Summertime is upon us and if you’re like me, that means packing a beach bag to work on Friday and scurrying to the nearest body of water when the clock strikes 5p.m. (any body of water will do).
Though it may not be as easy to travel to the beach as we all hoped it would be this summer— NBC News reported that pent-up travel demand, higher fuel prices and staff shortages at major airlines means it’s more expensive than ever to go on vacation, it’s still important to find your version of the beach, whether that’s a real beach or neighborhood park. Wherever you go to stretch out in the sun, you’ll need a great beach bag or tote to haul your essentials with you.
Some of us are adventurous: water-resistant beach bags that can withstand mud stains at a secret swimming hole will suit us best. Some of us are coastal chic, and straw beach bags with embroidered lemons will look best on our shoulder from the beach to the farmer’s market. Or maybe you’re more sustainable than style-focused and want a bag that won’t end up as ocean microplastics in a few years. Whatever your summer plans are, you will need a bag that can pack sunscreen, water bottles, sunglasses, towels and a book you’ll never actually read. We looked into beach bags and totes from major retailers and highlighted those that come in a wide array of sizes and colors and have positive reviews.
Great beach bags and totes this year
Whether you’re looking for a classic straw beach bag or an extra-large tote for the whole family, we’ve compiled some top-rated options from major retailers and Select reader favorite brands ahead of your summer beach trip.
Water-resistant beach bags
The water- and tear-resistant Mark & Graham x Steele Waterproof Beach Tote is made from a vinyl-coated nylon material that’s lightweight enough to carry on longer trips and durable enough to last through multiple vacations. It comes in three sizes: Small (10 inches wide across the bottom), Medium (14 inches wide), or Large (17 inches wide) and nine solid colors. For an added cost, you can add an embroidered monogram.
If you need a water-tight backpack while kayaking or hiking, Sea to Summit’s Lightweight Dry Sack could be a good option — it’s made of a nylon and polyurethane material that’s light weight for adventuring outside. (They measure its weight in ounces, if that helps contextualize it for you.) You can choose between six sizes, ranging from 2 Liter to 35 Liter capacities for your gear. It comes in one color, blue.
The YETI Camino Carryall is made from nylon, which can protect essentials like your smartphone and e-reader when the tide comes in. It also eliminates the hassle of drying off your bag after a day at the beach. The durable material is also puncture- and abrasion-resistant, according to the brand, and easy to clean. The Camino Carryall comes in three sizes — 20 liters, 35 liters and 50 liters — and four different colors, including the eye-catching Alpine Yellow and Bimini Pink.
If you pack heavy, the L.L. Bean’s Boat and Tote canvas beach bag is made from durable cotton and has reinforced handles, double-stitched seams and a double-layer base, according to the brand. (This one comes with a zip-top, though L.L. Bean makes a similar bag with an open top, too.) Its flat bottom allows contents to stay in place and the bag to stand upright on the sand. The bag comes in multiple sizes, handle lengths and colors like Regatta Blue, Dark Green and Deep Mulberry.
Like the L.L. Bean bag before it, the Lands’ End’s cotton canvas Tote Bag is customizable: You can choose from multiple sizes (ranging from Small to Extra-Large), handle lengths, and an open-top or zip top. According to the brand, its base and trim is water-resistant and it has wide felled seams that allow it to stand upright. The Lands’ End Tote Bag comes in four different prints, like Deep Sea Navy Tropic Palm and Natural/Black Buffalo Check, with an option to monogram your initials for an added cost.
The Anthropologie Market Tote is made from heavy duty canvas with a faux leather base e and long faux leather handles that the brand says ensures a comfortable fit on your shoulders. Aside from its casual and clean aesthetic, what really makes this tote stand out is its practicality: It has six pockets, an exterior strap — which Anthropologie says is for flowers, so water can drip on the outside of the bag — and a carabiner for essentials, like your keys.
Straw beach bags
If you’re looking for a classic straw bag with a fun design, the BTB Los Angeles Be Mine Straw Tote has hearts splayed across its front, and comes in a range of colors: mint and pink, yellow and pink, black, beige and black (my personal favorite) and so on. It’s lined internally and has an interior wall pocket for storing essentials.
