Is it just us, or does it feel like summer has arrived faster than ever before? That’s right, Memorial Day weekend is coming up—and packing beach essentials is a must if you’re headed oceanside or lakeside to soak up the sunshine. 

Of course, if you’re already near water and have all your beach essentials on lock, bravo. But if you’re not as prepared and still plan on hotfooting it to the nearest shore to welcome in the unofficial start of summer, consider this a comprehensive guide to everything you’ll need for the upcoming long weekend. 

From roomy totes and engaging reads to pretty swimsuits and airy dresses, start ticking items off your packing list with our summer must-haves, below. Oh, and don’t forget to shop the best Memorial Day sales of 2022—from fashion to beauty and everything in between—before venturing on your beach vacation. 

Beach-bag mainstays

At the bare minimum, your beach tote should include a pretty towel or beach blanket and SPF (though more on that later). Some form of entertainment, like a book or game, will keep you busy in between taking a dip and sipping coconut water with pruned fingers. An umbrella for shade is always welcome—as is an inflatable pool lounger or foldable deck chair to keep you horizontal at all times. Not pictured but also encouraged to bring along on a family beach trip: insulated water bottles, a cooler bag to store valuables (ahem, lunch) and a water-resistant portable Bluetooth speaker for playing DJ.

Sun’s out, buns out

A beach trip? Without sunscreen? We would never. Cover all your bases with sun protection for the face and body, then bring a bottle of soothing aloe lotion for after-sun skin hydration. Add a few other essentials to the mix, like a nourishing body oil for an all-day glow, plus some moisturizing hair care products to ensure your waves look smooth pre- and post-dip. Not sure about you, but we can feel water drops glistening on our skin already….

Swimsuits and cover-ups 

Half the fun—if not a solid 75%—of a beach day is deciding what swimsuit and cover-up to wear. Maybe your siren call comes in the form of a ’70s-inspired crochet midi thrown over a high-waisted bikini; maybe it’s a printed sarong wrapped around a strapless two-piece, or maybe it’s something more laid-back, like a stripey beach shirt casually covering up a one-piece bathing suit. Here’s all three, just in case. 

Snap-worthy outfits

If you want a look you can wear for 72 hours straight, we have a few ideas. Opt for a relaxed long-sleeve and denim cutoffs if you’re going for a no-fail casual combo. Care for something more dressed up? Try a puff-sleeve midi or linen mini for a minimalist take on a summer dressing. Comfy walking sandals (instead of flip flops) tie it all together.

The finishing touch

From ’90s-inspired shades to summer camp jewelry and the perfect summer tote, we’ve got you covered with every accessory needed to complete your look on and off the beach. Think chic sun hats, rattan visors, and cute claw clips that’ll turn this weekend into your sartorial oyster.