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Beach Bag Tote Essentials: Shopping Editor’s Top Picks

Shop the best beach bags and what to put inside for the perfect summer!

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Summer is officially here, but my family’s summer vacation to the shore has come and gone. There’s still plenty of time to spend shore-side, which is why I’ve curated a list of must-haves for any beach lover’s bag (including the best bags for the occasion)! From oversized towels to supplies that’ll keep your drinks cold, beach-friendly snacks, and even a shark deterrent, you’ll find everything you need and more to have the best day in the sun this summer. Here’s what this shopping editor keeps on-hand at the beach and the tote bag(s) to carry it all in!

Best Beach Bags and Totes

First of all, the bag you choose to bring to the beach is essential. Ultimately, the bag you choose depends who you’re headed to the beach with and how long you plan to be there. For example, those with little ones might benefit from the Oka-B Tori Everywhere Tote Bag more than someone who is going to the beach by themselves or with friends, where the Patricia Nash Marconia Woven Leather Tote Bag with Scarf would be more ideal. Below you’ll find four beach bags for any occasion!

Oka-B Tori Everywhere Tote Bag

Tori Everywhere Tote Bag from Oka-B in Licorice.

Oka-B might be known for their line of women’s shoes that are perfect for the beach ($60), but the brand also offers the Tori Everywhere Tote Bag ($60) that’s ideal for carrying your beach-day necessities. Like the popular Bogg Bag ($90), this everywhere tote was designed to get wet, making it perfect for the beach, poolside, lakeside — pretty much anywhere water is present!

But that’s not all it’s good for. This structured bag can be used for hauling groceries, gym supplies, etc. You name it, this tote can handle it.

Personally, I use this bag for my toddler’s beach toys. It makes leaving the beach simple. We hose the entire bag off and let it dry out on the deck until next time.

ALOHA Flora Reversible Tote

Aloha Flora Reversible Beach Tote

This reversible beach tote ($50) is perfect for summer days. is has 1″ wide nylon straps and a 10.5” strap drop length that makes it easy to carry. Designed with SPLASH-PROOF® technology, this bag is the next best thing to waterproof! Everything you put inside will be protected from a light splash, light rain, or a cocktail spillage. Note the zipper and seams of ALOHA bags are not watertight, though! What’s more, these Splash-Proof bags are easy to clean. Simply wipe down with a damp cloth, hand wash in the sink, or toss in the washing machine on delicate and lay flat to dry.

L.L. Bean Boat and Tote®, Zip-Top

Boat and Tote®, Zip-Top from L.L. Bean

The Boat and Tote®, Zip-Top ($45) is a heavyweight canvas, so you know it means business. Designed with reinforced handles and double-stitched seams, this bag was meant to carry sopping wet towels, coverups, and the like at the end of a beach day. That’s because it was originally designed to haul ice “from car to chest!”

Like the oka-b tote, this bag wasn’t solely made for the beach — you can use it for groceries, during your commute, or for travel thanks to the secure zip top. But with summer finally here, we suggest you take this baby to a body of water, stat!

Case-Mate 26L Large Beach Tote Bag

Case-Mate 26L Large Beach Tote Bag

If you’re looking for a trendier beach bag, this iridescent option from Case-Mate is the answer! It’s a sandproof, waterproof bag ($80) that comes with a phone pouch. I love the jacquard strap designed to sit comfortably on the shoulder or be carried without a hassle. Other nice-to-haves about this beach bag include that it’s tip-proof and definitely capable of holding all of your beach day accessories (more on those below), measuring 17x12x8″.

Patricia Nash Marconia Woven Leather Tote Bag with Scarf

Patricia Nash Marconia Woven Leather Tote Bag with Scarf

Want a beach bag that’ll pull double duty? This gorgeous woven tote from Patricia Nash ($183) can take you from the beach to the boardwalk to your favorite spot for a bite to eat and back! It’s the perfect blend of style and functionality featuring a magnetic snap closure, interior zip pocket, and two interior slip pockets. The decorative scarf is removable and can be used to take this bag from the beach to the beach club!

Best SPF for Your Beach Bag

Now that you’ve got your beach bag picked out, you’re ready to start stocking it with necessities. First things first — sunscreen. When used as directed (that means reapplying!), wearing sunscreen can decrease your risk of skin cancers and precancers by 40%. Here are some of the sunscreens I’ve loved using!

