Beach vacation guide

From all-to-yourself islands to hidden beach towns to iconic coastal experiences, the West has the beach vacation of a lifetime in store for you

30 iconic beach experiences

Ignite your love for the shore with these classic beach icons. From boardwalks to bonfires, here are our favorite ways to dive in

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Soaking it all up
Thomas J. Story

Soaking it all up

SoCal beach regulars pick the best gear for a place in the sun.

Pop-up shade. “This tent-umbrella combo gives you a big spot to duck under; it’s perfect for families.” —Kyle Daniels, L.A. County lifeguard captain. Sport-Brella: $60; sportbrella.com

Haul-it-all cart. “A cart or wagon with huge tires helps you get through the sand. The guys who really know what they are doing can get a boogie board and a cooler on one.” —David LeFevre, chef-owner, Manhattan Beach Post. Beach Cart Folding—Mini: $140; wheeleez.com

Portable speaker. “A lightweight music player is key. It should be loud enough that you can hear it, but not louder than the waves.” —Lizzie Garrett Mettler, culture blogger, Tomboy Style. UE Boom wireless speaker: $200; ultimateears.com

Duffel bag. “I can fit everything I need—towel, sunscreen, books—into this roomy tote. Plus, the pop of color pretty much screams summer.” —Joy Cho, design blogger, Oh Joy. Albright duffel: $90; www.fleetobjects.com

Backpack chair. “Once you have one of these, you wonder how you ever lugged other beach chairs around.” —David LeFevre. Wearever Backpack Chair: $30; shadeusa.com

Turkish towel. “If it gets cool at the end of the day, I can use it as a sarong. Always good to have an extra layer.” —Kalani Miller, designer-owner, Mikoh Swimwear. Seersucker Striped Towel (on arm of chair): $49; lekkerhome.com. Tunisian towels (in back): $72 each; lostandfoundshop.com.

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