In some respects, as far as the weather goes anyway, it pretty much feels like summer year-round here in Southwest Florida. So we use summer essentials all the time. But if you live somewhere that actually has seasons (whatever that’s like?) you’re probably about to stock up on summer essentials.

Here are a few of my affordable must-haves for the beach, park, sports field and everywhere in between.

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frugal mom'sguide to summer series

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Beach Bag


My two necessities for a beach bag is that it’s big and sturdy. I pack a lot in it. And I like it to be cute too. That’s why I love the Mud Pie collection for its size, quality, and style. And this one is super affordable at around $20 on Amazon (depending on the color you pick). I have one just like this in blue and I take it everywhere.

Big Blanket


I like to stretch out on a big blanket at the beach and at the park instead of a skinny towel. I also take it to the sports field so my daughter can play with her toys while my son plays soccer.  But it also has to fold up nicely to stow in my bag. That’s why I have a blanket like this. It’s perfect for the size and the material is water-resistant. You can also brush sand off of it really easily. This blanket is only $14 on Amazon.

Comfy Chairs


I’m a big fan of these Tommy Bahama beach chairs. They include a cooler pouch, towel bar, cell phone pouch and shoulder straps so you can carry the whole chair like a backpack. I’m not usually one to advocate for a high-end brand such as this, but I’ve seen many, many beach chairs and none offer all of these features in one chair with this kind of quality. We bought two of these as gifts for loved ones last Christmas. And you can find good deals on them. For example, you can get these two chairs for around $100 on Amazon.



We’ll often head to the beach in the morning and pack a lunch, snacks and lots of water for the whole day so I love a good-sized cooler that’s easy to carry. And I’ve always been really happy with the Igloo brand coolers in this size, which is great for our family of four. This is $60 on Amazon and was listed as one of the best coolers by Good Housekeeping.

Water Bottle


Staying hydrated in the summer is super important so you need a great water bottle. We often take several water bottles to the beach and also pack a giant stainless steel water bottle like this to refill our other bottles throughout the day. It keeps ice water cold, even in the hot sun, for hours. You can get this 40 oz. Hydro Flask on Amazon for around $40 or smaller sizes for less.



Especially when you plan to stay all day at the beach, your packing list can get long. So when we’re planning for a long day we load everything on this beach cart. You can put a cooler on the bottom, pile up chairs on the front bar, fill up the mesh basket with your beach bag, rafts and boogie boards, and there’s a small basket on the back for your keys, etc. And it all folds up to store in the garage when done. You can get a Tommy Bahama version for about $90 or this more affordable option for $75 on Amazon. We’ve had this one for years and love it.

What are your summer must-haves? Let me know!

And be sure to check out these other summer posts:

And you can check out my summer printables:



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