1. REI's XL Lite Multitowels — $22
2. Rio Brands Sand Anchor — $9.75
3. Pizza Slice Float — $33.99
4. ModCloth Bathing Beauty Bathing Suit — $89.99
Things I am not: a Spring Break Person, a Pool Person, a Beach Person, or a Bikini Person. This meant I was a Person With a Bathing Suit Problem for several years. The problem was twofold. First, I never wanted to buy a swimsuit in March when they first start appearing in stores because, well, it's March...but by actual summer, they were super picked over. And second, I didn't want to spend a lot of money on an item of clothing I wouldn't get very much use out of. So basically, every June, I found myself at Target, looking for a cute, trendy one-piece swimsuit that cost around $30...and I couldn't figure out why this magical swimsuit was eluding me.
Finally, a couple years ago, I accepted that I probably needed to suck it up and spend a little more to get the swimsuit I'd been looking for. The one that convinced me? The ModCloth Bathing Beauty, which comes in several colors, prints, and sizes. I'm a sucker for a retro-style one-piece, but what really sold me were the amazing reviews and the photos that reviewers had uploaded of themselves wearing the suit — seriously, every woman looked fly AF in it. I finally look the plunge (following the site's advice to size up because it runs small) and dropped the $90 on it, and as soon as I put it on, I knew it was worth the money. It's super comfortable (god, one-piece bathing suits are so underrated!), and I just really love how it looks on me. It was more money than I wanted to spend, but I've had it for three years, and I'm no longer buying dumb cheap swimsuits I hate every summer, so the cost balanced out. I love it so much that I'm planning on getting a second one in black or navy this summer! —Rachel W. Miller
5. Chuckit! Flying Squirrel — $10.18
So you own a Frisbee? Fine, sure. But this isn't some college quad. This is the beach, Dog Owner, and you don't want runaway pups or damp toys in your bag. Enter: Chuckit! This "flying squirrel" toy floats, is basically indestructible, and can't get thrown too far out of reach. It finally makes fetch happen. —Marisa Carroll
6. MDSolarSciences Quick Dry Body Spray Broad Spectrum SPF 40 — $19
7. La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral Ultra Light Sunscreen — $33.49
8. Coppertone Oil Free Sunscreen Lotion — $9.49
Let's talk for a moment about sunblock. Do you enjoy the feeling of your burnt-to-a-crisp skin peeling off in scales? Are you really looking forward to skin discolorations? Do you have a death wish that involves melanoma? If you didn't answer yes to any of those questions, keep reading.
As a brown-skinned person who grew up on a tropical island, my attitude to the sun is "so lovely and warm, I'll be just be here in the shade wearing this wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses and SPF 50." I've worn some form of sun protection on my face, neck, chest, and hands every single day without fail since my 25th birthday. It is none of your business how long ago that was.
A great beach sunblock is a) waterproof enough that you can frolick in the waves for a bit before you need to reapply (which should be at least once an hour, regardless, and you're probably not applying enough anyway), b) unscented, because sandflies do attack, c) not sticky, because sand is enough of a hassle as it is, and d) cheap, because spend that cash on a great bathing suit.
I've been using Coppertone Oil Free Sunscreen Lotion (or the Sport version, pictured above, if the regular version is unavailable) as my go-to beach accessory for several years. It'll run you about $10, is available practically everywhere, and (crucial detail!) closes firmly so minimize sunscreen-all-over-the-inside-of-your-bag-swag risk. —Stacy-Marie Ishmael
9. Using Baby Powder to Remove Sand
10. Lovin' Summer Beach Tent — $160
As we've already established, I'm not a Beach Person, but I have started to enjoy a day spent reading on the beach a bit more in my old age. But I am still often vexed by the lack of shade, as hats/visors aren't really my thang, and I'd prefer to avoid the tan lines caused by sunglasses. An umbrella seemed like a good idea, but it's also not something I'm terribly inclined to invest in, nor is it something I'd know where to store in my apartment on the 363 days a year when I'm not using it.
When a PR company pitched me on this tent, I was equal parts interested and skeptical. I mostly doubted that it would be as easy to carry, set up, and break down as they promised it would, and I wasn't really sure it would make that much difference in my beach experience. I. Was. Wrong.
The first time we took it to the beach, a few friends had it unpacked and assembled within minutes. It makes it easy to get a lot of shade or just partial shade, and it's really beautiful. Everyone in the group raved about how much they liked it, and several complete strangers at the beach stopped by to ask us where we got it. And! At the end of our beach day, it was just as easy to break it down and put it back into the yoga-bag-sized tote it came in. We actually didn't take it to the beach for the first time until last August, but I've been eagerly waiting to tell you guys about it since then. —RWM