The first day of summer is upon us, and we’ve pulled together all the best accessories, appliances, and advice that’s run on the Strategist, from the windproof beach umbrella and comfiest beach tent to the very best sunscreens and coolest cheap sunglasses. Think of us as your cheat sheet before you hit the water this summer — or just spruce up your home and closet.
The Best Beach Umbrellas
The best beach umbrella is a World War II–era beach umbrella, but if you’re looking for other (cheaper) options, here are some great ones we found.
The Best Beach Tents
Strategist editor Alexis Swerdloff wasn’t a huge fan of the beach until she discovered the best beach tent. (While you’re at it, click through to scout out other exceptional, highly rated beach tents.)
The Best Bathing Suits for Women
We asked 14 real women — including those with long torsos, big busts, blogger butts, and non-flat stomachs — to pick the bathing suits they feel sexiest and most comfortable in at the beach.
The Best One-Piece Swimsuits for Women
If you’re hunting for a swimsuit specifically of the one-piece varietal, we asked a dozen women across body types and professions — from writers to dancers — for their input.
The Best Two-Piece Bathing Suits for Women
Plus, the two-piece bikinis — high-waisted, thin-strapped, frilly, and many others — that come highly recommended by more than a dozen stylish women.
The Best Summer Shorts for Women
Not just the Levi’s cutoff jorts you’ve kept in your closet for eons. We’ve rounded up a shortlist of choices in denim, twill, silk, and fleece — plus a couple options that will work wonders in the office or the gym.
The Best Bermuda Shorts for Women
And if you’re really looking to kick it old-school, we’ve got some pro-tips from designer Caron Callahan and the Cut’s own Lindsay Peoples Wagner and Emilia Petrarca on how to wear Bermuda shorts successfully.
The Best Sandals
Splurge on the Platonic ideals of colorful mules, strappy sandals, and glove shoes. Or, you know, grab their perfectly good substitutes and pocket some dough.
The Best Sandals on Amazon
Status sandals (and their pretty-good dupes) are all well and good. But, sometimes, you just need a pair of basic sandals — Birkenstocks or Clarks (or, gasp, Crocs) — to get you through the summer. These Amazon-approved choices will do the trick.
The Best Summer Clogs
Writer Lauren Mechling embarked on a summer clog hunt “in hopes of diversifying my pro forma Brooklyn writer-mom clog collection,” and returned with a wealth of clogerati-approved choices.
The Best Sunscreens
Veteran beauty writer and editor Hannah Morrill found the seven best sunscreens — whether you prefer a spray, have acne, or hate chemicals.
The Best Sunscreens, According to the Cut’s Beauty Editors
The Cut’s senior beauty editor Ashley Weatherford and beauty director Kathleen Hou have chosen some of their favorite sunscreens over the years, which we’ve also put into a single handy guide.
The Best Natural Sunscreens
With health- and environmentally conscious beachgoers in mind, we looked into the best natural, mineral-based sunscreens available on Amazon.
The Best SPF Moisturizers
The Best Beach Chairs
Need a beach chair? We found the 15 best (whether you want something fully reclining, canopied, or complete with a cooler), according to the very enthusiastic reviewers on Amazon.
The Status Beach Chair
Made in America with ultradurable aluminum and hand-carved wood, our pick for the best beach chair is Telescope Casual’s Original Mini-Sun Chaise. It’s a bit splurgy for a one-season chair, but it’ll be hard to lounge on anything else after you’ve spent a summer with the “Rolls-Royce of beach chairs.”
The Best Sun Hat
During our celebration of all things fugly, writer Alice Gregory found the perfect warm-weather hat in Sun Valley, Idaho: one with a “wide enough brim that it will shade your neck and at least sometimes your décolletage; luckily, thanks to the material, even the most generously proportioned ones are still lightweight and foldable.”
The Best Beach Hats
The Best Beach Towels
The Best Round Beach Towels
The round beach towel — er, roundies — craze is here to stay, and it’s absolutely adorable. We got the scoop on this micro-trend (and a slew of recommendations to boot).
The Best Beach Carts
Schlep your beachy goods with ease: These beach carts come certified by vacationers and beachgoers on Amazon to lug around the other Strat-approved items on this list.
The Best Beach Bags
Not looking for a family-size hauler? We asked beaching pros, from surfers to paddleboard teachers, for the bags and totes that’ll make beach-going a breeze.
The Best Affordable Sunglasses
If you prefer cat-eye sunglasses, these Quays are our favorites for under $100, but there are lots of other options and styles that we found as well.
The Best Air Conditioners
Highly-rated air conditioners — window-mounted, wall-sealed, and even a few portable options — as the heat waves keep beating down (with no signs of relief.)
The Best Window Air Conditioners
A deeper dive into window ACs, including one option from Frigidaire that one Amazon reviewer says can cool an entire New York City one-bedroom apartment.
The Best Fans
The Best Window Fans
We’ve gathered seven window fans — under $50, electrically reversible ones, and a weatherproof box fan — that’ll keep the temperature (and your electricity bills) down.
The Best Misting Fan
The best misting fan is USB-chargeable and kept one writer cool for hours in line at Disney World.
The Best Cooler
The world’s best cooler is from Yeti and is somewhat pricey, but is nearly indestructible and UV-, mildew-, and waterproof.
The Best Coolers (on Amazon)
And if you’re a bit hesitant to drop that much money on a cooler, here are a dozen excellent more — including soft, plastic, and floating options — for your perusal, courtesy of enthusiastic Amazon reviewers.
The Best Picnic Gear
We enlisted potlucking expert and author Ali Rosen to guide greenhorn picnickers through the gear they need for the perfect outdoor eating experience.
The Best Picnic Bag
Maybe you’ve already mastered the art of the picnic. But this insulated weekender — sleeker than a plastic cooler, more durable than a picnic basket, and it comes with an eight-pack of stackable containers — will transform how you look at picnicking.
The Best Picnic Blankets
The Best Portable Speakers
What’s a beach day or a picnic without music? We found the fifteen most highly rated speakers on Amazon for your listening pleasure.
The Best Water Shoes
If you’re not willing to let your feet brave the hot-and-cold of the beachside (or lakeside) elements, here’s a roundup of breathable, waterproof, and plush water shoes for the whole family. (With only one pair of Crocs in the mix.)
The Best Water Goggles
Swim goggles are great for the pool, but they’re just as useful for beachgoers looking to prevent exposing their eyes to saltwater. Here, we spoke to swim instructors, coaches, and competitors to get some insight on the best underwater goggles.
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