100 Amazing Summer Buys Under $100
Graduation? Father's Day? A random self-gift? We've got you covered.
Some people say the holiday season is the best shopping season of the year. We disagree—because summer clearly is. Once the temperature ticks up, gift-worthy celebrations commence at a startling clip: Graduations galore, Father’s Day, July 4th (why not?), Labor Day (…also why not?). Oh, and there are more birthdays during the summer than any other time of year: According to CDC data, the three most popular birth months are, in order, August, July, and May.
In other words, there’s really no better time of year to break out your wallet and wrapping paper—but you needn’t break the bank in the process! For less than a Benjamin, you can get an amazing gift that’s sure to blow the socks off anyone (unless they’ve hopped on the sock-less trend). Here, as selected by the editors of Best Life, are the greatest buys of the season.
An Everyday Summer Shirt
Slim Fit Supima Cotton Performance Polo Shirt, by Brooks Brothers
$79.50; buy now at brooksbrothers.com
Made entirely out of Supima cotton (an ultra-rare strain of cotton that’s both softer and tougher than the normal stuff), this luxurious polo from Brooks Brothers is the ideal shirt for summertime. Light, airy, and available in 31 head-turning colors—including this effortlessly cool, endlessly versatile pale blue—it’s the type of warmer weather staple best bought in bulk.
Glasses That Keep Wine Cool
Wine Freeze Cooling Cups, by HOST
$28; buy now at amazon.com
Few things beat a cool glass of wine on a hot summer day. To ensure that your glass of wine stays the ideal temperature, snag a set of cooling glasses, from HOST. These high-tech cups keep your wine between 58 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit for at least two hours. Now that’s an invention we can all raise a glass to.
A Portable Phone Charger
PowerCore Portable Charger, by Anker
$50; buy now at bestbuy.com
This high-powered beast, from Anker, isn’t just any portable charger. Thanks to its Quick Charge 3.0 USB port, it’ll re-juice your gadgets and gizmos at an 80-percent faster rate than a traditional USB charger. There are two ports, too, so you can power up more than one device at a time. And at less than a pound, it’ll take up precious little space in your bag.
An Ice Cream Maker
Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker, by Cuisinart
$69; buy now at amazon.com
If there’s one thing that screams “summer,” it’s ice cream. And get this: you don’t need to head down to your local parlor to get a scoop. This particular model (which comes with handy sections to store cones and extra toppings) can make 1.5 quarts every 20 minutes. Yes, it is quite dangerous—but it’s a huge hit at graduation parties!
Tinted Moisturizer With SPF 30
Complexion Rescue Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30, by bareMinerals
$32; buy now at sephora.com
Convenience store sunscreen is oily, has minimal (if any) healthy skin benefits, and frankly kinda smells weird. Instead, pick up a moisturizer with a high SPF rating, like this one, from bareMinerals. It’ll hydrate your skin and protect you from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. Talk about a one-two punch!
A Candle That Will Make You Nostalgic
Summer Camp Homesick Scented Candle, by Homesick
$30; buy now at amazon.com
While the smell of summer camp might evoke different scents for everyone (s’mores, bonfires, wet socks), this candle by Homesick comes with a pleasant combination of fresh grass, wildflowers, and lemonade, designed to make you nostalgic for the days of summer camp. Bonus: it’ll burn for between 60 and 80 hours, so you can enjoy it all summer long.
A Waterproof Picnic Blanket
Outdoor Waterproof Picnic Blanket, by Songmics
$22; buy now at amazon.com
Picnics rule…except when the ground is drenched. The solution? A waterproof picnic blanket. This one, from Songmics, is equipped with a weapons-grade expanded polyethylene liners, so no water (or sand) can sneak through to ruin your day. (Pro tip: To win extra brownie points on Father’s Day, post up with this blanket in a rugged spot with Dad.)
An On-The-Go Barbecue Grill
BBQ Toolbox, by UncommonGoods
$99; buy now at uncommongoods.com
No matter where your seasonal adventures take you this summer, this portable barbecue grill has you covered (and well-fed). At a glance, this summer accessory looks like a simple tool kit. Once opened, however, you’ll see that it’s equipped with a stainless steel grilling area, a bun warming rack, and storage for marinades and condiments. For a fraction of the price of a typical grill, you can serve up some of your favorite grilled foods—anywhere.
A Cider Making Kit
Hard Cider Making Kit, by Brooklyn Brew Shop
$40; buy now at amazon.com
Hard cider is a great summer drink. Know what’s an even better one? Hard cider you’ve made yourself. With this kit from the pros at Brooklyn Brew Shop, you can instantly become a bona fide microbrew master. It comes with yeast, a chambered airlock, and a one-gallon fermenter, so you can create batch after batch of the good stuff. (Heads up: The final result is a drink with a 7 percent APV.) All you need to provide? The apple cider. And the party.
An Adorable Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker
Green Octopus Waterproof Speaker Creatures, by OnHand
$30; buy now at thegrommet.com
One: it’s adorable. Two: it’s waterproof. Three: it sounds just as good as a plugged-in sound system. Need we say any more?
A Chic Beach Umbrella
Printed Holiday Beach Umbrella, by Business & Pleasure Co.
$99; buy now at urbanoutfitters.com
This umbrella, from Business & Pleasure Co. for Urban Outfitters, isn’t your run-of-the-mill beach umbrella. For one thing, instead of a shoddy plastic shaft, it’s made out of sturdy, aesthetically pleasing reclaimed wood. For another, the design—a subtle blue-and-white plant motif on artsy canvas—is far more Insta-worthy than the helicopter-hat colors of most umbrellas. Oh, and it comes with a matching bag, so you can even travel to the beach in style, too.
