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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

 

 

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ZESICA Floral Dress | Sizes S-XXL

 

Best Beach Dress in Floral Prints

 

Amazon is a great source of comfortable and affordable clothing and is a favorite brand of our readers.

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.  

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!

 

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ZESICA Floral Dress in Red with Viionic Clarisa Wedges

 

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.

 

Where to wear: Honolulu | Phuket | Lisbon

Shop more floral dresses: Nordstrom | Amazon

 

Read on for our top five picks and outfits for floral print dresses!

 

 

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Back From Bali Short Sundress | Sizes S-XL

 

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!



Where to wear: Santorini | Rosarito | Bali

Shop more bell sleeve dresses: Amazon | Nordstrom

 

Check out more versatile dresses to choose from!

 

 

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Huskary Summer Maxi Dress | Sizes S-XXL

 

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!



Where to wear: San Diego | Maui | Koh Lanta

Shop more casual maxi dresses: Nordstrom | Amazon

 

Get ready to update your travel wardrobe with these versatile, pretty styles for your vacation summer maxi dresses!

 

 

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Back From Bali Boho Embroidered Sundress | Sizes S-XL

 

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.

 

Where to wear: Cabo | Rio de Janeiro | Nassau

Shop more embroidered dresses: Amazon | Nordstrom

 

Here’s a list of summer tunics that you can shop now and wear all season long!

 

 

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Convertible Dress Maxi Dress | Sizes S-XL

 

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. ”



Where to wear: Riviera Maya | Fiji | Cruise Travel

Shop more convertible dresses: Amazon | Nordstrom 

 

We have rounded up our favorite convertible travel dresses that will help you pack light and stylishly!

 

 

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Boden Effie Jersey Midi Dress | Sizes 2-22

 

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.”



Where to wear: Mykonos | Cancun | Maldives

Shop more Grecian style dresses: Nordstrom | Amazon

 

Read to find out what’s the best fabric for travel!

 

 

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 J. Crew Swingy Tank Dress | Sizes XXS-3X

 

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!



Where to wear: Nice | Copenhagen | NYC

Shop more tank dresses: Nordstrom | Amazon

 

Take a look at the latest trends with these cute summer dresses for women!

 

 

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Lands’ End Cap Sleeve Twist Front Fit and Flare Dress | Sizes XS-XL

 

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.”



Where to wear: Valencia | South Beach | French Riviera

Shop more fit & flare dresses: Amazon | Nordstrom

 

Take a look at 5 sundress outfits that transform an everyday summer dress!

 

 

versatile-beach-dresses

Eileen Fisher Mandarin Collar Sleeveless Shirt | Sizes XXS-XL

 

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. ”

 

versatile-beach-dresses

Chillin’ with my Ipanema sandals, Wallaroo Hat, black Eileen Fisher Linen Shirt, and Rebecca Minkoff Backpack

 

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!



Where to wear: The Hamptons | Bondi Beach | Portofino

Shop more shirt dresses: Amazon | Nordstrom

 

Find out how to wear a shirt dress on vacation!

 

 

versatile-beach-dresses

Toad&Co Sunkissed Maxi Dress | Sizes S-XL

 

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.” 

 

Where to wear: Cannon Beach | Dublin | Oslo

Shop more black maxi dresses: Amazon | Nordstrom

 

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

 

 

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!

 

 

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.

 

Read this post or watch this video to find out how to turn any one of your dresses into versatile dresses!

 

 

versatile-beach-dresses

Compass Rose Packing Cubes

 

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:

 


 

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versatile-beach-dresses

 


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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.