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Cover-ups come in many forms, but for travel, we love versatile beach dresses. They’re the best! Wear these stylish cover-ups on and off the sand!
Best Beach Dresses
Written by: Niki Landry
Table Of Contents
Usually, I stick to solid colored clothing when I travel, with the occasional stripe, dot, or plaid shirt thrown into my bag. If you’re like me, then dresses are the perfect place to change up your color scheme.
Since they usually stand alone and don’t need to be paired with any other piece of clothing, opting for patterned beach dresses makes sense.
You’ll want to look your best when you travel! Read my travel tips to Pack Light Stylishly!
Best Options for Versatile Beach Dresses
Best Beach Dress in Floral Prints
Amazon is a great source of comfortable and affordable clothing and is a favorite brand of our readers.
A reader reviewed it as “very comfortable,” and it’s available in lots of cute prints and sizing options, they also have a maxi version!
TFG Editor Top Find: The red print wrap dress is my absolute favorite find!! It’s hard for me to find a print I feel comfortable in, but I love everything about this! It has a flattering fit, the rayon-cotton fabric is perfect for the heat, and I can wear it casually and comfortably yet still feel polished.
It’s a piece that can be worn with wedges by the sea or with boots and a leather jacket for a city trip. Loooove loooove loooove! I want this dress in more colors and prints but haven’t found another one that suits me, so I’ll keep looking.
Read on for our top five picks and outfits for floral print dresses!
Flowy White Beach Dress
This beach dress is style-forward, with bell sleeves and high-quality embellishment that keeps you looking polished with minimal effort. Made from 100% rayon, the fabric is breathable for your skin and lightweight for toasty beach weather.
Versatile, available in many cute colors, and very travel-friendly, this dress from Back to Bali is super suitable for a day in the sun!
Check out more versatile dresses to choose from!
Casual Dress for Beach
For a more laid back beach dress, wear a cute choice like this from Huskary. Bra-friendly, lightweight, and available in a range of sizes (including XXS), this versatile beach dress can be worn as a standard maxi or as a high-low piece as in the picture above.
One reader likes this dress so well she owns it in four colors!
Get ready to update your travel wardrobe with these versatile, pretty styles for your vacation summer maxi dresses!
Exotic Detail Beach Dresses
Your how-to-dress-for-beach dilemmas are over with this versatile piece from Back From Bali.
Rocking the embroidery trend while also being an easy to wear silhouette, this is a cute, summery boho-chic look that will work well in many coastal destinations.
Bra-friendly and made of lightweight rayon, this beach dress can be worn as a tunic, dress, or swim cover.
Here’s a list of summer tunics that you can shop now and wear all season long!
Cute and Convertible Beach Dresses
This multi-way convertible wrap dress is HIGHLY versatile and made of draped jersey fabric that is travel-friendly because it’s less prone to wrinkling.
Bra-friendly, available in multiple colors, and easy to style (wear it 25 different ways!), one reader says it well, “It is pretty easy to manipulate. The different necklines are really cool. ”
We have rounded up our favorite convertible travel dresses that will help you pack light and stylishly!
Nice Beach Dresses in Many Colors
This piece by Boden is made from stretch jersey fabric which makes it very travel-friendly, as it doesn’t wrinkle much.
Pair that with its ability to be worn either day or night with few accessories and its multiple color and sizing options (petite, regular, and long), and you’ve got an amazing dress for the beach!
One reader says, “Love the dresses from Boden. They are mostly jersey knit so little to no wrinkling. Worth the purchase price.”
Read to find out what’s the best fabric for travel!
Tank Dress for Beach Wear
While a 2 piece beach dress is often deemed as versatile, don’t dismiss this J.Crew tank dress. It can be styled LOTS of different ways, including as a swim cover, over lightweight capri leggings, or under a jacket or dress shirt.
One explains how she wears it, saying, “I always pack this when I travel in the summer. I tried on the olive green and immediately knew I’d be living in this dress this summer. I will wear it working at home, to the beach, or to backyard cocktails with friends.”
Bra-friendly and versatile with a swingy tank silhouette, this cotton dress will keep you cooled off during your day at the beach!
Take a look at the latest trends with these cute summer dresses for women!
Stylish Dresses to Wear to the Beach
Enjoy the comfortable soft, knit fabric and the fit and flare silhouette of this pretty beach dress from Lands’ End! Though chic for a night out, it also works well for an outing in the sand and sun.
Available in a range of colors and petite, tall, and regular sizing options, one reader says she finds this piece, “Super soft and flattering,” while another says, “I wear them non-stop in the summer. I ordered one in tall and love it.”
Take a look at 5 sundress outfits that transform an everyday summer dress!
Lightweight Shirt Dress for Beach Day
This Eileen Fisher shirt dress is both classic and very on-trend for the summer. SO versatile, chic, and the best part, it will keep you cool and breezy in hot weather, you’ll also find it comes in petite, regular, and up to 3X plus size options.
100% organic linen and very breathable, one reader praises the Eileen Fisher brand for travel clothing, saying, “I bought two dresses for my trip to Italy. So many great choices from them and I have had my oldest item from them for at least eight years. They are such a great fit. ”
TFG Editor Approved: I have it in black and white and wear it as a blouse tucked into my shorts, worn as a tunic over skinny jeans, and as a beach cover up dress since I’m 5’2”. It’s soft, comfortable, made of organic linen, and I’ve seriously worn it a ton in 2020 for sure!
