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A trip to the beach requires some thoughtful packing. From snacks to beach toys to sunscreen to a sun hat, you’re bound to have a lot in tow. And, the only way to cart everything to the shore is in a beach bag, of course. When we think of beach bags, we think of giant waterproof tote bags, typically covered in a nautical-themed pattern. And while that is a very practical choice, there are tons of other great options to choose from—including ones that are trendsetting enough to take you from the beach (or pool!) to a night out. On top of that, they make for a fun and easy way to try the season’s trends without going overboard.
“Beach bags are a great way to try out summer trends that you might not be ready to embrace as a full outfit,” says Liz Bader-Natal, the Director of Styling at Dia & Co. “For example, neon is trending everywhere for summer 2022, and finding a beach bag with neon accents is a fantastic way to dip your toe into seeing how you feel about rocking bright colors yourself.”
Meet the Expert
Liz Bader-Natal is the Director of Styling at Dia & Co, a plus-size clothing and personal styling retail service.
Whether you’re headed out on a tropical vacation or enjoying the summer season, we’ve got all of your beach bag needs covered with a list of our must-have picks for the best beach bags—including practical mesh beach bags, canvas tot bags, straw beach bags that double as handbags, and more.
Ahead—the best beach bags of the season.
Best Overall: QOGiR Neoprene Multipurpose Beach Bag Tote with Inner Zipper Pocket
This beach bag made our best overall category for a few reasons. To start, we love the sporty aesthetic with the neoprene material and cord straps. This bag also comes in 18 different color options, multiple sizes, and fits all of your beach essentials. On top of that, it has 4.7 stars from almost 3,000 customers—need we say more?
Material: Neoprene and nylon | Colors: Black, blue, brown, camouflage, coral, dark blue, dark gray, elegant gray, fish, marble, pure black, red, sky blue +more | Size: 14 x 12.5 x 10 inches
Best Budget: Dejaroo Mesh Beach Bag
This beach bag might be under $20, but it is anything but cheap. The high-quality bag boasts a whopping eight pockets—so you can fit everything from your towels to your sunscreen to your water bottle—is made of a highly durable mesh material and is available in 22 color options. Additionally, it comes highly recommended by over 4,000 customers.
Material: Mesh | Colors: Black, black/gray, black/white, blue, blue/gray, green/aqua, mint blue/white, neon blue/white, neon green/white, neon orange/white, neon pink/white +more
Best Designer: Melissa Odabash Cap Ferrat Tote Bag
If you’re looking for a great everyday tote bag that doubles as a beach bag, this designer option is a great investment piece for your warm-weather wardrobe. Available in four color choices and the perfect size—not too oversized, but not too small—you can’t go wrong with this option.
Material: 100% cotton | Colors: Beige/tan, olive, navy/tan, white/tan | Size: 21 x 13.5 inches
Most Versatile: Madewell The (Re)sourced Tote Bag
If you’re planning to take your beach bag on vacation, a versatile option such as this Madewell bag is a great choice. Made from recycled material, this carry-on bag doubles as a beach bag (with tons of compartments), a laptop pocket, and a luggage pass-through sleeve. With so many uses (it can even double as a gym bag), you’re bound to get a lot of wear out of this one.
Material: 50% recycled polyester, 50% conventional polyester | Colors: Faded rust, faded earth, golden spinach, coal | Size: 13.75 x 20.5 inches
Best Active: BÉIS The Sport Tote
If you're the type that loves to get a workout in while on the beach, leave it to BÉIS to make an ultra-chic bag just for that. From sand volleyball to beach yoga, this bag will take you from sweat session to seaside effortlessly. It features a side compartment for your reusable water bottle, with enough room inside to fit a beach towel and swimsuit, plus running shoes, a tennis racket, or a yoga mat. It's convertible too and goes from shoulder bag to backpack, so you can tote your stuff in whatever way is most comfortable.
