Summer Beach Bag Essentials!

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 Summer Beach Bag Essentials

The sun. The sand. The surf. Beach season is on, and with it comes packing up a ton of must haves. Now before you start conjuring up images of being weighed down with more stuff than you could possibly carry or maneuver over the hot sand, take a deep cleansing breath.

To help you stay fashionably beach ready all summer long, I’ve put together a list of my, and some of my friends, top 10 beach bag beauty essentials, along with three fun extras. And, bonus, most of the beauty items are available in travel size, or can be transferred into travel size bottles/containers. For easy consumption, I’ve broken the list down into four categories, Skincare, Haircare, Added Necessities, and Fun Extras.


Summer beach bag must haves always starts with a large, practical yet stylish bag, a gigantic, fluffy towel, and a killer pair of UVA/UVB protective sunglasses paired with a wide brim hat.  After that, the most important beach essentials are items to protect your skin. I try to choose items that are more natural and don’t contain parabens or other ingredients that might irritate my skin.


Beach Bag Essentials Skincare


1. Sunscreen– I don’t tan, I’m either white or lobster. So, I always carry two sunscreens, one for my body and one for my face. I like a spray for my body, because of the added convenience, and a traditional sunscreen for my face. My favorites are Coola’s SPF 50 Unscented Sunscreen Spray, $32(6 oz.) and La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Melt-In Sunscreen Milk, $35.99 (5 oz.).

2. Lip Balm – My lips get especially dry on the beach. In order to keep them hydrated and protected, I always carry at least one lip balm. For hydration and a little color, I like Birchbox’s RROW BOOST Color Enhancing Lip Balm, $14 (.14 oz.). For hydration and SPF, my favorite is Jane Iredale’s LIPDRINK®SPF 15 LIP BALM in Sheer, $15. (Lipdrink is also available in three additional colors.)

3. Hydrating Sprays – It’s important to stay hydrated at the beach, but sometimes the heat and sun can become a bit too much. This is when I break out a hydrating spray to cool myself off, especially my face. My two favorites include Evian Facial Spray, $9.99 (5 oz.), and Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater, $5 (2 oz.).

4. Lotion/Underarm Wipes – There is nothing worse than getting sticky/sandy hands/skin at the beach. The combination of the water, sand and sunscreen can become kind of gross. (Or you take your niece to the beach and she sticks her entire head in the sand, which requires a clean-up intervention.) Last year I discovered Pacifica’s Underarm Deodorant Wipes with Coconut Milk and Hand & Body Lotion Wipes, both $9. They come in a variety of scents and are great for wiping off sticky skin and sand covered little, as well as for keeping your smelling fresh. Tip: Don’t have wipes handy, but want to remove sand, try baby powder instead.


Beach Bag Essentials Haircare


5. UV Protectant Spray – Even though I try to wear a hat or stay under an umbrella, my hair can still be exposed to the sun. To protect my scalp and hair I try to always use an UV and heat protectant spray, such as Living Proof’s No Frizz Humidity Shield, $14, 1.8 oz.

6. Hair Ties – When my hair starts to drive me nuts, or I’m feeling too hot, I like to pull it up. I always carry a small pack of hair ties or a hair clip in my bag. Not only do these come in handy for your hair, they sometimes come in handy for sealing up snack bags.

7. Wet/Detangler Brush – If I’m going to go for a swim or pull my hair up, I don’t want it to look crazy. This is precisely why I carry a small wet/detangler brush in my bag, such as the Lifestyle Products The Mini Detangler Wet/Dry Brush, $6.99. I like this style brush because I know it will remove tangles without damaging my hair.

 Added Necessities

 Beach Bag Essentials Added Necessities

8. Wet/Dry Bags – A recent addition to my beach bag are the Travelon Wet and Dry Bags, $20. I use these bags for storage, as well as to protect my beach bag essentials. They are also great for after the beach when you want someplace to put your wet bathing suit/clothes. I prefer these over plastic storage bags because they are more durable and have a nice zipper closer.

9. Emory Boards – I don’t know about you, but I always seem to break or snag a nail at the worst possible times. I keep a Manicure Mini Emery Set, $1, in my bag for just such occasions.

10. Hand Sanitizer – You never know when the beach is going to get gross. I’m not a germaphobe, but I like having clean hands. I keep a bottle of my favorite Fortune Cookie Soap OCD Hand Sanitizer, $2.89 (1 oz.), in my beach bag, purse, and on my desk. They always smell nice and help refresh my hands whenever I need it.

Fun in the Sun Extras


Beach Bag Essentials Extra Goodie

11. Summer Reads – The beach is the perfect place to catch up on this summer’s hottest reads. No matter what you flavor, there’s something for everyone. My current favs include Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld, a modern day retelling of Pride & Prejudice, Before the Fall by Noah Hawley, a suspenseful thriller about a private plane crash that leaves two survivors – a 4-yr old boy and a middle-aged painter, and  The Ramblers by Aiden Donnelley Rowley, a tale of three souls trying to find their way and place in New York City.

12. Water Resistant Speaker – Sometimes the sounds of the waves and screaming children don’t make for an enjoyable beach experience. Of course taking your music with you can be risky, who wants sand and water running your electronics? With the Sunnylife ‘Beach Sounds’ Portable Water Resistant Speaker & Radio, $49, you can safely go to surf city via the radio or your phone (there’s a padded interior inside the speaker for phone hookup) without worrying about sand or water damage.

