17 Beach Bag Essentials

Hello Sunshine!

White sands, crashing waves and sunny rays . . . It’s beach season, my friends! But along with all the magical things the beach has to offer, there’s also painful sunburns, flaking lip and knotted hair. For as gorgeous and fun as a day at the beach can be, it’s often followed by a slew of bodily woes at the hands of the elements you were enjoying just a few hours before. So I’m making sure my beach bag is fully prepped with everything I need for a (chic) day in the sun!

Whether you’re heading out to the beach for some surf and sand, enjoying a relaxing day lounging out by the pool or spending the weekend out on the lake, these items will have you covered for all your Summer fun! Check out my 17 functional and affordable beach bag must-haves.

17 Beach Bag Essentials | Original Caroline

For Style

The Bag

My Beach Bag Essentials: Patsy Straw Tote from Urban Outfitters | Original Caroline

Every beach beach trip (or pool party) needs a generously sized carryall which is why finding an extra cute yet durable bag is essential! This Patsy Straw Tote Bag ($49) from Urban Outfitters is roomy for all your beach bag essentials and I love how they dressed up the solid bag with a cute and colorful neck scarf making it the perfect beach companion.

The Suit

My Beach Bag Essentials: Aqualuxe Print Top & Bottom from Athleta | Original Caroline

You can’t get in the water without a cute suit. If you’re a bikini kind of gal like myself, I love this cute and colorful Aqualuxe Print Halter Top ($74) and Aqualuxe Ebb Tide Print Bottom ($59) from Athleta. I bought this right before Memorial Day weekend and got loads of compliments on the pretty colors and fun print. You can never go wrong with paisley! A little expensive, but totally worth the buy imo. Athleta clothing has rarely let me down before, so I’m feeling like this suit is going to last me a few years.

The Towel

My Beach Bag Essentials: John Robshaw Alabat Beach Towel from Anthropologie | Original Caroline

Every beach bag needs the perfect towel and this trendy one definitely caught my eye! This John Robshaw Alabat Beach Towel ($88) from Anthropologie also comes in a bright blue and it’s super soft.  Whether you’re laying out with a book or flopping down after playing in the waves, make sure you’ve got a fun, colorful towel to accompany you.

The Hat

My Beach Bag Essentials: Textured Summer Straw Hat from J. Crew | Original Caroline

Keeping a hat in your bag is a cardinal rule when it comes to the subject of sun protection especially for burn-prone skin. Even if you apply SPF, your face still needs extra protection. A floppy hat is a stylish way to protect your scalp and cut down on the rays that are hitting your face and neck. I’ve had my eye on J. Crew’s Textured Summer Straw Hat ($34.50)  and finally bought it online last weekend! I absolutely love it!!

The Sunglasses

My Beach Bag Essentials: Dipped Tortoise Sunglasses from Anthropologie | Original Caroline

Nothing ruins a day at the beach like squinting at the sun. When it comes to pretty much any outdoor trip, sunglasses are an obvious requirement. Plus, UV rays can do just as much damage to your eyes as your skin. So this Summer, invest in a chic and reliable pair of sunnies with a deep tint, like these Dipped Tortoise Sunglasses ($38) from Anthropologie. Tortoise shell sunglasses are my fave style, and I love the dipped purple! Protective and stylish.

The Sandals

My Beach Bag Essentials: Soludos Slide Sandal from Nordstrom | Original Caroline

Sand and concrete can get hot, so a trusty pair of sandals are absolutely essential this Summer. These Soludos Slide Sandals ($88.95) from Nordstrom add a boho sophistication to your Summer attire that’s an instant beach bag favorite!

The Cover Up

My Beach Bag Essentials: Everly's Surplice Romper | Original Caroline

This adorable Everly’s Surplice Romper ($49) from Nordstrom doubles as a cover-up and can take you from the beach straight to cocktail hour.

The Cooler

My Beach Bag Essentials: Sunnylife Stripe Cooler Bag & Havana Bottle Tote | Original Caroline

Instead of lugging around one of those tacky boxy coolers, opt for a more stylish pick life Sunnylife’s Stripe Cool Bag ($35), which can also double as a beach bag. And for days when you wanna bring out the bottles, use the matching Havana Bottle Tote ($18).

