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All the Best Things for Summer

Aaaaah, summer. Photo: Dario Cingolani / EyeEm/Getty Images/EyeEm

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 Cuts 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

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With health- and environmentally conscious beachgoers in mind, we looked into the best natural, mineral-based sunscreens available on Amazon.

The Best SPF Moisturizers

If you’re reluctant to slather good ol’ sunscreen on your face, we kicked off our Stuff We Buy Ourselves feature with the SPF moisturizers — from Kiehl’s and Aesop to CeraVe — our writers and editors swear by. Here’s a roundup of favorites from hyperenthusiastic Amazon shoppers, too.

The Best Beach Chairs

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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

Above, a very packable, stylish, and UV-blocking hat from Denver-based brand Wallaroo. We went and found other styles in our Ask the Strategist feature, too.

The Best Beach Towels

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It might be worth swapping out a ratty beach towel for a beach towel (or blanket) with more panachesomething plusher, something Pendleton, or something with a pizza plastered on it.

The Best Round Beach Towels

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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

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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

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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

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Amazon shoppers are fans of these fans. But we’re partial to this elegant fan from Swiss brand Stadler Form.

The Best Window Fans

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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

Photo: Brian Grossenbacher

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)

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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

Photo: Photo: Courtesy 20th Century Fox

And for a surface to lay out your Pyrex containers and bamboo utensils, these well-reviewed blankets and mats (including one that fits in the palm of your hand) will do the trick.

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

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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

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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.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best women’s jeans, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, ultra-flattering pants, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

Every editorial product is independently selected. If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.

All the Best Things for Summer