10 Things That Will Make Eating and Drinking at the Beach a Million Times Better

updated Jun 13, 2023
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Beach path in Florida Keys
Credit: Zhukova Valentyna/

I absolutely love going to the beach — even in the winter! My family is lucky enough to live fairly close to Cape Cod, which makes our summers infinitely more fun. (More time at the beach, less time in the car.) As such, I’ve devoted a lot of thought to researching and acquiring my perfect beach gear. Specifically, gear that’s related to eating and drinking, which, aside from simply relaxing, are two of the best things you can do at the beach.

The tools you bring to the beach not only impact your experience, but in some ways define it. The right cooler, chair, or towel can turn a mediocre beach day into a great one by making you more comfortable. Also, having gear that keeps your drinks cold and your food tasty (and free of sand) is of the utmost importance. Check out my top 10 beach essentials so you’ll be ready to make the most of your own beach adventures this summer.

1 / 10
Five Below

Pick a spray bottle, any spray bottle. This small one is cheap and comes in three bright colors. Whether you fill it up at home or at a water fountain near the beach, a spray bottle is super helpful for spritizing sand off hands before eating. Because we love a good sandwich — just without the sand.

2 / 10

Our editors called these the best reusable bags for many reasons: They seal easily and prevent any and all leaks; their thicker sides protect delicate foods from getting smushed; and they can be cleaned in the dishwasher. Your beach snacks will be safe in these! Plus, like all Stasher bags, these are microwave-safe, oven-safe, and freezer-safe.

3 / 10

Whether you bring a cooler tote or a cooler, you’re gonna need ice packs to keep your food and drinks cold. These YETI ice packs are some of the best of the best. They come in three sizes, their design helps them freeze quickly, and they stay cold for a very long time. You only need one or two of them, and they'll last you for years.

4 / 10
Williams Sonoma

Many Kitchn editors are fans of these stemless, insulated wine glasses. They’re perfect for beach days when you want to sip on some chilled wine or enjoy a simple cocktail. Our former lifestyle director Lisa Freedman relies on these glasses in the summer and loves how well their insulation works. “I can attest that wine stays cold — even as you get to the dregs, even if it’s sitting directly in the sun on a 90-degree day,” she wrote. Plus, they're available in a few shimmery, summery colors.

5 / 10

Ordinary beach towels are fine, but this big one with the shape and look of a giant pepperoni pizza is much more fun. It's made of microfiber fabric so it's comfortable and will do a great job drying you off, and with its unusual design, you'll have an easy time spotting it from across the beach when you're walking back either from the water or the concession stand.

6 / 10

If you want more of a buffer between you and the sand, skip the beach towel and go for this durable picnic blanket. Its top layer is soft and its bottom layer is wear- and water-resistant, so you won't get poked by any beach debris. We also like that it comes with a carrying bag, so after you brush it off and roll it up, it'll be ready to go for your next beach trip.

7 / 10

In order to fully enjoy your beach day, you need to stay hydrated. A big water bottle such as the YETI Rambler will make sure you drink enough water. It keeps your water super cold and has a screw top that quickly seals it to keep out sand. The chug spout also prevents any water from accidentally spilling as you quench your thirst.

8 / 10

Having a comfy seat makes any beach day better, and this folding chair gives you all the basics, plus a bonus feature that makes it worth the investment. It has straps so you can carry it to your beach spot like a backpack, a cup holder, and an insulated zippered pouch on the back for storing drinks or non-food items such as sunscreen. A beach chair with built-in storage? Yes, please.

9 / 10
Hydro Flask

This insulated tote bag is durable, spacious, lightweight, and completely waterproof. This zipper has welded seams to prevent leaks through the top and the boxy bottom keeps the bag upright when it's on the ground so food can't spill out. Having the option to carry it with the shoulder strap or side handles makes it extra-convenient, too. Whether you need additional food and beverage storage or you want something that's easier to hold than a full-size cooler, this is a smart choice.

10 / 10

This heavy-duty rolling cooler is worth every penny because it makes transporting all your beverages to and from the beach so easy. Our contributor Wendy Rose Gould called it "the Goldilocks of coolers" and loves it for many reasons. From the clamps that make sure it closes securely and the insulated siding that keep drinks cold to the expanding handle, rugged wheels, and convenient drainage spout, this cooler will be your go-to for every outdoor excursion.