Summer has officially arrived and we couldn't be happier. And what better place to head for on a steamy weekend than the beach? If you're lucky enough to live near a coastal spot, the beach (or anywhere on the water) is 100% the place to be when the temps start rising. If the seaside is a little more of a hike or not easily accessible, getting to any body of water, be it lake, stream or river, will help cool you down during the heat waves of summer. It also provides the perfect place for hanging with friends for some impromptu outdoor entertaining. There's nothing better than laid back, al fresco dining with friends in a gorgeous outdoor spot.
When you head to the beach with your S.O. or with your crew, you're going to want to be prepared. If you've got all your gear organized, you'll be able to relax and spend as long as you want in the sand and sun. That means lots of beverages, coolers for keeping everything chilled, and protection from the elements (as much as we love sunbathing, dehydration and sunburns are definitely not our faves). Once you have the basics covered, it's time to bring out the fun stuff: games, floats, tunes, and everything else that makes your beach gathering (even if it's just a excursion for two) feel festive.
Here are 14 essentials you need for your next trip to the beach!
Watermelon Super Cool Cooler Bag
This insulated tote is lined with plastic so it's a cinch to clean when you unload at the end of the day.
SHOP NOW: Shopbop, $32
Seagrass Market Tote with Linen Liner
This classic market tote goes above and beyond other versions with a removable fabric liner that can be washed (otherwise that sand will stay with you forever).
SHOP NOW: Food 52, $45
Packit Freezable Grocery Shopping Bag
The gel lining of this roomy tote turns the whole thing into a built-in ice pack. Simply stick it in the freezer the night before your trip and your drinks are sure to stay cool for the day ahead.
SHOP NOW: Amazon, $24.99
S'well Moonstone Roamer
This stainless steel container is triple-walled, ensuring that the liquid inside (fill with anything from lemonade to rosé) will stay extra-chilled and refreshing in hot weather.
SHOP NOW: S'well, from $55
Stacking Aqua Acrylic Wine Glasses
These unbreakable, BPA-free glasses fit inside each other for easy transport and storage.
SHOP NOW: Crate and Barrel, was $3.95, now $2.37
Rio Beach Classic Beach Chair
Choose from 5 different reclining positions, including a "lay flat" option for the perfect beach nap.
SHOP NOW: Amazon, $36.22
Table in a Bag
This pine table, which rolls up into a neat, easily-transportable bundle, will literally transform your beach picnic experience (no more sandy guac!).
SHOP NOW: Food 52, $49
Folding Cheese Board Set
This compact, magnetic set is perfect for displaying a pretty spread of cheeses and meats at your next beach picnic.
SHOP NOW: World Market, 39.95
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom
This wireless bluetooth speaker is seriously rugged- it even floats in water- and offers up great sound from all sides of its barrel-shaped design.
SHOP NOW: Nordstrom, $99.99
Conversational Inner Tube
A good pool float does double duty at the beach—it's fun for both water adventures and lounging on shore.
SHOP NOW: Vera Bradley, $24
Channel the French Riviera with this chic umbrella, which comes with both a lightweight beach pole and a more stable patio pole for at-home use.
SHOP NOW: Wayfair, $95.99
Studio Nicco Backgammon and Checkers Set
For extra compactness, the canvas bag that holds the pieces for this portable game turns into the playing board itself.
SHOP NOW: Aha Life, $55
NRS CGear Sand-Free Mat
The dual-layer mesh construction of this mat means that sand and other debris sift through it instead of staying on the surface. Plus, metal rings along the sides make it easy to stake on the ground to keep flat and in place for the duration of your beach jam.
SHOP NOW: Backcountry, $59.95 - $99.95
Bolinas Beach Towel
Woven of organic cotton, these colorful, lightweight towels are super absorbent, but won't take up a lot of space in your beach bag.
SHOP NOW: Coyuchi, $78-$138