13. Tip Proof Cup Holder – The sand might seem like the perfect drink stabilizer, but is it really? Not only can your drink tip over, but it’s also continually covered in sand, giving it a better chance of getting said sand in your mouth. The Spiker Beach Stand Cup Coaster, $21.99 (pack of 4), are designed to act as your beach coaster. They help keep your drink sand free and in place for a better hydration experience.

What are your beach bag essentials? What’s your favorite beach day activity?

From our partners


  1. The sunscreen – yes – I am so pale that I have to make sure I have LOTS of sunscreen. I need an umbrella and a good book and I am happy 🙂

  2. Roxanne Ferber says

    Love it!! Sunscreen is an absolute must have not just to avoid burning, but it’s the first line of defense against aging! I can’t wait to get my hands on the Living Proof protection spray! My scalp is so much more sensitive to sun as I age!

  3. I love my Wet Brush – that one looks similar, just a little smaller. Will have to check it out. Also – love that sunscreen was first on your list! SO important. 🙂

  4. Love the essentials so on point. The rose water is amazing! I always make my own. My grandmother told me how to and the benefits a long time ago and since then I always use it!

  5. I’ve been looking for a hydrating spray for so long! I’m going to try the one your recommend and the Wet Brush. Thanks!

  6. Shannon Graham says

    Lip balm is the biggest one for me! I can’t live without it because my lips are so sensitive!

  7. Having the right sunscreen is essential when heading to the beach. I actually had an allergic reaction to a sunscreen recently and had to scratch it off my list for future use.

    • Uh oh, did you get burned? That happened to me once and I got burned bu only in some places. It looked like someone had thrown red paint on my legs and it dripped, it was horrible.

  8. tp keane says

    now this is a complete summer beach bag. I’m loving the fact you included summer reads in this one.

  9. That’s all you’ll ever need! This must be the first list of essentials that matches mine. Everything’s a must have and it’s good to bring some books or a speaker for music too. It’s the first time I’ve seen a cup holder like that, definitely useful when at the beach!

  10. I’m going to the beach next week! This will definitely help, thanks!

  11. I completely love that Coola sunscreen!

  12. Aleya Bamdad says

    So many great picks. I always keep my sunscreen and wet brush handy.

  13. Allison @neversaydiebeauty says

    I have never seen that LP Humidity Shield. I need that!!

  14. Cynthia @craftoflaughter says

    I think you have hit each essential for a trip to the beach! I recently saw the suggestion to bring a soft paint brush to brush the sand off of your feet before you get in the car but that would be my addition to your most comprehensive list!

  15. What a great and complete list. You’ve hit upon all the essentials and some great books to go along with them.

  16. I do a spray for my body and lotion for my face too. I need lots of sunscreen as my kids are on a summer swim team so we are at the pool every day. I also keep a pool bag ready to go.

  17. I love all your picks!

  18. Yup, I definitely agree with this list! I may have to give a UV protectant spray a shot this summer.

  19. Norah Salazar says

    Love your list, especially the SPF

  20. Debra Hawkins says

    Hair ties are an absolute must for me. I can’t stand when my hair gets knotted from the wind.

  21. Nikki Wayne says

    I never go out on a beach outing without my lip balm. Summer heat is not good for the skin so I make sure that even my lips are protected.

  22. jillconyers says

    Your beach bag essentials cover the necessities. I can’t think of anything I would add.

  23. I like your list! I will take notes of these essentials for our next beach outing. I hope that I will never forget any.

  24. Awesome list! My beach bag is often loaded with stuff I don’t need haha 🙂

  25. I think it’s important to know what goes in your beach bag. For me it would be sunscreen and water for sure. Those are my two most important ones.

  26. Ahh! I could use a trip to the beach, right about now.

  27. Sunscreen is so important when you are spending time in the sun. I don’t like the spray sunscreen. I rather have the stuff that you slather on your body.

  28. Reesa Lewandowski says

    I have never heard of those Evian sprays! I think you picked out some awesome beach bag items!

  29. Becca Wilson says

    I really like that tip proof cup holder. That is really awesome to dig into the sand.

  30. FabZilla_Kath says

    Sunscreen is so important but reapplication every 2 hrs is even more important

  31. That wet brush is amazing! What a great idea to add to the beach bag.

  32. Travel Blogger says

    Wipes are my savior during the summer! They instantly make me feel fresh and clean.

  33. I definitely must agree with your choices.

  34. Lisa Rios says

    When it is summer, it is all about spending lot of time in Beach & these are some great list of essentials which is needed anytime during your beach trip. Sunscreen tops my list & we always have Wet/Dry Bags with us & a Hand Sanitizer is a good add on as I have never thought about it before!

  35. Jamie Brodersen says

    Love these!! Number 8 is something I just never think of – that’s such a great idea.

  36. TheNewClassy says

    Yes, yes and yes! I carry all these in my summer beach bag. I burn so easily and I have dry skin, so all these things are essential for me.

  37. Erin Shebish says

    Wet dry bags are a lifesaver. I never knew how awesome they were until I finally invested in a few… and now I rarely leave home without at least one! LOL

  38. Michelle Kneece Waller says

    We just got back from the beach and I had almost everything with me. The only thing that I forgot was a speaker.

  39. Christine Cox says

    Lip balm is a MUST in my beach bag. My lips get so dry if I am outside too long and licking them or drinking water just doesn’t cut it.

  40. CreativeWifeBlog says

    I am loving the idea of the tip proof cup holder, I’ve never seen those before and HATE the sand that collects over drinks when stablizing in the sand.