Eazy-Breezy Beach Packing: Just The Basics

This post is underwritten by Old Navy. Whether you’re looking for a tankini, bikini, or a one piece, Old Navy has you confidently covered at a great price.

You may not know this, but I’m a beach-girl. Always have been. I grew up in beautiful San Clemente, California, and almost three decades later, here I am, nested in Shell Beach, another California beach town. I’ve tried other places (Portland, Chicago, Paris), and as beautiful and inspiring as those places are, I simply cannot do it. I cannot live too far from the ocean. The Pacific is in my blood, and there’s not much that I can do about that.

It took me a long time to fully accept that, as much as I might want to be a hipster-cool Portlandian, or a tough, edgy Chicagoan, or a chic, multi-lingual Parisian, I always have been, and always will be a blonde beach-girl from Southern California. But embracing my somewhat clichéd background has made life so. much. easier for me. I quit straightening my naturally wavy hair, I no longer attempt to cover-up my freckles with makeup, and I wear my Rainbow sandals daily. I even admitted to my husband that I really do like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and I don’t care how profane Sublime is, those are my people. It feels good to stop trying to shove a square peg (my innately California-casual style) into a round hole (every other style identity I’ve “tried on”). So on that note, today I’m going to share with you some beachy favorites of mine, designed to keep a jaunt to the shore inexpensive and eazy-breezy.

Call me shallow, but the first and biggest concern for me, when planning a trip to the beach, is what to wear: my primary concern, nowadays, is whether or not I’ll be wrangling kiddos. Since I became a mama, my priorities in swimwear have changed. A teeny-weenie bikini used to do the job just fine, but nowadays I need a swimsuit that can handle chasing a toddler around, without the risk of accidentally flashing anyone. (I will NOT be that mom.) So swimsuit-wise, I’m looking for something a little more athletic, but still stylish. When I saw this little blue tankini, I knew she was the one. The style is retro-cute, and the color looks great on me (if I do say so myself), so 90% of the time, this would be my go-to suit.

But on the off-chance that I’m at the beach with out little Elle, then it’s bikini time! Gotta get rid of those tan-lines when I have the chance, right? I love this one because the pattern is safari-cute, and the gold accents make it a little bit glam, without being super over-the-top.

Some people bring an entire room’s worth of beach furniture, and while that does seem comfortable, I’m not one for schlepping a bunch gear all the way to the beach. (Ours is just down the street, but there are about fifty stairs down to the shore.) I pack light. Here are my essentials, all of which fit in my tote bag.

I have this in red, and it’s super sturdy, and fits all of my beach gear.

The BEST beach blanket out there. Sand doesn’t stick, stays cool to the touch, and folds into itself.

Bobble reusable filtering water bottle

This stuff just SMELLS like the beach. I love it. I use higher SPF on my shoulders, decollate, and arms though.

And of course, a book. Right now it’d be this one by my bff.

Ellie, of course, gets her own bag for her sunscreen, snacks, pail and shovel. She’s pretty low-maintenance too though, so I can easily carry my stuff and her stuff down to the beach. I’ll admit that we do have it easy, because if we get too hungry, or Elle has had enough of the sun, we can just walk home. That’s pretty convenient.

It’s funny to me, looking back on it, how much I used to over-do it when packing for the beach. It was like I was moving there or something! Nowadays, when I go to the beach, I want to be at the beach, and that means leaving some of the comforts of home behind, and actually relaxing. Do you have any beach-essentials. Did I forget something? Holler in the comments!

Thank you again to Old Navy for sponsoring my post. I was compensated for this post as a member of Clever Girls Collective, but the content is all my own.

Leave a comment


  1. Chair? Umbrella?

    Inflatable jumpy castle and mini bar? 😉

  2. Brandon Barkley

     /  June 17, 2012

    I have nothing relevant to say, but good job on getting some money off your blog. My (now mostly defunct) blog once earned me some free coupons because I had talked about a product positively. That made my week! It also came with a recipe card that turned out to be delish.

    • You know, I flip-flopped over whether or not to engage in sponsorship opportunities for a while. But then I remembered that I pay for my domain, and writing takes me time, and it wouldn’t kill me to recover some of the cost. It’s certainly not much, but if it covers my domain and hosting, I’m a happy camper. At least then my “hobby” won’t be costing my family money, you know? At the same time, I only participate in stuff that I’d actually agree with in real life, so I don’t feel like I’m selling out or anything. 🙂

      • Brandon Barkley

         /  June 18, 2012

        Anyone who calls you a sell out for these type of articles is just too much of a holier-than-thou type. I mean, you start running multiple sponsored posts per week, I would be turned off, but an occasional thing of the type is more than fine to pay the bills.

        By and by, if you do not already have any way to write off the costs for running this blog as part of any “business” to do with your youtube brand or whatever, it is worth noting that on your taxes you can write off your hobby expenses up to the amount of your hobby income from your taxes.

        For example, if your blog costs $500 a year to keep up and running and you bring in $350 in income from it, you may write off $350 from your taxes as a deduction (obviously if your income were above $500, you could write off the full $500 of expenses).


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