Before kids, the best beach bags only needed to hold the essentials: your phone, sunglasses, towel... maybe a
beach read or two. But kids change everything — including beach day prep. If you’ve ever carried a diaper bag, multiple changes of clothes, snacks, floaties, and the shredded remains of your sanity over what felt like miles of hot sand in order to get your family to the beach, we see you. Which is why we’ve rounded up the best inexpensive beach bags money can buy. Whether you prefer something with pockets for every pair of kids’ goggles or are looking for a sleeker model that can go from beach bag to shopping tote to vacation purse, these highly-rated picks will get the job done.
We’ve brought together the best in lightweight mesh versions, vegan leather totes, and classic canvas beach bags to help you shoulder the load this summer. Ready, set, sun.
We at Scary Mommy only include products that have been independently selected by our editors. We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article. 01 Multipocket Beach Tote
If you master multiple camp schedules with ease and know where everything in the house is (or at least should be!) at all times, this is the beach bag for you. There is no need to frantically search for your phone, sunglasses, or snack mid-toddler meltdown when you have a place for every little thing. This oversized tote with pockets comes in basic black as well as 18 fun patterns like flamingo, pineapple, and rainbow mermaid (yes, rainbow mermaid). Plus, it’s waterproof, has a special compartment for wet suits, and is carry-on compatible. Being practical has never looked so good. One reviewer raves: “It’s massive! It held everything we needed for a trip to the beach; four towels, a compacted beach tent, a small bag full of sunscreens, my daughter’s water shoes, and a few other small items.” Another says: “I love everything about this bag! It is huge and has two large compartments, which is nice when you want to keep things dry like diapers and a change of clothes. The other compartment is so big it can fit my daughter’s life vest and toys (along with other swim stuff)... I leave this bag packed and stocked and bring it with me whenever we go near water. I’ve used it at our community pool, on our boat, a lake, etc. It is a MUST HAVE for summer!”
02 Lightweight Beach Tote
This mesh tote is big enough to hold two towels alongside your suit, beach read, beverage, and snacks, but it packs up so compactly when not in use that reviewers report using it as their go-to grocery store bag: “It is unbelievably durable. I mean, I was carrying multiple bottles of wine and sunscreen around in this mesh beast and it withstood everything. Now I use it as a shopping bag and get SO MANY COMPLIMENTS on it.” The only downside we found was that it doesn’t have a zippered pocket to protect your wallet and phone, but some clever shoppers reported using the old sandwich bag trick to keep their valuables dry and organized.
03 Canvas Beach Bag
Handcrafted in Maine since 1944, these sturdy canvas totes can handle generations of sun and sand. My family’s Boat and Tote is still going strong two decades’ worth of New England summers later. While slightly pricier than other items on our list, it’s a steal when you think of the hand-stitching that went into each bag and the fact that the handles are tested to support up to 500 pounds — that’s a lot of wet towels. For a small fee, you can add monograms or names so your tote stands out in a sea of average bags. Shoppers love this preppy classic: “I've owned well over 15 L.L. Bean Boat and Totes in various sizes. These rugged and heavy-duty totes are by far the most durable and the best tote bags on the market. The sturdy reinforced handles are the key. We use all of our totes daily. Groceries, camping, trips to the beach, and for everything in between.”
04 Beach Bag With Cooler Combo
This mesh beach bag has a removable cooler in the bottom that’s perfect for keeping juice boxes, sandwiches, and your favorite LaCroix cans cold until you’re ready to enjoy them on the beach. Reviewers love the mesh top with two external pockets — including a zippered section for your cell phone and other valuables. The mesh top keeps you from bringing home sand while the insulated cooler bottom keeps heat at bay. One mom says, “This thing is awesome. I can hold everyone's towels, infant & adult sunscreen, infant & adult bug spray, snacks for the littles, misc toys for entertainment, diapers, wipes, sun hat, swimsuits, an entire backup outfit for both my husband & son and my phone, keys & ID/ debit card in the front pocket! I'm even able to keep a cold bottle for son and water bottles + refrigerated food items in the bottom cooler compartment.”
