Beach Vacation: What To Wear (And Pack)


We spent a sun-and-fun soaked weekend in Cape May a few weeks ago, and it was one of those rare occasions that I managed to pack perfectly.  I brought just a few things, but felt chic and comfortable in every situation we encountered.  Here’s what I brought…and how I plan to extend it for our beach week(s) in Michigan.


Weekend Packing List


(featured items:  drapey tank | stay-put swim | chic pajamas | cool sweatshirt | graphic tee | easy overalls | flat sandals | cool bag | glam coverup)

1.  Two Tops

Even with spills, spit-up, etc.  I can easily get by with just two tops for a beach weekend (most of the time I’m wearing a swimsuit anyway).  For a modern update, I like a drapy tank and graphic tee.

2.  Stay-Put Swimwear

In addition to cool rash guards, and reader Daisy’s perfect post-partum find..has anyone checked out ASOS?  Their selection is staggering.

3.  Overalls

I know I’m going to get some hate for this one.  But wait!!  Wait!  Not only are these things insanely comfy (perfect for the road trip to the beach), but once there, they are surprisingly sexy over a swimsuit.  You know…highlight the good (yay boobs!), cover the bad (*cough*poochystomach-and -vericoseveins*cough*).  As a child of the 90’s, my love of overalls runs deeeep. I’m thrilled to be in overalls again.

I am eating chips.  Obviously very concerned about my pooch.


 (wearing:  stupid-expensive overalls (these are much more reasonable, these are a bargin), old j.crew bikini, Salt sunnies)

4.  Something Warm

With the exception of Miami’s South Beach, I freeze every morning and evening.   So I never go on a beach weekend without packing something warm.  I like a modern, drapy sweatshirt, or, if you dare, something cropped-ish.  The right cropped sweater can hit at a nice pooch-disguising length, and works over a bikini (for the always-colds)….



…or layered under the overalls.




Excuse the blurriness.  My photographer had a few too many at the Rusty Nail.  Which, incidentally, is our fav place to bring the kids.  It’s sand pit – meets – bar perfection.


5.  Cute and Comfy Sandals

If I choose carefully, I can get by with just one pair of shoes.  Personally, I always pick flat sandals.  High heels often feel waaay too fussy for a beach weekend.  (And I always bring my rubber flip-flops as backup.)


6.  A Glam Coverup

Before kids, I never really concerned myself with beach cover-ups.  But neither did I concern myself with saggy boobs, poochy stomachs, or old-lady skin, so….yeah.  Ideally, I’m looking for a beach coverup that’s somewhere in between, say, a mesh bodysuit and a mumu.

Free People nails this fine line, every year.


(wearing: Free People High Noon Tee)

Incidentally, this was our kitchen at The Sandpiper in Cape May.  We were within walking distance to the aforementioned Rusty Nail (key), and our stay included full access to Congress Hall’s beach umbrellas and chair set-up.  Our favorite place to stay, hands-down.


7. Chic Pajamas

I have a loungewear/pajama problem.  It’s out of control.  But I tend to spend most of my time in them – especially on vacation.  Why not make them cute?

Morning coffee bliss


 (wearing: tanksimilar, pj pantssame print (different colors) and this pair is also pretty rad)


When Staying For A Week, Add….


(featured items: lightweight scarf | soft tee or tank | windbreaker | easy summer dress | long-sleeve striped tee | denim cut-offs | walkable wedges)


As I finish this, we’ve been hanging out on the Michigan beaches for well over a week now.  The above list contains pretty much the only items of clothing I’ve worn…with the addition of a standard pair of jeans (the bugs!!), a cozy, over-sized sweatshirt and warm, Love Michigan sweatpants (the last two purchased out of desperation because OMG so cold in June!!).  Besides – the Love Michigan design is so cool, I almost forgive them for leaving out the U.P.  Almost.

Note my choice of words, however:  the pictured items are the only pieces I’ve worn.  Since we’re gone for almost three weeks, I felt the need to pack smart…and then keep packing.  So, per usual, I have a suitcase full of crap, yet have been sitting here in the same tank top and shorts* all week.   Sigh.  Really, one of these times I will just take my own advice.

*And by ‘shorts’ I mean ‘sweatpants’.

Happy Summer, Mamas.  It’s officially here.





  1. You know? I just got back from a 10 day beach vacation, and I’m proud to say that based on this post I didn’t do badly at all! (Of course, like you I packed too much, but at least what I packed made sense.) I must be learning something from you. Thank you.

  2. Kind of obsessed with the idea of overalls right now……and really really love those Free People ones-especially the back!!

  3. Great post! I find it easier too, to bring pieces to mix and match. You’ve really got me thinking about those overalls…I’m having mad flashbacks to jr high though!

  4. Hey has anyone tried on those free people overalls? Seriously considering but worry they might be too fitted?…

  5. You are so freaking stylish!!! love love love….I really might have to spring for the overalls…have gap old ones but these look awesome! Whats the sizing like? 1-2-3??
    Glad you had a nice vacay…
    best of luck in July…

  6. Perfect packing! We’re going to visit family in a few weeks and I WILL follow your advice this time 🙂 I’m always packing waaaay too much crap that I don’t even touch! (love love love those pajama pants by the way!)

  7. Love this packing list! I was just thinking I need to look for a new navy/white striped shirt – they’re so perfect for summer. And I too am on vacation at my parents’ in northern Michigan right now and have once again over packed. I’ve been in the same shorts since I got here! 😉

  8. On our way to MI in a few days, perhaps we’ll run into you on the shores of Lake Superior…Thanks for the packing list. You have helped me tremendously and there *may* be some of those things arriving while I’m there.

  9. I just wanted to share a great cover up for all of you tall mamas out there. It is one size, and there is a lot of fabric, but in a good way- it drapes away from the pooch, is low scooped in a sexy way in the back and is lightweight (I got the black) enough that you aren’t roasting in the sun. I am also able to throw on a cute bandeau bra under it, with sandals (I don’t care about wearing a slip- if someone sees my legs, no big deal) and wear it right out to eat after the beach. LOVE it.
    Thanks S for turning me on to Shopbop- truly LOVE their free shipping and returns- makes it so easy to shop! xoxo

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