Les Best Beach Bags for Summer.

I had a friend recently reach out to rave about her MZ Wallace tote as an everyday mom essential during the winter months — but now, what to wear during the summer, while frequenting the pool and beach? She noted that the bottom of her LL Bean tote is constantly soggy with damp bathing suits, pool toys, etc, and that she’s looking for something a bit more water-resistant. Below, my top picks:

+My first thought was one of these sporty State of Escape neoprene bags. I’ve had my eye on these for a long while. They are incredibly lightweight, have an “aqua and sand seal” that prevent too much moisture/debris from getting in, and are delightfully roomy. I like this white one. (N.B.: There are a number of dupe styles on Amazon that get decent reviews, like this and this. Could be worth considering if you’re not sold on the price of the State of Escape O.G.)

+I love my Pam Munson plaid tote and intend to use it as my beach/pool bag, as its fabric is coated in a water-resistant/wipable material. The handles make it mildly impractical if you’re running errands and holding children/hands, but if your primary purpose is to schlep stuff to the pool and park it on a chair, this would be magical. So chic! This Solid & Striped one is similar (coated vinyl fabric) but includes a shoulder strap — could be another good pick! This boxy trapeze shape is VERY on trend right now, so it’s perfect for this summer. (Same goes for this Staud, the ultimate in water -resistance given its PVC fabrication!) Still, I get that there’s always a balance between fashion-forwardness and function…

+Another thought: an affordably-priced ScoutBags tote. These are wipable, stand up on their own, and — thanks to a reasonable pricepoint — aren’t overly precious if they do wind up dirtied by the summer’s end. I have a couple of their bags in different shapes and styles and I like them for toting crap around.

+BestMadeCo is one of my secret sources for gifts for men, but they have a really nice, roomy *coated* canvas boat tote that might be worth considering. I like the minimalist styling and zip top — though note the handles; you’ll run into the same issue as you would with the Pam Munson plaid tote if you need to be hands-free while wearing it. I wonder if you could get my girl Inslee to handpaint one of these for you with your initials…

+Bargain buy: the Hinza tote. I’ve raved about these many times in the past (it actually made my list of my favorite purchases in 2018!) but they are the ultimate utility bag. I use them to stow bath gear for mini in our master bathroom, tote groceries in it (LOVE hooking this onto one of my Think King stroller hooks and shopping right into it, which I’m sure Whole Foods hates, but how are you supposed to wield a shopping cart and a stroller simultaneously in a narrow Manhattan supermarket?!), pack picnics, etc. I love that it’s structured/stands up on its own, lightweight, and very easy to clean (you can literally rinse it off in the sink). This would be a really solid pick for pool gear. (Note: other Magpie moms have written in with similar rave reviews of the Bogg Bag. Personally, I prefer the styling — and price! –of the Hinza, but this would achieve a similar effect!)

+Naghedi totes — I’ve eyed these Bottega-Veneta-esque woven bags for a long while. They are SO chic, and the woven material is damp-friendly. How fun is this sunny yellow one? Barney’s has one funky-printed one marked way down to under $70 right now!

+Parker Thatch Big Easy tote. OK, so this one is probably no better than your soggy LL Bean tote, but I am in love with the enormousness of this Mary Poppins bag, and the monogram is major! You could solve for sogginess by carrying a couple of wet/dry bags — I love these ones from PBKids (on sale!), which I’ve had monogrammed with both childrens’ names.

+Splurge pick: this Simon Miller, which is actually made of a rubberized material! Super elegant and high-end but also practical. The bottom is lined in leather, though, so you’d definitely need those wet/dry bags.

While on the topic of beachwear, a few things to note:

+Swooning over this mommy-and-me collection of sun-resistant rashguards from minnow x cover.

+Love this bow-shoulder dress as an easy breezy cover-up. And adore this dotted Ganni for the same reason.

+This voluminous Zara score looks like something from Marysia or Lisa Marie Fernandez. ORDERED.

+CHIC BEACH HAT. (Under $50.)

+In love with this floral Emilia Wickstead one-piece.

+Thinking I need this for my trip to the Hamptons. Love this shape! Will also probably snag this easy linen shirtdress tunic ($35!!!) to throw on over my go-to Marysia one-piece. (Speaking of Marysia: get their signature scalloped look for a lot less with this.)