Material: Wrinkled nylon and recycled polyester | Colors: Black, beige | Size: 16 x 12 x 5.5 inches
Best Waterproof: Bogg Bag Original Bogg Bag
We can’t get enough of this adorable beach bag. Big enough to fit everything you need—and then some—the bag is made of an ethylene-vinyl material, making it the ultimate waterproof bag. And for added protection, it also comes with two clear insert bags, plus a large insert bag and a small insert bag with buttons that attach to the holes in the tote’s design.
Material: Ethylene-vinyl acetate | Colors: Green apple, blue, blush, burgundy, Carolina blue, coral, fog, green with envy, hunter green, lilac, mint, navy, peach, peacock blue, pink, red, turquoise, yellow +more | Size: 19 x 15 x 9.5 inches
Best Printed: Joanna Vanderpuije Batik Box Bag
If you’re looking for the perfect summer bag you can take from the streets to the beach: this is it. The cotton tote bag is crafted by made by Ghanaian artisans and features a stunning batik and cotton appliqué. A silver snap clasp to keep items secure while you bask in the sun.
Material: Organic cotton | Colors: Purple | Size: 11 x 9.5 x 4 inches
Best Straw: Monday Swimwear Paloma Bag
When we were looking for the best straw bag, we sought out something oversized, durable, and simple yet stylish. This one from Monday Swimwear understood the assignment with its gorgeous hand-crocheted seagrass, spacious interior, and boxy handles.
Material: Seagrass | Colors: Straw | Size: 23.6 x 18.5 x 4.7 inches
Best Cotton: Rip Curl Drifter Beach Tote
For a fashionable catch-all beach bag, look no further. This bag from Rip Curl is made from textured cotton material and features trendy frayed edges with tassels for an added touch of style.
Material: 100% cotton | Colors: Bone | Size: 15.75 x 24.8 x 10.6 inches
Best Insulated: Picnic Time Topanga Insulated Cooler Tote Bag
What's a beach trip without some snacks and cold beverages? We love this option from Picnic Time since it's big enough for beach essentials and keeps your cans cold, too. It features a side zipper so you can keep your phone, wallet, and keys separate—and means you don't have to haul around two different beach bags. It also featured an adjustable shoulder strap for easy travel. The bag is durable thanks to its polyester exterior and is water-resistant to keep any spills off your beach setup while keeping ocean water out of your bag simultaneously.
Material: Polyester canvas with heat-sealed, water-resistant PVC interior liner | Colors: Sand, black, navy, teal, red | Size: 21 x 9 x 13 inches (regular), 23 x 8 x 17 inches (extra large)
Best Washable: Bodysurf Extra Large Pool Bag
This Amazon beach bag is a must-have for all your warm-weather travels, especially if you don’t plan on using your bag as a carry-on. Not only is it waterproof, but it’s also made of recycled material, large enough to fit your essentials and some, and it packs down easily, fitting nicely in your luggage.
Material: Recycled nylon | Colors: Marine blue, black, lifeguard red, sand | Size: 7 x 6 x 2 inches
Best Mesh: HOXIS Mesh Beach Tote Shoulder Bag
We love this mesh beach bag because of its high-quality, price point, and stellar reviews from over 1,500 customers. But, what makes it even better is that it could be used for so much more than a day at the beach or pool. We’re thinking: The farmers market, grocery store, a picnic in the park, shopping, and more. On top of that, it comes in 13 fun colors.
Material: Canvas, mesh, and polyester | Colors: Tan, yellow, pink, white, lavender, klein blue, ice blue, green, gray, dark blue, cream, coral, black | Size: 17.3 x 15.7 x 5 inches
Best Sustainable: Sarep + Rose Upcycled Tote Bag
Nothing says sustainable quite like reusing single-use plastic bags to create a new, reusable tote. That’s right, this beach bag from Sarep + Rose is handwoven from single-use plastic bags, making it not only a fantastic (and chic) sustainable choice but also incredibly durable, too.
Material: Single-use plastic bags | Colors: Tan | Size: Medium
Best Clear: Kelly Wyne Bring on the Beach Clear Tote
It wouldn’t be a beach bag story without highlighting the best clear tote. We love this designer beach bag from Kelly Wyne for its blend of fashion and function. Made of clear PVC material and featuring a large and colorful pouch for belongings, this bag was made for a beach or pool day with friends.
