Now that we’re officially approaching the dog days of summer, a trip to the beach has never felt more necessary. Between the incessant heat, sticky humidity, and cramped feeling we’re all experiencing in our tiny apartments, the beach seems like a welcome escape–which means that finding the best beach bag, one that can hold all your oceanside essentials while looking stylish, has never been more important.
Team Marie Claire has a penchant for finding the best bags for summer. Case in point: We’ve already uncovered the best basket bags and the best net bags. Naturally, finding a great beach bag was next up on our to-do list. Our picks run the gamut when it comes to style and substance. Some are made of raffia, while others are made from recycled cotton or sturdy canvas. Some of the beach bags on this list are foldable for easy storage in your closet, while some are great for sportier beach days that may or may not include a hike. These beach bags and totes will hold everything you need and keep your most prized possessions safe while you dip in the pool, courtesy of inner pockets and hidden pouches.
So, pull out your cutest bikini or one-piece swimsuit, find your favorite pair of sandals in your collection, grab your best sunglasses from their case, and submit an official out-of-office request: it’s time for a beach day. Or, if you can’t get to the beach right now, feel free to settle for your nearest pool (just don't forget your sunscreen).
What to Look For in Beach Bags
"The ultimate beach bag needs to be two things: fun and practical," says Rickie De Sole, the Women's Fashion Director at Nordstrom.
"A day at the beach under the warm sun calls for color," de Sole says. The Nordstrom fashion expert encourages you to seek out playful design details like crochet, embroidery, woven straw fabrications, striking patterns, and trendy color palettes. "I love a brightly-printed tote or a raffia bag with vibrant trim," she specifically shouts out.
"Beach bags, by nature, need to hold lots of stuff: suntan lotion, books, magazines, sunglasses, water bottles, towels—the list goes on! You'll want to look for something roomy that you can pile your belongings into," explains the Nordstrom fashion expert. "I look for totes that have pockets inside or a coordinating pouch to keep important items like my wallet secure."
The Best Beach Bags
- Best Overall: L.L Bean Boat and Tote
- Best Affordable Beach Bag: BAGGU Standard Reusable Tote Bag
- Best Splurge: Altuzarra Watermill Bag Small
- Best Sporty Beach Bag: Lululemon On My Level Bag 2.0 19L
- Best Printed Beach Bag: ban.do Fruity Foldable Beach Bag
- Best Straw Beach Bag: BTB Los Angeles Salty as a Beach Straw Tote
- Best Mesh Beach Bag: 3.1 Phillip Lim Mesh Market Bag
- Best Canvas Beach Bag: Marc Jacobs The Jacquard Tote Bag
Best Overall Beach Bag
Live out your coastal grandmother fantasies with this classic canvas tote from L.L. Bean. Leave it plain, or get it embroidered with a monogram for a personalized touch. "I'm loving my boat and tote so far—it's the perfect beach bag," raves a more-than-pleased shopper. "For reference, my large bag holds two beach towels, a change of clothes, multiple water bottles, a book, sunscreen, and more with room to spare. The long handles make it easy to carry as well. I also love the zip top because it keeps my stuff in and the sand out."
Best Sporty Beach Bag
This pick from Lululemon is made from water-repellant fabric, so all of your valuables will stay dry on your next beach trip. It has an adjustable and removable shoulder strap, a secure buckle closure, and interior pockets for your essentials. One Lululemon customer calls it "a Marry Poppins bag," saying it "carries as much or as little as you like. It has multiple compartments, while the two main sides expand for whatever your needs might be. I use it every day!"
Most Secure Beach Bag
Striped anything always exudes an inherently summery vibe, but this Clare V. tote bag, which was explicitly designed with the beach in mind, takes the print to an entirely new warm-weather level. Made from a nylon canvas and trimmed with leather, this durable carry-all tote bag will be your no-fuss summer hero bag. "It's the coordinating pouch I love so much on this Clare V. tote," gushes de Sole. This happy Nordstrom shopper echoes the fashion expert: "I saw this bag and had to have it. [It's] super cute and very beachy. Holds a decent amount, and the pouch is great for holding my wallet and keys while at the beach."
Best Printed Beach Bag
This fruit and fauna-covered foldable beach bag from ban.do is so fun and feels synonymous with an easy-going summer spirit. The long straps make it easy to carry under your arm, while the lightweight design is great for long days. It's crafted from a durable and water-resistant polyester fabric, meaning it can withstand the ocean's mess and any wet swimsuits or snacks you need to store inside it. Plus, the bag folds inside of itself (!) into a neat and easy pouch. Oh, and did I mention yet that it only costs $43?
