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What To Wear On A Beach Vacation


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Audre Sommers



When it comes to planning a beach vacation, there’s more to it than just choosing the perfect destination. You also need to consider what to wear to ensure you’re comfortable, protected, and stylish during your time on the sand and in the water. Whether you’re lounging under the sun, strolling along the shoreline, or indulging in water activities, having the right clothing and accessories is essential.


Beach vacations are all about relaxation, fun, and enjoying the natural beauty of the ocean and its surroundings. And what better way to enhance your experience than by dressing appropriately and feeling confident in your beach attire? From swimwear to cover-ups, sun protection to footwear, and accessories to evening wear, this comprehensive guide will help you prepare a well-rounded beach wardrobe that meets all your needs.


Before diving into the specific clothing items, it’s important to consider the climate and activities of your chosen beach destination. Different beaches around the world have their own unique weather patterns and cultural norms, so be sure to do some research beforehand to ensure you pack accordingly.


Whether you’re heading to the tropical shores of Hawaii, the sandy beaches of Thailand, or the picturesque islands of Greece, this guide will provide you with valuable insights on what to wear during your beach vacation. So kick off your shoes, slip into your vacation mindset, and let’s get started on creating the perfect beach wardrobe!


Essential Clothing

When it comes to packing for a beach vacation, having a few essential clothing items is crucial. These items will form the foundation of your beach wardrobe and provide comfort, versatility, and style throughout your trip.


1. Lightweight Tops: Pack a mix of breathable, lightweight tops such as t-shirts, tank tops, and loose-fitting blouses. Opt for fabrics like cotton or linen as they are comfortable and allow your skin to breathe in the hot weather.


2. Shorts: A pair of comfortable shorts is a must-have for any beach vacation. Look for options made from quick-drying fabrics that are suitable for both lounging on the sand and engaging in outdoor activities.


3. Sundresses: A breezy sundress is perfect for a day at the beach. Choose vibrant colors and floral prints to embrace the tropical vibe. Maxi dresses are also a great option for a more elegant beach ensemble.


4. Lightweight Pants: Depending on the weather and your preference, pack a pair of lightweight pants like linen trousers or flowy palazzo pants. These can be a stylish alternative to shorts and offer protection from the sun.


5. T-shirts and Sarongs: Pack a few extra t-shirts to use as cover-ups or to throw over your swimwear when you’re not in the water. Sarongs, which are versatile and lightweight, can also be tied as skirts or used as beach towels.


Remember, the key to choosing clothing for a beach vacation is to focus on breathable fabrics, loose and comfortable fits, and pieces that can easily be mixed and matched. This will ensure you stay cool and stylish throughout your vacation.



One of the most important aspects of any beach vacation is selecting the perfect swimwear. With an extensive range of styles, cuts, and designs available, you can find a swimsuit that suits your body type and personal style. Here are a few tips to help you make the right choice:


1. Bikini: The classic two-piece bikini is a popular choice for many beachgoers. It offers the freedom to mix and match different tops and bottoms, allowing you to express your personality. Choose a bikini that flatters your body shape and provides adequate support.


2. One-Piece: A one-piece swimsuit is a versatile and elegant option that provides more coverage. It is suitable for women who prefer a more modest look or want extra support. Look for one-pieces with interesting details like cutouts or ruffles to add some flair.


3. Tankini: For those who want the coverage of a one-piece but the convenience of a two-piece, a tankini is the perfect compromise. It consists of a tank top-style upper piece and bikini-style bottoms. This option allows for easy bathroom breaks and offers more flexibility in sizing.


4. Swim Shorts and Rash Guards: If you’re planning on engaging in water sports or simply want more coverage and sun protection, consider opting for swim shorts and rash guards. These provide excellent sun protection and are suitable for both men and women.


When choosing swimwear, remember to consider factors such as tanning preferences, body confidence, and the activities you plan on doing at the beach. Additionally, don’t forget to pack multiple swimsuits so you can alternate them and let them dry between wears. This ensures that you’ll always have a dry and comfortable swimsuit to wear during your beach vacation.