+I have an Innika Choo similar to this one and it’s the perfect pool-to-drinks dress.

+There are still a few sizes left of this darling and affordable mommy-and-me swim duo!

P.S. More bags for everyday adventures.

P.P.S. That caftan life.

P.P.P.S. What I’m lusting after for summer.


  1. Inspired by this post I ordered both the state of escape bag from NM and that second amazon dupe you linked-I actually ended up keeping the amazon version which never happens-but the straps on the state of escape were too short-hubby couldn’t easily carry as a shoulder bag which really defeats the purpose! The amazon version straps were a much better length. Just an FYI-I got the amazon version in a navy with orange lining-so go Hoos too!

    1. So good to know!! Thank you for reporting back. Love when a less expensive variation wins 🙂 xxx

  2. This is wonderful advice! And yes I’ve fretted over what to get or use for Baby #2 for sleeping. (Disassemble bassinet and bring it with us? or some travel option?) She’ll be 3-4 weeks old and we’re just driving 1.5 hrs away. What will be will be!

    1. Ooh on the bassinet front – we have this inexpensive Brica:


      Its primary virtues: it weighs basically nothing, collapses flat/small enough to fit into a large suitcase (!!), and is highly rated for safety (venting, etc). It’s not the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen but it saved us on multiple trips when mini was itty bitty. But. If you are driving, maybe it does make sense to dissemble the bassinet (or use the bassinet attachment to your stroller, if you have one?) instead of buying something new.

      More to come!! xx

  3. I have a nylon boat and tote I’ve been using for the pool (and I actually use it far more often as my airplane carry-on these days than my regular ones, since it’s a lot lighter too). But, I don’t like how it generally doesn’t hold it shape. I love the look of those State of Escape knock-offs and may have to get one! (I just can’t bear to spend a lot on something I KNOW I’m going to ruin with sand/salt/chlorine.) I’d considered a Bogg Bag, since I know people love them, but they look too much like crocs-in-bag-form (my daughter’s Natives are my limit in that style).

    1. HAHA “crocs in bag form.” That’s about how I feel. I’m utility-oriented, but there’s a limit I can’t cross…

  4. Talking about bags reminds me of overnight trips with kids… like you, we have beach vacations planned with our toddler and newborn this summer. How are you approaching packing? The idea of all that stuff and the logistics gives me so much anxiety but the trips are booked and I know I’ll enjoy them.

    1. Ohhh mama. I am feeling the same way. A couple nights ago, I woke up wondering whether we’d need to buy a second travel crib / pack and play? Meep. Lots of logistics to think through. I’ll do a post on this at some point, but in the meantime, here is a post on all my favorite travel gear for little ones:


      In general, I am very organized and tend to over-prepare for every possible eventuality but the truth is (and actually a fellow Magpie mom, Jennifer @ Opaline Lettering might have really good thoughts on this as she is constantly traveling with her little one!) that you can get by with not a lot and just plan to buy what you need if you’re in a bind upon arrival. My biggest tip is buying diapers, wipes, formula at your destination, or having it pre-shipped to you there, if feasible. Those things take up so much space!


    2. Thanks for the mention! After a lot of miles logged with my little one (who just turned two), I’ve streamlined a lot in terms of packing. I agree on bringing less than what you need since you can likely buy whatever you need later. Depending on mode of transportation, I’d advise renting the bigger items at your final destination where possible – namely crib and high chair, if your kid(s) use(s) one, maybe stroller too? I’ve even rented baby monitors when I’ve been loath to pack mine. All in the name of lightening the travel load. At the beach this spring, my MIL bought a high chair at a consignment store and later donated it – another option, if you have (or someone else has) the time.

      I am also a huge fan of having an always-packed toiletry kid for the babe, so I don’t have to worry about those necessities in the midst of packing. I make sure everything follows TSA guidelines and carry it on board – you never know when you’re going to be delayed at the airport. (I also have one for me, but at this point check mine and include a few necessities in my daughter’s quart bag – namely contact solution and toothpaste.)

      But I don’t have two children – that is a whole new logistical challenge I haven’t had to deal with yet!

  5. I am so excited for summer, so this is a very welcome and useful roundup! I’ve been wanting a breezy dress to wear as a cover up, even though I probably already own plenty 🙂

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