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A bird\'s eye view pic of a blue tote bag with a water bottle, claw clip and book.
A bird\'s eye view pic of a blue tote bag with a water bottle, claw clip and book.
Original photo by Kate Green

My Beach Bag Essentials this Upcoming Summer

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

As the summer rolls around, everyone waits excitedly for its arrival — sunny days, warm nights, and of course, long hours spent at the beach. One of my favorite summer pastimes is sitting on the beach, roasting in the sun all day with my friends. I used to be simple on my packing — I’d bring a towel, maybe a hat, and possibly some water for my entire day. And I was of course, miserable. Since then, I find it imperative that I’m well-stocked and well-packed for my days at the beach. So, to help you avoid any beach day packing mistakes, I thought I’d give you the run-down on some of my most important essentials!

Bags matter.

If you think you can fit everything you need for an entire day on the beach in just a tiny little tote bag, I’m afraid you’re wrong (kudos to all of those that have tried, though). I need a bag that can hold enough food, water, and other supplies to sustain me for multiple days in the jungle. I’ve had my sights set on the Daily Multi-Pocket Tote Bag from LuluLemon for some time now (thinking I could use it for school too), but I also really enjoy this Folkulture tote bag from Amazon because of its cute blue detailing or this LEDAOU beach bag with its cute corduroy detailing!

This bag? Probably not going to work for me…
But this bag? Now we’re talking.
An actually good towel

I’ve been seeing a TON of ads on my Instagram recently about Sand Cloud towels. They have them in a variety of colors, designs, and sizes, and they’re apparently super water absorbent! One of my friends from home has one, and I’m always incredibly jealous as she sprawls out on her massive towel while I’m stuck on my teeny tiny one that’s already sopping wet from me going into the water once. Thus, I’m ditching my bad towel and actually going to get a good one this summer!

Hats, hats, Sunglasses, hats

I am a huge proponent for having multiple choices of hats and sunglasses during your day at the beach. Whether it be a basic trucker hat, a baseball cap (I always have my Carhartt hat in my bag at all times), a full-coverage straw hat to keep the sun out, or maybe even a cute straw cowboy hat; the opportunities are endless. And as always, you can never forget a good pair of sunglasses. I always have my trusty pair of Ray-Bans in my bag, but I think I’m going to get some sunglasses from Goodr for this upcoming summer. I’m very intrigued by this pair of tortoiseshell aviators, called “Amelia Earheart Ghosted Me” on their website.

You can never go wrong with a trucker hat!
I LOVE this bucket hat!
Appreciating the sunglasses AND hat combo here.
My sunscreen Hot take?

Okay. Hear me out. I hated wearing sunscreen for the longest time. My mom would have to wrangle me every time we went to the beach to spray the cold, plastic smelling, oily sheen onto my skin as I withered in disgust. So, for a while, I just never wore sunscreen. That was until I discovered that sunscreens can actually smell… good? The only brands I ever use are Sun Bum or Hawaiian Tropic, for no other reason than that they smell like coconut and all things beautiful in this world (not like plastic).

As for face sunscreen, I’ve struggled to find one that I really enjoy. I’ve heard really good things about Supergoop! and Elta MD, but I’m looking for something on the lower price side since I spend a lot of time outside for my job in the summer as well. I’m thinking of trying the La Roche-Posay sunscreen this summer!

Stay strapped with my Sun Bum always.
Maybe I’ll opt in for the Supergoop! sunscreen stick?
An actually good water bottle

There is simply nothing worse on this green earth than being on the beach — hot, head pounding, sweating in places you didn’t know you could sweat — and taking a big fat swig from your water bottle only for it to be lukewarm and steaming. No longer. I am only bringing the good stuff to the beach this summer, like my trusty Hydroflask or maybe even a Yeti cup (expensive, I know, but it always keeps my drinks cold) if I feel like sipping on something sweet as I lay on the sand.

Bring it back to the Hydroflask VSCO era tbh.
The little things in life…

Lastly, the things you always forget to throw in your bag last minute: a good book, a couple of snacks to munch on when you get hungry, and a little makeup bag. I don’t mean to do your actual makeup at the beach (though I would have mad respect for you if you did); I mean to carry the small random things like a mini hairbrush, some hair ties, a claw clip, and a mini mirror. It may seem stupid to carry these things, but when you’ve just been tossed around by a huge wave, all of a sudden a hairbrush may feel like a gift from the universe.

I think this little floral makeup bag from Sminra on Amazon is absolutely adorable, or if you’re looking for something bigger, this one from STARDW is also super cute!

I’ve been obsessed with these floral makeup bags recently!
Or maybe this cool orange one too…

These are the main essentials I’m bringing in my beach bag this summer. Even if you don’t believe in having a sturdy bag, sprawling out on a big towel, or wearing sunscreen (although, please do that one), I hope that you found something that you can add to your list of essentials for this upcoming summer!

Annie is a first-year student at UCLA from Connecticut majoring in Political Science and Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences. In her free time she loves dancing, working out, and baking.