A Breezy Evening Sweater
Supima Cotton Crewneck Sweater, by Brooks Brothers
$79.50; buy now at brooksbrothers.com
It might go against your programming to pick up a sweater for summer. But it’s about as smart a sartorial purchase as you can make. Think about it: Have you ever been a bit chilly at a midsummer campfire? Or wished you had an extra layer during a nighttime boat ride? (See…) The goal is to veer away from chunky knits and instead go for something extremely lightweight, like this one, from Brooks Brothers. It’s done up in Supima cotton, the world’s most breathable fabric. For maximum summer vibes, get yours in this flamingo-like fuchsia.
A Mane-Saving Moisturizing Hair Oil
Ritual Hair Oil, by PLAYA
$38; buy now at sephora.com
Ultraviolet rays can also wreak quite a bit of havoc on your hair, so taking extra care to keep your locks moisturized (and protected against the sun) should be second-nature during summer. That’s where this hair oil, from PLAYA, comes in. Apply some, and it’ll help your hair maintain vibrancy while smoothing frizz and flyaways and shielding it against UV rays.
A Tiny Home For Your Backyard Butterflies
Butterfly Biome, by UncommonGoods
$35; buy now at uncommongoods.com
If your backyard becomes a haven for butterflies in the summer, this miniature biome can serve as a hub for them (so they don’t just fly willy-nilly everywhere). And if you simply want more butterflies to show up at your house (because they’re pretty), the cups of nectar and seed in this biome are sure to attract them in droves.
Craft Cocktail Mixology Set
Cocktail Mix Gift Set, by Casamigos
$55; buy now at williams-sonoma.com
No summer is complete without amazing tequila drinks. This cocktail set, from Casamigos (George Clooney’s tequila company, by the way), comes two delicious cocktail mixers: the company’s signature marg mix, which is less sour and more citrusy than the grocery store stuff; and a blackberry basil smash, a sweet yet savory cocktail that must have been designed in a lab for easy, breezy patio sipping. Oh, and it also comes with two chef-grade salts, fit for any of your tequila needs—whether you’re rimming a cocktail or chasing a shot. (Though, to be fair, if you’re drinking Casamigos, you won’t need salt.)
Vintage-Inspired Porch Lights
Early Edisons 20 Ft. Ten-Light Globe String Light, by Touch of ECO
$32; buy now at wayfair.com
You don’t need us to tell you that Edison bulbs are all the rage these days. But this set string lights isn’t just a vintage-inspired outdoor décor accessory. They’re equipped with sensors that automatically switch the lights on after dark—and can even flash if you so desire.
A Stealthy Portable Picnic Table Set
Portable Picnic Table Set, by Picnic at Ascot
$90; buy now at amazon.com
Host small summer soirees anywhere, effortlessly, with this portable picnic table set from Picnic at Ascot. When packed up, it’s small enough to easily tuck away in your trunk, and it’s lightweight enough to lug anywhere.
The Coolest Video Game Ever
Read Dead Redemption 2, by Rockstar Games
$60; buy now at amazon.com
Think of the coolest western films in history. (E.g.: Rio Bravo. High Noon. True Grit…or at least the 2010 version.) Now imagine being in one. That’s what Red Dead Redemption 2, the tour de force video game from Rockstar Studios, is. In the game, you do everything one of John Wayne’s characters would: ride horses, visit saloons, swill whiskey, gamble, and, of course, dominate gunfights (all with a dash of heroic, upstanding vigilantism, of course). And the game is downright massive: methodical players can expect to easily get dozens, if not hundreds, of hours of gameplay before the credits roll. Yee-haw.
A Totally Retro Cooler
The Picnic Cooler, by Igloo
$68; buy now at urbanoutfitters.com
Regular coolers keep your snacks and beer chilled. The Picnic Cooler, from Igloo—with all its vivid, colorful nostalgia—keeps your snacks and beer chilled while looking extremely hot.
Festive Summer-Inspired Platters
Set of Three Tropical Melamine Platters, by Anthropologie
$52; buy now at anthropologie.com
If you’re the type who never tires of hearing, “Where did you get those?” then these platters belong in your kitchen. With chic, playful designs, they’re sure to be a centerpiece—of the table or conversation. (Heads up: They come in a variety of sizes, ranging from 12 to 16 inches.)
A Skyline Painting
“Toronto Skyline,” by Ebern Designs
From $43; buy now at wayfair.com
Graduation means one likely thing: Your kid’s off to a place of their own. And no new place (dorm or junior apartment) is complete without some starter art. It’s cool to go with a classic, and nothing’s more timeless than a skyline painting. Just switch things up a bit! A psychedelic giclee canvas offers a nice twist. Even better if you eschew Manhattan’s iconic silhouette for an unexpected choice, like Toronto. (Tokyo, Memphis, Shanghai, and Boston are good options, too.)
A Vintage-Inspired Hummingbird Feeder
Hobnail Vintage Hummingbird Feeder, by Perky Pet
$37; buy now at wayfair.com
Attract some adorable visitors to your garden with this pretty, retro hummingbird feeder. With the aesthetic appeal of a vintage lamp and an easy-to-clean shape, this attractive addition to your outdoor setup will become as much a summer staple as sunscreen and swimsuits.
A Bug-Banishing Bracelet
Mosquito Repellent Wristband, by Para’Kito
$20; buy now at rei.com
If there’s one thing that makes the summer a dreaded season, it’s mosquitos. However, there’s an easy way to keep the pesky bugs at bay. So long as this bracelet is around your wrist, there won’t be a mosquito in sight. It’s equipped with a pellet infused with a potent combination of essential oils—citronella, rosemary, geranium, mint, clove, peppermint, and cinnamon—that mosquitos loathe and we love.
