10 beach holiday essentials

Let’s go shopping: 10 beach holiday essentials

Nikki ParkinsonFashion 30 Comments

Tomorrow is the last day of term for my children – and I know for many of yours too.

This brings me untold joy. My days are not dictated by school hours and lunches. We can go with the flow a little bit more. And I very much like that.

I’m also a little bit lucky to live at the beach because I get to stay here, tell the kids we get to be on a beach holiday everyday and continue to chip away at the damage done to the credit card during our recent US sojourn 😉

But you? You might be coming to our beaches or beaches elsewhere in Australia where spring has well and truly arrived.

If you’re looking for a little inspiration about what to pack, look no further.

10 beach holiday essentials

I’d love to tell you to pack light … but you know me better than that now, don’t you? I need options.

I will say this though, of all the holidays you can go on, a beach holiday does give you more of a chance to … attempt … to minimise.

10 beach holiday essentials

1. Beach bag. Size does matter. The bigger the family, the greater the amount of “stuff” that needs to come with you. I love a classic market-style bag that can double for picking up supplies as well.

2. Towels. Until last week I would have told you – big and fluffy are essential qualities of a beach towel. Not any more. In one beach visit, I’ve been converted to the Knotty Turkish cotton beach towels. I got mine (pictured above) from Willow & Bird at Cotton Tree (they do mail order). These towels are seriously more absorbent than a normal beach towel plus after drying one wet Nipper the towels themselves dried almost quicker than it took to wait for a sausage on bread afterwards. The big bonus for me – three towels hardly took up any space in my bag. Winning.

3. Sunscreen. Ella Bache Great 30+ Sportsbloc is my go-to beach sunscreen for preventing my pale skin from frying but the new Neutrogena Wet Skin is already getting my thumbs up from the whole family. You know you’re supposed to re-apply after swimming or extended time at the beach but it’s so damn hard to get a good application on wet skin. Not any more – this stuff is made for wet skin. It goes on in a spray. And it works.

4. Swimsuit. There’s no escaping a swimsuit if you plan to swim (unless you go to one of *those* beaches). I know they’re not the most fun clothing purchase but there are so many designs around now that there really is one for you. My money is on a vintage-style look for a bit of fun. I’ll bring you a separate swimwear post as we get closer to summer.

5. Cover-up.  I invest in at least one or two of these every year. You need easy dresses or kaftans you can throw on to go to the beach, while sitting on the beach (when the sun gets too much) and coming off the beach. For me, loose and flowy wins every time.

6. Hat. With a wide-brimmed hat I bring my own shade to the beach. Plus they look pretty damn stylish too.

7. Sunglasses. Ditto on the sun protection factor and the style. I’m working on creating a sunglasses wardrobe.

9. Thongs. Essential for to and from the beach and general beachside activities. Have some fun with them though. No need to stick neutrals here.

10. Fancy sandals. Fancy sandals can turn a beach outfit into a cocktail outfit in one easy move. Your feet will still love you for staying close to the ground but with a bright pedi you’ll be mango daiquiri ready.

Shopping suggestions

Click on the gallery below and scroll through – these are all available now online. Just click on the caption for a link through to buy or have a closer look.


Are you heading away these school holidays? If so where are you headed? If you’re a regular beach holidaymaker what is on your essentials list? 

Comments 30

  1. I thought I had the checklist ticked until I saw the fancy sandals. I’m wearing very average thongs today as we head to the beach … :-(. Time for some retail therapy 🙂

  2. Heading off to the Gold Coast on Saturday so this post is very timely. Will definitely check out the wet sunscreen. I hear the weather has been great Nikki, fingers crossed for our week!

  3. Ok now I’m sulking Nikki. We have just arrived home from a beach holiday, this post is a week too late for me!!! However I think I’ll have to forgive you as you’ve shown and suggested where to buy those gorgeous beach towels I’ve been seeing out and about and admiring. Also love the sound of that sunscreen. So thanks, and all is forgiven!! xx

  4. You are lucky to live so near the beach ,I make do with a lovely pool in the backyard it is my little resort out there.I used to love school holidays too,when you can relax a bit and just take the day as it comes and spend quality time with the kidlets.Mine are grown up now but I treasured the times we spent going to the beach and having fun in the holoidays.Those beach towels are so pretty as well as being functional,I will have to get some as when you have a pool you need lots of towels,but they won’t be sneaking out the door.Loving that pretty Witchery Kaftan dress ,I do love a kaftan dress,they are so easy to wear and to dress up, I’m going to “invest” in a silk Camilla one, one day and I need those pretty coloured verali sandals they would go with so much in my wardrobe.
    Yes all those things you have picked tick the beach holiday,or day at the beach box.
    Looking forward to your swimwear post ,I wear tankini’s but would love a nice one piece that fits and I like on.So suggestions warmly welcomed 🙂

  5. I love this sunny post Nikki – just what the Dr ordered today! A french market bag, cotton towels, a nice cover-up and flattering swimsuit (eek – my least favourite item to shop for!) are on my shopping list this year – will wait for your posts on the last 2 before I splurge though! Thanks for the wet skin sunscreen review too – I had been wondering if it works xx

  6. Totally agree with the sunglass wardrobe 🙂 I have designated “beach” sunnies for actual water participation, versus my ones I wear everyday. This is a lesson learnt a few years ago when trying to find my expensive sunnies on the ocean floor.
    I have also been eye-ing off those cotton towels – our lifestyle/weather is similiar to yours over here in Perth. Going to definitely give them a go. Table Tonic has some lovely ones online!
    One more week til holidays over here ….

  7. Yes, I’d love a post on swimsuits, can you also do a kaftan/cover up post? I think they are essential to us all! I got one at an op shop a few years back, but need to invest this time as it gets so much wear!

  8. Yes we are off- Whipcracking! To the Deni Ute muster (HUGE!!! and reminds me of my B&S days!) for kids to compete, Little son is now up in his sister’s age group so it’s going to be hard for him- he has always won his age group. Daughter is defending juvenile NSW title, then Melbourne show for defending Vic title. still undecided about going back to Tasmania to defend it 2 weeks later, its a long way, but deciding today! I just hope it doesn’t rain for Deni again this year, it was horrible last year, but I will be better prepared!
    I bought some new swimsuits in February when on a junket at the gold coast, Miraclesuit and Nancy Ganz- the one that can be a dress as well, it is just wonderful as it pulls up to have ruching across the tummy, which goes well over the stretchy swim shorts- I think I have it all sorted! I just loove that nancy ganz one, check it out if you can you will adore it too!! I got it in pink and black, they might have different colours this year if they have redone that style.

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