The middle of winter is the perfect time to start dreaming about a beach vacation. Even better, it’s time to start planning one. As the polar vortex envelops much of the country, wouldn’t it be nice to escape? 

A beach trip should be relaxing and invigorating, but don’t go into it unprepared. Make a plan, stock up on the right gear, and have a relaxing beach holiday.

The Right Luggage

Don’t skimp on luggage space when planning a trip to the beach. If you’re flying or driving a long distance and staying for several days, you need some sturdy luggage to transport all your beach gear, including toys, beach towels, umbrellas, and a cooler.

The luggage transporting you and your gear to the beach house is important, but the beach bag is even more essential. How will you lug all that stuff down to the sand? Will you be driving to the beach? Or are you walking or riding a bike?

Ideally, you can walk to the beach, which means you need a nice big bag that’s also easy to carry. It’s not hard to find a large, inexpensive bucket bag for beach excursions—even a large shopping bag will do—but consider spending a little more for something with wide straps to make it more comfortable on your shoulder. Also, look at bags with smaller pockets for stashing snacks, keys, and your phone.

A Killer Swimsuit

Of course, your beach gear has to be practical, but you also want to look good. A great suit, or several, is essential for feeling good and enjoying yourself at the beach. There are several big swimsuit trends for 2021, including:

  • One-pieces with asymmetric keyhole cut-outs
  • Modern, abstract animal prints
  • Simple, solid-colored bikinis, especially black
  • Pastel colors
  • Groovy ‘60s prints
  • Unmolded underwire bikini tops
  • Ruffles, ties, and frills
  • High-waisted bikini bottoms


Complete the look with a great pair of sunglasses. A pair of shades is a style statement, but it’s more than that. Make sure everyone in the family has at least one pair for eye protection. Exposure to UV light is not just bad for your skin but also your eyes. UV light damages the eye’s lens and can increase the risk for cataracts and vision loss later in life.

For a beach vacation, choose one good pair of sunglasses that will take you from the beach to lunch on the patio and a day of shopping. You can browse Costa Del Mar sunglasses here, a brand with excellent options for stylish and versatile shades. The Hinano model is a simple classic look for men, while women have some cat-eye options that look great with retro swimsuits.

A Next-Level Cooler

If you’re going to spend all day at the beach—and you are, right?—you need a cooler for drinks and snacks. There are many options, including wheeled or no wheels, soft-sided or hard, large or small. Start with size—you don’t want something too cumbersome to lug into the sand, but you need to feed your group. Get the smallest size possible based on the number of people attending.

A wheeled cooler is great for a walk to the beach. Once you hit the sand, of course, you’ll need to carry it, but it will make the journey down the sidewalk much easier. Yeti’s wheeled cooler is pricey, but it will last through a lifetime of beach vacations.

A soft-sided cooler is a good option for two. They’re smaller, lighter, and come with a shoulder strap for carrying. Check out this Coleman model that holds up to 16 cans.

Games and Toys (For Grownups)

The beach is for relaxing and playing, so don’t forget toys. Adults enjoy beach games and toys as much as kids. Try these beach toys, suitable for adults:

  • A ball and paddle set is a simple toy for a little back and forth game.
  • Bocce ball is a fun diversion for the hard-packed sand.
  • The Tidal Ball set has all the fun you need in one bag with balls, scoops, and drink koozies.
  • Try a portable beer pong set with the 21-and-over crowd.
  • Don’t forget blow-up toys and boogie boards for playing in the water.

The Right Gear Makes All the Difference

Beach days are just around the corner. Planning now can give you the strength to push through those final winter days. Start stocking up on all the gear you need and dream of your next beach trip.