You might think dressing for the beach is as easy as slipping on a swimsuit and flip-flops, but there's more to it than that. 

Besides looking good and feeling comfy, it's essential to stay cool and protected. So let's dive into some tips for rocking the perfect beach day outfit, no matter your plans.

Beachwear Must-Haves: The Essentials

Before we chat about specific outfits, let's talk sun protection. When you're spending hours under the blazing sun, you need to guard against sunburn—even through your clothes.

Contrary to what some may think, it's very possible to get sunburned through your clothing, especially when you're outside for long periods under intense sun. That's why, in addition to covering exposed skin with full-spectrum sunscreen (with an SPF of 30 or 50), beach lovers should invest in some of Free Fly's UPF clothing for men or UPF clothing for women

These diverse styles provide options that can be integrated into any outfit for any fun beach day and provide UPF protection of up to 50, which is as much as ten times more than regular clothes.

Swimming and watersports

This is the activity with the most straightforward beach day outfit—a bathing suit. Naturally, it's more complicated than that, with women having a variety of options in top styles, bottom styles, and one-piece options for all body types and comfort levels. 

For the guys, there are various trunk lengths and swim briefs to choose from. You’ll also need to select between lined and unlined styles, the latter of which are often favored for their quick-drying properties and versatility.

Finally, pair the swimsuit with a casual men's top or women's top to provide coverage out of the water.

Man and woman walking in from the beach in Key West to their car


Everyone loves relaxing in the warm sun along the beach now and then. If your primary goal for your beach day is soaking up the rays, your outfit should follow suit. 

Ideally, it should feature layers that allow you to cover up when you need to give your skin a break from the sun. Additionally, it should be water-friendly and quick-drying, enabling you to hop in the water for a quick dip to cool off. 

Pairing a bathing suit with a sweatshirt or a women's cover-up is a popular choice. While sun protection is necessary for all outdoor activities, it's vital when you're deliberately looking to get some color, so ensure you're frequently reapplying sunscreen to avoid burns.

3 friends sunbathing together


Fishing outfits require a unique combination of comfort, ease of movement, durability, and water-friendliness. Depending on the weather and personal preference, this can range from short sleeves and shorts to more extensive fishing-centric gear with extra pockets and places to hold equipment.

In any case, consider leaving your nicer or favorite items at home, as fishing often exposes you to everything from fish guts and bait to saltwater spray, all potentially permanently damaging clothing.

For lightweight gear that’s fit for all types of fishing, check out Free Fly’s men’s fishing clothing or women’s fishing clothing.

Man and woman fishing together

Relaxing and socializing

If you're heading to the beach just to chill with some friends or enjoy a moment of calming waterfront solitude, you've got maximum flexibility in your beachwear choices. Your beach day outfit can be anything that makes you comfortable and keeps you protected from the sun.

Still, as with fishing, you may not want to wear your best or irreplaceable garments. Stylistically, embrace the beachiness with pastel colors or more unusual patterns for men, while women can opt for versatile dresses that are equal parts great looking and comfortable.

The Best Beach Day Footwear

What you wear on your feet is vital for several reasons, including protecting your feet from scorching sand. The simplest option is the most common, lightweight slip-on flip-flops. They're typically cheap, easy to find, and relatively long-lasting. However, they're also less than ideal for any sort of activity, including walking extended distances.

Sport or closed-toe sandals provide more supportive options, instead. Water shoes are an excellent choice for those planning to get their feet wet or protect their soles from rocks or other sand or water hazards. Espadrilles or boat shoes are a more stylish but still durable and water-friendly choice for situations where conveniently popping off your shoes may be necessary.

The Best Beach Outfit Accessories

We've discussed protecting your skin from the sun, but it's critical to protect your eyes, as well. Invest in a quality pair of sunglasses, which should offer broad UV protection. Additionally, it's helpful to find a pair that's polarized to eliminate some of the glare from the water and sand. This will also reduce the strain on your eyes, a necessary step on long days outdoors. Fortunately, sunglasses meeting these guidelines are readily available in various styles and price points.

Woman walking on the beach in UPF clothing, a hat, and sunglasses

A hat is another vital (and versatile) beach day outfit accessory that can make you look cool and actually keep you cool at the same time. Some may opt for straw hats, bucket hats, or other wide-brimmed options, which offer maximum shade for your head and neck. They've also got a classic "beachy" vibe. Alternatively, you can always grab a simple baseball cap suitable for shielding your eyes or more exotic, fashionable choices for those simply relaxing on the waterfront.

If you're the type who likes to accessorize with jewelry (including watches), it's also crucial to select brands and items that can stand up to the unique challenges of beach life. Watches should be water-resistant or, better yet, fully waterproof. Meanwhile, all accessories should be made from materials that won't be harmed by the corrosive effects of saltwater air and the ever-present sand. This includes stainless steel, most plastics, nylon, glass, some types of wood, and more.

Beach Day Outfit Alternatives

In an era where there's no shortage of skin on most beaches, those looking for a more modest beach day outfit still have plenty of great choices. For women, one-piece bathing suits remain a stylish option, offering more coverage than a bikini-style swimsuit with nearly as much freedom of movement. Cover-ups are also helpful when out of the water. For men, swim or sun shirts are designed for those who want to keep more skin covered but also dry quickly and provide built-in sun protection.

Hit the Beach in the Comfort & Protection of Free Fly Apparel

Beach clothing options have come a long way in the past few decades. There are more ways than ever to be cool, comfortable, and protected from the sun on your next visit to the coast, no matter what's on your agenda. And there's no better place to pick out what to wear to the beach than from the high-quality, stylish, comfortable selection of Free Fly. Shop today to get your beach day essentials.