The Best Beach Bags and Totes

Our favorite is L.L.Bean’s Boat and Tote bag.

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Beach Totes to Buy This Summer
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When packing for a beach vacation, it's easy to become so focused on making sure you have enough sunscreen, snacks, and books to read that you forget you need something to hold them all. Before your next coastal getaway, treat yourself to a new beach bag you'll be excited to pack. Our list is full of fun options.

L.L.Bean's Boat and Tote bag took the top spot thanks to its waterproof construction, wipe-clean exterior, and range of sizes. However, if you have something more compact in mind, or something made of a different material, read on for our full list of the best beach bags.

Best Overall: L.L. Bean Boat and Tote, Open-Top

L.L. Bean Boat & Tote

 Courtesy of L.L. Bean

Why We Love It: From strap length to monograms, the bag is totally customizable.

What to Consider: The zippers can be finicky and get stuck.

This classic canvas tote took the top spot on our list because it has everything you'd ever need in a beach bag: a spacious interior, a waterproof construction, and plenty of sizes to choose from. The small version is large enough to fit a single towel, swimsuit, and beach essentials like sunglasses and a bottle of sunscreen. The extra-large bag, however, is roomy enough for a family beach day; it fits everything from multiple towels, magazines, and a change of clothes to snacks and beach toys. Each of the four body sizes comes in both regular and long strap length, so you can choose if you'd rather carry it over your shoulder or by hand. Additionally, the bag's sturdy canvas material repels water, sand, and dirt, so you'll never have to worry about it or its contents getting ruined. Pick up the tote in one of eight colors, and don't forget to add a custom monogram at checkout.

Price at time of publish: $35

Material: Cotton canvas | Dimensions: 8 size options | Weight: 24 ounces | Waterproof: Yes

Best Value: HotShine Reusable Cotton Mesh Grocery Bags

HotShine Mesh Bags Reusable Cotton Mesh Grocery Bags - Shopping Bag – Eco Market Bag - Tote Bag Vegetable


Why We Love It: It's as lightweight as beach bags come.

What to Consider: Its net-like construction allows smaller items to fall out.

These cotton mesh bags come in a set of five, so you can use one for the beach, another for the grocery store, and maybe even give a few away to friends; no matter what you do with them, they come down to about $3 a bag, so it's hard to pass on these pouch-like bags. Stuff each one with clothes, shoes, towels, a water bottle, or fruit and sling it over your shoulder for a carefree look and a comfortable carry.

Price at time of publish: $15

Material: Cotton | Dimensions: 25.6 x 13.7 x 0.5 inches | Weight: 3 ounces | Waterproof: No

Most Versatile: Madewell The (Re)sourced Tote Bag

Madewell Resourced Tote


Why We Love It: It has a pocket for everything.

What to Consider: Neither of the two sets of straps are removable, so they tend to get in the way of each other.

This bag is great both on the beach and off it. The durable tote from Madewell is crafted with easy-to-clean recycled polyester, meaning it's perfect for excursions of all types — whether that's a trip to the shore, a picnic, or even your commute to work. The bag is packed with plenty of handy pockets for all your essentials, as well as a handy luggage pass-through sleeve, comfy shoulder straps, and sturdy top handles.

Price at time of publish: $98

Material: Poly | Dimensions: 20.5 x 13.75 x 5.75 inches | Weight: Not listed | Waterproof: No

Related: The Best Reef-safe Sunscreens for the Beach

Best Straw: BTB LOS ANGELES Be Mine Straw Tote

BTB LOS ANGELES Be Mine Straw Tote


Why We Love It: It folds completely flat.

What to Consider: It's not very versatile — because of its size and material, it's well suited for anything other than beach or pool days.

This classic woven straw tote is dressed up with colorful embroidered hearts (which are available in eight hues), making it a stylish and sturdy option for beach days. For added convenience and protection, the bag is lined and features an interior slip pocket for small items such as your phone, wallet, or keys. Two top handles are the perfect length for carrying the bag either over your shoulder or in the crook of your arm. When the tote is not in use, simply fold it flat and store it in your suitcase or closet.

Price at time of publish: $136

Material: Paper straw | Dimensions: 17.5 x 14.5 x 7.5 inches | Weight: 1.6 ounces | Waterproof: No

Best Boho: TRIBECA TRIBE Large Beach Bag

Tribeca Tribe Large Beach Bag - woven beach bag - Canvas and Jute boho Tote Summer Shoulder Bag


Why We Love It: Its long, slender build holds plenty of accessories without feeling bulky.

