12 Beach Essentials to Pack Next Time You Hit the Sand

Say it with me: Sunscreen, sun hats, sunnies.

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So, you've planned out your summer vacation days and bought your bikini (first things first). What's next on your beach-ready-itinerary? Finding the right items to tote to the shore and stow in your bag (SPF, SPF, SPF). Ahead, we've rounded up the best accessories to keep you protected from the sun, surf, and sand, plus much-needed recommendations for how to relax without WiFi.

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Design by Betsy Farrell
Beach Towels

Locating your towel from the water can sometimes be a nightmare ("Did someone steal it?? Did my friends move without telling me?"), so stand out from the maze of beach parties with a vibrant print that's unlike anyone else's.

1. Beach Towel Basics Multi Vertical Stripe, $7; target.com.

2. T-Tile Beach Towel, $118; toryburch.com.

3. Dolce & Gabbana Printed Cotton Terry Towel, $845; net-a-porter.com.

4. Giant Beach Towel, $38; bando.com.

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Moisturizer Plus SPF

Vitamin C is a wonderful thing, but too much sun exposure can strip your skin of moisture and its essential oils (not to mention, the wrinkles it causes). So, a powerful moisturizer should be at the top of your packing list, like this Origins option that protects skin from UV rays, pollution, and free radicals.

Dr. Andrew Weil For Origins™ Advanced Daily UV Defender Broad Spectrum SPF 45, $41; sephora.com.

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Waterproof Radio

An adorable little waterproof speaker will be the life of the party. It plays the radio, hooks up to smartphones, and has room to store electronics inside.

Sunny Life Beach Sounds, similar styles at $50; bedbathandbeyond.com.

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Mineral Water Spray

A couple spritzes of this mineral water spray will instantly refresh skin after hours spent in the sun.

Evian Natural Mineral Water Facial Spray, $18; ulta.com.

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Design by Betsy Farrell
Flip Flops

Affordable flip flops that you won't mind shuffling through the sand in? Check (check, check, check).

1. Printed Flip-Flops, $5; oldnavy.gap.com.

2. Slim Animals Sandal, $28; us.havaianas.com.

3. AEO Flip Flop, $8; ae.com.

4. Ring Sandal, $32; us.havaianas.com.

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Tinted Lip Balm Plus SPF

Keep your pout protected with SPF and antioxidants by wearing a tinted lip balm in the sun.

Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15, $24; shop.nordstrom.com.

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Design by Betsy Farrell
Beach Totes

These colorful totes are equipped to carry all of your beach essentials. Bonus: They're super easy to clean when they get littered with sand.

1. kate spade new york Lewis Way Pom Pom Tote, $298; shop.nordstrom.com.

2. Artwork Beach Bag, $68; scotch-soda.com.

3. I Want it All Shopper, $10; bando.com.

4. Muzungu Sister Sicilian Pompom Straw Tote, $343; matchesfashion.com.

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Hair Oil

A hydrating oil that protects color-treated hair from sun exposure and nourishes salt-stiffened strands? Yes, ouai.

Ouai Hair Oil, $28; sephora.com.

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Summer Reads

There are so many beach reads to look forward to this summer, but one we're especially excited about is this newly released memoir about how New Yorker writer Ariel Levy's entire life (career, family, etc.) fell apart during a trip to Mongolia. It's a riveting beach read that somehow manages to be both heartbreaking and hilarious. BRB, turning the page. 

The Rules Do Not Apply, $16; amazon.com.

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Design by Betsy Farrell

This summer, invest in a pair of reliable sunnies that will safeguard that gaze with a deep tint to keep out the sun's rays. 

1. Stella McCartney Cat-Eye Acetate Sunglasses, 208; matchesfashion.com.

2. Dienastie Velox Sunglasses, $139; shopspring.com.

3. Karen Walker Eyewear Super Duper Strength Sunglasses, $229; matchesfashion.com.

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Depending on how much coverage you need, we recommend Andre Lorent's all-natural sunscreen with anti-aging properties or Shiseido's sun protection lotion that's especially water-resistant and suited for sensitive skin.

Andre Lorent Daily Rehydrating Sunscreen SPF 30+, $25; amazon.com.

Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ WetForce, $42; sephora.com.

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Design by Betsy Farrell
Sun Hats

Attention, pale people with burn-prone skin: Here are four stylish sun hat options—from gingham baseball caps to straw boaters—that keep your head covered and easily fit in your bag.

1. Gingham Bow Back Cap, $22; topshop.com.

2. Eugenia Kim Pom-Pom Embellished Straw Hat, $375; net-a-porter.com.

3. Eric Javits Bella Squishee Sun Hat, $225; shop.nordstrom.com.

4. Wide-Brimmed Hat, $26; zara.com.

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