A High-Tech Tape Measure
Digital Tape Measure, by eTape16
$28; buy now at homedepot.com
Summer is the season for backyard projects and home renovations. And if you’ve got a few of those coming up, you’ll want this high-tech digital tape measure, which can take and store both American and metric measurements and is even capable of converting decimals to fractions and inches to centimeters (seriously, phew). The eTape16 is weather resistant and measures up to 16 feet, making it ideal for any DIY endeavor that comes your way.
A Vintage-Inspired Picnic Basket Set
22-Piece Insulated Picnic Basket for 4, by Picnic Time
$40; buy now at bedbathandbeyond.com
What better way to kick off the summer than with a little al fresco dining? With this adorable insulated gray-and-white gingham picnic basket set, you’ll have everything you need for the perfect outdoor meal: four dinner plates, four sets of silverware, four glass wine goblets, and—the most essential piece—a bottle opener.
A Handheld Misting Fan
Deluxe 2.6 Inch Personal Water Misting Fan, by O2COOL
$9; buy now at homedepot.com
When the temperature’s scorching, you can still keep your cool with this portable fan. Just spritz some water and let the blades spin. You’ll be cool as a cucumber in seconds.
An Epic Sand Castle-Building Kit
Beach Builder Create-A-Sand-Castle Building Kit, by Liberty Imports
$18; buy now on amazon.com
No trip to the beach is really complete without a sand castle. And if you want a seriously killer one, the Beach Builder kit is a necessity for everyone but the true pros. This 18-piece set includes a carrying case, as well as six door and window molds (and the ability to keep any child occupied for hours). Don’t forget to collect a few decorative shells to make your castle as unique as possible!
A Colorful Croquet Set
Croquet Set, by West Elm
$54; buy now at westelm.com
Who doesn’t love a game of croquet? The game is lower effort than other summer sports (tennis, golf), but no less fun. (In other words: it’s the ideal activity for a truly sweltering day.) This starter set—which features paddles crafted out of sturdy, all-natural pine—is fit for four players.
A Hair Spray That Delivers Beachy Waves
Soleil Beach Waves Spray—1.7 fl oz, by Fekkai
$10; buy now at target.com
Don’t let the drying combination of harsh sun and chemically-treated pool water put a damper on your ‘do this summer. This 1.7-ounce bottle of Fekkai Soleil Beach Waves Spray is small enough to fit in your purse and can transform fried hair into mermaid-grade waves in just seconds. Better yet, the breezy citrus scent can help you cover up any lingering eau de pool.
A Waterproof Phone Pouch that Floats
Waterproof Smart Phone/Digital Camera Pouch, by Travelon
$11; buy now at bedbathandbeyond.com
Whether you’re taking your phone out on the jet ski or just can’t help but be perpetually online from your boat, there are infinite opportunities for things to go wrong when bringing expensive electronics near water. And while many smartphones are now waterproof, the whizzes over in Silicon Valley still haven’t figured out how to get them to float. That’s why you’ll want to keep your belongings safe with this waterproof smartphone/digital camera pouch with floating foam inserts. (Don’t worry: the pouch allows you to use your touch screen, too.)
A Badminton and Volleyball Set
Advanced Volleyball/Badminton Combo Set, by Triumph
$60; buy now at dickssportinggoods.com
Turn your backyard into a summer playground by setting up this net, which works just as well for volleyball as it does for badminton. Whether you’re looking to refine your serves and spikes or just trying to keep your eye on the ball (or birdie), you—and your friends—will be able to keep the fun going all summer long.
A Multicolored Pool Float
Clear Chaise Lounger Floatie, by FUNBOY
$79; buy now at revolve.com
Soaking up Vitamin D by the pool is cool. You know what’s cooler? Soaking up Vitamin D on the pool. This pool float—which looks not unlike a ’90s-era chaise—will instantly turn any pool into a spa-grade oasis.
A Fun Polka-Dot Mouse Pad
Gold Dot Mouse Pad, by Kate Spade New York
$12; buy now at katespade.com
Nothing’s worse than being stuck at the office when you’d rather be on vacation. And while we can’t help you score a weekend in the tropics, we can help you spruce up your mood. Just one glance at this playful mouse pad is sure brighten your day—even if you’re still in your cubicle past 6:00 p.m. on a summer Friday.
A Convenient Beer Caddy
Beer Caddy Cooler Tote, by Picnic Time
$48; buy now at macys.com
Ditch that cardboard carrier and make your next beachfront hangout infinitely more stylish with this convenient beer caddy. This chic soft-sided cooler can hold a standard six beers, but it also comes with a built-in bottle opener—because if there’s one rule about beachside bashes, it’s that everyone forgets the bottle opener.
A Fun Flamingo-Print Towel
Stanfill Tropical Flamingo 100% Cotton Beach Towel, by Bay Isle Home
$22; buy now at wayfair.com
Leave those ratty old towels at home and treat yourself to this stylish addition to your beach arsenal instead. At five feet long and nearly three feet wide, this towel provides plenty of room for two people to spread out on. Or you could prioritize your own comfort, and take the whole thing for yourself.
Unbreakable Martini Glasses, by D’Ecco
$30; buy now at amazon.com
Drop a martini glass on your patio, and you’ll be stepping on shards all summer. Drop one of these glasses, from D’Ecco, though, and the only thing you’ll lose is one serving of a certain super-spy’s drink of choice (or whatever you happen to be sipping on). Made entirely of tritan—a BPA-free material not unlike plastic—this stemware set is just as classy-looking as what you’d find in a high-end bar, but infinitely less breakable.
