Don't forget these 8 essentials on your next beach vacation

I live in a landlocked state, so a trip that includes some beach time is always a major perk for me. Now that summer is in full swing, sun, sand and sipping coconut water sounds better than ever. I just want to stay out lounging in the sun all day instead of cooped up in an office, and I can’t be alone.


The thing is, if you don’t come prepared to the beach, it can quickly become an uncomfortable and miserable experience that results in sand in all your crevices and a sunburn that is peeling for weeks.

To avoid such an experience there are a few things I always make sure to keep on hand.

A big ol’ beach bag

Preferable something that is water resistant or waterproof, so that all your splashes and wet hair flips don’t cause damage to your camera, phone, books or snacks.

I love something like this, that’s big enough to stuff everything into at the end of the day. I hate having to carry several little things at once, and it’s nice to have something big enough that can hold my towel, huge Hydroflask, a book or two, sunglasses, sunscreen…and just about everything else on this list.

Quick-drying towel

Nothing is worse than jumping into the ocean, drying off and then having a wet towel you have to use for the rest of the day. I much prefer having a towel that is lightweight, dries me off and then dries very quickly. Since I often only use a beach towel when traveling, I like something that doesn’t take up a lot of space.

The best option I’ve found that meets all of this criteria is a Turkish cotton towel. Most travel towels are too small, and I find that microfiber towels just don’t absorb enough water.

Turkish towels are full sized, lightweight, take up barely any space, AND are ultra absorbing. They dry me off quickly, but also dry fast enough that they’re completely dry by the time I want to take a second swim or it’s time to go home. And, since they’re so lightweight, they double as great sarongs or coverups in a pinch.

My favorite are these Turkish beach towels just from Amazon. They’re inexpensive and come in so many fun color combinations.

Environmentally friendly sunscreen

More and more places are banning traditional sunscreens that contain chemicals that are harmful to coral reefs. When visiting Puerto Rico, we weren’t allowed to wear normal sunscreen when visiting the bio bays, and Hawaii just passed a bill that bans these sunscreens altogether. With this in mind, it’s good practice to start using sunscreens that are environmentally friendly and will still keep you protected from the sun.

Thinksport and Sun Bum make some good options that aren’t super greasy.

Waterproof e-reader

This year I finally invested in an e-reader after being an avid hard copy reader my entire life. I still prefer reading an actual book, but when it comes to travel, my Kindle is a lifesaver. I got the latest Kindle Paperwhite, which is small, lightweight and waterproof, so I don’t feel scared about bringing it with me to the pool or beach.

I’ve quickly come to love using it, and I find that the experience is easy to get used to. I specifically chose the Paperwhite for its portability and the screen that looks like paper and is glare free even in the brightest light, so it doesn’t strain my eyes and I can still read it even at midday. Plus, the battery lasts a really long time, so I don’t have to worry about my long haul flights and being left without something to pass the time reading. This totally sounds like an ad - but it isn’t. I really just like this e-reader and I keep kicking myself in the butt for not getting one sooner.



I’m not hugely into accessories, but sunglasses are the exception. I love sunglasses, and I love ones that are high quality, optically correct and durable. I also try to only wear polarized lenses because I don’t want to damage my eyes. Right now my two go-to pairs are both from Ray-Ban: The New Wayfarer and the Erika Classic. I find that these two go with every outfit and always look chic.

If you’re going to be spending all day at the beach, you’ll want something comfortable and durable enough to be dropped in the sand a time or two. These both fit that bill for me.

Insulated water bottle

It’s been about two years since I hopped on that fancy water bottle train, and I haven’t gotten off it. I love my Hydro Flask, and I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say that it’s saved my life a couple times. I mean, when you are spending ALL DAY in the sun, you need to stay hydrated. And if you’re a normal person, a hot bottle of water is not appealing or refreshing. Having an insulated bottle that keeps your water cold for hours and hours (plus you’re avoiding single-use plastic bottles) is probably one of the top inventions of this century. Just saying.



I don’t really consider myself a “hat person,” but it’s an important thing to have if you’re going to be soaking up rays all day long. It keeps your face protected, but also helps avoid getting overheated. I usually just use some kind of baseball cap or, if I have space in a suitcase, I use a nice big straw beach hat.

Mini first aid kit

This one is such an easy thing to throw in your bag, but most people don’t think about needing one until it’s too late. I just have little travel first aid kit I got from Target. In it I keep a few bandages, some Tylenol, Moleskin, and a couple other medicines that can come in handy, like Pepto Bismol tablets and an antidiarrheal.

What am I missing? Tell me your favorite beach essentials.

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