While I’m currently living out my country girl dreams here in Texas, I’ll always be a Florida girl at heart.
Growing up at the beach taught me many valuable life lessons, including what and what not to pack for a day in the sun. Finding the best beach bag essentials took 18 years of trial and error. Sometimes I would overpack and be forced to lug heavy coolers and bulky beach gear across the sand. Other times I would leave the beach with a gnarly sunburn and moderate dehydration. To save you from the mess of trying to decide what to bring and what to leave at home, I’ve curated a beach-bum-approved guide to packing the ultimate beach bag.
- Sunglasses (Your future self will thank you for this one).
Invest in a pair of polarized sunglasses before the weather starts to warm up! Bonus points if you’re planning for a day on the water via boat; your polarized glasses will help you spot sneaky sandbars and critters that may be waiting for you in the water.
- Because somehow, some way, you’ll need one; bring hair ties.
Wearing your hair down at the beach is virtually impossible (although for those people who make it work, I commend you). Even if you’re striving for Instagram-worthy beach waves, make sure to pack extra hair ties for when things get a little too sweaty.
- Undergarments (Bra AND underwear, ladies).
One of the biggest game-changers for my beach trips is packing a small Ziploc bag with an extra bra and underwear. Think about it; if you arrive at the beach with a cover-up or outfit over your swimsuit, once you’ve spent the day in the water, the last thing you want to do is sit in a soaking wet swimsuit under your clothes at dinner.
- A beach towel
Not a bath towel, not the white flimsy towel from your hotel. Investing in a good quality beach towel will keep you warm and dry.
- Sunscreen… and more sunscreen.
While sunscreen should be an essential part of your everyday skincare routine, putting on extra SPF is essential for a day at the beach. Make sure to reapply throughout the day, even if it’s overcast outside.
- Bandaids for when beach volleyball gets a little too intense.
Keeping a small plastic bag with band-aids is always a good idea when planning an eventful beach trip. The last thing you want is to get cut on a shell and be benched from your team’s beach volleyball game.
- Insulated Water Bottle (Stanley, Hydroflask, to each their own).
Be sure to bring your emotional-support water bottle to the beach, no matter what the weather looks like. It’s easy to get dehydrated in the summer, especially if there are activities involved that will have you breaking a sweat.
- Swap your going-out purse for a small and simple cardholder
Purses are an absolute no-go at the beach. Saltwater and sand do not go well with leather. Getting a cardholder to throw in your beach bag is the best way to ensure you don’t risk misplacing your credit card or ID.
- Don’t let that 10-step skincare routine go to waste by forgetting a hat!
At times, sunscreen just doesn’t cut it when you’re at the beach for more than a couple of hours. For long days on the water or in the sand, I like to bring a simple ball cap to keep my face shaded and skin protected.
- Skip the snack shack and bring your own beach treats.
With long lines and jacked-up prices, the snack shack or beach bar is not the place to be during the summer. Packing a few snacks like chips, sandwiches, or fruit is a great way to fight off hunger at the beach.