For Protection

The Face Sunscreen

My Beach Bag Essentials: Farmacy Green Screen Daily Environmental Protector Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen | Original Caroline

We all know the importance of sunscreen and that protection from harsh rays is a must. But according to Health, 80% of skin cancer is found on the nose, so face sunscreen is vital. And thankfully, gone are the days of greasy lotions with extreme scents and white residue. Finally, there’s formulas that you’ll actually want to put on, like Farmacy’s Green Screen Daily Environmental Protector Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen ($36) This face sunscreen is free of skin-irritating chemicals, light enough for breathable skin, and is formulated to shield skin from overexposure to sunlight and pollution. It also helps guard against free radicals emitted from smart phones which can lead to accelerated photo aging.

The Body Sunscreen

My Beach Bag Essentials: COOLA SPORT CONTINUOUS SPRAY SPF 30 - TROPICAL COCONUT | Original Caroline

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Half the battle with sunscreen is finding one that you like enough to actually use on the reg. One that I really enjoy using is Coola’s Sport Continuous Spray SPF 30 in Tropical Coconut ($20-36)Not only does this sunscreen have a lot of great skin-benefiting properties (like blah blah blah), it also has a great coconut scent leaving my skin moisturized and smelling great. Plus, the travel-size is great to keep in your bag for reapplication throughout the day. I love that it’s spray-on for easy on-the-go application. It’s non-drying, non-irritating and leaves a nice, moisturized finish on my skin.

The Hair Spray

My Beach Bag Essentials: Aveda Sun Care Protection Hair Veil | Original Caroline

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Truth be told, your skin isn’t the only thing that can fall prey to sun damage  — your hair is also at the sun’s mercy. And when you combine that with the drying effects of salt water and chlorine, it’s important that you don’t forget about protecting your strands. Stash Aveda’s ‘Sun Care’ Protective Hair Veil ($28) travel-friendly bottle in your beach bag to spritz on hair before and during your afternoon in the sun. And to keep humidity from ruining a good hair day that you spent hours styling, use a product that adds body without weighing down strands. My favorite is Living Proof No Frizz Humidity Shield ($14-22)This lightweight finish spray blocks humidity, reduces frizz, and leaves your hair feeling smooth — not greasy or sticky!

The Face Mist

My Beach Bag Essentials: Coola SPF 30 Makeup Setting Spray | Original Caroline

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Dermatologists recommend reapplying sunscreen every two hours. There have been countless times that I’ve been outdoors for long periods of time and would love to reapply SPF, but the fear of messing up my making with a greasy SPF leads to avoiding reapplication. Thankfully, Coola’s SPF 30 Organic Makeup Setting Spray provides me with broad spectrum sun protection in a lightweight mist that helps set and refresh makeup instead of ruining it! Organic aloe, cucumber extracts, and hydrating hyaluronic acid are meant to soothe, re-hydrate and refresh skin — the perfect pick-me-up after hours spent in the sun. Toss this little guy in your bag for an instant refresh, no matter where you’re headed.

The Balm

My Beach Bag Essentials: Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15 | Original Caroline

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Keep your pout protected with SPF and antioxidants by wearing a tinted balm in the sun. My favorite is Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15 ($24)

For Fun

The Speaker

My Beach Bag Essentials: Sunnylife Havana Beach Radio from Anthropologie | Original Caroline

No beach day getaway is complete without some Summer tunes. So don’t leave home without your SunnyLife Havana Beach Radio ($48) from Anthropologie. This Summery speaker is MP3 compatible, works with all current smart phones/tablets, battery powered + water and sand resistant. What’s not to love!

The Reading Material

17 Beach Bag Essentials: Reading Material | Original Caroline

There’s no better place to escape than a good book! And there’s so many beach reads perfect for Summer (check out my Summer reading list). Have reading material in arms reach. And if you’re not a book worm, grab a few of your favorite magazines to stick inside your beach bag.

The Drank

My Beach Bag Essentials: Stainless Steel Rose Gold Pineapple Tumbler from Target | Original Caroline

I found these Rose Gold Pineapple Tumblers ($22.49) and had to have them! This simple yet totally brilliant invention will keep your beach beverages looking chic.

The Floatie

My Beach Bag Essentials: Floral Flamingo Pool Float from Urban Outfitters | Original Caroline

This giant Floral Flamingo Pool Float ($56) from Urban Outfitters is too cute. Easily tote around and simply blow it up when you get to your destination! Just be sure you don’t float away if you use it in the ocean . . .

+What are some of your beach bag essentials? 

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