Cover-ups are essential pieces of clothing for any beach vacation. They provide protection from the sun, offer privacy when needed, and can be a stylish addition to your beach wardrobe. Here are a few popular cover-up options to consider:


1. Sarongs: Sarongs are versatile and lightweight cover-ups that can be worn in various ways. They can be tied around the waist as a skirt, draped over the shoulders as a shawl, or even used as a beach blanket. Sarongs come in a variety of colors, patterns, and fabrics, making them a popular choice for beachgoers.


2. Kaftans: Kaftans are loose-fitting, flowy garments that provide ample coverage while imparting a touch of luxury and elegance. They are perfect for transitioning from the beach to a beachside restaurant or bar, as they can be worn over swimwear or paired with shorts or pants.


3. Beach Dresses: Lightweight, airy beach dresses are a popular choice for cover-ups. They come in various styles, such as off-the-shoulder, strapless, or halter-neck, and can be easily slipped on and off over your swimwear. Look for dresses made from breathable fabrics like cotton or chiffon for maximum comfort.


4. Oversized Shirts: Button-up linen shirts or oversized t-shirts can double as cover-ups. They are comfortable, provide sun protection, and allow for easy adjustments and repositioning as needed. You can wear them open over your swimwear or tie them at the waist for a more fitted look.


When choosing cover-ups, consider the level of coverage and style that you prefer. Opt for lightweight fabrics that dry quickly and are easy to pack. Bring a few different cover-up options to suit different occasions, styles, and levels of comfort, allowing you to effortlessly transition from the beach to other activities throughout your vacation.


Sun Protection

Protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays is crucial during a beach vacation. Prolonged exposure to the sun can lead to sunburn, premature aging, and even increase the risk of skin cancer. Here are some essential sun protection items to include in your beach packing list:


1. Sunscreen: Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF (Sun Protection Factor) to shield your skin from both UVA and UVB rays. Apply it generously to all exposed areas of your body at least 20 minutes before sun exposure and reapply every two hours, or more frequently if you’ve been swimming or sweating.


2. Wide-Brim Hat: A wide-brim hat provides extra protection for your face, neck, and shoulders. Opt for a hat with a brim that is at least 3 inches wide for optimal coverage. Look for lightweight, breathable materials like straw or cotton to keep you cool.


3. Sunglasses: Protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays by wearing sunglasses with UV protection. Look for sunglasses that block 100% of both UVA and UVB rays. Polarized lenses can also help reduce glare and enhance visibility, especially in bright beach environments.


4. Rash Guards: Rash guards, commonly used by surfers, are lightweight and quick-drying garments that provide extra protection against the sun. They cover a large portion of your body and help prevent chafing and irritation from sand and saltwater.


5. Umbrella or Beach Tent: If you prefer a shaded area to relax in, consider bringing an umbrella or a beach tent. These provide a physical barrier between you and the sun and help create a shaded spot on the beach.


Remember, sun protection is not just about sunscreen; it’s about a combination of various protective measures. Don’t forget to seek shade during the hottest hours of the day, wear sun-protective clothing, and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. By prioritizing sun protection, you can enjoy your beach vacation while keeping your skin safe and healthy.



The right footwear can make a significant difference in your level of comfort and enjoyment during a beach vacation. Consider the following options to ensure you have the appropriate footwear for different beach activities:


1. Flip-Flops: Flip-flops are a staple for any beachgoer. They are lightweight, easy to slip on and off, and provide protection for your feet while allowing them to breathe. Look for a pair with cushioned soles and durable straps for added comfort and longevity.


2. Sandals: Opt for a pair of sandals with sturdy soles and comfortable straps. Sandals provide more support than flip-flops and are suitable for walks along the shore or exploring beach towns. Choose designs that are water-resistant and quick-drying in case they get wet.


3. Water Shoes: If you plan on engaging in water activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, or paddleboarding, water shoes are a great investment. They are designed to protect your feet from sharp objects, rocks, and hot sand, while providing traction and comfort in wet conditions.


4. Sneakers or Athletic Shoes: If you’re planning on going for hikes, exploring nature trails near the beach, or participating in beach sports like beach volleyball, a pair of sneakers or athletic shoes will serve you well. Look for lightweight, breathable options that are suitable for both land and water activities.