Easy-Apply Sunscreen

Naked Sundays SPF50 Clear Glow Sun Stick

  • Description
  • Pros

This SPF stick fits perfectly in my beach bag. I love how easy it is to apply to my face while I’m out and about in the sun without a mirror!

  • Easy to apply to the face and body
  • Absorbs seamlessly into the skin without an oily residue
  • Fragrance free!
Moisturizer with SPF

Naturium Dew-Glow Moisturizer SPF 50

  • Description
  • Pros

My daily skincare routine starts with washing my face and applying this SPF. If I’m headed to the beach, this gets tossed into my beach bag for when I’m feeling like my skin is dry and needs a bit more moisture than regular SPF provides.

  • Formulated with organic/chemical sunscreen filters that apply invisibly on all skin tones
  • Features a 1/4 teaspoon dip cap that shows you how much sunscreen to apply
  • Fragrance free!
After Sun Mist

Suntegrity Trifecta Power Mist

  • Description
  • Pros

This isn’t an SPF, but it does wonders for the skin after you’ve been out in the sun all day! If you’re like me and hate applying moisturizer when it’s hot out but don’t want your skin feeling taught and dry, this spray provides the moisture without the grease-y feeling of lotion.

  • Cleanses, restores, and hydrates the skin
  • Three simple ingredients
  • Formulated for all skin types

Must-Have Accessories for Your Beach Bag

Hair Clip

The Hair Edit Gilded Mermaid Shell Claw Clip

  • Description

Because who doesn’t want to feel like a mermaid when they’re at the beach? The extra-large size makes it perfect for women with longer hair, but it also works on thin hair like mine (I just have to twist my hair, which is on trend anyway!). It’s one of the more sturdy clips I own and comes in a chic gold finish that plays well on and off the beach.

Customers love it too! “I love the shell look of this claw clip! It has teeth that lay flat against your head for comfort and it even has a slight curve to it so that it is a similar shape to your head. I have thick, wavy hair and it holds all my hair up without any trouble or falling. I couldn’t be happier with my experience!”

Shark Deterrent

SHARKBANZ 2 Magnetic Shark Repellent Band

  • Description

Sharks are top of mind for many on the east coast with the recent attacks in Florida. That’s why I keep a SHARKBANZ 2 Magnetic Shark Repellent Band in my beach bag! Using patented magnetic technology, Sharkbanz overwhelm sharks’ electroreceptors causing a highly unpleasant sensation that turns sharks away. It can be worn around the ankle or wrist and is ideal for anyone over the age of 5! It comes in a special box for storage so the magnet doesn’t damage any of the electronics in my beach bag.

Customers love it too! “This product is a strong magnet you wear on your ankle (watch out where you store it!). It is comfortable and easy to put on. I’m not sure if it really works; however, I never saw any sharks while swimming/snorkeling in HI where there are tons of aggressive tiger sharks. In fact, the SharkBanz was mandatory equipment to swim in a local group of shoreline swimmers. It comes in several colors to match your style. I strongly recommend this product – better safe than bitten!”

Bluetooth Speaker

Ultimate Ears Boom 3 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker

  • Description

No day at the beach is complete without music. This waterproof 90 watt bluetooth speaker is my go-to! It has a 15-hour battery life on a single charge and I don’t have to worry about getting it sandy or wet. I love how easy it is to play, pause, or skip with the push of a button, plus the sound that comes out of this small but mighty speaker is incredible!

Customers love it too! “I have three of these and create my own surround sound with them. They are easy to travel with and the sound quality, whether you have one or three, is superb. I am very happy with these.”


Eleventh Hour Mink Polarized Sunglasses

  • Description

I first learned about these sunglasses when Eleventh Hour collaborated with Jersey Shore: Family Vacation star Lauren Sorrentino. I’ve been a huge fan since then, mostly because they’re super-affordable and constantly dropping new styles. These polarized sunglasses are big enough to keep the sun out of your eyes, but small enough to fit under the brim of you’re floppy hat (AKA the ideal size).

Lens Wipes

See Clear Original Lens Cleaning Wipes

  • Description

for 12 resealable packs

Speaking of sunglasses, there’s nothing worse than getting sunscreen, sweat, and saltwater on them. That’s why I keep these pre-moistened cleaning cloths in my beach bag. They’re also great for wiping your phone off if it’s not already in a water-proof case like the one that comes with the Case-Mate Beach Bag.