What to Consider: It has a bit of a chemical smell.

It doesn't get beachier than this boho tote with a rope handle. Its unique, elongated design makes it spacious enough for all your beach day accessories without feeling bulky on your hip, while the woven jute bottom repels sand when you put the bag down. An interior slip pocket keeps smaller items from getting lost at the bottom of the bag, and adjustable drawstring handles keep things comfy. Both the beige and white options come in handy for vacation and beyond.

Price at time of publish: $27

Material: Canvas, jute, cotton | Dimensions: 17.5 x 16.5 x 4 inches | Weight: Not listed | Waterproof: No

Best Water-resistant: FJÄLLRÄVEN Samlaren Totepack Limited Edition Water Resistant Tote

FJÄLLRÄVEN Samlaren Totepack Limited Edition Water Resistant Tote


Why We Love It: Its oversized front pocket offers plenty of extra storage space.

What to Consider: It's made to carry light items only.

Fjällräven is known for its stylish and sustainable backpacks, but our new favorite item from the brand is this water-resistant tote for the beach. It features a top handle and shoulder strap, as well as a large exterior pocket and a snap-closure interior pocket to keep your essentials safe. The bag is also super lightweight, so you can easily and comfortably take it from the beach to dinner to seaside shops.

Price at time of publish: $45

Material: Polyester, cotton | Dimensions: 13.5 x 11 x 4 inches | Weight: 7 ounces | Waterproof: No, but water-resistant

Related: The Best Carry-on Backpacks

Best for Staying Organized: Terrain Canvas Market Tote

Terrain Market Tote


Why We Love It: It has six deep pockets in addition to a roomy main compartment.

What to Consider: It's boxy, so it's not especially compact for carrying.

This ultra-handy tote is a must-have for beach picnics and family outings since it has half a dozen exterior pockets for all your snacks and accessories. On top of that, a super spacious main compartment fits everything from a beach towel or two to a pair of shoes. It's even outfitted with a durable, faux leather base and handles that are built to last through years of trips to the shore. Attach your keys to the built-in carabiner to keep things extra organized.

Price at time of publish: $68

Material: Canvas, faux leather | Dimensions: 13 x 11.5 x 11 inches | Weight: Not listed | Waterproof: No, but water-resistant

Tips for Buying Beach Bags

Choose waterproof and lightweight materials

If you envision your bag getting wet or dirty, or if you plan to bring bottled drinks to the beach, go for a bag made of waterproof or water-resistant material, like nylon, polyester, or even leather. If you simply want something lightweight and easy to clean, a regular canvas bag will do.

Buy the right size for your belongings

You likely won't want to be lugging a giant carryall through the sand if you only plan to pack a few essentials. On the other hand, buying a compact bag to house a whole family's worth of items isn't wise either. Before you head to the beach, consider who you're packing for and how much each person is likely to bring.

Look at storage features

Do you tend to pack several small items, like keys, credit cards, and cosmetics? If so, pick a bag with multiple pockets — it'll save you from digging around the bottom of the bag each time you need something. Another reason to keep extra storage in mind? If you plan on throwing a wet swimsuit or towel in your bag at the end of the day, a bag with several compartments will keep you wet items separate from your dry ones.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I clean my beach bag?

Most canvas bags can just be thrown in the wash. However, if your bag has any type of embellishments, such as leather, metal, or beads, you should stick to spot cleaning. Bags made of other materials, such as straw and poly should also be washed by hand. No matter what type of beach bag you have, it's always a good idea to check the tag for instructions before cleaning it.

What should I pack for the beach?

Things like sunscreen, sunglasses, a cover-up, flip flops, and your wallet are a must. Other things that'll come in handy include a hat, a change of clothes, a quality camera, snacks, and a book or magazine. If you plan on bringing just the essentials, feel free to bring a smaller beach bag. But if you're one to pack a little heavier, opt for a larger, sturdier beach bag with plenty of pockets.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

Travel + Leisure writers are beach and vacation experts who use personal experience and customer recommendations to choose the most stylish, durable, and all-around best items for shoppers. For this article, Hillary Maglin researched numerous beach bags and used her own travel expertise to curate an inclusive list of bags to pack for your next trip to the shore.

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