16 summer essentials for beach days, vacations and more

These summer essentials will see you through all your warm weather plans, from tropical getaways to sandy beach days

Photograph: Shutterstock

Whether you plan to spend the summer hanging out around your neighborhood or taking a road trip to one of the best beaches in the USA, these summer essentials will help you make the most of the season. Our list of the best warm weather accessories includes the ultimate carry-on suitcase, Instagrammable pool floats, quick-dry beach gear and and a reusable coozy that will keep your craft beer ice-cold on a 100-degree day. No matter what June, July and August have in store, you’ll be prepared. After all, what would summer be without flip-flops, beach totes, swimsuits and all the other summer gear we associate with hot weather?

Summer essentials

A photo-worthy floatie

A photo-worthy floatie

Real talk: If you went to a pool party and didn’t Instagram it, did you even go? Capitalize on the trend of oversized, over-designed floats with this millennial pink number commemorating everyone’s favorite summer beverage.

Rosé Bottle Pool Float, $28 at urbanoutfitters.com

Sunblock that doesn’t suck

Sunblock that doesn’t suck

Your mom was right—you really do need to apply sunscreen every single time you go out in the sun. Opt for a non-greasy formula like Neutrogena’s water-gel sunscreen that feels no heavier than moisturizer.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Sunscreen SPF 50, $12.49 on ulta.com

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A hard-to-put-down beach read

A hard-to-put-down beach read

This psychological thriller opens with a waterlogged corpse washing up on shore and slowly reveals the who, what, where, when and why of the mystery piece by piece. To make things even less clear, the juicy novel alternates between two unreliable female narrators, a pair of estranged friends. Set in 1950s Morocco, this slowly unraveling mystery makes an ideal vacation book.

Tangerine: A Novel by Christine Mangan, $16.19 on amazon.com

Cool shades

Cool shades

Instead your usual aviators, why not experiment with the latest sunglass trends this summer? These oversized lenses put a funky twist on the cat-eye shape.

Handmade Premium Acetate Kitten Frame Sunglasses, $100 on topshop.com

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A water- and sand-proof journal

A water- and sand-proof journal

You never know when inspiration will strike, so be prepared to write down a stroke of genius in any environment. Whether your summer brings you to a dusty campground or sandy beach, this waterproof notebook will keep all your thoughts safe from errant raindrops, mud splatters and more.

Rite in the Rain All-Weather Side Spiral Notebook, $7.73 on amazon.com

The ultimate carry-on

The ultimate carry-on

It’s time to upgrade from the beat-up duffel you’ve been schlepping around since college. This unbreakable suitcase has wheels that rotate 360 degrees, a TSA-approved zipper lock, two compartments (one for clothes, one for shoes) and even a built-in battery that can charge your phone up to five times. What more could you want?

Away The Carry On, $225 on awaytravel.com

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A quick-drying beach towel

A quick-drying beach towel

Beach vacations pose a packing problem: How do you fit a full-size towel in your suitcase? Answer: You don’t. Instead, pack this compact microfiber towel that dries three times faster than cotton and rolls up into a thin cylinder for easy transport.

WildHorn Outfitters Akumal Microfiber Beach Towel, $27.99 on amazon.com

Cooling facial mist

Cooling facial mist

Makeup, heat and humidity don’t mix. When your skin starts to feel sticky, spritz on this rosewater-aloe mist for a midday pick-me-up and makeup refresh.

Glossier Soothing Face Mist, $18 on glossier.com

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The comfiest lounger

The comfiest lounger

You’ll be the envy of every picnic, barbecue and campground when you inflate this pop-up couch. It takes just seconds to fill the tube with air, snap the closure shut and hop onto the cushy lounger.

Fatboy Inflatable Lounger, $49.99 on amazon.com

Nautical beach bag

Nautical beach bag

Made from sturdy recycled cotton, this canvas bag is roomy enough to pack for either a weekend trip or beach day. An interior pocket will keep your keys and cards safe, if you want to use it as a purse.

Baggu Duck Bag Canvas Tote, $32 on nordstrom.com

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Ready to plan your summer vacation?