Each of these beach bag essentials will help make sure you have a great day relaxing by the pool or in the sand.
Whether you're heading out on a summer vacation or a mid-winter break, if you're spending the day in the sun, you'll want to consider popping these items in your beach bag.
But first, you'll need to choose the perfect bag to carry your essentials. There are so many great styles, from canvas or waterproof totes to wicker baskets and backpacks. These are a few of my favorite styles.
1. Sun Hat
Fedoras and floppy wide-brimmed hats are a great way to keep your head cool and prevent heat stroke. They're also imperative to keep colored hair from fading or prominent parts from getting burned. If you're sportier, visors and ball caps are also great options.
2. Cover Up
It's always a good idea to have something to slip over your swimsuit in case you want to go to a restaurant or to keep the sun off your shoulders. There are so many great styles of covers ups to choose from. Jersey dresses, rompers, and tunics are always comfortable and provide full coverage, while sarongs and kimonos leave a little more room to breathe if you will. And each type of cover up comes in a variety of fabrics and colors.
It doesn't matter how fair or dark your skin is, sunscreen tops the list of beach bag essentials. You simply have to protect yourself from the sun's harmful UV rays. If you're super fair-skinned and have freckles like me, Neutrogena makes 100+ SPF sunscreen that is non-greasy and absorbs quickly. If you've got tattoos, Tattoo Goo makes a specially formulated sunscreen that will help stop them from fading in the sun. The best part is that it comes in a chapstick-sized package that you can easily take with you everywhere. Sunlight is a tattoo's worst enemy—keep 'em covered.
4. Soothing Gel
So you fell asleep in the sun...for a few hours...and your sunscreen wore off. Don't be ashamed, we've all been there before. You may look like a lobster but you don't need to feel like you're boiling in a pot of hot water. Soothe your burning skin with aloe vera gel. The cool sensation does wonders to calm a painful burn.
Your skin isn't the only thing you need to protect from the sun. Be sure to pack your favorite pair of sunnies to keep them safe from UV rays (and also to help prevent crow's-feet from squinting). You can't go wrong with a class pair of Ray-Bans, but I just love having a little fun with my shades.
6. Beach Towel
If you're spending the day at the beach, you need a big, cozy towel that can double as a blanket. Boho Mandala beach throws are all the rage. The circular shape is both fun and stylish. Turkish towels are also extremely popular. They're super absorbent, fast-drying, and can double as a sarong in a pinch.
I know, I know, you want to feel the sand between your toes. Don't we all? But you still need to have a pair of shoes you can slip on if you plan to pop into the local burger joint. Birkenstocks are a great option if you want something a little trendy or that has some solid arch support (I like mine with a little glitz so I can dress them up at night). And of course, there's always the comfortable, versatile, and affordable flip flop. Havaianas are a great brand with lots of style selection.
Even if you don't plan to take a dip in the water, it's customary to wear a swimsuit for a day at the beach or poolside. There are so many great styles that it's hard to choose just one. From classic one pieces to itty bitty bikinis, you can keep it modest or flaunt your best features. Tankinis, retro remixes, and sexy silhouettes ensure there is something that will work with your personal style.
It's always good to have something to read while lazing around. An eReader, like Kindle, is an ideal option, especially if you get tired of any one book too easily. You can store a ton of different types of books all in one device, giving you lots of great choices. And if you just want to stare at pictures and skim short stories, you can even subscribe to magazines on your eReader. I've got a Kindle Paperwhite. I love its anti-glare features, the fact that it lasts for hours and hours, and that it's super lightweight for travel. If you're like me and you enjoy the feel of a book, add a cover to your eReader.
There's nothing like kicking back with some good tunes. Rather than waste space on your phone or use up your precious battery power, why not kick it old school with an MP4 player? Call me old school, but I still love my iPod shuffle best. Simply clip it to your swimsuit strap and enjoy. It's super lightweight so you'll barely even notice it.
You need a place to stash your cash, and it's not likely you've got pockets in your swimsuit. A waterproof wallet you can wear around your wrist or neck is a great option. Alternatively, a secret pocket scarf is the perfect way to add a splash of fashion to your beach attire, and no one will suspect you've got precious cargo hidden inside.
Let's face it. Lying around doing nothing all day makes us hungry. It's a fact of life. So snacks are one of the top beach bag essentials. And don't forget to pack some bottled water to keep you hydrated throughout the day. Dasani is my personal favorite.
A day at the beach simply wouldn't be complete without a beach ball, floaty, or other fun toys. C'mon, you know you want to be the girl lounging around on the unicorn.
What are your beach bag essentials? Leave a comment to share them.