Sunblock for Your Scalp
Poof 100% Mineral Part and Scalp Powder SPF 45, by Supergoop!
$34; buy now at sephora.com
It’s not just your face and body that need sunscreen when you’re outdoors—your scalp needs some of that SPF love, too. Instead of trying to rub messy liquid formulas into your part (inevitably getting some in your hair in the process), simply sprinkle on some of this easy-to-use, hard-to-see SPF powder instead.
A Super Absorbent Swim Towel
Sports Towel, by Speedo
$16; buy now at swimoutlet.com
Don’t have time to blow-dry your hair after a swim? Or maybe don’t want to put excess heat on your hair? This towel from Speedo has your back. While it’s just 11 by 15 inches, the highly absorbent fabric means you can get your whole body dry in a hurry. Bonus: it takes up minimal space in your bag.
RA-090, by Rogue
$80; buy now at guitarcenter.com
Plucking a six-string on the porch is quintessential American idyll. This guitar, from Rogue, isn’t anything fancy, but it looks cool, sounds great, and holds a tune better than anything else in its class. In other words, it’s as good a starter instrument as you can get. And if you eventually get skilled enough to dial the noise up to 11, you can: the RA-090 can plug into an amp, too.
A Great Headband for Keeping Hair off Your Face
Retro Top Knot Headband, by Urban Outfitters
$14; buy now at urbanoutfitters.com
The only bad thing about an adorable new ‘do? Having strands of hair stick to your face on a sweaty day. (Women with bangs know this problem full well.) Luckily, with this cute top knot headband, you can keep hair pushed back and looking neat—all day long.
A Pillow That Never Gets Warm
The Coldest Pillow, by The Coldest Water
$98; buy now at thecoldestwater.com
Come summer, it’s the problem everyone faces: You try to fall asleep, but your pillow is too warm, so you flip it over—and then that side is too warm, which kicks off a Sisyphean cycle of wakefulness. Well, with The Coldest Pillow, that problem disappears instantly. Thanks to proprietary cooling technology, the entire pillow is certain to stay as cool as a fall breeze all night long.
A Wood Storage Center
Chuck Log Holder, by CB2
$99; buy now at cb2.com
Level-up your fire pit by investing in a slick log holder. This handcrafted iron one, from CB2, will give any outdoor space a refined, industrial vibe. Oh, and it’ll also keep your firewood high and dry—and neatly organized.
A Water Bottle That Keeps Your Drink Cool All Day
Forever Cold Water Bottle, by Waves
$39; buy now at wavesgear.com
Keep your drink chilled all day long, no matter what the temperature is, with this meticulously designed, high-tech Waves water bottle. Not only does is the neck wide enough to accommodate ice cubes (!), it’s equipped with insulating cooling tech that will keep your beverage icy fresh for up to 24 hours. Oh, and this thing can hold an entire liter of liquid.
An Eco-Friendly Swimsuit
Bonnie Wright Bayview One Piece, by Fair Harbor
$98; buy now at fairharborclothing.com
Style and sustainability collide in this scoop-neck swimsuit from Fair Harbor. Designed by actress Bonnie Wright (she plays Ginny Weasley in the Harry Potter series), this one-piece is made almost entirely out of recycled plastic bottles. And you can feel good about your purchase: 15 percent of all proceeds are donated to Heal the Bay, an environmental nonprofit devoted to preserving the coastal waters of Los Angeles.
It Bears Repeating: An Eco-Friendly Swimsuit
The Nautilus Board Short, by Fair Harbor
$68; buy now at fairharborclothing.com
Fair Harbor makes stuff for men, too. We’re partial to the Nautilus board short, which comes in eleven trendy patterns (including the vintage-inspired Red Jupiter, as pictured) and is cut trim for a form-flattering silhouette. Bonus: the pockets zip! And, as any guy will tell you, that’s the type of design tweak most men would sail all seven seas for.
Onyx Marble Coasters, Set of 4, by West Elm
$39; buy now at westelm.com
Every room can benefit from a stunning new accent piece, and these chic onyx marble coasters from West Elm are bound to be your new favorites. Each coaster is crafted from hand-cut marble in Chartreuse and features gold-foiled edges. No matter what type of design scheme you’ve got, these show-stopping coasters will elevate your space as soon as you set them down.
A Face Mask For Men
Oil Control Face Mask, by Bulldog Skincare
$10; buy now at bulldogskincare.com
Oily skin is a huge problem in the summertime. That’s why fellas should consider adding this Bulldog Skincare Face Mask into their summer skin routine. Made with witch hazel, willow bark, and juniper, it’s designed to eliminate excess oil and make skin smooth to the touch. It smells amazing, too.
An Outdoor Projector Screen
Pop-Up Cinema Series Outdoor Projector Screen, by Elite Screens
$96; buy now at bestbuy.com
Who needs a drive-thru when a backyard will do just fine? Just set up a few blankets, pop a bag (or three) of popcorn, and prop up this massive screen. At 92 inches, and with an impressive 160-degree viewing range, you’ll get a theater-quality picture from the comfort of your own home. (Sadly, projector not included.)
A Mobile Projector
Mini Projector, by TOPVISION
$99; buy now at amazon.com
The good news is projectors these days don’t need to be nearly as expensive (or tethered down) as the living room models of years past. Just look at this mobile one: It can connect to anything that has a USB port. And with a whopping 176″ display range, it’ll work with pretty much any screen you can fit in your yard. All you need to do is fire up the Netflix and kick back.