Find out how to wear a shirt dress on vacation!
Chic Dresses to Wear on Beach
Easy to wear, lightweight, AND sun protected with UPF 50 fabrication, this chic dress from Toad&Co is awesome for the beach.
With its quick-dry performance, it is super handy if you go for a swim and need to be dressed up or down depending on your needs.
One reader says, “I love this maxi for warm weather. It’s quick-dry, no wrinkle, hidden pocket, elastic waist, and rolls up to about the size of a pair of socks. I have it in three colors.”
Check out our list of the best dresses for hot weather travels!
Versatile Beach Dresses Comparison Chart
|MODEL||BRAND||RATING | PRICE|
|ZESICA Floral Dress||TFG Editor: This dress is made of rayon, making it perfect for summer weather. It is lightweight and breathable, with a jersey knit for a comfortable stretchy feel. It’s available in sizes S-XXL.||Check Price|
|Back From Bali Short Sundress||Made from 100% rayon, the fabric is breathable for your skin and lightweight for toasty beach weather.||Check Price|
|Huskary Summer Maxi Dress||For a more laid back beach dress, wear a cute choice like this from Huskary.||Check Price|
|Back From Bali Boho Embroidered Sundress||Bra-friendly and made of lightweight rayon, this beach dress can be worn as a tunic, dress, or swim cover.||Check Price|
|Convertible Dress Maxi Dress||“It is pretty easy to manipulate. The different necklines are really cool. ”||Check Price|
|Boden Effie Jersey Midi Dress||“Love the dresses from Boden. They are mostly jersey knit so little to no wrinkling. Worth the purchase price.”||Check Price|
|J. Crew Swingy Tank Dress||“I always pack this when I travel in the summer. I tried on the olive green and immediately knew I'd be living in this dress this summer. I will wear it working at home, to the beach, or to backyard cocktails with friends."||Check Price|
|Women's Cap Sleeve Twist Front Fit and Flare Dress||“I wear them non-stop in the summer. I ordered one in tall and love it.”||Check Price|
|Eileen Fisher Mandarin Collar Sleeveless Shirt||TFG Editor: This Eileen Fisher shirt dress is both classic and very on-trend for the summer. SO versatile, chic, and the best part, it will keep you cool and breezy in hot weather, you’ll also find it comes in petite, regular, and up to 3X plus size options.||Check Price|
|Toad&Co Sunkissed Maxi Dress||“I love this maxi for warm weather. It’s quick-dry, no wrinkle, hidden pocket, elastic waist, and rolls up to about the size of a pair of socks. I have it in three colors.”||Check Price|
TFG’s Editor’s Favorite Versatile Beach Dresses
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Easy & breezy 💙 Sunny days call for maxi dresses and this piece from @toadandcoclothing does the job perfectly (it’s literally called their “Sunkissed Maxi”) Flowy and functional, this is beautiful enough to be worn anywhere from a beach wedding in Playa Del Carmen, strolling around the temples in Southeast Asia or right there in San Diego where I shot these looks. Also pictured is their vacation perfect Americano hat – couldn’t have been a better match! #livewelldogood #trailtotavern #everydayisanadventure
This functional yet feminine dress from Toad&Co is perfect for travel! It’s lightweight, easy to wear, comfortable, and pretty, too. Read her review on this brand to find out more of the dresses she recommends!
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Just found out this Vacay Style 2-piece maxi dress is currently 50% off until it sells out! If you've wanted an awesome vacation dress that's pretty and functional this is it! You can wear it as three separate items: a top, skirt, and dress. Visit VacayStyle.com to shop now! 👗
Every clothing line has something special that makes them unique and for Vacay Style– it’s definitely their 2 piece dress sets. Read this post to find out why she loves them and how they’re going to help you pack better than ever!
How to Make Any Dress Versatile For Travel
Dresses are multi-purpose making them the perfect staple in your travel wardrobe. Not only are they a one-piece outfit, but if layered and accessorized strategically, they can take you in between seasons and accommodate changes in weather.
How to Pack Beach Dresses
Packing dresses are the perfect way to create a fresh outfit every day. If you’re going on a seven-day trip, pack seven dresses. It’s as easy as that!
Then, use slim packing cubes to save space in your suitcase and travel carry-on only.
Learn our hacks with packing cubes in the video above!
We put together a five-part YouTube series showing the different methods to use packing cubes for travel. If you use this specific packing strategy, packing cubes can also compress your belongings. This is the secret to traveling carry-on only!
Buy Compass Rose Packing Cubes here!
If you still haven’t found a dress that suits you, this season Loft has a huge selection of effortlessly chic dresses that would be a perfect addition to any travel wardrobe.
In researching this post, I found so many options that I’d love to have in my bag that it was hard to narrow down my choices!
What are your favorite beach dresses? Share your thoughts below!
For more on women’s dresses, please read these posts:
- Summer Maxi Dresses
- 10 Best Travel Dress Styles
- Cute Summer Dresses for Women that Travel
- Best Convertible Travel Dresses: Flirty, Feminine, and Functional, Too
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Author Bio: Niki is an interior designer and artist from Louisiana. In addition to her design work, she writes for local and online publications sharing her experiences and passion for travel. Niki is currently adding stamps to her passport while building her design practice, Niki Landry Designs.