Material: PVC/synthetic | Colors: Neon yellow/clear, taupe/grey | Size: 22 x 15 x 7.5 inches
Best Crossbody: AAKS Belle
If you’re looking for a smaller bag that doubles as a daily purse, a straw crossbody straw purse makes for a great little beach bag. This one from AAKS takes you from the pool to the beach to dinner in style with its gorgeous indigo blue-hued bucket-style bag with leather detailing.
Material: Raffia and linen | Colors: Blue | Size: 10.6 x 11 x 5.9 inches
Best Personalized: Lands’ End Extra Large Natural Open Top Canvas Tote Bag
One of the best beach bags that also happens to have a personalization option is the canvas tote from Lands’ End. Available in multiple sizes—though we prefer the extra-large for a beach day—with the option to customize strap size and add personalization to the front (by way of a monogram), this bag feels essential to summer.
Material: 100% cotton canvas | Colors: Natural/athletic gold, natural/fresh pink, natural/navy, natural/deep scarlet, natural/beacon blue, natural/dark olive green, natural/black +more | Size: 6 x 10.25 x 17.5 inches
Best Mini: AAKS Tia Basket
Basket bags make for the perfect warm-weather purse because they can double as pool and beach bags for all of your summer essentials. This mini beach bag-style purse is compact yet large enough to fit your sunglasses, sunscreen, a good read, some SPF lip balm, and more.
Material: Woven raffia and leather | Colors: Pink/yellow/coral | Size: 9.8 x 12.6 inches
What to Look for When Shopping for a Beach Bag
“Durability is something that I always keep at the top of my list,” says Bader-Natal. When shopping for a beach bag, it helps to consider how you’ll use the said bag to determine the durability requirements. For example, if you plan to use the bag at the beach (versus the pool), Bader-Natal says to “stick with a bag made of materials that can be thrown in the washing machine after a day of sand and salt.”
Another important thing to consider is how your bag closes and whether or not you want it to zip. This, of course, comes down to personal preference. But, with so many things in tow—read: a beach chair, umbrella, and sun hat—unzipping might be a challenge. With that in mind, Bader-Natal recommends trying a beach bag with a “single snap closure” instead.
What should you put in a beach bag?
The question should be, what can’t you put in a beach bag. “A beach bag is a catch-all for everything that you need for a day of fun in the sun,” says Bader-Natal. “Since they are typically oversized, I like to squeeze as much as possible into the bag to be prepared for whatever adventure comes my way,” she notes, adding that the key to packing a beach bag is to “make sure you have lots of smaller bags [such as makeup pouches] to keep you organized.”
Some ideas for what to put in a beach bag: A small pouch with the essentials (phone, wallet, car keys, etc.), a towel, coverup, post-beach outfit, sunscreen, a sunglasses case to keep your shades safe, a water bottle to rehydrate, and a makeup bag with sunscreen, SPF lip balm, hair ties, and any other beauty essentials.
How can you style a beach bag?
“The great news is that there’s a beach bag trend out there for everyone this year,” says Bader-Natal. “Whether you like to keep it classic with a gingham print tote, go for something bold and bright, or channel a retro, flower-power vibe, the choices are pretty endless,” she adds, noting how there is a style that fits any occasion and warm-weather look.
How do you store a beach bag?
“Beach bags are often big and can take up a lot of space. One of the best ways to store them is to use them as a vessel for storing other summertime necessities,” says Bader-Natal. “At the end of the season, I pack my bathing suits and sometimes even my favorite beach towels into beach bags themselves. Then, I put them up on a high shelf in my closet,” she adds, noting how stuffing beach bags with other items “helps them keep their shape and stay in good condition from year to year.”
Why Trust Byrdie
Contributing writer Jessie Quinn has a bachelor's degree in fashion journalism. From working in the fashion closet and interviewing designers at NYLON Magazine to now writing about the best style trends for various publications, Jessie researches and sources the best fashion finds. As a born-and-raised Californian, Jessie knows a thing or two about beach bags. When scouring the internet for the best beach bags, she researched options that are durable, multi-functional, and spacious for all your warm-weather needs.