Eco-Friendly Beach Essentials for Your Next Vacation

By Isabelle Marinier, associate editor at EyeBuyDirect

We all need to do our bit when it comes to the environment, and a lot of the world’s most beautiful beaches are at risk now, as microplastics and pollution risk our ecosystem and the beauty of beach and coral life. It is very important that when you go on your next vacation, you are respectful of the environment.

Unfortunately, a lot of us don’t even realise the things we are doing, things we are wearing, and things we are taking with us on trips that are not eco friendly. Before you shop for anything to take with you, be sure to understand the environmental impacts of whatever you are looking to buy.

All of the following eco-friendly beach essentials are available in some form that can be friendly to the environment, but you should make sure you go the extra mile and do a little research. We’ve created a simple guide so you can stay on nature’s good side.

How Does Swimming Improve Your Physical Health?

You may have heard that swimming is a great form of exercise, but do you know why? Aside from being a valuable life skill, swimming offers complete cardio and muscle workouts with little to no strain on your joints, making it perfect for people with injuries, joint issues or those at a higher BMI. In fact, swimming is one of the most beneficial and safest ways to improve your overall health and fitness at any age.

Whether you choose to take a dip in a local swimming pool or try your hand at cold water swimming somewhere in the wild, you’re likely to feel the benefits to your wellbeing and mental health from your first session. Over time, regular swimming has profound, full-body effects that can leave you stronger, leaner, and more coordinated. Plus, it’s been shown that cold water swimming regularly can reduce symptoms of chronic pain, PTSD, arthritis and migraines.

Let’s take a deeper look into the many wonderful ways that this fun and relaxing sport can improve your physical health.

Full-body workout

Few exercises can work all of your major muscle groups at once. But swimming engages your core, back, legs and arms in synchronised motions that not only provide a brilliant full-body workout but also great cardiovascular exercise to strengthen your heart and lungs.

There are many different strokes that activate specific muscles, so you can tailor your swim session to target certain body areas. The stroke that engages the most muscles across the body is butterfly, a challenging stroke that is sure to tone your arms and back. For a burning workout of the chest, lats and legs, try focusing on backstroke or breaststroke. Whichever stroke you prefer, it’s well-worth mixing it up and trying a few lengths of each to get the most from your swimming.

Cardio health

The resistance of the water makes your cardiovascular system work harder as you pull yourself along, making for an excellent heart-strengthening workout. As such a versatile activity, swimming can be either aerobic or anaerobic exercise depending on your effort levels.

Swimming also improves circulation and promotes blood flow, which can help combat varicose veins. The strengthening of the legs also helps to prevent further issues with the circulation in the lower body, as improved muscle contractions mean better blood flow.

Protect your joints

As we’ve already mentioned, swimming protects your joints from the usual impact of exercising against gravity. The buoyancy of the water supports your body and enables you to exercise a complete range of motion without straining the delicate tissues surrounding your joints. As a result, people with arthritis often find swimming helps relieve joint pain and swelling, plus it can help you to increase the flexibility of your joints.

For those with chronic joint problems and mobility issues, swimming is a great form of hydrotherapy that allows high-quality exercise without the danger of further damage to the joints. Even if you don’t have problems with your joints, swimming is a safe way to workout that will offer many of the benefits of other forms of exercise without risking any joint injuries.

Boosts mood and mental health

On top of the incredible physical health benefits of swimming, this fun and enjoyable sport also provides many mental health advantages. From boosted mood and a more positive outlook, to a reduction in feelings of anxiety and depression, there’s simply no reason to not make swimming a regular part of your fitness regime.

Mason Owen

Mason works hard to stay on top of his physical and mental health, and enjoys any opportunity to share his knowledge around swimming, running and cycling with others.

Sustainable Swimwear

If you are going on a beach vacation then you are going to take a swimsuit. A lot of the materials used in swimwear is not good for the environment, so it is worth making a point of buying swimwear that is both made in a sustainable way, and made out of quality materials.

Some of the synthetic swimwear brands, and cheaper, lower-quality types of swimsuit can actually shed and release microplastics that are damaging into the sea.

Fortunately, some fashion brands are starting to understand a lot more about how swimwear and the synthetic materials that are used to make swimming costumes. This means switching to more sustainable methods.

Eco-Friendly Beach Essentials: Waves crashing up

Eco-friendly Beachwear

Beachwear suffers similar problems to swimwear, and though you aren’t necessarily going to take your beachwear directly into the sea, it may shed microplastics, which may then be taken out to see with the tide.

Recycled nylon is an example of a material that can release these microplastics, so there are many brands that are switching to other materials such as hemp. Hemp is actually more sustainable both in use, and in production, as it can enrich the soil it grows in, and it grows incredibly quickly.

There are quite a few different beachwear brands that are evolving into using better, more sustainable materials, so we recommend switching to these brands and supporting them to ensure you can take to the beaches guilt-free.

Sustainable Sunglasses

Most of us have had a pair of sunglasses that weren’t up to standard. Those cheap, nasty sunglasses that you buy from budget brands don’t protect your eyes, and they are terrible for the environment.

Instead, it is far better to go for sunglasses that will last you a number of years, producing far less waste in the process.