Socks That Are Just a Total Blast
The Bolds—Six-Pair Socks Gift Set, by Brooks Brothers
$100 for six (or $24.50 each); buy now at brooksbrothers.com
If you’re going to wear socks in the summer, you might as well make them a total blast. (Save the dark grays for winter, folks.) This set of super-soft socks from Brooks Brothers—in a seasonal palette of soft blues and pinks—is the sort of starter kit we’re talking about. Bonus: since each pair retails individually for $24.50, you save more than $70!
A Cat Leash
Gentle Leader Come with Me Kitty Harness and Bungee Leash, by PetSafe
$16; buy now at petco.com
If you’re amped about the idea of letting your cat explore the great outdoors but are worried about all the dangers (i.e., dogs and cars) around the corner, there’s a solution: Get a leash. Since some cats might not exactly take kindly to the idea of being tugged around by a human, it’s best to get a gentle harness. This one, from PetSafe, is designed in a way that applies no pressure to your kitty’s throat, so, even if the two of you, um, disagree on which direction to walk, there’s no risk of pain or injury.
A Beach-Worthy Pillow
Malibu Beach Pillow, by Sunnylife
$18; buy now at sunnylife.com
After jumping through waves and throwing a frisbee around, nothing feels quite as good as finding a spot in the sand and drifting off. However, sleeping with your head against a flat, sandy ground isn’t exactly comfortable. That’s why you should invest in a beach pillow. This one from Sunnylife is specifically designed to be used on the sand—it’s water- and sand-proof, and has a removable cover—so you won’t have to worry about ruining any luxurious linens.
An Easy-to-Use Foam Roller
Original Tiger Tail Massage Stick, by Tiger Tail
$30; buy now on amazon.com
Summer workouts can get tough, which means it’s always best to have a recovery plan. And while some foam rollers are difficult to use, the Tiger Tail Massage Stick makes things as easy as possible. Simply hold the tool like a rolling pin and roll it over your tight or sore muscles. Since you can control the pressure, you’ll never have to deal with a painful foam-rolling experience again.
An Inflatable Kayak
Challenger Inflatable K2 Kayak, by Intex
$90; buy now at walmart.com
Take to the seas—or, more realistically, the local ponds and lakes—with this effortlessly portable kayak. It comes with a handy hand pump, for near-instant inflation or deflation, and, at under 40 pounds, is light enough to easily cart around. But that doesn’t mean this kayak is anything to sneeze at: At full inflation, it can even handle minor rapids! One warning: Though there are indeed two seats, the total capacity is only 350 pounds.
A Wall Clock That Proves Every Hour Is Happy Hour
Happy Hour 12″ Wall Clock, by Urban Outfitters
$29; buy now at urbanoutfitters.com
In the summertime, it’s never too early—or too late—for a margarita and some surf tacos, and this cute clock from Urban Outfitters is a great reminder of this fact. When it feels like the day is dragging, you can look up at this wall clock and be reminded that yes, 12:00 p.m. on a Tuesday is a perfectly acceptable time to crack a beer, because it’s 80 degrees outside and, hey, it’s summer. (If you’re at work, though, maybe just stick to one…)
A Grilling Tool That Ensures Perfectly Sized Burger Patties Every Time
Adjustable Nonstick Burger Press, by Williams Sonoma
$17; buy now at williams-sonoma.com
The secret to grilling the perfect burger patty isn’t in the grilling technique—it’s in the shape of the patty itself. But you don’t have to rely on your eyeballs to measure out a uniform shape. With this burger press, you can rest assured that every patty you grill will be cooked to perfection every time.
Jenga Giant, by Jenga
$90 for three feet; buy now at amazon.com
The “giant” version of everyone’s favorite woodblock-stacking game starts off at a foot-and-a-half and, in the entry-size set, can stack up to three feet. (Larger, more expensive versions can go up to five!) Trust us when we say, in this case, bigger is indeed better. Just be sure to play outside: you don’t want to ding up your floors with gigantic, tumbling wooden blocks. The only flaw? It’s not called “Jumbo Jenga.” (A massive missed opportunity on the part of Jenga’s marketing team.)
An Illuminating Body Oil in a Tropical Scent
Bum Bum Sol Oil, by Sol de Janeiro
$38; buy now on soldejaneiro.com
If summer had an official fragrance, it would be Sol de Janeiro’s cult-favorite Cheirosa ‘62, which is beloved by beauty editors and influencers alike. The Bum Bum Sol Oil infuses that signature scent—an unmistakable blend of pistachio, vanilla, salted caramel, and sandalwood—into an SPF-30 body oil that leaves skin nourished and luminous. The oil is even water resistant for up to 80 minutes, making it ideal for long days at the beach.
Underwear Designed For The Warmer Months
AIRism Ultra Seamless Hiphugger Shorts, by Uniqlo
$8; buy now at uniqlo.com
Say goodbye to underwear that sticks to your skin all summer long. Thanks to Uniqlo’s specially formulated AIRism fabric, these hip-hugger shorts release, rather than absorb, heat and moisture rather, meaning that you won’t have to worry about feeling sweaty when you wear them.
An Insulated Beach Backpack
Backpack Cooler Geo Print, by Sun Squad
$20; buy now at target.com
Sure, coolers are great for, well, keeping your stuff cool. But they can be clunky and heavy. Instead, consider picking up an insulated backpack. Whether you want to stuff it with sandwiches or a near-bottomless amount of your drink of choice (it can hold up to 20 12-ounce cans), this stylish rucksack has enough room for every edible item you could possibly ever want—or need—to bring on a beach trip.
An Outdoor Checkers Rug
Square Giant Checkers Game Rug, by Trademark Innovations
$31; buy now at wayfair.com
Struggling to get the kids to go outside? This giant outdoor game rug might just do the trick. On one side of the rug, you’ll find a big checkers board perfect for all ages; on the other, you’ll find tic tac toe grids of various sizes that you can use over and over and over again.
