Surf, sand, and the sea. That’s the makings of a perfect getaway. Whether you’re spending the day amongst crashing waves or taking a 10-day vacation to a tropical paradise, here are the items you need to have in your beach bag.
The best beach bags
Whether you’re packin’ the sunblock or the sand toys, you can’t go to the beach without a beach bag. Pockets, weight, and material all play a factor in choosing the right bag, and, of course, style can’t be overlooked either.
Best overall beach tote: Dejaroo Mesh Beach Bag
Currently under $20 at the time of this writing and a nearly 5-star rating from almost 6,000 reviewers, it’s hard to do better than the Dejaroo Mesh Beach Bag. Simple, lightweight, durable, and, best of all, loaded with pockets.
Best for a beach picnic: Raytix Beach Bag with beach mat & built-in cooler
If you’re on snack and soda duty for your upcoming beach trip, the Raytix beach bag is sure to be your best friend. It comes with a hassle-free lightweight mat that can fit 3-4 people and a built-in cooler that allows you to keep the bulky plastic one at home.
Best large bag: Ledaou Large Beach Tote
Overpackers rejoice. This beach bag not only offers more fun patterns than your typical mesh bag but more importantly, it’s loaded with pockets so you don’t lose anything in the deep beach bag abyss.
Best insulated bag: Hydro Flask waterproof insulated tote
It’s not surprising that HydroFlask, makers of everybody’s favorite water bottles, offers and nearly-unmatched insulated tote bag. The bag comes in several sizes and colors, suitable for solo trips, family outings, and everything in between.
Best bag to splurge on: YETI Camino 35 Carryall
If you’re looking to invest in a tote you’ll have for years to come, look no further than the YETI Camino 35 Carryall. The cooler experts built this tote to last, complete with a durable outer layer and deployable internal dividers. Bring it on the boat for a day on the lake or even on your next camping trip.
Best dry bag: HEETA dry bag
If you tend to be on the water more than the sand, I recommend using a dry bag as your beach bag. It will protect all your important items and you can hit the water with it and not have to worry about keeping your stuff on shore.
The best beach essentials
Whether you’re laying out or fancy more active beach games, here are some beach essentials to bring along for a day in the sun.
Best beach towel: Hightide sand-free towel
Keep the sand at the beach with this quick-drying and sand-free towel that wicks off moisture and those pesky little grains. For a little extra help getting sand at bay, try out these mitts that help gently dust sand away.
Best phone protector: Waterproof cellphone waist pouch
The one thing I hate about the beach is that you often have to leave your important items on the shore while you wade in the water. Now, I always pack a waterproof cellphone waist pouch and put my phone and credit cards in there while I’m in the water just for extra peace of mind.
Best beach sandals: Reef and Crocs
Of course, you can’t hit the sand without a good pair of sandals. I like this platform sandal with extra arch support because you can use them to walk on hot sand and as water shoes. Crocs make a great lightweight sandal for men.
Best beach sneakers: Cariuma
For the people that don’t want to wear sandals to the beach, try the Cariuma sneakers. They are water resistant and sustainably made.
Best beach games: Spikeball and UNO Splash
Though sitting in the sun should be considered a very laborious activity, baking in the sun is technically not an active pastime. Pack some beach games like this Spikeball or UNO Splash.
The best reef-friendly sun protection
Sure, we all love sitting out and catching some rays. It’s an instant mood boost but it can also be the worst thing for you. Sunburns, sunspots, and pruny skin are all unfortunate results of too much time spent in the sun. Protect your skin with these beach protection essentials.
Best water-resistant sunscreen: Thinksport
Beautiful waters, like those in Hawaii, have precious coral reefs so consider choosing a sunscreen brand that won’t harm them is important. Thinksport will shield your skin from harmful rays and lasts up to 80 minutes.
Best sunscreen without a white residue: Black Girl Sunscreen
No one likes looking like they just smeared chalk all over themselves. For a sunscreen that doesn’t leave behind a white residue on darker complexions, try the sunscreen getting rave reviews: Black Girl Sunscreen.
Best face sunscreen: Supergoop! Glowscreen
For reef-friendly face sunscreen, try out a DFC favorite: Supergoop! It’s tinted with a velvety finish that doesn’t leave your face looking cakey after sweating in the heat.
Best scalp sunscreen: COOLA hair mist and Supergoop! powder
One of the spots that’s often overlooked and very susceptible to a sunburn is the scalp. This COOLA hair mist will protect your scalp without leaving an oily residue. If you have lighter hair, the Supergoop! powder is great because it also doubles as a dry shampoo.
Best beach hat: Wide-brim straw hat
As great as sunscreen is, nothing protects your scalp and face like a great sunhat. This stylish wide-brim hat even has an adjustable velcro strap.
Best lip balm: Aquaphor
Prevent chapped lips in the summer heat and salty sea with this Aquaphor lip balm that has SPF and won’t melt like the traditional stick balms.
Best sunglasses: SOJOS and LUENX
A good pair of sunglasses is a beach day must. Recently, I’ve been loving this shape for a light wire frame pair and this updated aviator style for men.
Best way to make your own shade: Pop-up beach tent
Make your own shade and bring a foldable sun canopy with you to the beach. This pop-up tent is perfectly compact and lightweight.
The best hair protection
Let’s get real. While going to the beach can be very soothing, it can be rough on your hair. Pack these hair accessories with you to avoid breaking and damaging your precious locks.
Best hair accessories: Hair clips and gentle hair ties
To avoid frying and damaging my hair during a day in the surf and sand, I bring a hair clip or gentle hair ties to avoid straining and pulling on my hair.
Best hair detangler: amika detangling spray
Though some people are fortunate enough for the ocean’s salt to give them perfect beachy waves, I am not one of those people. Whenever I go swimming, I pack my detangling brush and amika spray to protect my hair and keep it from matting up.