The rain has finally stopped, the sun is shining and you fancy spending the afternoon topping up your tan. There’s only one thing for it: a trip to the beach.
However, there’s nothing worse than turning up and realising you forgot to pack suncream, or having no towel to lie down on.
With that in mind, I’ve put together a handy (if I do say so myself) guide to everything you should take to the beach for a relaxing, care-free day.
From a stylish hat to some all-important snacks, here’s my packing list for everything you need to take to the beach to have the best day.
Whether you’re an SPF 30 or a factor 50 kinda gal, suncream* should be the first thing you think of when deciding what to bring to the beach.
Apply it 20 minutes before sun exposure and then remember to reapply frequently — especially if you’re in and out of the water. This will help you to avoid those painful post-beach day burns.
2. Water Bottle
The first rule of sunbathing (well, after applying suncream) is to drink plenty of water throughout the day.
Sadly, cocktails don’t actually count towards rehydrating yourself, so a large bottle of water or two will simply have to do. I love this one* from Amazon, but any refillable bottle will work just as well.
While it’s useful to have something to dry yourself off with post-dip, the real reason a towel is a beach day essential is to give you something to sunbathe comfortably on.
The quality of your towel can make or break a trip. For the best possible experience, try and find a large, soft towel with a distinctive colour or pattern to easily distinguish it from others. I love this one* by Dock & Bay, but any large towel will do.
Unless you enjoy squinting into the sunlight all day, no ‘what to bring to the beach’ checklist would be complete without a good pair of sunglasses*.
Aviators, cat eye, square… whatever your personal style, grab your shades — and get going! Just don’t forget to take a case to stop them from getting scratched when you toss them into your bag.
If you’re planning on stripping off on the beach, it’s important that you have swimwear that makes you feel like you could conquer the world, whether that’s a classic triangle bikini or a retro one-piece.
Use our handy guide to finding the right swimwear for your body shape for help finding your ideal fit.
6. A Hat
If you’re a hat person, you very likely already had a classic wide brim hat in your beach bag already.
But even if you’re a bit wary of hats, they’re an easy way of preventing your scalp and face from burning, all while making it easier to see. Up your beach fashion game with this H&M Straw Hat*, or keep it simple with a sporty cap like this one*.
7. A Good Book
If you’re wondering what to bring to the beach to keep you entertained all day long, look no further than the humble paperback.
After a quick dip in the sea, there’s nothing better than sipping an ice-cold cocktail (Sex On The Beach anyone?) and diving into a good summer read you just can’t put down.
8. Flip Flops
A good pair of flip flops* or sliders is absolutely essential when deciding what to wear to the beach. Not only are they easy to slip on and off, but they’ll also keep your feet nice and cool when walking on the hot sand. Win-win.
Though flip flops will do the job for the average beach bum, if you’re planning on going sightseeing or taking a coastal hike, make sure to pack some comfy walking sandals.
9. Phone and Portable Charger
Whether you’re taking photos, video-calling your mum or playing games to pass the time, the chances are that you’ll need some extra charge during your beach trip.
A handy portable charger like this one* from Miady will ensure you always have enough charge to navigate your way home and call for help in case of an emergency. (Oh, and of course it will allow you to finish your level on Candy Crush too!)
Nothing beats the feeling of lying back on the beach without a care in the world as you listen to the new laidback beach tunes playlist you made on the journey over.
My advice? If you usually use wireless headphones, you might want to invest in a cheap pair of Dlordy Wired Earbuds* so you don’t have to worry about losing one or getting sand trapped in them. Not ideal.
11. Hair Tie
Though we all like the idea of achieving that effortless tousled beach hair look, between sweat, sunscreen and salt water, the reality can be much less glamorous.
Not to mention, you’ll probably want to have your hair out of the way at some point.
The solution? Keep your options open by taking a sturdy scrunchie or two*. You can thank me later!
Picture the scene: it’s mid-afternoon and you’re sipping a delicious cocktail when suddenly your tummy starts rumbling.
The beach bar is at least 50 metres away and you’re so comfy you simply can’t move. But then you remember that it’s OK, because you have a pack of emergency cereal bars in your bag.
If you tend to get peckish mid-afternoon (or just have a hangry partner), snacks should definitely be high on your list of what to bring to the beach.
13. Hand Wipes
Hand wipes are an underrated handbag hero. Not only are they there for you whenever life throws an unexpected mess your way, but they’re also great for a quick refresh of your hands, face or neck.
And if you’re lucky enough to be going abroad this summer, wet wipes* don’t count as liquids in your hand luggage, so there’s no excuse for not having a pocket-sized pack.
14. A First Aid Kit and Any Medication
If there’s one thing that’s sure to ruin a beach vacation it’s an unexpected injury. While carrying a first kit and any medication won’t guarantee an accident-free trip, it sure will help to keep your mind at rest.
This Boots Complete First Aid Kit with plenty of plasters, bandages, eyewash and cleansing wipes will do you just fine for beach trips and beyond.
15. A Sturdy Beach Bag
With so many seaside necessities, you’re going to need something sturdy and beach-proof if you want to keep everything safe and sand-free.
I love this AIREE FAIREE Aztec Pattern Beach Tote Bag*, with lots of space for your essentials and a zip fastening to keep valuables secure. That said, any large mesh or canvas bag will do the trick.
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What to Bring to the Beach So You Have the Best Day!
Everyone loves a good beach day, but you’re sure to enjoy it even more if you’re safe in the knowledge that you have everything you need.
Oh, and one last tip: we all know how famously unreliable the Great British weather can be so don’t forget a poncho if your beach day is UK-based!