Whether you’re in the French Riviera, Amalfi Coast or Hilton Head, South Carolina….there’s nothing like a beach day to make you feel relaxed, energized and glamorous – all at the same time.
I’ve visited many beaches in my travels to Europe, the Caribbean, Hawaii (love Maui!), and more. But no matter what beach I’m escaping to, my beach day essentials remain the same – I keep them simple, stylish and smart.
6 Essentials for a Relaxing Beach Day (Plus a Fun Bonus Item!)
Aside from a well-made swimsuit and cover up, these six items are all I really need for a lovely day at the beach:
Sturdy, Reclining Chair – Unless you are staying at a full service resort that provides lounge chair beach service, bringing a quality beach chair is a must and can make all the difference. I used to think that throwing a couple of towels down on the sand was enough for my day in the sun until I was introduced to the beach chair life – it’s way more comfortable and I end up with less sand on me (as well as my shoes, hotel room, car…). So which do I use? About a year ago, my husband and I tried a Tommy Bahama Marlin Deluxe Backpack Beach Chair and we were hooked! Although you can buy the chairs directly from Tommy Bahama, we purchased ours at a lower cost at Costco (and they had better colors too). The chair is definitely solid and includes several reclining settings – from straight up so you can gaze at the crashing waves, to completely flat (although your knees will still be bent), to get some well-deserved rest – it even comes with a little pillow. The chair also includes two back pockets, one large enough to fit ALL my beach essentials including a smuggled pool towel, and another pocket that is insulated for water, ice and snacks. The chair arms have two additional smaller pockets, one for a drink/water bottle and one to hold your phone or other items you want to keep within reach but off the sand. And the best part – it includes straps so that you can wear it like a backpack when you are walking to and from your hotel room or car.
Large-brimmed Hat – Although somewhat cliched beach wear, large-brimmed hats can not only keep the sun off of your face, allowing for mild sun protection and easier book reading, but they can also add that element of chic that can make passersby glance your way a little longer. Plus, hats – whether canvas, straw or other material – are much more stylish now than even 10 years ago and they are more in style given their rise in exposure in social media. I’ve always been partial to the straw hats at JCREW but have found at least one runner up at the Gap, but they are definitely seasonal.
Sunglasses – Like a quality chair, sunglasses are a must at the beach. And for the full sun days, the bigger the sunglasses the better. For years, I’ve gravitated toward Maui Jims but I’ve also recently purchase Kate Spade prescription glasses which have been a game changer. I no longer have to switch back and forth from my regular glasses to my sunglasses or worse, have fuzzy vision all day (I avoid wearing contacts at the beach for fear of getting sand in my eyes – ouch!). Instead, I have one prescription pair with frames that are simple, stylish and are large enough to offer full sun protection.
Sunscreen – The days are long gone when I could lather on the baby oil and lay for hours at the pool burning my skin in the sun. Now, 2 cases of facial skin cancer later, I am older and wiser about keeping my skin safe from the sun (or safe-ish – a girl needs a little color, am I right?). Now, I use at least 15 SPF on my face EVERY day, and will go up to 50 SPF when I’m outside for long periods of time like at the beach or pool. Although I prefer Clinique products for facial sun protection, I stick with Coppertone Sport 30 SPF, or higher depending on the time of year and how much I’ve been in the sun leading up to vacation. Not surprising, sunscreen really does works if you reapply according to directions. And, after using it for many years now, I can absolutely see a difference in my skin – especially my face.
Lip Balm – Like the rest of your skin, lips should be protected when in the sun, maybe even more so given the skin is thinner and more delicate. Wearing lip balm is nothing new, especially for me. However, after noticing fine lines on my lips a couple of years ago, I play it smart in the sun by making sure I wear lip balm with SPF and reapply religiously. I LOVE Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment with SPF 15 because it not only protects the lips and keeps them soft, it provides a pop of color peaking out from under my wide-brimmed straw hat.
Phone and AirPods – No day at the beach would be complete without my favorite playlists on Apple Music. And unless you are on a private beach or are a hundred feet from other vacationers….listening to music via AirPods is the way to go.
BONUS: Binoculars – I decided to throw in my new favorite beach item to round out my beach essentials list. Seriously, I’m not that old, and have never been one to use binoculars. However last year, I had the opportunity to see dolphins and even sharks right off the beach. Without binoculars, the dolphins/sharks just looked like dark shadows, but with them, I could see much more detail depending on their proximity to the shore. There are several reasonably priced binoculars online, but we settled on the Pentax AD 10×25 WP Binoculars. Kind of pricey for a limited use item, but seeing the dolphins breach the water while sitting in my beach chair – priceless!
What are your essential items to pack for a day at the beach?