Summer Beach Essentials (+ A Sunburn Tale of Woe)

Hi friends!

Today I’ve gone back and edited this post to add it to the Friday Favorites link-up hosted by the gorgeous, talented Heather over at Housewife Glamour!

Housewife Glamour


I wrote (and published) this before the 4th of July, but I couldn’t help but partake in Heather’s link-up today because this post is all about my beach essentials!!

I apologize for the now non-relevant discussion of my (epic fail) July 4th plans (little did I know when I wrote this…), but I hope you enjoy seeing what I consider to be my beach day must-haves!

As the 4th of July quickly approaches, I think it’s safe to say we are all in full on Summer mode.

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Just relaxing poolside circa 1999. Bangs are almost fully grown yet I don’t seem to notice they’re plastered to my face. Oh to be young again.

Usually on the 4th I go to a family friend’s lake house or the beach, but this year a friend and I are flying to D.C. to visit another friend who is interning there.

I am beyond excited. Not only have I never been to Washington D.C., but I also miss my friend SO much this summer. He’s a part of the group I went to Ocean City and NYC (to see Jimmy Fallon!!!!!) with last summer, as well as had tons of ‘game nights’ and random hangouts with since 8th grade. Also, I’m thinking that being in the nation’s capital for Independence Day might not be too shabby either…

Clearly, I’m a tad excited for this little weekend getaway, and I will hopefully have many pics and experiences to share next week!

Now that I’ve sufficiently blabbed about my upcoming 4th of July plans, I want to talk about some serious business.

And what’s this serious business I speak of?

It’s my summer beach essentials!!!

I know. Talk about some serious stuff, man.

Lily Cohen from Personal Creations contacted me asking what I personally think “makes for a great summer day”.

I thought about this for a while and I am now ready to present to you what I consider to be my summer beach essentials.

Now, I don’t exactly live by the beach, nor am I able to frequent it, especially this summer when I work many weekends. But that is not to say I don’t love extreme people watching, the feeling of sand between my toes, or the soothing sound of waves crashing as the sun burns my body wraps my shoulders in a blanket of bliss.

So without further ado, here are my favorite things to bring along for a perfect summer’s day at the beach!

  • A flattering bathing suit.

Not only is it a summertime staple, but it’s imperative for feeling confident and showing some personal style in a sea of bikini clad girls and shirtless guys.

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AE Boho Underwire Bikini Top // Target Xhilaration Junior’s Mix and Match Push Up Swim Top // Target Xhilaration Junior’s Hanky Swim Top // J.Crew Seersucker Demi Underwire Top // J.Crew Gemstone Underwire Top

I would think it goes without saying that you need bikini bottoms to go with your tops… I like to do either a solid top with a printed bottom (like my newest bikini pictured below) or vice versa, as opposed to totally matchy-matchy. But whatever floats your boat!


  • A casual pair of flip-flops.

If you wear anything else on your feet (for the .42 seconds you’re actually wearing shoes before you kick them off to allow your feet to sink into the hot, soft sand, a feeling that we all dream about in the dead of winter), then we need to have a talk. There’s a time and a place for strappy sandals, sneakers (unless you’re running I suppose those are okay?), and heels/wedges (don’t even get me started), and the beach is not that time or place. They’re just way too high maintenance/ cumbersome/ socially frowned upon.

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Rainbows (My favorite, I honestly wear nothing else anymore!) // Havaianas // Vineyard Vines Flag Flip Flops // J.Crew Factory Braided Cotton Flip Flops

****Disclaimer: If you do like to wear other shoes to the beach that’s totally fine, I’m just being overdramatic. Well, kinda. 😉

  • A good pair of sunglasses.

Functional and fashionable. Need I say more?

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Fun for the 4th! –>

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Ray-Ban Original Wayfarer Classic // Ray-Ban Aviator Flat Metal // Tory Burch Piscine // American Eagle Heart-Shaped

  •  A thick headband.

I tend to pile my hair on top of my head in a messy (and disgustingly snarly when I go to take it out later) bun, but I’ve suffered some major scalp burns in my lifetime. To prevent the pain and dandruff-looking flakes when it peels later on down the road (yes, EW), I’ve discovered the art of protecting as much of my head as possible while fooling people into thinking I’m just being fashion forward. A win-win, really.

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AE Americana Headwrap // Scunci Interlock Fabric Headwrap // Goody Athletique Reversible Quick Dry Headband // Forever21 Swiss Dot Headwrap // Forever 21 Geo Knotted Headwrap

OR you could wear a hat to protect your scalp, plus they’re pretty ‘in’ at the moment!

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J.Crew Open-Weave Trilby Hat // J.Crew Patterned Summer Straw Hat // Boston Red Sox Cap (or whatever team, school, etc. you want to support!)

  •  A sturdy tote.

I like to bring a few magazines, a good book, a change of clothes, snacks galore, speakers, and of course my wallet and whatever else I can stuff in there!

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Longchamp Le Pliage // Vineyard Vines Patchwork Classic Tote

  •  A comfortable chair.

I prefer one that has a carrying strap, cup-holders, a cooler pouch, a head rest, and can recline. Go big or go home, right?

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Tommy Bahama Seaport Stripe Deluxe Backpack Beach Chair

  •  A soft towel & a large blanket.