05 Clear Beach Bag
The comfortable crossbody silhouette keeps your belongings close while the clear sides mean you can easily see where your sunglasses are without rooting around for hours. If you’re a sports buff or music fan, this clear bag will also earn points for its stadium-approved design that makes getting through security a breeze. Over 14,000 shoppers have rated this clear beach bag as a travel must. One mom writes: “I have two kids, which means my hands are going to be full...I love the fact this bag has a strap, which helped me so much so I could still carry my youngest. It also has so much room! Couldn't believe how much I could pack in this bag for three people. Definitely must buy if you're heading out to a game and need to meet the clear bag policy.”
06 Cooler Backpack
My husband and I bought this for our first trip to the beach with our new baby. We wanted a beach bag that would keep our hands free for holding our son (and the giant umbrella we’d bought as first-time overprotective parents). We chose well. This bag held everything I needed to stay hydrated while breastfeeding and enough snacks to keep us all happy. With over 17,000 reviewers, this cooler bag is a great option if, like me, a big part of your beach experience revolves around food and drink. This mom says, “Got it so that I can take the 4 and 2-year-old to the beach by myself and it has already made my life so much easier…. used this bag on/off throughout the summer going to the zoo, aquarium, park. It's a great bag.”
07 Mesh Beach Bag
Mesh bags help leave sand at the beach so all you bring home are happy memories… plus all the suits, sunscreen, and snacks you hauled from the house. With eight pockets on the outside and a zippered one for valuables in the interior, this oversized, lightweight bag has reviewers raving about the amount of storage it can handle. “Today I was surprised to see actually how much stuff we could comfortably fit in it: five beach towels, three pairs of jean shorts, three pairs of flip-flops, three tank tops, and all the sunscreen, sun hair spray, hair brushes, chapsticks, selfie sticks, magazines and snacks that three girls would ever EVER need LOL.” And that’s just one of over 8,000 reviews, making this our go-to pick for a mesh tote.
08 Dry Bag for the Beach
If your idea of a perfect beach day involves boating, biking, kayaking, or other water sports, you need a place to stash your stuff that keeps things dry without weighing you down. The Sea to Summit Lightweight Dry Sack is a no-brainer. It’s available in multiple sizes, though this 20-liter model is great for storing everything your family needs. One happy camper writes, “I packed lunch, dinner and breakfast in this one bag. Perfect size for a one night trip with our family of four.”
09 Straw Beach Bag
This classic straw beach bag would fit right in on the coast of Cannes, but we also love it for the kiddie pool. Unlike most straw bags, this one has a zippered top to avoid unwanted spills. It folds flat for packing in your suitcase and its interior pocket ensures your cell phone is always within reach for vacation photos. This reviewer takes hers everywhere: “This is my favorite bag! I’ve brought this to the beach, to the farmers market, out to the lake house, to the Bahamas... to Mexico... you get the picture! It’s a great, lightweight bag that can be folded flat into a suitcase for easy travel. It’s great to bring down to the pool when on vacation. It has a small pocket for cash and also has a zipper (my favorite when at the pool).”
10 City-To-Beach Tote
While not a beach bag
per se, this understated classic wipes clean thanks to its vegan leather construction and is sleek enough to moonlight as a purse or office bag. If you don’t want to invest in a separate beach bag but could use a multifunctional tote that lasts, this is our pick for you. Here’s one of over 19,000 reviews on Amazon: “I was looking for an inexpensive, tote-style purse that would match most of my clothes/outfits (think ‘capsule wardrobe’), be cute and trendy, and still be big enough for my water bottle and diaper clutch,” says one reviewer. “I feel like I got all of that in this purse and I'm really happy with it.”
The best beach bags don’t have to break the bank. Whether you need something insulated to keep snacks cool or a straw tote to go with that perfect beach caftan (you know
the one), there is something for everyone on this list. Don’t forget the sunscreen. Hey Ready for more? Sign up for Scary Mommy's daily newsletter for more stories from the trenches.