Beach Vacation Essentials

With summertime comes the slew of emails with vacation packing requests… because we all look forward to summer vacation but not so much packing for summer vacation.

I get you, girl. I hate packing too. I’m the worst procrastinator when it comes to things I don’t want to do. I enjoy the planning a vacation, but then the next thing I know, my flight is 24 hours out, and I haven’t even dusted off my suitcase.

Caroline is joining me again today, and we’re teaming up with Nordstrom to talk about our beach vacation essentials, and how we go from the beach to dinner when there’s no good place to shower and change.

After bathing suits, the first thing I pack when headed on a beach vacation is a large beach bag.

This is my second year using this packable woven raffia tote, and it’s perfect because not only does it hold a lot, it packs down flat in my suitcase.

It has one interior zipper pocket, where I store my phone, keys, ID, and cash/credit cards. And then there’s another open pocket where I like to put my sunglasses, tissues, and other odds and ends I don’t want to get lost in the bottom of my bag.

The faux leather straps are soft and comfortable on my shoulders, and they stay put when I’m walking around.

One item I’ve added to my summer closet this year is a floppy sunhat. This Eric Javits hat was a major splurge, but it actually has SPF50 and blocks 95% of UVA and UVB rays!

I’m really trying to be careful about protecting my face these days, so that feature was very compelling, but I was also drawn to how elegant this hat is. I spotted it from across the store, and I made a beeline for it.

It also has a wide elastic band inside that comfortably keeps it where you place it on your head. It comes in like 14 different colors, but I went with the one called “Peanut.”

Nordstrom also has a lot of more budget-friendly hat options. The hat Caroline is wearing sold out, but this one has a similar look to mine for a fraction of the price. Both hats are stylish and will help shield your face from the sun.

Speaking of sun protection, my favorite brand of sunscreen is Coola.

This Coola travel kit is tucked into my beach bag, and I also have the full-size lotion SPF 50 in Guava Mango, my favorite scent.

If I know I’m going to be at the beach all day and then want to go out to dinner without going back to the room to shower and change, I make sure to bring along a cover-up that can double as a dress.

Caroline is wearing this royal blue knit maxi dress in the XS. This dress can be worn alone or over a swimsuit, and it’s super soft and comfortable.

My cover up maxi dress came from the swim department, and I think the chevron design is really fun.

I’d like to have the straps taken up an inch or two so they aren’t so long on me, and of course Nordstrom offers a full range of alternations and tailoring. I’m wearing the small, for reference.

Because my hair is likely going to be a sweaty mess by the end of the day on the beach, I always bring a clip along with me so I can put it up.

This is not glamorous, I know, but it works in a pinch… haha! Get it? It’s a pinch clip… Nordstrom actually has some pretty ones; maybe it’s time for me to upgrade to something like this.

And if I really want to make sure I look and feel put together for dinner, I’ll pack a clutch and a small pouch of jewelry in my beach bag.

This clutch is perfect for holding my money or any valuables during the day inside my beach bag, and then when it’s time for dinner, I can use it as my purse and put on the jewelry so I feel like I’m wearing more of an outfit than a swimsuit coverup.

These Kendra Scott earrings are lightweight, but large and modern, and they really dress up the look. I also added some Kate Spade bangles.

The metallic envelope clutch and my Tory Burch Miller sandals complete the look.

Caroline also put her hair up in a pinch clip, and she’s wearing her Quay aviator sunglasses.

Her orange strappy flat sandals are very comfortable and easy to walk in, and I love how they contrast with her royal blue dress.

Other items I make sure to pack for a beach vacation is my S’well insulated water bottle, lip balm with SPF, and of course my favorite Maui Jim sunnies. And don’t forget your favorite beach towel!

My best tip is to keep an on-going packing list on your computer or smartphone. In fact, I keep several — one for the beach, one for our summer Maine vacations, and one for winter destinations.

That way, even if you find yourself packing the night before your trip, you can make quick work of the process and won’t forget anything important. Then once you get to your destination, all you have to do is relax and enjoy!

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Be sure to visit Cyndi and see the summer outfit she’s styling today!

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photos: Alison Cornell