I like to set up camp by placing the chairs on the perimeter of the blanket (except the side facing the water obviously) to hold it down from those pesky sea breezes. This way my friends and I have the option of laying out or sitting, we have a little ‘wall’ (of chairs) between us and other people, and we can attempt to keep from getting too sandy when we lay down. The towel is needed to pat dry after taking a dip, and then to use as a makeshift pillow as the sun magically dries up the rest of the salt water from my burnt body.

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Vineyard Vines Whaleline Towel // Martha Stewart Collection Beach Blanket // Picnic Time Vista Outdoor Blanket Tote

  •  A cool cooler.

I don’t actually own my own cooler yet…but my family has enough to open a store. Extra large on wheels, large, medium, small, extra small, etc. Depending on the size of your crew and what you’re planning to do for meals/drinks (BYO? Walk to a boardwalk/restaurant when you all get hungry?), the style options are about as endless as the size options. Choose your cooler accordingly.

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Vineyard Vines Sailfish N Leaves Cooler Tote // Igloo Playmate Elite Patriotic 30 Can

  •  A ton of food.

Even though you’re usually being lazy at the beach, the sun sucks up a lot of energy. Maybe it’s just me, but I get pretty hungry! I either pack a lunch or pick something up from a local sandwich shop. I also like to bring some snacks like pop chips, fruit, and granola bars. *I’ve learned to stay away from anything with chocolate because that inevitably ends badly. Melted chocolate => nasty hands, which => awkward brown stains all over. Not cute.

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  •  A couple bottles of cold water.

Water is necessary for sustaining life and definitely necessary for surviving an entire day at the beach. Sun + heat => major dehydration. I like to fill a reusable water bottle with ice and then throw a few bottled waters in the cooler. I try to chug it every 20 minutes or so to prevent getting dehydrated, though I’ll be the first to admit I’m not always the best at this.

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  •  A few different SPFs/types of sunscreen.

This may be the most essential of all beach essentials.

Really any brand will do, as long as you use it as instructed. If you use the spray on kind, make sure to RUB IT IN.

I usually use SPF 30, and for my face I prefer to use one that is specifically meant for it just because I don’t want to break out.

Plus, I always (every single day, beach or not) use a lip balm with SPF.

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I’ve had my fair share of terrible sunburns in my life. I’m pretty fare skinned and if I don’t put sunscreen on (or reapply often), I will not be a happy camper the next day.

I’ve fallen victim to the awkward ‘one-side-of-my-body-because-I-failed-to-notice-the-sun-was-still-in-the-East’ burn, the ‘ohhhh-you-have-to-rub-the-spray-on-kind-in?!’ burn, and the excruciatingly painful ‘I-put-SPF-30-on-the-second-we-got-here-but-proceeded-to-run-straight-into-the-water-and-then-forgot-to-reapply’ burn. Let’s just say that red (almost purple?!), fever-causing, blistering, rashy, later peeling shoulders, stomach, and other awkward places I didn’t know existed were the result of each kind of burn.

All I can say is… Lesson(s) learned.

Although… I’m sure there are plenty of other types of burns I have yet to experience. Regardless, sunscreen (as well as shade, extremely wide-rimmed hats, massive parasols, full body suits, etc.) is the way to prevent any/all burn varieties.

And not just one application in the morning. And not just on your nose and back. I’m talking every 2 hours, on your ears, eyelids, toes, and anywhere else that isn’t literally underneath your swimsuit. Honestly, it probably wouldn’t hurt (or maybe it would..?) to get those places, too.

Moral of the story:

Sunscreen is your friend. Actually, it’s a really good friend because it can save you from more than just painful and unfortunate looking burns. It can ultimately save your life.

And that concludes A Sunburn Tale of Woe.

That also concludes my list of summer beach essentials!

I hope you enjoyed seeing what I consider to be the most vital items to take along to the beach, as well as reading my little sunscreen saga!

Thanks Lily for reaching out and asking me to do this post!

I really enjoyed putting it together and now all I want to do is go to the beach. I need to try and make that happen before summer is over. I always say once the 4th comes, summer is gone before we know it :/.

Guess that means we better live it up while it lasts!

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As I said in my last post, I have tons of fashion/food pics and updates to share, so I will try and get those up as soon as I can!

Have a great day!! Remember to smile and enjoy the summer 🙂


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PS – Be sure to follow me on Bloglovin, Twitter, and Instagram for more fitness, fashion, food, and fun!

And in case you missed them, feel free to check out a few of my recent posts:

Questions of the day:

  1. What are your summer beach essentials?
  2. Do you have a sunburn tale of woe? Leave it in the comments below and we can all commiserate together!

12 thoughts on “Summer Beach Essentials (+ A Sunburn Tale of Woe)

  1. Anna-Marie @BeautyandtheBeets says:

    I grew up in DC and used to go see the fireworks every year- how I miss them! Hope you had a blast- I love all the beach essentials especially the hats

  2. Heather says:

    Aw, I’m so glad you linked up! Funny that we both had the same kind of idea and a lot of the same essentials! Love the sunglasses and those fun ones on the bottom for the Fourth. Hope you have a great weekend and feel free to come link up again next week 🙂

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