Best Tote Beach Bag
"I sported the Rothy’s new Lightweight Mega Tote in Courtside White to my first CityPickle lesson at Central Park. With its cream look and green trim, it’s the perfect accessory for all your tennis and pickleball goals this summer. The bag is equally ideal for trips to the beach, especially in the Chai Twill and Navy Stripe Twill colors. This tote is light as a feather yet so spacious it can hold your towels, picnic blankets, beach read, rackets and refreshments. Its perforated fabric gives a breathable interior, and is made of marine plastic, so you’ll feel extra good about wearing this to your next oceanside outing!"—Tanya Benedicto Klich, Senior Editor of Money & Career
Best Crochet Beach Bag
"I love the natural look and feel of a great crochet tote, like this from Tory Burch in an on-trend Barbie hot pink color," says the Nordstrom fashion expert. As de Sole notes, this style taps into the organic vibe of crochet and woven raffia but with a very 2023-feeling tweak—which makes total sense since classic with a twist has become a style code of the womenswear designer as of late. And this cheerful number is practical, too: It "fits everything, is lightweight, and super quality! [I] can't wait for my vacation," raves one Nordstrom reviewer.
Best Nylon Beach Bag
"This bag is one of the most versatile pieces in my wardrobe, bar none. It's already amazing as a laptop bag for during the workweek, but it's also a great beach bag, too. It's made from a lightweight nylon material and has sturdy leather straps. It's easy to clean, and sand won't get stuck in the corners along the bottom. It also holds so much stuff. I once carried a bathing suit, a towel, a change of clothes, and several bottles of sunscreen, and snacks into it. It's practically a weekender bag in my collection at this point.”—E-Commerce Editor Julia Marzovilla
Best Splurge Beach Bag
"Altuzarra's watermill silhouette is not your run-of-the-mill beach tote but is worth the investment, thanks to its versatility. Crafted from natural palm leaf and hand-stitched leather detailing, the tote is large enough for your beach towel, SPFs, sunglasses, and a summer read but works perfectly as a work or weekend bag for non-beach days."—Sara Holzman, Style Director.
Best Affordable Beach Bag
Not to be too on the nose, but this beach bag has a literal ocean print on it! This tote from the Internet-adored BAGGU (you've definitely seen a few TikToks of people shoving everything but the kitchen sink into the brand's spacious styles) is so cute for days spent lounging by the ocean. It's made of recycled ripstop nylon and can hold up to 50 lbs—so, yes, you can bring that 500-page novel you've been meaning to crack open. "I was skeptical about the whole BAGGU trend going on, but now I understand," writes an Urban Outfitters shopper. "The quality on BAGGU's are incomparable. They're so lightweight but can hold everything you need and more while being compact."
Best Mesh Beach Bag
"We're only a month into summer, and I've already found the bag that will define the season for me: This salmon-pink mesh tote by 3.1 Phillip Lim. It's great for early morning runs to the farmer's market or running errands around the city, but my favorite use is for day trips to the beach. I recently spent a day lounging by the ocean and, as a chronic over-packer, was amazed that this unstructured mesh style fits all of my essentials, including my 24-oz water bottle, Kindle, and change of clothes."—Emma Childs, Style Editor
Most Unique Beach Bag
"You certainly won't be missed carrying this tote around," de Sole says of this attention-grabbing, mood-boosting tote bag by Call It By Your Name. "I love the joyful color, perfect for summer days ahead." The brand sources its bandanas from South Carolina and handcrafts and embroiders each bag in France, making each style slightly different and one-of-a-kind. And when you want a change, you only need to flip the bag inside out for a wholly different look because this beautiful bandana baby is—insert drumroll sound effect here—reversible.
Best Cotton Beach Bag
At 18.5 inches long, 6.25 inches wide, and 14 inches high, this bag fits everything! Dagne Dover's cotton tote bag can even carry your laptop if you're lucky enough to work remotely this summer with your toes in the sand. And there are pockets galore: one interior zip, three interior slips, one bottle holder, four exterior slips, and one exterior phone pouch. One DD customer writes, "This bag is nothing short of amazing! Stands up by without anything in it. Holds all the things with room to spare! The material is amazing for beach weekends!"
Best Canvas Beach Bag
The bag that needs no introduction—because it introduces itself! Marc Jacobs' iconic self-describing tote bag comes in many shapes and fabrications, including this jacquard canvas tote that's a top pick for summer 2023's best beach bags. The sturdy, boxy bag measures 16.5 inches wide and six-point-three deep, meaning it can safely carry all your summer must-haves. Take it from this pleased Bloomingdale's shopper: "This is a great tote bag. It's made of heavy-duty canvas and is very roomy with interior pockets. It also has a zipper which is nice because many totes do not."
Best Straw Beach Bag
Go ahead, buy the fun beach bag with the slogan on it! This basket bag from BTB Los Angeles comes in three colorways, so find your favorite. "Got this bag for a spring break trip and to use this summer at the beach," writes one happy Nordstrom shopper. "It was perfect: very durable material, high-quality bag. More space than I was expecting," they say of the tote bag they dub perfectly "practical and cheeky!"
Best Designer Beach Bag
"A forever classic canvas tote bag is a go-to beach bag for me," de Sole describes. "I got a personalized set of them with my married initials as a wedding gift eleven years ago, and I use them all the time. Hands down, one of the best gifts I've ever received." Feeling generous? Consider gifting Saint Laurent's striped canvas tote to a loved one to make their entire summer 2023 season golden. Or, gift yourself this designer bag because, you know what, you deserve it!