Your choice of swimwear is by far the most important part of your trip to the beach. You'll be in your trunks all day long, so they have to be comfortable and maintain a wide range of motion while still being stylish. They should also dry very quickly, allowing you to jump between the beach and the city with relative ease.
Modern trends dictate that your swimwear should end a few inches above the knee, baring a bit of thigh. If you aren't comfortable with this, it's fine to go down to the knee, but don't let it dangle over — that restricts movement and contorts your silhouette. So, look for shorts labeled with a 6-8″ inseam, going up to 10″ maximum. Adjust according to your height: longer legs require a longer insea.
You never know when your day at the beach will turn into a stroll along the boardwalk or a night on the town, so it's a good idea to pack or wear something socially acceptable just in case you don't spend the entirety of your time in the water. Plus, if you're a little self-conscious, an extra layer on top can add a lot of confidence.
The single most important aspect of such a shirt is quick-drying capability — you'll likely be tossing it on while you're still slightly wet, and perhaps within splashing distance of the water, so it'll get soaked at some point. Wet t-shirts stick to your skin and trap heat, and just generally feel uncomfortable. As a result, you should consider purchasing an althetic shirt intended to wick sweat and dry as quickly as possible. They should also be lightweight; obviously, t-shirts rarely weigh much anyways, but it should feel unrestricting and be easy to toss into your tote bag before heading for the coast.
Tank tops are a great idea if stepping outside feels like opening an oven door, but they're inappropriate for night wear and can be regionally awkward. For example, tank tops are the de facto uniform on the southern coast of California, but more traditional beach towns tend to disapprove of them. Regardless, they're great for the dead of summer, and because they have less surface area, dry even quicker. It's an ideal choice if you plan on changing afterwards and just need something on top to get there in the first place.
Given the sandy conditions, beaches may not often conjure images of shoes, but you must account for the transit there in the first place. The easiest choice is flip-flops — they're cheap, readily available, and very effective for their intended purpose. Since you'll only be wearing them for a short period of time, they'll likely be stashed away during the duration of the trip, so their low profile is perfectly suited for transportation. Furthermore, their rubber construction is easily cleaned, an important attribute for beach attire.
In addition, their inexpensive assembly allows you to entirely ignore cleanup; you could purchase a new pair for every visit, if you're so inclined. Flip-flops also have the excellent benefit of having an incredibly small surface area in contact with the foot, so wet feet won't feel as constricted. Plus, they are as breathable as physically possible, allowing for rapid evaporation and cooling. Higher-end brands will offer leather construction, which requires much more maintenance but has the potential for increased comfort and longevity. Keeping cost in mind, check out the selections below: