Best types of Cover-ups for the Beach

by Hippie Pants Team on March 11, 2022

If you are planning on heading to the beach or you are lucky enough to live close to one, there are some essentials you can't be without. One of the most important items to bring on your beach trip is a beach cover-up. This will be you go to clothing for getting to and from the beach.

There are many different kinds of beach cover-ups for you to choose from; some are perfect for exploring the beach itself while others are perfect for relaxing around the resort or dropping into restaurants or shops.

In general most people who are heading to a beachside destination are going to be looking for something that they can easily throw on top of their swimwear and remove when necessary. That’s why you see beach cover-ups often paired with bikinis, swimming costumes, or tankinis but it doesn’t mean they can’t be worn over other types of clothing too.

Each beach cover-up has its own distinct advantages and today we will go over each of them in this post. It’s going to be super easy and the great news is that almost all beach cover-ups are easy to style. Let’s dig in.


Why do you need a beach cover-up?

Let’s start at the beginning, I’m going to the beach and will be in my bikini all day so why do I need extra clothing, right? One of the key functions that a beach cover-up does is that it can protect your skin from the sun. Of course, you want to maximize your sunbathing, but there is such a thing as too much sun, so a beach cover-up is perfect for minimizing sun exposure. If you are pale skinned or sensitive to harsh sunlight the last thing you want is to spend your trip nursing sunburn.

Beach cover-ups are also stylish, and in the height of summer, while relaxing on the coast or exploring your beach town, you might want to show a little more personality by jazzing up your practical beach gear with a kimono, cover-up or light shawl.

Depending on where you are going there may also be rules regarding what attire you can wear and when. In some countries or private clubs, it is mandatory for both genders to cover up their beachwear when entering hotels, restaurants of stores. This will almost certainly be the case if visiting somebody’s home or a religious building. This is when a handy coverup comes into its own, just throw it on top of what you’re wearing and you’re good to go.

Finally, cover-ups are useful as an extra layer if you need it. Many beach destinations suffer a temperature drop in the evenings and some locations can be windy. If your accommodation is far away or you are planning on spending a relaxing evening on a terrace without going home first, you will be thankful to be carrying your cover-up.


What are the different kinds of beach cover-ups?

Sarong beach cover-up

A sarong is a go to choice for many and is one of the most versatile options. It works well over a bikini or wrapped around a swimsuit. One of the great things about a sarong is that it can be tied to look like a dress, a halter neck, or even a skirt. Once you get the hang of how to tie it, you can get creative with your sarong and even use it as a headscarf. If you aren’t wearing it you can also place it on the sand for somewhere to sit.

Tunic Cover-up

Another popular beach cover-up is the tunic. It basically looks like a loose oversized t-shirt, which comes down just to around the knees. They're usually made of super-light fabric, perfect for those hot sunny days. Tunics are also easy to grab and put on first thing in the morning, as you head down to the beach and cover most of your body evenly thereby avoiding spots of sunburn where you’ve accidentally left a spot uncovered.

Woman wearing dress at the beach

A beach dress is what many people choose because they already have dresses in their wardrobe. While not really designed as a cover up, you can obviously find so many types of dresses that one of them is likely to be ok for the beach. Having said that, if you want to buy something special, some stores or collections will have a pattern and style that is designed for the beach. These options are often of lightweight material with colorful prints. They can sometimes be slightly more revealing than a traditional dress, but most often are still completely suitable for beach bars and more.

Lace fishnet coverup

A slightly less common option is the fishnet dress or lace cover-up but it has its advantages. If you want to soak up some of that glorious vitamin D while maintaining some protection from the sun this can be a good option. It’s also great when you have to cover up but you don’t really want to or when it’s very hot and you still want to feel the breeze directly on your skin. This kind of beach cover-up is great for partygoers and super lightweight making it easy to dance the night away.

 Woman wearing Kaftan Beach-cover-up

A kaftan beach cover-up usually comes down to the ankle and might be the item of choice for those looking for modest clothing. Depending on the design kaftans can be paired with heels for an elegant look worth of any restaurant or resort. Another bonus is that a kaftan beach cover-up offers a higher level of protection from the sun when compared with a tunic or sarong. Kaftans have a naturally luxurious and exotic feel so if you’re on vacation to pamper yourself you’ll love using one during your trip. There is also a wide range of styles and colors so you will be spoilt for choice.

Best Beach Cover-up

Now, let’s talk about the kimono. Traditionally a ceremonial outfit, the concept of the kimono has widened in recent years and now to all kinds of versions; long and short, with and without a belt, short sleeved or long sleeved. What you’ll always get with a kimono worn as a beach cover-up is good protection from the sun on the back and the shoulders which is often where the rays can hit us hardest. Some come with a wrap-around belt making them easy to secure but bear in mind these can also slip off and be easy to lose. The kimono is also incredibly elegant and unlike the kaftan or dress it is super easy to take off and put back on not needing to go over the head.

If you prefer to have even more coverage than a kimono but still have the slip-on slip-off sensation, then using a long cardigan beach cover-up could be a good bet. Long cardigans are usually made of patterned lightweight material such as bamboo rayon or satin and are typically more suited to walking up from the hotel to the beach and from the beach back to the hotel. You wouldn't typically wear this one to the restaurant in the evening but who are we to cramp your style. Like some of the other options on this list long cardigans usually come in a wide range of styles and patterns and can double up as a regular lightweight cardigan during the rest of your vacation.


When choosing your beach cover-up, make sure you know the temperature range in advance so your choice is suited to ambient conditions and not just what looks the most stylish. Think about where you will be going after the beach. If you are heading to a restaurant or the terraces for drinks, typically, one that offers more coverage is the best option. Finally, remember your cover-up will get wet! There’s no two ways about this so pick a quick drying fabric or bring a couple of backup options in your suitcase. Happy holidays!


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