A lot of big brands in the world of eyewear are shifting to more sustainable materials, too. For instance, it is possible to get sunglasses that have rims made out of sustainable woods like bamboo, helping to protect the environment and stay away from cheaply-made plastics.

It is worth investing in something that is higher quality because you want to look after your eyes, and also because of the fact that you want them to be biodegradable. Some brands even offer lenses that break down after you’ve used them. This is far better than using plastics that may as well be single-use.

Eco-Friendly Sunscreen

Sunscreen is definitely an essential, so don’t forego it. Most of us know by now that you need sunscreen to help avoid getting burned, damaging your skin, and even potentially increasing your chance of getting skin cancer.

Unfortunately, the historical methods of making sunscreen have had some real downsides for the environment. For instance, it has a bleaching effect on the coral around the sea. Some vacation spots are even choosing to ban types that have oxybenzone, as this is a toxic chemical doing untold damage to the coral.

Luckily, there have been some excellent innovations, and there are now some quality eco-friendly products on the market that don’t contain any oxybenzone, and this means that the toxic damage isn’t something you will have to keep on your conscience. You should make sure you opt for something that is totally safe and protective to use, but also that is good for the local sealife.

Eco-Friendly Beach Essentials: stoney beach under blue sky

Sustainable Shoes

A lot of us are guilty of buying a cheap set of thongs or other footwear to use when lounging around the pool or when visiting the beach on our vacations. Sometimes, we may even be guilty of throwing them away at the end of a trip to save on the luggage space.

This is a really terrible way of doing things, and it is, of course, bad for the environment. Some brand have taken the market by storm in recent years due to the fact that their products are made with totally sustainable practices.

Some brands use tree fibers in the production of their shoes, which is a very sustainable way of making sure that footwear is friendly to the earth, rather than cheap plastic options that we may have used in the past.

There are a lot of different choices out there now, but the key thing is not to treat your footwear as disposable. The least you can do for the environment is to buy a high-quality pair of shoes for using when you’re on the beach and making sure you use them time and time again rather than just for one trip.

Recycled Beach Cooler

A cooler, you simply must take one to the beach when you’re on vacation. Make sure you have access to water all day, and hey, maybe even a few sweet treats and drinks that you can enjoy.

There are a few brands out there, that making fantastic hard and soft coolers which have been made out of recycled materials. There are also clever disposable models that are designed to be totally compostable, which means you don’t have to worry about bringing them home with you. You can dispose of these coolers without having to think about the negative impact you’re having.

Sustainable Beach Chairs

Chairs don’t tend to be made in a very sustainable way, but thanks to some advancements in upcycling, the way we look at furniture, and the way we look at materials, you can get some fantastic eco-friendly chairs.

Of course, it really depends whether you want to take your own chairs or not, it could be that there are already chairs you can use on your destination spot. If not, and you are buying chairs, then it makes sense to look for excellent, sustainable models that are made out of renewable materials such as wood and hemp.

Recycled Umbrella

A simple umbrella is used to ensure you don’t burn or overheat. There’s no reason for this to be an environmental risk. Make sure that the umbrella or parasol that you take with you is made out of the right materials, such as recycled, ocean-friendly materials.

You can find some good manufacturers of recycled umbrellas, that use recycled and reclaimed plastics from the ocean to create a beach umbrella that can give you around SPF 50 protection and a variety of different designs.

Such manufacturers usually also offer other products that include sunscreens that are friendly to the environment and don’t damage the coral.

Eco-Friendly Beach Essentials: sand dunes with bushy grasses

Eco-friendly Beach Towels

You can find some quality brands, that also make eco-friendly beach towels that are made out of renewable and environmentally-friendly materials. There are quite a few brands following this example.

There are actually a surprising amount of materials that can be used to create eco-friendly towels, and many of the beach towel companies that are making sustainable options also donate a percentage of their profits to charities.

Recycled towels can be an excellent option, and some are even made out of recycled plastic bottles. You would never know when feeling them that they were once bottles, and they feel like you would expect a towel to feel.

Eco-Friendly Beach Bags

Another important item to consider when going on a beach vacation is an eco-friendly beach bag to carry all your essentials. These beach bags can be made from sustainable materials.

Many ethically-minded brands are now offering eco-friendly beach bags in stylish designs, making it easy to find a bag that matches your taste while also helping the environment.

Do a bit of research before your trip to find options in line with your values and contribute to conscious consumerism. In doing so, you’re not only making a better choice for the environment but also supporting the shift towards more sustainable practices in the fashion industry.


When you head off to the beach or to the airport, or on a long drive to your next vacation spot, you shouldn’t have to deal with any guilt based on the items you will be using while you are there. Instead, you can opt for these useful eco-friendly beach essentials for the next trip.

There is simply no need for things like sunglasses and towels to have a negative impact on the environment but the search to drive down prices is one of the reasons there are so many cheap, single-use materials out there.

Instead of making things worse, you should think about how you can find safe, eco-friendly essentials, and whether there are items that you can reuse or recycle to help lower the impact you’re having on the environment. Looking after the world around us is something we should all take a bit of responsibility for, whether we’re on vacation or not.