Are you planning a holiday to the beach this year? Then you’d like to know what to pack for a beach vacation.

We’ve put together a beach vacation capsule wardrobe that is stylish as well as practical and comfortable from just one retailer Nordstrom whom we collaborated with for this post. Nordstrom is your one-stop shop where you will find everything you need.A capsule wardrobe that gives you the versatility to wear during the day and then you can wear for drinks or dinner, and that packs light without wrinkling. So, with all that in mind, what should you pack?

Let’s look at your beach vacation essentials, and then some different ways you can wear them during the day and evening.

What to pack for beach holiday | fancy dress and comfortable sandals |

What to pack for a beach vacation – thing to think about

There are a few things to take into consideration when you’re packing for a beach vacation.

What will you be doing?

You may have chosen a beach destination, but you could be doing different things on your vacation. Wll you be mainly relaxing on the beach, sightseeing with lots of walking, swimming and snorkelling, heading to beach bars for a night out? Think about the balance of your activities and what you will need for each one.

Will it all go together?

As with any capsule wardrobe, it’s important to consider whether most of your items will go together. Ensuring that your clothes work well with each other will ensure that you don’t have to pack too much and you have many different outfits.

outfits for the beach - shorts and a tunic |

Will it be flexible enough to take you from day to night?

You might be spending the whole day away from your hotel, or you may just want to ensure you can pack light. Ensuring that you can adapt your beach outfits for nighttime will help.

Will it pack well?

I’m assuming you don’t want to spend all of your vacation time ironing. Nor do you want anything that will take up too much room in your suitcase. Think about fabrics that you can fold up small, but that won’t wrinkle.

What to pack for a beach vacation - dress and comfortable sandals |

Beach vacation capsule – discover exactly what to pack for a beach vacation

Let’s move onto some of the clothes, shoes and accessories you could choose to add to your beach vacation capsule.

Swimwear and cover-ups

Why don’t we start with swimwear? I you’re heading to the beach, you’re sure to want a flattering swimsuit or two. If you pack two, you can wash one and wear one. Miraclesuit have lots of flattering one-pieces that have a slimming effect.

Your beach cover-ups can also be very versatile. You can wear them over your swimsuit or with your jeans, pants or leggings. Plus, they won’t take up much room in your luggage.

Swimsuits and cover-ups |

Miraclesuit Twisted Sister Esmerlda One-Piece SwimsuitMagicsuit New Wave Chole Tankini TopFantasie High Waist Bikini BottomsBECCA Beachdate Asymmetric Hem Cotton Blend Cover-Up DressElan Wrap Maxi Cover-Up DressBillabong Sea Through Me To the Sea Cover-Up Shirtdress


Moving onto tops, you’ll want cool, stylish, lightweight options that you can wear with your shorts, pants or a loose skirt. I’d take at least a couple of t-shirts, a tank top that you can wear day or night, and a stylish blouse.

Tops for your beach vacation capsule wardrobe |

Nordstrom Everyday V-Neck T-ShirtZella Peaceful Knot T-ShirtNordstrom V-Neck Tank TopDonna Karan New York Print V-Neck Elastic Waist Blouse

Jackets, cardigans & wraps

It’s unlikely you’ll be travelling somewhere you don’t need a jacket or cardigan at all, either for cool evenings or because of cool air conditioning when you move inside. A denim jacket always provides a casual flair, while a cardigan will keep you cozy when outside or relaxing in your hotel. You can also make your beach kaftans do double duty by wearing them as a wrap.

Jackets and cardigans |

Wit & Wisdom Pleat Sleeve Stretch Denim JacketBobeau Luann Open Front CardiganNordstrom Printed RuanaNordstrom Print Open Front Duster

Shorts and pants

As with your t-shirts, you’re likely to want at least two pairs of shorts. I’d also add a pair of leggings to your beach vacation capsule. You can wear them under your beach cover-ups or dresses when you need a little extra coverage or warmth. Also look out for linen pants which will keep you cool when it’s hot and sunny.

Shorts and pants  |

Wit & Wisdom Ab-Solution Retro High Waist Denim Bermuda ShortsWit & Wisdom Ab-Solution Stretch Twill ShortsCaslon Linen Blend PantsZella High Waist Studio Lite Pocket 7/8 Leggings


If you choose jersey options when choosing your dresses and skirts, they pack well, won’t take up much room in your suitcase and won’t wrinkle. You can take the opportunity to play around with prints even if you don’t tend to wear them. A jersey maxi skirt can be dresses up or down, while a ruched dress will be perfect for summer nights.

Dresses and skirts |

Karen Kane Puff Sleeve Midi DressDonna Karan New York Side Twist Jersey Midi DressLoveappella Roll Top Maxi SkirtThe Oula Company Midi Wrap Skirt


When it comes to your footwear, you’ll want choices that will keep you cool and comfortable. I’d opt for a pair of day sandals you can also wear in the evening, a pair of dressier heels, flip flops for the beach or around the pool, and sneakers for sightseeing.

Shoes and sneakers for your beach vacation |

Fly London Yefa Wedge SandalSchutz Angie Rope SandalHavaianas You Flip FlopKeds Ace Sneaker


While you won’t want to fill up your suitcase with accessories, a few well chosen accessories will add oomph to your outfit. Opt for a large bag you can fit your beach essentials in, a secure crossbody for sightseeing and evening, a hat and sunglasses to protect your face from the sun, and some statement jewelry so you can change the look of your outfits.

Accessories for your beach vacation |

btb Los Angeles Dani Stripe ToteTumi Voyageur Ruma Nylon Crossbody BagTreasure & Bond Frayed Straw Boater HatKendra Scott nsley Tassel Statement EarringsJenny Bird Bellevue Asymmetric Huggie Hoop EarringsRebecca Minkoff Indio 52mm Gradient Cat Eye Sunglasses

Your beach vacation outfits together in one capsule

Below, you can see the clothes from above put together in one capsule. You can easily switch around the tops, jackets and shoes to create lots of different looks on your vacation.

For example, you could wear the star print skirt with the white t-shirt or tank top, you could wear the asymmetric cover up with leggings or you could dress the blue dress up a little more with the heeled sandals.

What to pack for a beach vacation - Beach vacation capsule wardrobe |

shop all the items above here:

like this post on what to pack for a beach vacation? share it on pinterest!

what to pack to beach vacation |

This article was sponsored by Nordstrom


Sylvia is 40+style’s editor-in-chief and has been helping women find their unique style since 2011. She is devoted to empowering women of any age to look and feel their best. Read more about Sylvia and 40+style on this page.

Want to get more articles from 40+style in your inbox, subscribe here.

You can also connect with 40+style on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.

Support 40+style by using the links in our articles to shop. As an associate for Amazon and many other brands, we receive a small commission (at no cost to you) on qualifying purchases which enables us to keep creating amazing free content for you. Thanks!