Beach Vacation Essentials

If you take regular beach vacations, I’m sure there’s nothing new I can tell you, but I had some requests for my beach packing list again this year, and I aim to please so here we are!!! This post also pretty much covers what I wore this week, which is what I often post on Saturdays.

Sharing my beach vacation essentials as well as what I wore this week "down the shore" in Ocean City, New Jersey!

one // two // three // four // five // six // seven // eight // nine // ten
eleven // twelve // thirteen // fourteen // fifteen

This post expands on the roundup of beach essentials I shared in my email newsletter earlier this week. (Are you subscribed?? In addition to new post alerts, I share a little about what’s going on in my life as well as exclusive features for subscribers only.) You can sign up HERE if you want to try it out. You can easily unsubscribe at any time, no questions asked! There’s an unsubscribe link at the bottom of every email.

My Beach Vacation Essentials

oh hey vacay tee // jean shorts // sneakers // sunnies c/o Maui Jim

Here at the Jersey shore, the weather can be quite variable, so I have to pack for a variety of possible conditions. Last year it was overcast and chilly for much of our trip, and I regretted not bringing a pair of jeans so I learned my lesson there.

This year we’ve had a lot of hot, humid days with some rainy spots thrown in there, plus I’m always cold in the house after coming in from the humidity outside, so I like to have a variety of long and short sleeves. Then of course I always pack some shorts, bathing suits, a coverup, sandals and sneakers, pajamas, and my running gear.

cardigan // tank // joggers // nails: CND Studio White

This thermal hooded cardigan continues to be a workhorse in my vacation wardrobe. I wear it every day — either over my pajamas in the mornings or with joggers and a tank after a day in the sun (and sometimes both!)

tankini top // bikini briefs // shorts

I shared more about my bathing suit earlier this year in this post. The price is up there, but I haven’t found anything else that I feel is flattering, supportive, and not frumpy.

And yes, I realize it’s ridiculous, but I wear my Tory Burch Millers to the beach — the patent ones. Amazingly, they still look like new. I’ve just never bothered to buy plastic flip flops, although I say every year I’m going to remedy that.

hat // coverup // photo credit: Alison Cornell

I brought this fun straw hat with me, but honestly, I usually wear a ball cap to the beach. It made for a good Instagram post, though! #fashionbloggerwin

I got my coverup on Amazon for $54, but now they’re only available from 2nd party sellers. This one at Zappo’s is similar, and it’s a nice quality coverup that you can wear for years, so if you’re in the market for one, I definitely recommend it.

I usually just pull on jean shorts and a t-shirt over my swimsuit for walking to and from the beach, but I definitely felt more put-together wearing a coverup, and it saves my clothes from getting sandy.

pullover // shorts // sandals // nails: CND Indigo Frock

I love wearing a long sleeve pullover with shorts in the summertime, and it’s been chilly in our beach house so I’ve worn this outfit a few times.

This pullover is soooo cozy, and I’m excited that it’s still available, although I did get mine on sale. The full retail price is a little steep for what it is, but it’s a year ’round top, so if you calculate cost per wear, it might average out. It also looks cute with my joggers.

I also got those shorts on sale — it was back in September, and I remember ordering them knowing I wouldn’t wear them for many months, but I didn’t want to pass up the sale price. I hate to link to shorts that are that pricey without clarifying that! There are a few sizes on sale at Macy’s in a lighter wash. I really like these shorts, and I’ve worn them a ton this summer, but they’re super low-rise. I mention that because I know some of you don’t care for that.

I also threw my denim skirt in my suitcase, and I’m glad I did. It’s a nice alternative to shorts for dinners out, and right now it’s an extra 40% off with code JEANIUS. If you order this, size UP. I typically wear 28 in AG jeans, sometimes a 29, and I needed this skirt in a 30.

Yikes! No makeup closeup. Oh, well, keeping it real!

I always bring running clothes when I travel. Yes, the shoes add extra bulk and weight to my suitcase, but that helps motivate me to actually use them!

Okay, that’s enough about what to wear. Moving on to my favorite products to have at the beach…

Coola makes my favorite sunscreen, and this travel set is awesome because it also has an after-sun recovery cream that I’ve been using daily. I also like the lip protection and the facial SPF cream. The spray isn’t a typical aerosol that sprays for miles. It just lets out a very light mist, but it covers well, and I haven’t had any issues burning when I’m wearing it.

This Coola BB cream has been my favorite new beauty find this year. I try not to tan my face, so when I’m not wearing makeup, it doesn’t match my body and looks a little ghost-like. This BB cream in the medium-dark shade not only gives me sun protection, but it also makes my face look tan.

I wear minimal makeup on the beach — sometimes none at all — but I usually put on a swipe of lipgloss and a single coat of mascara, and I like to lightly pencil in my eyebrows. (No, I never did go through with the microblading…)

I always bring a beach bag that the kids are not allowed to use. I’ve had to train them not to throw all their junk in my bag. #petpeeve If I’m feeling really benevolent, I’ll let Paul put his phone in there. Ha!

I love this bag because it has a zipper compartment where I stash my phone to keep it from getting sandy. It holds a TON, but it also packs down flat or rolls up in your suitcase for easy travel.

I also like to bring a small softside cooler for carrying water/drinks to the beach, although this year I was smart and brought my S’well water bottle, so the cooler wasn’t so necessary. Although, we did use it one night to keep our wine cold on the way to a BYO restaurant, so I’m glad we had it.

What To Bring To A Beach Rental

We used Airbnb to find our beach rentals both this year and last year, and we were very pleased with both experiences. Not that they were perfect, but we feel we got exactly what was promised, and both owners were extremely responsive to any questions we had before, during, and even after our stay. We were going to rent last year’s house again this year, but they were booked this week, so we found another one.

Here at the Jersey shore, most house rentals require you to bring all your own linens, so I packed sheets, pillows, and even a quilt for each bed. (We prefer to use our own, even though it means more bulky items to pack.)

I was supposed to bring bath towels and beach towels as well, but I had to buy those down here when we realized we’d left ours at home. *insert eye roll emoji*

I’ve been told there are companies down here that provide linen rentals so we don’t have to bring our own, and I hope to take advantage of that if we ever do this again. It is soooo much to pack and unpack and think about, and our car was pretty much full to the brim even without the towels I forgot. Paul thinks there may have been room in the roof rack, but still. It’s a LOT!

We didn’t bring our own beach chairs because we didn’t have room in the car, but theirs were pretty old, and I didn’t enjoy using them, so next time I plan to invest in one or two when we get here and donate them to the house if they don’t fit in the car on the way home. Although if we rent linens, they should fit. But that’s something else to think about.

We also brought 3 bikes, which we used constantly to get to and from the boardwalk. Last year our rental had 8 or 10 bikes we were allowed to use, but this year we had to bring our own. Every house is different, so you have to read the fine print and figure out what you need.

Fortunately they had a nice coffee maker here so I didn’t have to think about that, but I’m not above packing my Keurig if I think I may want it!

I think that about covers it. What did I forget???

Shop The Post:

DON’T MISS A POST!

Subscribe to get email updates! In addition to my most recent blog posts, you’ll receive exclusive newsletter content like special sales, my newest favorite finds, and an occasional peek behind the scenes — all delivered right to your inbox. Don’t miss it!

This post contains affiliate links. When you shop through my links, it helps support my business (at no additional cost to you) so thank you!