As A So-Cal Girl, Here Are The 15 Must-Haves In My Beach Bag Every Year

I spend a large portion of my summer soaking up the sun and working on my (very unlikely) tan, and as a Southern California girl, I have already hit the beach countless times since the weather has warmed up. My beach days include quite a few non-negotiable items, and I keep them in my beach bag for easy access.

By Alyssa Vandermeulen4 min read
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Shutterstock/Look Studio

In addition to my summer beach uniform, which includes a cute bikini and a pair of white linen shorts, I always carry a functional beach bag so I don’t have to worry about leaving anything in my car. If you plan on hitting the beach (or the pool) a ton this summer, you’ll need a cute and spacious beach bag to hold all your beach day essentials. 

When choosing a bag, it needs to be easy to clean – water, sand, and salt will all affect the bag at some point. It also needs to be lightweight but large enough to hold all your things. Of course, finding a perfectly feminine, pretty one is the cherry on top of it all!

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Here are a few of my favorites in case you need to update your beach bag: 

Florabella Panama Lux Bag, $176

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Business & Pleasure Co. Beach Bag, $59

Business & Pleasure Co. Beach Bag

Abercrombie Packable Beach Tote Bag, $80

Abercrombie Packable Beach Tote Bag

Old Navy Straw-Paper Crochet Tote, $12

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L*Space Summer Days Backpack, $130

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And if money is simply not a factor for you (jealous, but ok), this iconic Saint Laurent bag is a gorgeous investment option.

Saint Laurent Rive Gauche Canvas Tote, $2,100

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Now that you have a bag for your beach day, here are some of the must-haves that I keep in my bag every year! 


This is my favorite skincare product-meets-SPF for the summer, as it leaves my skin glowing and protected from UV rays. While I normally mix the Glowscreen product with a few of the Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi drops for my daily base, I always have a mini version of this product in my bag for reapplication. 

SuperGoop! Glowscreen SPF 40 With Hyaluronic Acid + Niacinamide, $38

SuperGoop! Glowscreen SPF 40 With Hyaluronic Acid + Niacinamide

Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Bronzing Drops with Peptides, $38

Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Bronzing Drops with Peptides

Lip Balm

In line with the hydration and skincare theme of my beach days, a good lip balm is an essential when spending time in the sun! I love the Summer Fridays line because they are made with great ingredients, are long-lasting, and have the perfect amount of glossy color (I love the Pink Sugar shade) to wear with my bikini! 

Summer Fridays Lip Butter Balm, $24

Summer Fridays Lip Butter Balm

Moisturizing Facial Spray

For those extra hot beach days, I always carry a bottle of facial spray to quickly give myself a cooling spritz that’s good for my skin. The Evian Moisturizing Facial Spray was recommended to me last summer, and I loved it so much I already bought a replacement for this summer.

Evian Natural Mineral Water Facial Spray, $14

Evian Natural Mineral Water Facial Spray


Is it even possible to go to the beach without a pair of sunnies? Not only am I able to forgo the mascara, but my eyes are protected all day from the sun. 

Ray-Ban Polarized Sunglasses RB3025 Aviator Classic, $213

Ray-Ban Polarized Sunglasses RB3025 Aviator Classic

I’m obsessed with my aviator-style Ray Bans, but you can bring whatever style of sunnies is most flattering on your face. Not sure? Check out this article on how to choose the best style for your face shape! 

A Hat

Another easy item to throw into your bag is a hat! We often forget scalp protection when applying our full body SPF routine, and that can leave you with a red, flaky scalp for weeks in the summer. 

I typically opt for a baseball cap on beach days because it’s small enough to fit into my bag with no issues. However, if a wide-brim sun hat is more your style, you can throw that on instead! 

‘47 LA Baseball Cap, $48

‘47 LA Baseball Cap

Free People Arrow Woven Packable Hat, $48

Free People Arrow Woven Packable Hat

Beach Blanket 

In lieu of, or in addition to, my beach towel, I often bring a beach blanket with me for a full day in the sun. Perfect for a little picnic date with your man, suntanning in style, or to wrap around your shoulders on a cooler beach night, a cute beach blanket is a versatile item you will love all summer long. 

