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8 Beach Bag Necessities You Don’t Want to Forget

A woman has a beach towel wrapped around her, sunscreen sits on a beach, and a person holds up a Kindle.
WetCat/Blue Lizard/Amazon

Whether you live close to the beach, are planning a vacation, or just heading to the local pool, a well-packed beach bag is a must. There’s nothing worse than hitting the sand only to realize you forgot your sunscreen. (Yikes!) This handy list of necessities will ensure you have everything you need before you hit the surf and sand.

It’s easy to overlook things when you’re packing—especially if you’re in a hurry. If you often find yourself digging around in your beach bag for an item that isn’t there, this list of must-haves is a fool-proof way to have a fantastic day at the beach or pool.

Sunscreen and Lip Balm

Sunscreen is arranged in a circle and multiple sunscreens sit on a beach.
Blue Lizard

You can’t go to the beach without sunscreen. While some might be tempted to skip this step to get a tan, an SPF is an absolute must.

Broad-spectrum sunscreen protects you from UVA and UVB rays, which lowers your risk of skin cancer, and prevents premature aging and sun damage, like dark spots. Blue Lizard’s Mineral Sunscreen has all everything you need for a beach day.

It’s a broad-spectrum protectant and offers SPF 50+ with mineral active ingredients, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Because it has no chemically active ingredients, it’s also ideal for those with sensitive skin. Plus, it lasts up to 80 minutes and is sweat- and water-resistant—perfect for a hot day at the beach.

Your lips need protection from the sun, as well (they’re just skin, too, after all!). The only thing worse than a painful body burn is blistered, chapped lips. Sun Bum’s Sunscreen Lip Blam features SPF 30 to protect your kisser. The formula is also vegan and cruelty-free.

An E-Reader

A Kindle sits next to a backpack, and a person holds up a Kindle.

Who goes to the beach without something to read? With a Kindle Paperwhite, you can take thousands of books with you to the beach, which can really come in handy if you want choices.

The glare-free screen means the sun won’t interfere with your reading, and it’s waterproof, to boot! Of course, you’ll want to make sure it’s fully charged before you head out, but once it’s powered up, you get a whopping 10 weeks worth of reading.

Kindle Paperwhite

Glare-free screen and waterproof.

Snack Containers

Bags are filled with snacks and set on a shelf.
Zip Top

No beach or pool day is complete without snacks. While what you eat is up to you, you’ll need quality containers to make sure nothing spills or spoils. This set of Zip-Top silicone storage bags is perfect.

Made of 100% nontoxic silicone and BPA-free, they’re incredibly versatile. Not only can they stand up on their own, but the zip-top makes them leak-resistant, so you won’t have to worry about food spilling out in your bag.

The set includes eight different sizes for large dishes and cups, as well as smaller bags for nuts, dried fruit, or trail mix. They’re also dishwasher safe and can be placed in the fridge or freezer to store leftovers or food prep.

A Beach Towel

A woman wears a towel wrapped around her.

An average bath towel just won’t do for the beach. You need one that’s large enough for both drying off and lounging on. Something that’s extra-absorbent and will dry off quickly is also ideal. This oversized option from WetCat checks all of those boxes.

It’s incredibly absorbent, but not so thick and bulky that you can’t easily fit it in your beach bag. It dries quickly, as well, so if you love to jump in and out of the water, it’s an excellent choice. You also won’t have to deal with a nasty, musty odor lingering in your bag for days. And yes, it’s also machine washable.

WETCAT Turkish Beach Towel

Super-absorbent without being overly bulky.

A Portable Charger

A man and woman each holding an Anker Portable Charger.

You’ll never have to worry that your phone, speaker, tablet, or e-reader will die at the beach if you bring along a portable charger! That extra bit of comfort you get from knowing you’ll be able to keep your necessary devices powered up all day is totally worth $20 or so.

This charger from Anker can charge a phone up to three times and most tablets once. You’ll need to fully charge it at home first which takes around 5-1/2 hours, so be sure to plug it in the day before your beach day. It’s also super compact, so it won’t take up much space in your bag.

Anker Portable Charger

No worries about a dead phone battery.

A Water Bottle

A person places a water bottle on a log, and two people sit in a forest with a water bottle in hand.

When you’re going to be outside all day in the hot sun, you always want to take precautions against dehydration. An excellent way to do this during your day at the beach is to bring along a quality water bottle.

The HydroFlask is a popular option thanks to its sturdy construction and large (but not too large) size. It even has temperature regulation, which can keep your water cold for up to 24 hours. Even if you won’t be engaging in any intense physical activity (beach volleyball, anyone?), the stainless-steel construction means you won’t have to worry about the bottle getting broken in your bag.

You can choose from a multitude of colors and four different sizes, ranging from 24-60 ounces.

A Bluetooth Speaker

A person clips a speaker onto a backpack, and a person overlooks a lake.

Of course, you should always be respectful of those around you, but enjoying some of your favorite tunes is a pretty standard activity at the beach. The easiest way to do that these days is with a portable speaker.

The Soundlink from Bose is waterproof and UV-resistant so it won’t overheat. It’s also rechargeable and has up to 12 hours of battery life, so it’ll last all day. Plus, thanks to the handy clip, it’s easy to transport. The sturdy, yet non-bulky construction makes it perfect for summer days near the water.

A First Aid Kit

A person has a small first aid kit in their backpack.

This might not be the most fun item in your beach bag, but if someone gets a cut or scrape, it’ll quickly become your favorite.

Coleman’s tiny first aid kit contains a whopping 82 pieces, but can still easily be tucked into your bag. You get all the essentials, including antibiotic ointment, bandages, sting relief, and towelettes for cleaning cuts. Basically, if an accident happens, you’ll likely have it covered.

Whether you live near the beach, are making summer travel plans, or just heading to the local pool for the day, you’ll want all of these items in your beach bag. Not only will you be prepared for anything, but you’ll also stay hydrated, sunburn-free, and—oh, yeah—relax and have some fun, too!

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is the Editor In Chief of LifeSavvy. Previously, she worked as a freelance writer with a focus on beauty and lifestyle content. Her work has appeared in Bustle, Allure, and Hello Giggles. Read Full Bio »
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