5. Slip-On Shoes: Slip-on shoes like espadrilles or canvas shoes are great for more casual beach activities or for beachside dining. They are comfortable, breathable, and easy to pack. Look for styles that are versatile and can be dressed up or down to match different outfits.


Remember to consider the type of beach you’ll be visiting and the activities you have planned when selecting your footwear. Some beaches might have rocky terrain or require walking on hot sand, so choose footwear that provides the necessary protection and comfort. Additionally, it’s a good idea to bring a plastic bag to store wet or sandy shoes to keep the rest of your belongings clean and dry.



Accessorizing is a fun and practical way to elevate your beach vacation style while adding functionality to your beach gear. Here are some essential beach accessories to consider:


1. Beach Bag: A spacious and sturdy beach bag is a must-have accessory to carry all your belongings. Look for a bag that is water-resistant, has multiple compartments, and is large enough to accommodate your essentials like sunscreen, towel, water bottle, and snacks.


2. Beach Towel: Choose a large, absorbent beach towel made from quick-drying material. Look for vibrant colors or fun patterns that reflect your personal style. Consider bringing an extra towel to use as a picnic blanket or to lie on if you don’t want to get sand on your beach towel.


3. Beach Hat: In addition to sun protection, a stylish beach hat can add a touch of glamour to your beach ensemble. Opt for a wide-brimmed hat to shield your face, neck, and shoulders from the sun while adding a fashionable element to your beach attire.


4. Beach Umbrella: If you prefer extra shade and privacy on the beach, consider bringing a beach umbrella. It provides a cool, shaded spot to relax in, protecting you from the direct sunrays. Look for lightweight and easy-to-assemble options for convenience.


5. Beach Mat or Blanket: A beach mat or blanket is handy for creating a clean and comfortable sitting or lying area on the sand. Look for a mat or blanket that is waterproof or has a water-resistant backing to prevent moisture from seeping through.


6. Waterproof Phone Pouch: Keep your phone safe from sand and water damage with a waterproof phone pouch. These pouches allow you to take photos, answer calls, and enjoy your beach activities without worrying about damaging your phone.


7. Portable Bluetooth Speaker: Enhance your beach experience by bringing a portable Bluetooth speaker to enjoy your favorite tunes. Look for a waterproof or water-resistant speaker that can withstand sand, water splashes, and outdoor conditions.


8. Snorkel and Mask: If you’re interested in exploring the underwater world, consider packing a snorkel and mask. This will allow you to admire the vibrant marine life and coral reefs that may be present at your beach destination.


Accessorizing not only adds style but also enhances your beach vacation experience. Choose accessories that suit your personal preferences and make your time at the beach more enjoyable and convenient.


Evening Wear

While the beach may be synonymous with laid-back and casual vibes, there are often opportunities for evening outings during your beach vacation. Whether it’s a romantic dinner by the shore, a beachside party, or exploring local nightlife, having some evening wear options is essential. Here are a few suggestions for stylish yet comfortable evening attire:


1. Maxi Dress: A maxi dress is a versatile option that can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. Look for lightweight and flowy fabrics that will keep you cool while adding elegance to your look. Opt for vibrant colors or bold prints to embrace the vibrant beach atmosphere.


2. Linen Pants and Blouse: Linen is the perfect fabric for beach evenings. Pair linen pants with a stylish blouse for a chic yet relaxed look. Choose neutral or pastel colors to create a sophisticated and beach-appropriate ensemble.


3. Romper or Jumpsuit: A romper or jumpsuit is a stylish and easy option for beach evenings. It offers a complete outfit in one piece and can be dressed up with accessories. Look for lightweight materials and breathable designs to stay comfortable in the warm evening breeze.


4. Flowy Skirt and Blouse: Opt for a flowy skirt made of a lightweight fabric like chiffon or silk, paired with a stylish blouse. This combination allows for easy movement and breathability while creating a feminine and elegant look. Choose a skirt with a fun pattern or a solid color that complements your blouse.