Customers love them too! “The towels are moist and large very thick. Best I’ve ever used. Yes they are pricey but worth it. My glasses are clean again”

Protein-Packed Beach Snack

Karma Nuts Cashew Variety Pack

  • Description

Snacking on the beach is one of my favorite past times. I love these protein-packed cashews from Karma. They’re air-roasted, never fried, and are non-GMO Project verified, gluten-free, Kosher, and Vegan. Additionally, they come in resealable bags, making them easy to toss into your beach bag without worrying about finding them at the bottom after a long day in the sun. With flavors like Toasted Coconut, Peri Peri, Sea Salt Wrapped, Cinnamon Wrapped, and Lime Twist, you can’t go wrong.

Customers love them too! “Love Karma Nuts! All of the flavors are great, but we especially love the sea salt, cinnamon, and turmeric flavors! You won’t regret giving these a try.”

Oversized Beach Towel

Lay & Stay Beach Towel

  • Description

I keep these Beach Towel Bands in my bag so my towel won’t blow off of my chair, but when it comes time to lay down and even my tan out, I’m usually scrambling to find something to anchor the four corners of my towel. That problem is gone thanks to the Lay & Stay Beach Towel, which has grommeted holes and and anchors to keep my towel secure. The extra-large size, quick-dry microfiber, and ease of carrying/storing are all a bonus!

Customers love it too! “SO LIGHT AND COMPACT. I fold this towel down and fit it in my crossbody bag. DID I MENTION NO SAND!! I ALWAYS have to clean my car after a beach trip because the sand from my folded towel gets everywhere. NO MORE! 10/10 love this product.”

Beach Flip-Flops

Sanuk Women's Cosmic Aquarius 2 Flip-Flop

  • Description

My sandals usually come off the moment I hit the sand, unless it’s unbearably hot. Regardless, these Sanuk Sandals as a “beach bag must have” because you can’t go to the beach without a great shoe! I love the molded heel and arch support these sandals provide, and the textured footbeds provide extra grip and make walking with wet, sandy feel a little easier.

Double-Walled Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle

RTIC 30 oz Road Trip Tumbler

  • Description

I never go anywhere without my water bottle (I have something of a collection), and the beach is no different. Staying hydrated in the sun is super important, and this 30 oz. RTIC Tumbler makes it easy! And in a color called “Beach,” how can you resist? I love the straw this tumbler comes with — the bottom of it is angled so you can get every last drop.

Customers love it too! “I have the white version and my mom was jealous so I got her the sparkly pink for Christmas and she loves it. I typically don’t get the trendy insulated cups because I dislike the metallic taste they give to the water. Because this one is coated in ceramic, the taste is not affected. It’s awesome.”

12oz Slim Can Drink Holder

BrüMate Hopsulator Slim Can Cooler

  • Description

If you’re drinking anything other than water on the beach, you need a BrüMate. They have insulated can coolers, wine glasses, and more, so no matter what you’re drinking, you can ensure it stays cold. I usually have the Slim Can Cooler on hand, but I also own the Winesulator, Uncork’d Leak-Proof Wine Glass, the Hopsulator Trio, the MargTini tumbler for martinis and margaritas, and the ReHydration Bottle. Big fan of the brand!

Customers love it too! “I love these coozies! My second time buying. Works for adult beverages and redbull. Keeps drinks cold for a long time. Easy to use. Super cute, have gotten lots of compliments. Fits cup holders in car. Super durable and portable.”

Beach Bag Bonus: The Ultimate Beach Blanket

This may or may not fit in your beach bag (if you go with the Case-Mate option, it’ll definitely fit!), but it’s a must-have for any day outdoors.

Water-Resistant, Compact Blanket

Little Unicorn Outdoor Picnic & Beach Blanket

  • Description

Say what you will, but I’m not someone who puts my towel directly onto the sand — especially when it’s wet! Since I can remember, I’ve always had some kind of mat or barrier between my towel and the beach. This super-sized 5×10′ blanket is a dream for me! I love the size because you can fit at least four adults and their towels comfortably. It’s easy to carry, too, because it comes with it’s own strap, but you can totally throw it in your bag if it’s big enough. Plus it comes in a variety of fun prints so you can really make a statement on the sand.

Customers love them too! “I have gifted these blankets to relatives with small children, and they have been very well received. They are great for active families…for the beach, outdoor concerts and picnics. They seem very durable, fold easily and the pretty fabric side is soft enough for baby to lay on. The poppy design is especially beautiful!”

Want even more summer shopping? Keep reading!

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Canned and Premade Cocktails That Are Better Than Making Your Own

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