This versatile Woven Straw Market Tote from J.Crew can be a great option to carry around at the beach, the farmer’s market or even on a longer day trip out of town. J.Crew says this version of the market tote has more durable straw material than previous iterations, as well as an opening that’s wider than the tote’s base — this provides it a roomier shape and makes it easier to reach inside and quickly grab your sunglasses, for instance.
Like the other straw options in this category, the Gap Straw Beach Tote Bag is made from 100% paper straw. It doesn’t have lining on the inside — nor does it have any pockets — but you should be able to store a few beach essentials inside of it, like a towel and sunscreen (though I’d suggest storing your keys and personal belongings in a clutch or a purse). The appeal of this option is its lovely woven design and earthy tones: new sand beige and chocolate bar brown.
Mesh beach bags
Mesh bags are more aerated and breathable to use with your beach essentials, and they might be preferable, especially if you’re planning on using your bags to store smelly beach towels. The Dejaroo Mesh Beach Bag has eight easily accessible and semi-transparent pockets to organize multiple items — plus one internal pocket for your more personal belongings. It comes in 20 different colors, including White With Black Handles and Neon Orange With White Handles.
The F-color Mesh Beach Bag is an Amazon’s Choice product that has a 9 inch-long strap, with eight mesh pockets and one internal pocket, which is great for storing personal items like the pocket on the Dejaroo Mesh Beach Bag. F-color says that the bag’s 160-pound capacity is big enough to carry four to six beach towels inside, as well as water bottles, toys, sunscreen, shoes and sunglasses. It comes in 16 different color combinations.
Bulex’s XL Mesh Beach Tote Bag is designed for a day spent by the beach or the pool, according to the brand: its internal size is 24 inches (the other mesh bags listed here are about 16 inches by comparison). It has four outside pockets, an inside waterproof pocket for valuables and it has a top zipper for added security.
Best sustainable beach bags
Marine Layer’s Natural Tote is made from 65% recycled cotton and lined with 100% recycled polyester, according to the brand. Marine Layer says this bag has slide-through sleeves big enough for your suitcase handles (or your shoulder, if the beach is only a car ride away). It has a front pocket where you can slip in a few easily accessible belongings and a full-zip closure (where you can hide a laptop in its 15-inch internal sleeve, though I’d advise leaving your tech at home).
According to Madewell, the (Re)sourced Tote Bag is made from 50% recycled polyester and 50% conventional polyester. The tote has a zip closure to keep your possessions safe, and it has both an interior pocket (for your laptop) and an exterior pocket (for whatever else you need to stuff in your tote). It also comes with a luggage passthrough sleeve, which makes it simple to attach to rolling luggage. The (Re)sourced Tote Bag comes in four eclectically named colors: Faded Rust, Faded Earth, Frosted Willow and Golden Spinach.
With fun prints and colors, Vera Bradley’s Large Family Tote Bag is a bag that can fit the whole family’s possessions inside. The brand says that the tote is lightweight, durable and water-repellent, made from 22 total recycled plastic water bottles. It features an exterior zip pocket and an interior slip pocket for storage. The Large Family Tote Bag comes in two designs, one with seashells covering it and the other with boats and whale tails.
Best personalized beach bags
If you’re looking for a more personalized version of the classic straw beach bag, this option from Mark & Graham — a brand you’ll remember from our favorite water-resistant bags — lets you customize it with a monogram of up to three letters and your choice of font and color. The bag, which is woven from natural palm leaf, also features a soft linen lining and leather handles for comfort while carrying it around.
This Personalized Beach Bag from JoyfulTidingsBridal’s Etsy shop is made from a cotton canvas blend and comes in multiple colors and styles, from Navy and White stripes to Ivory with a vintage floral pattern. Although it’s advertised as a gift for a bridesmaids party, anyone can enjoy this personalized beach bag — with letters, names or monograms embroidered onto the front of the bag in your choice of font and color.
Like most of Paravel’s bags, the Cabana Tote can be personalized with embroidered letters, hand-painted letters or hand-painted emojis (like a palm tree, bumblebee or peace sign, depending on your preference). Paravel also claims that its Cabana Tote is sustainable — in addition to the Oeko-Tex Standard 100- and Global Recycle Standard-certified Ecocraft Canvas, it also has a water-resistant interior made from plastic bottles. You can choose between Small, Medium and Large Cabana Tote sizes and four different colors combinations.