Looking to upgrade your beach game? Sure, going with people you love is great and all, but the real secret to a better time is having the right beachfront accoutrements. Comfy chairs, quick-drying towels, and coolers that deliver on their promise to, you know, keep your beverages icy cold—all of these are crucial summer 2021 beach essentials.
If you’re still using that rusted beach chair from 1983 and tugging along your Uncle Bob’s dollar store cooler, it’s time to upgrade. Below, our favorite new beach essentials of summer 2021.
The Best Beach Essentials of Summer 2021
1. SUNFLOW Chair
A great beach day is 30 percent weather, 30 percent company, and 30 percent being comfortable (the other 10 is getting a damn parking spot). This lounger has quickly become a fan-favorite with easy-to-carry backpack straps, rust-resistant aluminum, and 22 colors and patterns to suit your style. For $296, upgrade to SUNFLOW’s Beach Bundle; it includes a sun shade, drink holder, dry bag to keep your wallet, electronics, and the like shielded from water and sand, and a beach towel.
2. Merrell Hydro Moc
There’s a good reason these kicks have been compared to the Yeezy Foam Runner and dubbed a cooler version of the Croc. The waterproof Hydro Moc is easy to put on and kick off. It can take you from hiking to the swimming hole—hell, power walk from the shore straight into the water. The rubber-like shoe features a contoured arch with an articulated heel and strap for added support.
Using a skin-mimicking innovation called Dermatrue, these stickers absorb sunscreen and wear off, gradually changing purple when it’s time to reapply SPF. They’re great for long beach days, but we’re also throwing ’em in our hiking pack too.
[$35 for 6; amazon.com]
4. Hydro Flask 20-Liter Day Escape Pack
After just one trip, you’ll question how you survived a trip to the beach without this handsomely designed backpack cooler. It weighs in at just 48 ounces but holds up to 36 cans without ice. We like the convenient handles and built-in attachment loops if you want to strap on extra gear (like Hydro Flask’s waterproof Dry Storage vessel). Whatever you’re hauling, this cooler keeps things cold for up to a day and a half to ensure your sunset toast or hydration lasts more than a full beach day.
5. BottleKeeper CanKeeper 3-in-1
See a theme here with our love for cold drinks? Needless to say, nothing ruins a beach day like lukewarm beverages. New to BottleKeeper’s 2021 lineup, this product keeps your 12-ounce regular and slims cans as well as 16-ounce tall boys refreshingly cold for hours thanks to its double-walled, vacuum-insulated design.
6. GoPro Mezcal Sunglasses
These polarized sunglasses float in both salt and fresh water, and are super durable to boot. They offer 100 percent UV A/B protection and come with three interchangeable lenses: a blue-mirror finish to enhance detail and color in low-light conditions, a bronze-mirror finish to enhance detail and color on the water, and gray for true-to-life color and reduced glare on sunny days.
7. Coolibar UPF 50+ 6 Foot Intego Beach Umbrella
We’re big into this umbrella for how lightweight and portable it is (5.4 pounds and collapsible to 45 inches, respectively). We’d be remiss not to mention its first-rate durability and the fact it blocks UVA/UVB rays from above, and helps reduce the sun’s rays that reflect off sand and water.
8. SAXX Underwear “Oh Buoy” Collection
These five-inch baggy swim trunks come with an interior pouch to create separation between your cajones and thighs for chafe-free bliss. You’ll dig the moisture-wicking fabric, rear patch pocket with security key loop, front pockets, plus an extra pocket on the leg, and the mesh liner.
9. American Blossom Linens Organic Beach Throw
Using an old bed sheet to sprawl out on? Ditch it for these stylish blankets. They’re inspired by a traditional Japanese stitch and made entirely with organic Supima cotton from California. Pack into a tote; it does a stellar job keeping you warm when the temperature cools in the evening—or to protect scorched shoulders.
10. Everyday California Midnight Palm Boardshorts
In the market for a new pair of board shorts? These sporty shorts come equipped with an elastic waist, side hip pockets, and a back patch pocket. One percent of each purchase benefits a variety of environmental nonprofits through the brand’s partnership with 1% for the Planet.
11. Wildhorn Outfitters Akulmal Beach Towel
Every sand sitter needs a good beach towel. Oversized, quick to dry, and made from 75 percent recycled bottles, this thick towel is also great for poolside outings. The storage bag doubles as a vessel for sunscreen, books, and whatever your day’s adventure at the beach requires.
12. Sierra Designs Deluxe Collapsible Wagon
Don’t knock a kid’s toy until you use it to haul your six-packs. This wagon can schlep up to 180 pounds of beach victuals to your strip of oceanfront real estate. When you’re back home or at your vacation rental, the collapsible frame (made of durable steel) keeps its storage footprint small. More to love: A rear folding table, molded cup holders, and a designated space to stash your phone.
13. Slowtide Hayden Changing Poncho
This is one of our favorites for days when you’re at the beach from dawn to dusk. Allowing you to change out of your wetsuit or board shorts with hidden internal access pockets, this cotton terry poncho is like enshrouding yourself in the softest of towels. For storage, there’s a kangaroo pocket and snap front packet with drawcords. It’s certainly more stylish than your neon green rash guard.
14. RITC Beach Tote Bag
This versatile bag is waterproof and puncture-resistant, featuring a water-resistant pocket on the interior to keep your watch, wallet, phone, and the like safe. When you’ve closed up shop for the evening, hose off the bag and you’re good to go. Bonus: The padded handle makes heavy loads more bearable.
[from $45; rticoutdoors.com]
15. YETI Tundra Haul Hard Cooler
Recently launched in Aquifer Blue, this is YETI’s first cooler on wheels, and it doesn’t disappoint. With first-rate insulation, this two-wheeled cooler is a must-have for beach gatherings (not to mention fishing trips). If you don’t opt for the limited-edition turquoise shade, go for white, which can be customized with a collegiate or MLB logo of your choosing.
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