Slowtide Opt Out Blanket Lightweight Throws, $65

Slowtide Opt Out Blanket Lightweight Throws


I have wild hair as it is, but a full day of beachy breezes and saltwater leaves my hair especially unruly. I always have a brush in my bag in case I decide to grab dinner or coffee or simply just want to get my hair in order before heading home. 

Dae Vegan Detangle + Style Brush, $24

Dae Vegan Detangle + Style Brush

Hand Sanitizer

I have been carrying hand sanitizer in my bags since I was just a little girl. These hand sanitizers got a significant update, however; we’ve moved beyond the 99% sparkle Bath & Body Works sanitizers to the Touchland Hand sanitizers. These convenient little sprays are flat, take up no room in your bag, and smell so good, while also cleansing your hands on the go. 

Touchland Power Mist Hydrating Hand Sanitizer, $10

Touchland Power Mist Hydrating Hand Sanitizer


A beach day is not complete without a wide range of snacks! A little charcuterie board is super easy to pack if you want to bring an ice chest – just bring along your favorite cheeses, meats, fruit, and nuts for a snacky lunch by the water. I also love packing a little sweet and salty combo – like fruit gummies and pretzels – for the afternoon munchies. 

Fun Beverage 

If you’re also a beverage girlie, you know the importance of bringing something exciting to sip on alongside your water bottle for a long day outside. On days when I don’t plan on grabbing an iced chai latte on my way to the water, I’ll throw a fun drink into my bag as well. Currently, I’m enjoying the Trader Joe's sparkling beverage line, but soda, iced tea, or lemonade works too! 

Body Lotion

Another must-have in my bag is a moisturizing body lotion, especially one that won’t pill with your SPF after the beach. As much as I love putting my toes in the sand while I’m at the beach, I don’t love the ashy legs that usually follow. The Body Shop Body Yogurt is my favorite body lotion for the summer because it’s super moisturizing, gets rid of those ashy spots of skin, and doesn’t leave the white cast other lotions do.

The Body Shop Mango Body Yogurt, $17

The Body Shop Mango Body Yogurt


As I'm lounging in the sun, I’m likely also reading a beachy romance novel. I save my heavier reading for home and bring the fun summer reads I wish I had more time to indulge in every day. A few of my recent favorites include Happy Place by Emily Henry, Just My Type by Falon Ballard, and Practice Makes Perfect by Sarah Adams.

Or, if you're a devoted Evie girl, chances are you've got a copy of our limited edition print magazine on hand to throw in your beach bag. There's never a bad time to read through it again!

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Protective Phone Case

There is nothing worse than dropping your phone into the sand, as every crevice and charging slot is then filled with sand. I either throw my phone into a protective waterproof case or pop it into a Ziploc bag when I get to the beach. I can still see my screen if I need to, but it’s protected from the tiny sand particles that make cleaning a hassle. 

Rifle Paper Co. Waterproof Phone Pouch, $25

Rifle Paper Co. Waterproof Phone Pouch


Perfect for those beach dinner outings, I typically also pack a lightweight sundress in my bag! This is an easy addition that you can throw over your suit as a coverup, and it looks far nicer than your beachwear for a restaurant setting. Here are a few that I’d love to wear after a beach day!

Free-est On My Mind Mini Dress, $68

Free-est On My Mind Mini Dress

Free-est Mix It Up Mini Dress, $88

Free-est Mix It Up Mini Dress

Abercrombie Crinkle Textured Maxi Dress, $110

Abercrombie Trapeze Midi Dress

Aloe Vera

All it takes is one horrible full body sunburn, and you’ll carry a bottle of aloe vera on you whenever you plan on being outside (speaking from a painful personal experience…). A bottle of aloe vera is an easy item to throw into your bag, and while you might not always need it, you will be thankful it’s with you if you do! As a natural burn reliever and moisturizer, aloe vera is a summer must-have, and there are tons of different versions based on the sensitivity of your skin. 

Sun Bum Cool Down Hydrating After Sun Gel, $12

Sun Bum Cool Down Hydrating After Sun Gel

I also love the Trader Joe's Aloe Vera Gel if you’re lucky enough to find it in store! 

Closing Thoughts

Now that your bag is packed with all the essentials, you can hit the beach knowing that you have everything you need to enjoy the day! Happy summer, Evie girls! 

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