Cactus-Shaped Ice Pop Molds
Lekue Cactus Stackable Ice Pop Molds, by World Market
$20 for 4; buy now at worldmarket.com
Ice pops from the ice cream truck might be delicious, but they’re also often packed with excess sugar and loaded up with unhealthy artificial ingredients. However, this isn’t to say that you can’t enjoy your favorite frozen treat during the warmer months. With at-home ice pop molds, you can make your very own desserts and be in control of every single thing that goes into them. Plus, these particular molds are shaped like cacti, so your popsicles will be more fun than anything you’ll find in-store!
Classic Video Games
PlayStation Classic, by Sony
$40; buy now at gamestop.com
For lovers of classic video games, there’s no better gift than the PlayStation Classics. It’s light as a feather, highly transportable, and comes pre-loaded with 20 unforgettable classics. Standouts include Tekken 3, the original Grand Theft Auto, and Final Fantasy VII, the game that set the benchmark for storytelling in video games. (A top-to-bottom remake of the title is on the horizon, too—so now is as good a time as any to revisit it.)
A Fun Floral Drink Pitcher
Coral Floral Acrylic Pitcher, by Vera Bradley
$30; buy now at macys.com
Instead of constantly going back and forth between the kitchen and the porch whenever guests are over, you can save yourself some time and trips with this fun pitcher from Vera Bradley. And with its intricate floral design, you won’t even have to splurge on a real bouquet as a centerpiece.
A Waterproof Dog Collar
Waterproof Muck Dog Collar, by Kurgo
$15; buy now at chewy.com
Does your pooch enjoy catching the waves as much as you do? All science points to yes—so it’s worth investing in this waterproof collar for the summer season. Not only is this animal accessory cute, it’s also available a bunch of fun patterns and colors. (For maximum summer vibes, pick it up in the Independence Day motif, as pictured.) Oh, and did we mention that it comes with a built-in bottle opener? Sure, dogs may not have thumbs, but they can finally lending a helping hand!
A Glass Plant-Watering System
Self-Watering Plant Bulbs, by Accreate
$6 each; buy now at amazon.com
Don’t let your houseplants get parched on steamy summer days. Simply fill up this adorable bird-shaped hand-blown glass plant watering system, stick it in the soil that surrounds your favorite potted plant, and let it do the rest.
A Chic Reusable Straw
W&P Design Metal Porter Straws, by Sur La Table
$18; buy now at surlatable.com
From margaritas and smoothies to fruit-infused waters and iced lattes, some drinks simply taste better with a straw. And if you’re just as enthusiastic about taking care of the planet as you are about sipping in style, you’re going to need a reusable option. Enter: this set of four stainless steel straws. Available in gold, silver, and copper (as pictured), these straws will make any drink instantly Instagramable.
A Hydrating Face Mask for Glowy Skin
Jet Lag Mask, by Summer Fridays
$48; buy now at sephora.com
Nothing says summer like hydrated, dewy skin. And when it comes to achieving that look, you’ll want to reach for the Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask. Created by influencers Marianna Hewitt and Lauren Gores Ireland, this wildly popular mask is designed to help combat puffy, inflamed skin with an ultra-hydrating blend of vitamins, ceramides, antioxidants, and extracts. Apply it to clean, dry skin for 10 minutes or leave it on all day. Because this creamy mask blends right into the skin, there’s no need to rinse it off.
Beer-Powered BBQ Sauce
Beer-Infused BBQ Sauce, by UncommonGoods
$35; buy now at uncommongoods.com
It’s the most iconic culinary pairing in history: beer and barbecued meat. This set of three savory sauces—Thai Style Sriracha, Honey Mustard, and Sweet & Smokey—are each made with a distinct brew—an IPA, an amber ale, and a porter, respectively—from Jackie O’s Pub & Brewery in Athens, Ohio. Your barbecuing experience just got a whole lot tastier. (Sorry: actual beer not included.)
Setting Spray to Keep Makeup Fresh All Night Long
All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray, by Urban Decay
$32; buy now at sephora.com
Even on the hottest summer days, Urban Decay’s All-Nighter Setting Spray will keep your makeup looking as fresh as it did when you first put it on, whether that was at high noon or 11:00 p.m. Spray it all over your face once you finish your makeup, and, with a mist so light, you won’t even realize it’s there.
An Instant Camera For Polaroid Memories
Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera, by Fujifilm
$69; buy now at urbanoutfitters.com
Looking to capture those fun summer nights? Well, look no further. This lightweight instant camera from Fujifilm is the perfect camera to carry along on any adventure. With its Polaroid-like automatic film, you can snap a photo and hold an IRL snapshot in your hands in minutes. (The camera itself is a looker, too.)
Great Gardening Tools
Floral Hand Trowel & Garden Fork Set, by Williams Sonoma
$30; buy now at williams-sonoma.com
Make your outdoor space shine this summer by getting down and dirty in your garden. With this adorable botanical-print trowel and gardening fork set, you’ll be able to dig out those weeds easily—and, more importantly, in fitting, floral style.
The Only Travel Adapter You’ll Ever Need
Universal Travel Adapter, by Glamfields
$22; buy now at amazon.com
If you’re jet-setting around the world this summer, don’t take off unprepared. Glamfields’ travel adapter is the ultimate universal port that works for more than 190 countries globally (so, all of them). Pro tip: If you’re planning a trip with stops in both London and Paris, you’ll want this stowed away in your bag. Despite being, oh, 20 miles apart, the two countries have different outlets.
