Everything You Need to Pack for the Beach
Headed to the beach? Here are 25 seaside essentials to maximize your fun in the sun.
A Stylish Sun Hat
Don’t let your swimsuit steal the show. Draw attention to your face with a bold, beach-ready topper. Lack of Color’s Spencer Wide Brimmed Boater stuns with its classic boater shape and black bow detailing, but if you want something with a bit more pizzazz, throw on Yosuzi's Tulum Hat. It has vibrant pom poms, a braided multicolored band and a design that's inspired by the arts and crafts of South American tribes. For a cap you can stuff into your beach bag, try Urban Outfitters' flirty Tie Back Baseball Hat, which has a gingham print and a tie-back bow accent.
A Trendy Beach Tote
A beach bag should be equal turns fashionable and functional, with plenty of room for all your waterside essentials. We love Accessorize’s Egypt Print Tote Bag—a playful multicolored tote covered in embroidered details, sequins and a statement tassel. For a more classic look, opt for Mango's Straw Bag, which has a fabric lining with a drawstring closure to keep all your belongings extra secure. If you travel light and plan on bringing little more than a towel to the shore, invest in The Beach People's Harness Leather Towel Carrier. It can be worn cross-body or over-the-shoulder and doubles as a tote for your yoga-mat off the beach.
A Cute Cover-Up
This season’s cover-ups are so trendy you’ll want to wear them beyond the beach. Take the Maxi Dusk Kaftan from Turks and Caicos-based brand, Sea Sage. Made from soft silk cotton and complete with two different belts (sold white and printed), this cover-up is so versatile it can be worn from beach to bar. For a more-budget friendly option, slip into Accessorize's Acapulco Kaftan, which has tassel-trimmed sleeves and a colorful crochet trim, or H&M's lightweight and wide-cut Embroidered Kimono.
A Cool Pair of Shades
Guard against the glare with a pair of sharp, sun-protecting sunnies. Everyone from Kate Hudson to Beyonce has been sporting wearing shades from cool kid brand du jour, Sunday Somewhere, and we love the line's Kiteys design—a unisex pair with festival-ready round lenses. Another great 70s-inspired pick? Nasty Gal's Spitfire Poolside Circle Shades. They have pink and clear ombré lenses and an eye-catching rose gold body. To rock the season's reflective lenses trend, reach for Quay Kosha's transparent frames. A slight cat eye gives the clear sunnies a high-fashion edge.
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An Eye-Catching Towel
A cute swimsuit and a ratty old beach towel just don’t mesh. Up your beach-towel game with these eye-catching designs: Sunnylife’s supreme Luxe Towel is an oversized velour-finished option with vibrant color-blocking and fringed edges; the Glacier National Park Spa Towel is inspired by the park's popular blanket pattern; and Vagabond's Wildflower Round Towel is so pretty you'll want to use it as a decorative throw at home.
After a few hours of lazing in the sun, get everyone moving with a fun group activity like bocce ball. As many as eight people can play the game at once, and this portable William-Sonoma set has everything you need to get started: 8 stainless-steel balls plus a white resin ball, a measuring jack and a zippered canvas bag for convenient transport. If you'd rather hit the waves, paddle out on YoloBoard's Coastal Cruiser—one of the brand's most versatile boards, combining a cool sun-and-surf-inspired design with high-performance features like a built-in bungee system for your PFD and a GoPro camera mount. To dip your toes in this summer's inflatable pool toy trend, go for a float on this blow-up donut float from BigMouth Inc. It's 4 feet tall and made from extra thick durable vinyl, so you won't have to worry about being pelted by waves.
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This season’s crop of sunscreens are lightweight, non-greasy and nothing like the stinky, pore-clogging formulas from your childhood. For all-around sun protection at the beach, slather on Shiseido’s Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion. Whereas most sunscreens require reapplication after swimming or sweating, this formula actually becomes more effective after exposure to water. Prefer something with a silkier feel? Stock up on Viva Liberata Self Tan Dry Oil SPF 50. It's the world's first non-toxic and organic tanner and deposits an instant bronze finish as it protects against the aging effects of the sun. Finally, Philip Kingsley's Citrus Sunshine Swimcap—an updated version of the hair cream originally developed in 1984 for the US Olympic synchronized swimming team—acts as a defensive layer against the sun's harmful effects on the hair.
A Great Beach Read
The best beach books are light, fast-paced and immensely readable. On our shelves this summer? Emma Cline’s debut novel, The Girls, a sharp-edged, critically heralded reimagining of the Charles Manson murders as seen through the eyes of a female "family" member. For a read with beachier themes but no less literary buzz, crack open William Finnegan's Barbarian Days. A memoir about the author's years as an itinerant surf bum, the book is set against the alluring backdrop of exotic surfing locales like Fiji, Australia and Hawaii. Its themes (read: espionage, the Vietnam War) may be heavier than other beach books, but Viet Thanh Nguyen's Pultizer-Prize winning The Sympathizer is an electric, unforgettable tale you won't be able to put down. It tells the story of a double agent living in Los Angeles after the Vietnam War, exploring notions of identity, politics and Americ