What I Pack for Beach Vacations

Hello, hello, sweet friends! How was your weekend? My dear friend, Suzie Moldavon, had her first Dallas Flybrow pop-up this weekend, and I couldn’t believe how many of you came in! I stopped by a few times and absolutely loved meeting you!! I’m so grateful for this community that we’ve built here, and feel beyond grateful to have you all in my life.

We’re in our last week of school, then it’s full-blown summer break time!! And whether you’re planning a staycation nearby or venturing somewhere warm, I thought it’d be fun to put together a little vacation packing list. There’s no question I travel light for beach trips, but there are a handful of things I never leave behind.

Here are my top 12 essentials for making any beach trip stylish…

Maxi Dress | Miller Sandals

My goal is usually to make it work in a carry-on bag… after all, less time waiting at the airport means more time on the beach! I always slip in a few extras, but the basis of my packing revolves around these key elements.

Swim Suit | Hat | Sunglasses | T-Shirt
Cover-Up | Dress | Bag | Shorts
Sandals | Flip Flops | SPF | Lounge Set


I love cover-ups that double as dresses, for easy beach to lunch wear, and black is always chic. This cover-up is gauzy and light, with fun straps and a flowy shape. I also love this one, and this one has great longer sleeves.

Hats and big sunglasses are a must, both for protecting your face from the sun and for covering up crazy beach hair! I never wear makeup on beach vacations, but with sunglasses and lipstick I still feel pulled together.

Coverup (longer version HERE) | Similar Sunglasses | Similar Hat

Similar Hat | Coverup | Similar Sunglasses

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Of course swimsuits are a must, and I lean towards one-pieces these days. (See my latest round-up of swimwear HERE.) Not only for more coverage, but they’re also great for doubling as a bodysuit with jean shorts or skirts.

Summersalt Swim HERE | Similar One-Shoulder Option

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Summersalt Swim HERE | Similar One-Shoulder Option | Jean Shorts | Flip Flops | Hoop Earrings | Similar Hat | Similar Sunglasses

Havianas are my go-to brand of flip-flops… they last for years and have a soft, squishy footbed I love. The neutral color is also great for pairing with dresses and shorts. If you like flip-flops with more personality, these could not be cuter!

When it comes to dressier styles, my Miller sandals work every time!

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Women’s Flip Flops

I don’t usually work-out on vacation, so I don’t consider athletic clothes ‘essential,’ but I will usually throw in a pair of leggings and a tank just in case I decide on a yoga class. They don’t take up any space, and I don’t have to worry with the bulk of packing sneakers.

Fit Tip: I’m wearing an XS in the leggings, and they come in a range of fun colors.

Shirred Racerback TankCrop Sports Bra | Cropped Leggings | Flip Flops

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This stretchy knit maxi is literally like the sisterhood of traveling dresses… it looks amazing on everyone, and works for just about any vacation need. I’ve had it for years and wear it as everything from a cover-up to an outfit for dinner. Plus it packs like a dream and easily changes based on accessories. This one is similar and currently 30% off!

Fit Tip: I’m wearing an XS

Maxi Dress | Miller Sandals | Similar Rattan Crossbody & Similar Rattan Bag

Maxi Dress | Miller Sandals

Similar Thumb Ring

Shirred Racerback TankCrop Sports Bra | Cropped Leggings

I never travel without a white tee, it’s just so versatile! This one is a fun muscle shape with twisted trim details. It’s cute tucked in to jean shorts or knotted with a skirt.

Agolde shorts are definitely a splurge, but they really are some of the best around! I always throw a pair in my suitcase for pairing with tops & tees and over my swimsuits. Nordstrom has a great selection of styles HERE.

Fit Tip: I’m wearing an XS top and 26 shorts.

Twist Detail Tee | Jean Shorts | Flip Flops | Layered Necklace | Similar Hat

Maxi Dress | Miller Sandals | Similar Rattan Crossbody & Similar Rattan Bag

The greatest thing about most beach vacations, is anything goes! As long as you have a swimsuit and SPF, the rest is bonus, right?! What essentials are always in your vacation suitcase? Better yet, what beach locations are on your travel agenda this summer?!



*Photos taken and edited on my iPhone. This post is created in collaboration with Nordstrom and ShopStyle Collective, but all product selections, opinions, and salty hair are my own. Thank you for supporting Hi Sugarplum sponsors!*

Leave a Comment


  1. Sandy wrote:

    Oh, gosh! These photos! Mister SP????????????

    Posted 5.24.21 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      Yes! He took the solo shots of me, isn’t he great! xo, C

      Posted 5.24.21 Reply
  2. patricia wrote:

    The lightest I ever ‘packed’ for a beach vacation is when the airlines lost my suitcase. I didn’t even have a swimsuit! After three days, they authorized $100 for replacement clothing. Bought a bathing suit, shorts, flip flops and a bag of panties. I was given two pareos which served as cover ups, house dress, and even skirts for dinner out.
    I prefer more choices, but it worked for two weeks. They finally found my suitcase one month after I got home. It never left Seattle.

    Posted 5.24.21 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      Oh my goodness!!!!! I wonder where on Earth it was that whole time, hiding at the airport?! xo, C

      Posted 5.24.21 Reply
  3. Misty wrote:

    I grew up on the beach, so I recommend something light for the quick rain showers that often pop up! Also, the greatest cooler hack: freeze water bottles and use as “ice” and they will slowly melt, giving you the coldest water to drink after you’ve baked in the sun for awhile😁
    If you are visiting east coast beaches on the US, I recommend bug spray as they just identified a large tick population in the dunes areas. (I’m from NC, so they are recommending this there and in SC I know for sure) Ticks rarely latch, so a bite could easily be mistaken for a mosquito or fly bite, without anyone ever thinking it might be a tick! Beach trips are my favorite trips!! You always have the best beach vacations😍

    Posted 5.24.21 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      That frozen water bottle trick is truly genius!! And yes I think I’ve seen something about the ticks on the east coast recently, yuck!!! xo, C

      Posted 5.25.21 Reply
  4. Melissa wrote:

    What lipstick do you wear?

    Posted 1.21.22 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      Now that is a loaded question, ha! It depends on the season, occasion, etc etc!!! Any specific shades you’re curious about?

      Posted 1.21.22 Reply