A Smartphone Ring Light For the Perfect Selfie
Selfie Ring Light + Lens, by Urban Outfitters
$15; buy now at urbanoutfitters.com
With this Urban Outfitters’ selfie ring light—which clips right onto your phone and features a wide-angle lens, too—you’ll always be able to snap a flattering selfie, no matter how poor the lighting.
A Mesh Dome To Shield Your Food From Pests
Round Black and White Mesh Domes, by World Market
$30 for 2; buy now at worldmarket.com
All it takes is one tenacious bee or a cruel colony of ants to turn an enjoyable outdoor meal into a pile of wasted food. However, the pests will find it far more difficult to spoil your meal if these ornate mesh domes are protecting your perishables. They’re perfect for picnics, barbecues, outdoor cocktail hours—really, any outdoor event where food is served!
Waterproof Case to Keep Your AirPods Dry
Waterproof AirPods Hanging Case, by Elago
$20; buy now at anthropologie.com
If you’re one of the 581 gazillion iPhone owners on the planet (Apple doesn’t release specific sales figures any longer, but, hey, we can estimate), there’s a good bet you’re rocking a pair of AirPods, the company’s sleek wireless headphones. Given that AirPods aren’t connected to, well, anything, it’s wise to pick up a case to keep yours safe and sound. This one comes with a stylish metallic carabiner, so you can slip it anywhere, and it’s waterproof, too.
An Adorable Salt and Pepper Shaker Set
Mason Jar Glass Salt and Pepper Shakers, by Mason Craft & More
$8; buy now at bedbathandbeyond.com
If picnics are your summer vibe, what better to pack than an adorable set of mason jar salt and pepper shakers? These shakers will add a vintage Southern—or modern Brooklyn—charm to any outing, while also seasoning any dish in your picnic basket.
A Weekender You Can Beat Up
Novel Duffel, Mid-Volume, by Herschel Supply Co.
$85; buy now at herschel.com
The best part about summer? Summer Fridays that make much-needed getaways possible. Before you head somewhere fun and foreign, though, you’ll need a bag that’s stylish, spacious, and seasonally appropriate. You’ll also want something that can take a beating. That’s where this weekender comes in. It has all of the bells and whistles of a regular duffel—various strap options, interior and exterior pockets, and a hidden laptop pouch—but it’s made out of a tough-as-nails polyester canvas that’ll hold up to getting tossed around all season long.
The Ultimate Two-in-One Summer Game
Mini Golf Pool, by Urban Outfitters
$89; buy now at urbanoutfitters.com
Is it Putt-Putt? Is it pool? It’s both! Combining elements of both popular, endlessly fun games, this mat comes with 16 golf balls, which feature pool markings, and two putters. It’s the perfect activity for friends and family when they can’t decide whether they want to hit the golf course or head to the nearest pub for a game of dollar pool.
Colorful Flower Pots
Garden Greeting Pot, by Anthropologie
$24; buy now at anthropologie.com
Calling all green thumbs: these greeting card pots—which are handmade and hand-painted—are the chicest way to bring any plants out of the garden and into the house. For maximum décor points, stock up on a few in different colors schemes.
A Soft and Easy Alarm Clock
Wake-Up Light, by LBell
$39; buy now at amazon.com
Waking up the Monday morning after a weekend away is tough. But this alarm clock—which gradually wakes you up with light instead of noise—can make things easier. The Lbell Wake-Up Light can be set to any one of seven different colors of soft light, and 20 varying degrees of warmth. It also features a USB charging port. And don’t worry: If you’re not the type who easily wakes up from light, you can also set this clock to wake you up with music, too.
Sunscreen With A Sparkly Surprise
Blue Holographic Glitter Sunscreen, by Unicorn Snot
$20; buy now at unicornsnot.com
Festival lovers, rejoice! Don’t let your skin suffer because you’re too worried about having a flawless psychedelic look. This sunscreen is loaded with blue holographic glitter that makes your skin sparkle when the light hits it just right.
An Easy On-the-Go Beach Bag
Always on Vacation Jute Tote, by Shiraleah
$60; buy now at shop.nordstrom.com
From sunscreen to towels to even more sunscreen, there’s a lot to haul along on any beach day. Keep everything in one place with this oversized beach tote from Nordstrom. Simple and stylish yet effortlessly chic, it’s the type of bag that’ll make you want to book a vacation.
A Grow-Your-Own Cocktail Kit
Grow Your Own Craft Cocktail Kit (Mint Mojito), by Williams Sonoma
$45; buy now at williams-sonoma.com
The only thing better than cooling off with a refreshing mojito on a hot summer day? Having the ingredients on hand to make one whenever you’re in the mood—and the satisfaction of knowing you grew them yourself. This kit provides you with everything you need to cultivate your own crop of fresh mint, plus the tools required to make a perfect drink, from the muddler right on down to the strainer. Cheers.
A Floating Cooler
The Big Bobber Floating Cooler, by The Big Bobber
$30; buy now at bedbathandbeyond.com
Don’t want to get out of the pool just to grab another drink? With the Big Bobber Floating Cooler, you no longer have to! This cooler can hold up to 12 cans in ice and will float alongside you in any body of water, making sure you always stay refreshed.
Sunscreen For Your Lips
Sun Protection Lip Treatment, by Shiseido
$25; buy now at macys.com
On a sunny day, all of your skin needs protection—including your lips. This sun protection lip balm from Shiseido will keep your lips hydrated and replace any moisture that the sun might have stripped from them so you can avoid dry skin everywhere.
A Reusable Poncho
Rain Poncho, by Doreyi
$18; buy now at amazon.com
Early summer is high thunderstorm season. Be prepared by picking up a reusable rain poncho. It has all of the water-repelling benefits of an umbrella, but—since it can fold up neatly and fit in most bags—is roughly 5,192 times more convenient.
