From a clever sand-removing powder to a high-performance water camera, these beach bag essentials will make your trip to the beach much more enjoyable.
Life Elements Action Wipes
After a long day at the beach you’ll have sand, salt, and sweat on your body. Quickly refresh before heading back to your car—or the closest bar—with an Action Wipe. These organic wipes come in a variety of packages—and they don’t leave a sticky residue. Bonus: The wipes are safe for use on pets and babies.
Wander Wet Bag
These water-resistant pouches by Wander Wet Bags are amazingly multi-functional—use them for a wet swimsuit, to separate dirty items from the rest of your beach bag, or to protect your phone or any other valuables from water and sand. Available in three sizes, you’ll want one in every fun print for your beach bag essentials.
Playa Endless Summer Spray
Throw this sea salt spray into your beach bag for a natural UV filter for both your hair and scalp. It will complement your wavy beach hair and protect your locks, and contains only natural or plant-derived ingredients so your hair won’t dry out. I recommend using it on damp hair and reapplying after swimming.
Keep those beach bag essentials that you don’t want to be exposed to the sun shaded and cool with these bags. Whether it’s your phone, a snack, medications, or toiletry items, these pouches are a great alternative to a cooler. Simply freeze the inserts and place them in the lining of the bag.
Sipsee Portable Bottle Stopper
Throw this universal bottle stopper on your keychain so you can close and save your drink on the beach. You can even customize your bottle stopper with fun stickers, so you know whose bottle is whose. The stopper fits on bottles like beer, wine, water, juice, or sports drinks, and is a must-have for serious beach days.
Takeya Actives Water Bottle
Stay hydrated at the beach with a Takeya water bottle. These babies will stay cold for 24 hours, and come in sizes as large as 40 ounces. Whether it’s water or something stronger that you want to keep discretely chilled, this bottle will be one less thing to pack in a cooler.
Olita Beach Be Gone Sand Remover
This miraculous powder removes sand from your body after a long day at the beach. It wicks away any excess moisture and sand so you won’t track anything back to your car or house. Available in three scents as well as a kid’s version and fragrance-free option, it’s one of my favorite beach bag essentials.
Dock & Bay Towel Microfiber Towel
Dock & Bay makes roomy quick-dry towels that are easy to transport and perfect for the beach. The extra-large size is great for more than one person to use, and the lightweight material makes it easy to shake any excess sand off.
Goddess Garden Organics Natural Sunscreen, Trigger Spray
Obviously sunscreen and sun protection are beach bag essentials, but I especially love the Goddess Gardens trigger spray bottles for easy application. The formula includes aloe vera for extra skin nourishment. The Everyday SPF 30 version also packs up to 80 minutes of water resistance.
iJoy Beach Bomb Portable Speaker
This portable speaker was made for the beach: It can float, has a long-lasting battery of up to six hours, and is durable enough to handle sand. Amazon reviewers love the sound quality, and the speaker doesn’t take up too much room in your bag.
Nothing beats relaxing on the sand with a good book or magazine. Whether it’s a new, juicy novel or your favorite classic, a book is always one of my top beach bag essentials.
I’m currently reading The Futures by Anna Pitoniak, and highly recommend it as a beach read this summer. You can find our full list of the hottest beach reads here, or check out some of our readers’ choices for top beach reads on Amazon.
Nixon Cool Pix 3000
SmarterTravel’s Shannon McMahon tested out this beach bag essential. “I’ve never been one to trust a water-proof case to protect my iPhone, so I jumped at the opportunity to try a Nikon CoolPix 300, which is completely waterproof and can transfer photo and video directly to your phone over Wi-Fi,” she says. “A point-and-shoot camera with its own memory card, it has far better resolution and storage capabilities than my jam-packed iPhone.”
Wallaroo Hat Company Crushable Hats
For more beach bag essentials that will protect you from the sun, you’ll want a stylish hat for the beach. The Wallaroo Hat Company makes crushable hats for men, women, and kids, plus the fabric is UPF 50+ protective. SmarterTravel’s Christine Sarkis loves the Catalina Cowboy Hat for its style, lightweight material, and easy reshaping.
REKS Unbreakable Sunglasses
Sunglasses are a must-have item at the beach, and REKS Unbreakables are one of the ultimate beach bag essentials because they won’t break or scratch, and still have UV 400 protective lenses. Available in a variety of styles for both men and women, just add on floating croakies and you’ll never lose or damage your sunglasses at the beach again.
J.Crew Plaid Border Beach Poncho
A cover-up is a classic, but often one of the more neglected beach bag essentials. I love this light and airy cover-up from J.Crew because it’s more like a blanket, and you can adjust it to cover only the areas you don’t wantto be exposedd to the sun.
More from SmarterTravel:
- 10 Insanely Affordable Summer Vacations for 2018
- How to Pack for an Active Outdoor Vacation
- What Your Sunscreen Is Doing to the Environment
Some review products are sent to us free of charge and with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions, positive and negative, and will never accept compensation to review a product.
Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2017. It has been updated to reflect the most current information.