5. Hawaiian Shirt or Tropical Print Dress: Embrace the beach culture with a Hawaiian shirt or a tropical print dress. These garments add a touch of fun and vibrant beach vibes to your evening look. Pair them with shorts or skirts for a more relaxed style.


Remember to choose outfits that make you feel comfortable, confident, and aligned with the evening atmosphere. Embrace the vacation spirit and incorporate beach-inspired elements into your evening wear, allowing you to look stylish while enjoying the cool beach evenings.


Packing Tips

Packing for a beach vacation can be a breeze with some strategic planning and organization. Here are some useful packing tips to help you make the most of your suitcase space and ensure you have everything you need:


1. Make a Checklist: Before you start packing, create a checklist of all the essential items you’ll need for your beach vacation. This will help you stay organized and avoid forgetting important items. Review the checklist a few days before your trip to ensure you haven’t missed anything.


2. Roll your Clothes: Rolling your clothes instead of folding them can help save space in your suitcase and prevent creases. This technique also allows for easy visibility and access to your clothing items.


3. Pack Smart: When packing your suitcase, place heavier items like shoes and toiletries at the bottom to create a stable base. Fill any empty spaces with smaller items such as socks or accessories. Layer your clothing items, keeping delicate or easily wrinkled fabrics on top to minimize wrinkles.


4. Use Travel-Sized Toiletries: Opt for travel-sized toiletries or decant your regular products into smaller containers to save space. Remember to pack sunscreen, moisturizer, and other skincare essentials to protect your skin from the sun and keep it hydrated.


5. Bring a Laundry Bag: Pack a small, lightweight laundry bag to separate your dirty clothes from the clean ones. This will help keep your suitcase organized and make laundry day easier when you return home.


6. Don’t Forget the Essentials: Besides clothing, remember to pack essentials like your passport, travel documents, phone charger, and any necessary medications. Keep these items easily accessible in your carry-on bag.


7. Pack Versatile Clothing: Select clothing items that can be mixed and matched to create multiple outfits. This allows you to pack lighter while still having a variety of options to choose from. Stick to a color scheme to ensure everything coordinates well.


8. Bring Extra Bags: Tuck a few extra reusable bags into your suitcase, as they can come in handy for storing wet swimwear, carrying groceries, or collecting seashells during your beach explorations.


9. Leave Room for Souvenirs: If you plan on shopping for souvenirs or local crafts during your trip, leave some extra space in your suitcase or consider bringing a foldable tote bag for your return journey.


10. Check Baggage Restrictions: Be aware of the baggage restrictions and weight limits imposed by your airline. Consider investing in a lightweight suitcase or travel scale to ensure you stay within the allowed limits.


By following these packing tips, you’ll be well-prepared for your beach vacation and ready to enjoy every moment without the stress of overpacking or forgetting important items. Have a fantastic and relaxing time at the beach!



Preparing for a beach vacation involves more than just picking the perfect destination—it requires careful consideration of what to wear. By packing the right clothing and accessories, you can ensure comfort, sun protection, and style throughout your beach getaway.


From essential clothing items like lightweight tops, shorts, and sundresses to swimwear that suits your personal style, having the right attire will enhance your beach experience. Don’t forget about cover-ups for when you want a break from the sun or need a little extra privacy.


Protecting your skin from harmful UV rays is vital, so don’t neglect sun protection items such as sunscreen, wide-brim hats, sunglasses, and rash guards. Your feet will appreciate the right footwear, whether it’s flip-flops, water shoes, or sneakers for various activities.


Accessorizing with items like beach bags, towels, hats, and umbrellas provides both functionality and style. And for the evenings, don’t forget to bring along some stylish options like maxi dresses, linen pants, or rompers for a touch of sophistication.


When it comes to packing, staying organized with a checklist, rolling your clothes, and using travel-sized toiletries will make your life easier. Bringing versatile clothing items, leaving room for souvenirs, and checking baggage restrictions are all essential aspects to consider.


Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge and tips for a well-rounded beach wardrobe, you’re ready to enjoy a fabulous vacation by the sea. So grab your sunscreen, slip into your favorite swimsuit, and immerse yourself in the beauty and relaxation that beach vacations have to offer!