The first day of summer is nearly 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.
Best beach umbrellas
Best beach chairs
Need a beach chair? We found the best beach chairs (whether you want something fully reclining, canopied, or complete with a cooler), according to the very enthusiastic reviewers on Amazon — including this one with over 5,000 reviews.
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.”
Best beach tents
Bianca Buchanan, a dental hygienist who has been visiting different New York beaches weekly every summer for the past 16 years, shared her recommendations for the city’s best beaches as well as everything you need to enjoy your beach day, including this lightweight canopy. “It looks like a tarp held down at the corners by sandbags, which you fill with sand when you get to the beach,” she writes. “It’s great in the wind and keeps you cool underneath. And when the sandbags are empty, each tent weighs just four pounds.”
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, including this all-in-one picnic basket.
Best portable speakers
Best beach carts
Shlep your beachy goods with ease: These beach wagons come certified by vacationers and beachgoers on Amazon to lug around the other Strat-approved items on this list, including this collapsible one with over 6,000 reviews.
Best beach bags
Best bathing suits for women
For a less expensive option, writer Marjon Carlos recommends this monokini from Icon Swim. “Immediately the high leg made me feel a foot taller, while my hips and ass practically alchemized to form the ‘S curve’; fastening an accompanying gold link belt around my waist, I was snatched.”
Best plus-size women’s swimsuits
It turns out that Amazon is a treasure trove of plus-size swimsuits for women, and two writers have called out this galaxy-printed bikini as a favorite for making a splash. However, we’ve also got picks for more subdued patterns.
Best sun hat
Alice Gregory discovered this sun hat–slash–fan while walking through Soho. “You open the fan further and further until the bamboo slats begin to strain, and then right before you think the contraption is about to break in half, you — very quickly — hook both sides to one another, closing the circle,” she writes. It’s “compact and dual purpose (fan plus hat), and the chin lanyard ensures it doesn’t blow off in the wind.”
Best swim trunks for men
In our survey of stylish beach fanatics and hotel-pool aficionados (including one surfer), we found 15 excellent pairs of swim trunks for men, including these Patagonia Baggies, which were described by one of our experts as “something of a summer staple.”
Best women’s sandals
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, including this pair of sandals that Fiorella Valdesolo says strangers think are from Margiela.
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 women that you can buy on Amazon — including these sturdy ones from Keen that one reviewer wore on a trip to the Galapagos.
Best swim 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 swim goggles — nearly all of whom recommended these from Speedo.
Best SPF leggings
Writer Molly Young wears these SPF leggings while surfing, and whenever she wants to protect her bottom half from the sun without slathering on sunscreen. She explains: “They feel good in the water and look cute on land. The wide waistband means you can pull them up to keep your goods tucked in or scrunch them low on your hips. They are soft and machine washable. They dry in two seconds.”
Best stand-up paddleboards
If you’d rather paddle out on calm water than surf a wave like Molly, you can buy an inflatable stand-up paddleboard on Amazon.
Best pool floats
Best inflatable boats
With health- and environmentally conscious beachgoers in mind, we looked into the best natural, mineral-based sunscreens available on Amazon, including this Sun Bum sunscreen with over 2,000 reviews.
Best moisturizers with SPF
If you’re reluctant to slather good ol’ sunscreen on your face, we rounded up the best moisturizers with SPF on Amazon, according to hyperenthusiastic shoppers. This one from Simple got lots of positive reviews from those with sensitive skin, especially for the price.