Ready to hit the beach this summer? There are several items you don’t want to be without!

For starters, you’ll need a sturdy, roomy beach bag to hold all of your essentials for a day of fun in the sun. Look for one that’s large enough to hold a beach towel, sunscreen, and other large items, but also has smaller interior pockets to safeguard keys, a wallet, and other small items.

A pair of colorful flipflops and a sweet beach cover-up will keep you comfy when you’re not splashing in the waves. You can choose from several styles of cover-ups, from sarong wraps to tunics to loose knit dresses that can actually take you from the beach to lunch in a flash. (A classic cut: Plunge Cover-up Tunic; $33,

You’ll also want a chic pair of shades to protect your eyes, and a hat to keep your face protected from the sun. It doesn’t need to be worthy of the Kentucky Derby, but a floppy hat with a large brim does offer the best protection from harsh rays. (A cute pick: Aqua Straw Crochet Floppy Hat; $48,

If you color your hair, bring a UV spray to spritz on strands to protect them from fading. And if your hair tends to misbehave when exposed to the wind and ocean spray, a cute hair clip will also come in handy for pulling your hair back off your face. (Try the Goody brand flower hair clips, available at

A water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher (SPF 50 is even better) is a must. The newest formulas from skin care brands like Neutrogena can be applied even to wet skin, and come in the same variety of options you’re used to seeing: sensitive skin, spray-on, etc.

Finally, don’t forget a good book to read while you’re soaking up rays, and a leakproof water bottle to keep you hydrated. Or, if lying idly by isn’t your thing, bring along a floating football or a beach ball and play water games with your friends!