I always think the best way to enjoy a beach vacation is by bringing as little as possible. In order to truly live the carefree, easy breezy island life, we have to be carefree and easy breezy in our packing as well. Bringing less means less decisions, less packing and more relaxation time. We all know you really only need a few things to be happy on a beach, so I’ve summed up the best of the best 15 items you need to pack in order to have the essential, most multi-functional, and cutest items on the beach.
Ready for the island life? Let’s go!
What to Pack for your next Beach Vacation
1. Practical bathing suit
Make sure you pack one bathing suit to explore in. Snorkeling, paddle boarding, surfing, or whatever your water activity of choice is requires a suit with no strings hanging, no crazy cutouts for a weird tan line, and no bust-out moments. I choose a one-piece from Solid & Striped, which are practical and cute, with a high cut leg to remain flattering even though I’m getting active!
2. Cute bathing suit of choice
It can be a bikini, one-piece, tankini or whatever… just make it something you are excited to rock pool or beachside with a cocktail in hand. Feeling cute and confident on the beach is just as important as getting there!
3. Multi Purpose Coverup Dress
Sometimes I want to go straight from the beach to lunch to the pool to dinner, and I love how a chic coverup like this tasseled one from Rhode does the trick of making me look presentable for meals, while concealing my bathing suit. Is also has pockets and it is extremely lightweight, meaning it’s versatility and style at it’s best!
4. Denim Jacket
This is my warm weather topper of choice. No matter where you go, there will probably be some element of your vacation that is over air conditioned and working against whatever cute dress you packed. Do yourself a favor and bring a cute denim jacket on the place with you, which goes with any summer dress and is substantial enough for cooler evenings.
5. Coola SPF Travel Set
Choosing a Reef-safe sunscreen might be the most important decision you make on this trip, so please choose a reputable reef safe brand like Coola. I love their travel set which has TSA approved carryon sizes of SPF Spray, face lotion, lip balm and an after sun lotion, all in a waterproof kit that I bring straight down to the beach with me.
6. Juice Beauty SPF 30 Moisturizer
Even if you are not headed to the beach one day, you should be wearing SPF at every moment you are in the sun. For my regular SPF face moisturizer, I love this Juice Beauty version which is a mineral base, and completely non-toxic. As with most mineral based sunscreens, it can leave a very thin white cast to your skin, but it will soak in to create a nice base for your makeup. USE CODE SAFARI20 for 20% off your purchase!
7. Inexpensive sunglasses
I almost never wear my expensive sunglasses on a beach vacation, because I need a pair that can be thrown around, worn in the pool, covered in sunscreen, and most importantly not make me cry if they get lost in the ocean. After my great paddle boarding sunglasses loss of 2017 in Lake Tahoe, I refuse to wear nice sunglasses in lakes or oceans anymore!
8. Packable UPF 50 Sun Hat
A wide brim sunhat is vital to protecting yourself on a beach or pool vacation, and luckily for you, these days there are tons of super cute, packable and functional ones to choose from. My favorite is the UPF 50 sunhat from SolaMer, which folds up into your bag, can be ironed out if it wrinkles, has a contrast trim edge for stability AND comes in an array of colors. Plus it has a built in tie so you won’t lose it on a boat or in a sudden gust of wind!
9. Baseball hat
If I’m going paddle boarding, hiking or on any other more adventurous excursion, practicality is key, without sacrificing sun protection. I love to bring one cute baseball or trucker hat to bring a more casual, fun vibe to those activities.
10. Detangling Comb
No one wants to do their hair on a beach vacation so do yourself a favor and DO NOT PACK HEAT STYLING TOOLS. I mean it, don’t do it. Let your natural frizz take over or wear your hair in a bun, you won’t regret having that extra 30 minutes to enjoy a sunset cocktail, I promise. But please bring a wide detangling comb to help work through any knots caused by salt water or beach activities. I use my comb with a styling creme and air dry, saving me lots of time and room in my suitcase!
11. Frizz Taming Serum
I use Pureology’s Taming Serum for damaged hair and I absolutely LOVE the results for my fine frizzy hair, which usually is unmanageable in humidity. I apply it to the bottom half of my hair, with extra focus on the ends, and I love that the formula changes from cream to a serum once activated in my hands. It’s vegan, sulfate, paraben and cruelty free as well!
12. Easy breezy cover up
I absolutely love my NFC coverup and it never ceases to rake in the compliments. I love that I can wear it closed as if it’s a dress or open over jean shorts, and the fact that it’s sheer and lightweight!
13. Over the Top Earrings
Hair pulled back into a bun and beachy waves both call for the perfect accessory, extra, extra earrings. Pick something beaded or tasseled, and don’t forget about color! Remember that Rent the Runway has tons of OTT earrings for you to choose from, so this is the time to go big and not worry about adding another thing to your closet!