The best part about summer is, without a doubt, the feeling of spontaneity. One weekend, we may be laying on the couch, soaking up the AC, and the next weekend could bring a last-minute invite to the beach. It’s a carefree lifestyle that simply doesn’t happen in the middle of winter.
Sometimes, though, we have a habit of getting a little *too* spontaneous and forget to pack essentials on a last-minute trip, like sunscreen (eek!), going-out outfits or even lip balm. That’s why we’re rounding up the best beach trip basics that effortlessly transition from the sand through sunset cocktails. Ready to pack? Just keep on reading.
Before the Trip
Let’s start with a basic necessity: your bag. There’s a time and place for a rolling suitcase, but in our opinion, a beach trip is the perfect occasion for a weekender tote. Pick an easy (but sturdy) option with zippered compartments for all your bits and bobs, like the Raven + Lily Addis bag. The quality of the bag is top-notch — with handcrafted vegetable-tanned leather and soft hand-loomed Ethiopian cotton lining — so you know it’ll last through all your unplanned vacations.
Before you start folding everything, lay it all out (and we mean all of it!). Divide your belongings into three categories: the beach, going out/activities and sleeping. This way, it’ll be easier to realize what you don’t need and what you’ve left out.
Once you’ve settled on a reasonable number of outfits, it’s time to move onto accessories. The BPA-free glass 500 ML water bottle from bkr is the perfect size. You can toss it in your beach bag or take it along for extra hydration when you go out at night — plus they even make a cap with a convenient slot for their Paris Water Balm, so you can keep your lips nourished.
And don’t forget sunglasses! These universally-flattering retro-inspired sunnies are our pick right now. Not only is the cat-eye incredibly trendy, but Pala Eyewear gives a pair of prescription glasses to those in need for every pair of sunglasses sold.
At the Beach
You survived the long car ride, checked into your Airbnb and unpacked everything from your weekender. It’s time to head to the beach! Since you’re likely spending hours in the sun, it’s important to take a few minutes to pack your beach bag with everything you’ll need, from your summer reads to beauty essentials.
First up: your swimsuit. Go for something you know you’ll get plenty of wear out of. The Deep Dive cut from Summersalt has a flattering deep v-neck front, a criss-cross back that’s nice and secure, UPF 50+ protection (which we all know is majorly important), and plenty of sizes to choose from. Plus, the female-owned company makes all their swimsuits from recycled materials with a luxe feel.
A towel is a must, no matter your plans. This lightweight cotton towel from MINNA is made from loom-woven cotton that is both soft and quick-absorbing. And even if you don’t spend a second of your vacation in the water, there’s no reason you can’t fake your beach waves. Spritz your hair from mid-shaft to tips with this fresh, coconut-y texturizing spray from Herbivore Botanicals. The mist comes in a bag-friendly glass bottle that can be reused over and over, so you can feel good knowing that your mermaid waves aren’t harming actual sea creatures.
Most importantly: SPF, SPF, SPF! Our COMPLEXION RESCUE DEFENSE Radiant Protective Veil SPF 30 is a makeup bag staple all year round, but it’s especially handy during the summer months. The multi-purpose lightweight veil nourishes while protecting skin from the sun’s harsh UV rays with mineral-based broad spectrum SPF. (It also contains Cacao Extract to defend against blue light-induced damage — just in case you take a break from the beach to upload a few pics.)
Before Going Out
As you make your way off your lounger, it’s time to transition your beach look. Throw on a cover up, like this Beach Coat from Pondicherie. As versatile as it is elegant, this belted silhouette adds a thin layer of sun protection while acting as a sheer dress for happy hour.
Even if you’re going minimal on makeup, COMPLEXION RESCUE Hydrating Foundation Stick SPF 25 fits neatly in your beach bag for on-the-go buildable coverage and a boost of hydration (thanks to the 30% mineral water!).With the sun about to set, keep your natural radiance going with ENDLESS GLOW Highlighter. The pressed formula blurs the look of pores and imperfections while giving a sun-free glow that’s great for after dark. And, to give your skin a quick pick-me-up, finish with DEW MIST Setting Spray. The refreshing mist instantly hydrates with Watermelon and Apple Extracts while leaving behind a subtle illumination.
Out and About
Remember that little beach bag you threw together in the morning? Time to make it work overtime. This hand-woven, sun-dried rattan bucket bag from Kayu looks just as good laying in the sand as it does in the crook of your arm all night, and pairs perfectly with easy black sandals, like these vegan Susi “Jane” sandals (named for Jane Goodall!). While you’re at it, add a coat or two of LASHTOPIA Mega Volume Mineral-Based Mascara for soft, plush lashes that look like falsies but feel like nothing. Finally, finish with a dab of bkr Paris Lip Balm, and you’re ready for your night out.