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I know this article is titled “what’s in my beach bag” but it could just as easily be titled “what’s in my boat tote” or “what you need in your poolside pack”. Either way, here is everything I pack for a day of fun in the sun!

The Major Beach Bag Items

The Bag

The tote bag itself is almost as important as what goes in it. I like a canvas bag because they’re durable and sturdy. Be sure to find a bag that can hold all of the items listed below. There’s nothing worse than trying to shove stuff into a bag that’s too small. You might read the list below and think “I can just wear that, it doesn’t need to fit in my bag” to which I will respond with “what if it gets windy?” or “do you want everything splayed out in the sand while you’re in the water?”


Sunglasses are more than just a beach bag item for me – they’re more like a year round staple. For the beach, though, consider the type of activity that you’ll be doing. Do you need something that will handle water, stay on when you’re playing sports or just something stylish for sunbathing? These work for both! (Smith Optics Sunglasses, Altitude-Sports)

Sun Hat

I have tried to resist hats for years, but keeping your noggin out of the sun isn’t a bad idea. Opt for something with a brim or beak that offers shade to your face. Covering your head is great for keeping sun stroke at bay and helps prevent any unnecessary sun damage. (Brixton ‘Joanna’ Sun Hat, Altitude-Sports)

Rubber Flip-Flops

You’ll want sandals that can handle getting wet but that are also cute and comfy. I included flip-flops in my beach bag because you’ll want to toss them in your tote to keep them cool while you’re not wearing them. There’s nothing worse than stepping into sandals that are hot from the sun!

Tunic or Some Kind of Cover Up

Even if you’re only wearing it to-and-from the pool/beach/boat, you’ll want to make sure there’s space to stash it in your bag while it’s not on your body! Stick to cotton, linen and other natural fabrics for maximum breathability and comfort. (Women’s Caftan Cover-Up, Abercrombie&Fitch)

Sand-Free Beach Towels

tesalate towels, beach towels, sand free beach towel, australian beach towel, microfibre towel, fast drying towel

A fast-drying towel is always a must, but one that sand doesn’t stick to? Perfect. I recently discovered Tesalate towels and now I can’t get enough of them. They come in sizes for one person or two making them them perfect backdrop for your summer fun. Whether you like a classic style or more vibrant pattern, there is a style for you! Tesalate towels also come in their own little totes so they don’t stick to anything in your bag, either!

tesalate sand free towel

Note that these beautiful towel patterns are what you see in the backdrop of the photos of this post!

All The Little Details

Somehow a day in the sun requires its own set of toiletries! I like to pack mine in a small zipped pouch within my beach tote so that i’m not digging through piles of stuff just to find lip balm or a hair tie! Here’s what I don’t leave home without:

Mineral-Based Sunscreen: I love this option from BeautyCounter. I know it’s non-toxic so it’s completely safe for both me and the environment while still providing effective sun protection!

Lip Balm With SPF: My favourite SPF lip balms are from Sun Bum. They’re coconut oil based and all smell and taste delicious!

Face Mist: The sun steals moisture from our skin so be sure to replenish it with a face mist like this one from Evian. I also love that it helps purify skin of any toxins or residual chlorine from the pool. So refreshing!

Hair Ties & Barrettes: I keep a variety of hair ties in my beach bag. I keep Invisibobbles for when I want to pull my hair up and preserve my blowout. I also keep tangle free elastics for when I want to keep my hair back during or after water sports!

Hair Brush: I am a big lover of The Wet Brush because it glides through wet hair and prevents tangling! It also comes in a cute mini size if you prefer!

Leave-In Conditioner Spray: I use a leave-in conditioner spray when I style my hair, but I think it’s important to consider one here as well. The pool/ocean/lake will strip your hair of some of its natural moisture so it’s important to replenish it. My personal favorite is this one from Briogeo because it smells nice, works well, comes in a travel size and it’s clean. It’s one product you don’t have to worry about having in your hair when getting into natural bodies of water!

Extra Items

Reading Material: I always like to pack a book and maybe a couple of magazines to enjoy  poolside or on the beach. It’s one of my favourite spots to read!

Water Bottle: Staying hydrated is incredibly important and swimming can draw moisture from your body. I like to pack a S’Well bottle because it keeps my water cold for hours even if it sits in the sun!

Change Purse: I don’t like to bring my whole wallet to the beach, especially when a change purse with some cash and coins will suffice. You never know when you’ll want a snack or a popsicle!


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