News & Politics

20 under $20: Must-Have Items to Fill Your Beach Bag

Planning a weekend jaunt to Ocean City or a weeklong vacation in North Carolina’s Outer Banks? You won’t want to leave home without our 20 top beach essentials, each of which is less than $20.

Too-Hot-to-Handle Nails: Essie nail polish in Flirty Fuschia, $8 on
Flaunt your tootsies with this chic shade from the line’s neon collection, which has been making waves all over Hollywood’s A-list hands and feet.

Cute coverup: J. Crew Balcony Dress, on sale for $19.99 on
Sport this cozy coverup over a bathing suit or pair with a simple pair of flats and a denim jacket for a casual waterfront dinner. Also available in blue.

Seductive Swimwear: Victoria’s Secret Grommet tankini, on sale for $11.99 (top) and $8.99 (bottom) on
Look sexy but not scandalous in this pushup tankini.

I Scream for “Ikat” Bikini, $12.80 top and $12.80 bottom on
Don’t miss this teeny-weeny bikini in the season’s hottest print: ikat.

Sandcastle Superstars: The Original Toy Company Castle Sand Mold Set, $11.99 on
Play like a kid again with these retro sandcastle molds, which come complete with a shovel.

Snag Free, $4 on
Go from pool to party in just a few steps with this handy mirror/brush pocket combo from Sephora. You’ll rid yourself of snags and make sure you’re looking stylish at the same time.

Sensational Sunblock: Banana Boat Ultramist Sunblock Sport SPF 30, on sale for $6.99 at area CVS stores and
Block harmful UVA and UVB rays with this sweat-proof sunscreen. Not only does the coconut smell bring back memories of long-forgotten tanning oils, but the spray coats evenly and doesn’t get crusted by stray sand that slips into your bag.

Face Forward: Burt’s Bees Radiance Day Lotion, $18 on
Regular sunscreen can wreak havoc on your pores. Instead, be sure to moisturize daily with an SPF-rich product, even in winter. We like this cream by longtime favorite brand Burt’s Bees.

Tote-ally Cool: Old Navy Women’s Printed Canvas Tote, $12.50 on
Pack your bag in style with this printed tote from Old Navy. Not only is the price great, but the canvas fabric means it’s machine washable—great news if your lip balm melts or the bag gets grody in the sand.

Just Gellin’: City Style Beaded Sandals, on sale for $8.97 on
From the boardwalk to the beach, these jelly sandals are the season’s hottest shoe trend. Plus, the super-cute beading makes them look way more expensive than $9.

Water World: Watermelon beach towel, $14.99 on
Dream of frozen umbrella drinks as you lounge on this cute towel. Bonus points: It’s so bright, you’ll never lose your spot in the sand.

Once You Go Black: Intense Therapy Lip Balm with mint and shea butter, $7 on
This ultra-smooth balm packs SPF 25 and a tingly, minty-fresh scent you’re sure to love, whether or not you’re on the beach.

Way Cool: Wayfarer sunglasses, $5.80 on
Vintage is in in a big way, but that doesn’t mean you need to splurge on retro Ray Bans. Instead, peruse cheap-chic retailer Forever 21, where there’s a selection sure to rival that of any Sunglass Hut.

Hair Today: Gap Ombre Scarf, $19.50 on
Protect your hair from the beach breeze with this lightweight scarf, which you can wear as a headband. Or tie it over your coverup for a chic yet low-key accessory.

Look Fab, Live Frugally Bare Escentuals waterproof mascara, $15 from
Don’t let sweat, sun, or saltwater ruin your stunning looks. Nobody will know it’s not natural when you use this waterproof mascara from our fave all-natural line. It may be a bit more expensive, but it doesn’t have the sulfates, synthetic fragrances, and dyes that can irritate your eyes.

Beach Read: This Is How It Starts by Grant Ginder, $10.98 on
Read the boozy romp about a young Hill staffer becoming acclimated to the Beltway’s world of politics, power, and parties. You’ll enjoy feeling like an insider as this first-time author talks about places you’ve been to and people you (probably) know.

Beach body: Wet Products 37-inch bodyboard with leash, $12.95 on
Get your booty into shape and relive your childhood with an old-fashioned boogie board.

Relaxation Station: Kalisto Two-Position Beach Chair, $16.48 to $18.86 on
Don’t dig sitting on the sand? Relax above the crowds with this two-position reclining beach chair—you’ll look like the queen—or king—of the shore.

Power Player: Poof Foam Football, $6.39 on
Strike up a game with those hotties down the boardwalk, or simply play catch with friends.

Water World: Hint Flavored Water, $2 each from and area grocers.
Don’t forget to hydrate. Keep away from sugary lemonades and carb-loaded beers with Hint, a new calorie-free water with just a hint of flavor. Honeydew, lime, and cucumber are some of our favorites.