler with me to the beach, I almost always regret it. You don’t need a giant one to store the essential things that need to be chilled. It’s probably a good idea to stop by a gas station and grab a bag of ice to fill the cooler with. I don’t have any specific cooler suggestions, but make sure you choose a size that’s right for you (and your family, if you have one!). If it’s just you heading to the beach, I suggest bringing a super small one to house your drinks and lunch.
There are a bunch of drinks I love to bring to the beach, and none of them are alcoholic. I really love a great non-alcoholic IPA. I also love those tiny cans of Coke that are basically the perfect amount of soda to satisfy a craving. Finally, I really love bringing the Athletic Brewing Co. Chelada Nada ($15 for 6-pack) to the beach. It’s a non-alcoholic michelada in a can, and I am obsessed. Unfortunately, they are always sold out and are limited edition, which is annoying. I hope the brand puts this pick on their regular rotation.
I have been through hell and back trying to find sunglasses that actually fit my face. I’ve discovered that low bridge sunglasses are my best bet. Check out my other blog post for my favorites!
Choosing a good beach chair for the beach is pretty important in my opinion. You want one that reclines and is sturdy enough to last you years. You can’t go wrong with the Tommy Bahama 5-Position Classic Lay Flat Folding Backpack Beach Chair ($74).
This one is going to be up to personal preference. I usually like to bring a full lunch and snacks to the beach. I am always hungry and I get weird anxiety if I don’t have enough food while lounging on the beach. Some snacks that I like to bring to the beach include Lay’s Classic Potato Chips, watermelon, and Goldfish.
Change of clothes
Sometimes I bring a change of clothes to the beach, and other times I don’t. It really depends on what I do after going to the beach. It also depends on if there is a bathroom around to change in. Or, you could always change in the car haha.
It took me years to realize that it was probably a good idea to bring some sort of hair brush to the beach. My hair always dries crazy when I don’t brush it out after dipping into the water. I think bringing a mini Wet Brush is a great idea to add to your beach tote, regardless of how long your hair is. Here’s an easy, portable Wet Brush Mini ($5).
Sometimes I like to listen to an audiobook or podcast while I walk along the beach. AirPods ($99) might not be the best in terms of beach-friendly headphones, as they can fall out of your ears and easily get lost in the sand. I feel like these ($38) are a good option for walking along the beach or sitting in your beach chair. They are less likely to get buried.
Bring a cover up with you in case it gets too hot on the beach and you need to protect your skin. I think Show Me Your Mumu has some really cute coverups!
I’ve actually never brought a portable charger to the beach, but for folks who use their phone a lot while under the sun, I would suggest bringing a portable charger with you.
Being a beach bum can get messy. I would suggest bringing wipes with you, especially if you have little ones. I feel like these Wet Ones ($20) are good to add to your beach bag for when you need ‘em.
Looking for a beach to bring your beach bag essentials? Check out my Excellence Playa Mujeres review, which is a great all-inclusive resort in Mexico!