A Recipe Book For Healthier Summer Treats
Perfectly Creamy Frozen Yogurt Book, by Nicole Weston
$17; buy now at barnesandnoble.com
Ice cream is the go-to summer treat, but if you’re looking for a healthy alternative, frozen yogurt is the way to go. Make it cheaper and more fun by whipping up some homemade frozen yogurt. This book will teach you how to whip up more than 50 different flavors, plus offers recipes for other decadent treats, like pies and cakes, as well.
A Desktop Cooling Fan
8″ Mint Table Fan, by Mainstays
$25; buy now at walmart.com
Most offices stay fairly frigid during the summer. In the event that your workplace doesn’t have good A/C, though, one: Sorry. That’s rough. Two: It’s smart to invest in a back-up cooling method. This tiny fan is innocuous enough to easily fit on any desk, so, no matter how shoddy your office’s ventilation system is, you’ll stay reliably cool.
HE8D Noise-Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones, by Cowin
$60; buy now at amazon.com
Thanks to upgraded liquid crystal polymer film diaphragms, these headphones offer true noise-cancelling and the widest audio range for the price range. They also have an impressive 15-hour battery life, and can be charged on-the-go, as you listen. The result is a best-in-class pair of wireless Bluetooth headphones. If you’re setting off on a long-distance bike ride or run, these beauties are the perfect companion.
A Fun Pool Float
Inflatable Avocado Pool Float, by LetsFunny
$33; buy now at amazon.com
If you want in on the hottest (and coolest) trend for the summer, hop on (literally) the pool trend everyone is raving about: avocado-shaped pool floats. They’re shaped like every millennial’s favorite schmear, which is fun, but also come with a removable pit that lets you lay back in comfort—and doubles as a beach ball!
An Umbrella To Keep Man’s Best Friend Dry
Pet Dog Umbrella With Leash, by NiceHyacinth
$16; buy now at amazon.com
If you’re a dog owner, every summer day is an opportunity for adventure. But it’s important to keep your trusty pooch from overheating, so if you’re planning on being out in the sun all day, you might want to try this pour protection pet umbrella. In addition to being totally adorable and actually practical, it’ll really come in handy if those storm clouds roll in.
A Meat Smoker
ES230B Digital Electric Smoker, by Smoke Hollow
$89; buy now at amazon.com
This cutting-edge smoker makes the smoking process as easy as the eating process. It’s also highly customizable: You can even refine the settings right down to the precise wood chip flavor! (Newbies, go with the hickory, which pairs with just about any meat.) Just plug the machine in, tap a few buttons, and let it do its thing.
A Mermaid Tail Swim Suit
Aussie Green Mermaid Tail, bu Fin Fun
$40; buy now at finfunmermaid.com
It’s a dream many young girls have at some point: being Ariel from The Little Mermaid. This mermaid tail, from Fin Fun, is a dream come true. Not only does it look like an actual mermaid tail, it—thanks to a neoprene-lined fin—functions like one, too, so you can swim like an IRL aquatic Disney princess.
A Silky Smooth Sleep Mask
Sleep Mask, by Sleep Silk
$50; buy now at neimanmarcus.com
Fact: in the summer, the sun rises earlier—which means you wake up earlier, and no one wants that. Be sure to keep your circadian rhythm on-track with a silk sleep mask. Not that it matters, exactly (since, ya know, your eyes are covered), but the mask is available in seven to-die-for tones, including this matte black (pictured).
Mineral Deodorant For Ultimate Protection
Lavender & White Tea Mineral Deodorant Spray, by Crystal
$5; buy now at crystal.com
If you’re looking for a natural alternative to chemical-filled antiperspirants, these sprays offer odor protection for up to 24 hours by using a unique mineral complex, essential oils, and no harsh chemicals. And with scents like lavender or white tea and jasmine, they also double as natural perfumes!
A Mosquito-Repellent Patio Lantern
Mosquito Repellent Patio Shield Lantern, by Thermacell
$30; buy now at amazon.com
It’s difficult enough to host an outdoor soirée without having to swat a mosquito every five seconds. The solution? Easy: pick up this stylish mosquito-repellent lantern, which has a range of up to 15 feet and offers protection without messy sprays or hazardous flames. It’s also DEET-free, which means you don’t have to worry about harming yourself—or the environment.
Healthy Treats For Any Pup
Original Recipe Dog Treats, by Jiminy
$10; buy now at Jiminy’s
Pet obesity is a growing concern among vets, and, in the summer, it’s more important than ever to maintain your dog’s weight. But if you don’t want to deprive them of tasty treats altogether, you can try these Jiminy’s dog treats that are hypoallergenic and under three calories per treat. They come in a variety of flavors and are based on a new source of protein—crickets—that pet experts consider to be even healthier for our furry friends.
A Floppy Summer Hat
Textured Summer Straw Hat, by J. Crew
$35; buy now at jcrew.com
Keep the sun off your face and protect your skin with this effortlessly chic floppy hat. With its wide brim and neutral straw color, it’s the perfect accessory to any outfit, whether you’re lounging in your swimsuit or pairing it with a dress for an evening on the town.
A Functional Camping Table
Portable Camping Kitchen Table, by The Lakeside Collection
$54; buy now at lakeside.com
Feasting fireside on the floor might bring you back to those summers at sleep-away camp, but it also leaves your food vulnerable to pests and predators of all shapes and sizes. That’s why this summer, you shouldn’t so much as consider a camping trip without this portable kitchen table. Not only is there a tabletop where you can both eat and serve food, but there are also storage compartments underneath where you can store your goods whenever you head off and explore for a bit.
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