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Get prepared with must-have beach bag essentials here. This post shares a printable packing list and specific recommendations for your pool or beach bag. You’ll be grateful you didn’t forget anything once you’re there! Let’s discuss what to pack for a sunny day by the water!

flat lay of beach bag essentials.
flat lay of my top beach bag essentials

How to Pack a Beach Bag: Printable Packing List

beach bag packing list.

Must-Have Women’s Pool & Beach Bag Essentials

I like to always be prepared… but also with style and function. So, you will find the absolute best beach goodies and gadgets overall here! Below are my personal recommendations for the beach bag essentials you don’t want to leave out of your tote this year.

Waterproof Sunscreen

Of course, one of the top beach bag necessities is waterproof sunscreen! My top pick is the popular Supergoop! PLAY Antioxidant Body Mist. It has clean ingredients for sensitive skin. There’s a reason everyone loves it so much—it feels really light and leaves no residue; it is non-toxic and long-lasting.

While I am a spray gal, you can also try Supergoop!’s lotions, sticks, and more.

Shopping Tip: By the way, I’ve used my FSA/HSA card to buy this brand!

Lip Balm

While you’re at it, be sure to bring sun protection for your lips too! Since I have learned this lesson the hard way (with burned lips), it’s now one of my best tips. I use Supergoop!’s lip balm, which is non-toxic and water-resistant.

Beach Towels

If you need to pack a beach towel in your beach tote, consider one that’s “quick dry.” These microfiber beach towels do just that, plus they are sand-free, compact, and come in a variety of colors and two different sizes.

Beach Blanket

Or, perhaps you would prefer a beach blanket to relax in the sand. This extra-large beach blanket becomes compact and is sand-free, quick-drying, lightweight, and durable. It also has stakes and corner pockets.


Shade your face and head from the sun and wind with a cute hat. This exclusive sun hat with a bow from Tuckernuck is what’s in my beach bag because it’s packable and you can monogram it! It sells out every summer, so if you really want it, grab it fast. I wear it all the time when I travel shop Martha’s Vineyard bookstores and visit the island, and I love it!

Water Bottle

Stay hydrated with a double-walled stainless steel water bottle. Personally, I rely on the popular Swell water bottle, which is BPA-free and keeps drinks cold for 36 hours.

Other “options” include a wine tumbler (wink!).

Polarized Sunglasses

Polarized sunglasses are best for your eyes. I rely on my RayBan New Wayfarer sunglasses, which are a timeless style and a great size for women (52mm). Make sure you get polarized for the best sun protection!

Cover Up

You may need an extra cover-up depending on what you wear to the beach. I like to pack a style that’s like a “dress” because it can provide extra sun protection if you need it, and can be worn anywhere you stop before or after the beach, like a cafe.

I’ve been loving this Lilly Pulitzer coverup because it’s made of swimsuit material, so it doesn’t wrinkle in your bag, and it can get wet! It runs slightly large. If you are between sizes, size down.

eReader or Book

As a bookish lifestyle blogger, naturally, I recommend packing a Kindle or book (or two). Perhaps a beach read?! I linked the Kindle Paperwhite, which is the one I use and recommend for most readers.

Headphones / Earbuds

If you’re an introvert like me, you may want to block out peripheral noise at the beach. I use my Apple AirPods for this, as they are so compact! I’ve had them for several years now with no complaints.

Bluetooth Speaker

Or, if you are extroverted, perhaps you will want to jam in the sand to some playful tunes. If so, check out this Bose SoundLink Flex Bluetooth Portable Speaker, which is wireless and waterproof for outdoor travel.

I purchased this speaker for my husband, and we could not love it more. It packs a massive punch for the price and size of the product. It is hands down one of the best gifts I got him. We’ve bought several more since then as gifts!

Portable Charger

Don’t run out of juice while you’re lounging in your beach chair! We have this myCharge portable charger with two shareable ports. It’s on the more pricy side, but it has a turbo-fast charge for the price, and it’s lasted a long time. My husband brings it to all his work conferences and said he and his co-workers love it!

Waterproof Phone Case

A waterproof phone case is one of the handiest beach accessories, so you don’t have to leave your phone behind while you swim. I used this Hiearcool Waterproof Phone Pouch (2 Pack) in the water park at the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas, and I saw so many people wearing the exact same ones there! I have swam in the ocean with it, so I can vouch for it.

Water Shoes

Best Seller with Readers of The Literary Lifestyle

These women’s Speedo Aquaskimmer water shoes are SO useful for so many purposes, both on land and on the sea. They completely saved my feet at both a water park and a rough beach. They have since become a best seller with readers. They run true to size and are really comfortable too!


Stay full for long hours in the sun with low-calorie, munchable snacks that are easy to pack and don’t melt! I always have these Skinny Pop individual popcorn bags on hand.


If you need to keep your snacks cool, this Lilly Pulitzer beach cooler is the cutest, and it comes in several colorways!

If you want something similar but on the smaller side, check out the Lilly Pulitzer insulated lunch bag I use.

First Aid Kit

If you like to always be prepared as I do, you will want to pack a First Aid Kit like this compact First Aid Kit designed for travel.

Remember to also pack your favorite pain relievers, allergy medication, and insect repellents.


Gentle face and cleansing wipes like these Cetaphil face and body wipes can also be really useful after a long day in the sand and surf. They’re also one of the easiest beach items to pack!


Keep your skin hydrated as you bask in the sun! I just hate the feeling of skin that’s been dried by sand, especially after getting a pedicure!

I use this non-toxic 30 SPF Necessaire sunscreen, which doubles as a moisturizer, with facial-grade ingredients like hyaluronic acid and niacinamide. As a bonus, it’s also designed to protect against sun damage.

Get 10% off Necessaire body products with code JULESB10.

Related Post: Necessaire Review


Last but not least, get both sand and knots out of your wet hair with this Tangle Teezer Ultimate Detangler Brush. It’s one of the top beach bag essentials I rely on since my hair tangles so easily. I’ve linked up the “mini” version so it’s smaller for you to pack with all your beach products.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best type of bag to bring to the beach?

The best beach bag is lightweight, water-resistant, and spacious with multiple compartments. Look for mesh or quick-dry fabric to handle wet items. A zippered top keeps sand out, while sturdy handles make it easy to carry. Tote bags and backpacks are great picks.

What to pack in a pool bag?

Pack sunscreen, towels, swimwear, goggles, flip-flops, water, snacks, and a change of clothes. Don’t forget a waterproof phone case and a good book.

What should be in a beach bag?

In a beach bag, pack sunscreen, towels, swimwear, sunglasses, a hat, water, snacks, a book, and a phone in a waterproof case. Don’t forget flip-flops, a first aid kit, and a reusable bag for wet items.


The best beach essentials protect your skin and help you have fun. Don’t forget to pack sunscreen, towels, swimwear, sunglasses, a hat, water, snacks, a book, and a phone in a waterproof case. Don’t forget flip-flops, a first aid kit, and a reusable bag for wet items.


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