How to Enjoy the Beach When You’re Fat may earn a small commission when you use one of the links on this page to purchase.

plus size woman having fun at the beach

Something I’ve noticed is that a lot of magazines and websites out there write about the curvier woman without celebrating the curvier woman the way they should. I’ve been very disappointed to see that a lot of the advice about enjoying yourself at the beach is all about covering up and making yourself look smaller than you are.

If you are looking for that type of advice, you aren’t going to find it here. Being at the beach is about having fun and being bold and beautiful- and you don’t need to cover up your body to do that!

So, let’s jump into how to enjoy the beach when you’re fat. From style to confidence to a few things you can do to make yourself more comfortable at the beach, we’re going to cover it all.

How to Enjoy the Beach When You’re Fat

The beach is something all-inclusive and made for anyone to enjoy- all you have to do is get out there! Here are a few tips on things you can do before and during your beach outing to enjoy yourself, regardless of your body shape.

Pamper Yourself Before a Beach Outing

There were a lot of years in my life when I didn’t take a lot of time on my skincare or doing things like applying lotion on my body. I don’t know if I didn’t really think that stuff matters or if there was a subconscious part of my mind that didn’t feel like I deserved those things.

What I’ve found though, is that when you pamper yourself it really makes you feel good on the inside and on the outside. Get a manicure or pedicure or paint your toenails (and yes, that’s possible with the right technique).

I really like to get a weekly spray tan at the beginning of the summer before my skin gets tan from being out in the sun. In my opinion, spray tans are one of the easiest ways to get an all-over tan when you’re fat, especially if you take the time to lift all those areas of skin that don’t always see the sun anyway.

Of course, be sure to protect your skin, too. A good sunscreen goes a long way in making sure that you get a healthy, sun-kissed glow instead of turning into a lobster. Don’t forget to bring it along for protection!

Take Measures Against Chafing Beforehand

Talking about thigh chafing might be a little uncomfortable- but honestly so is thigh chafing itself. Most of us bigger people have dealt with it and in my opinion, there’s nothing worse than a fun day at the beach followed up with all the red, irritated skin that comes along with chafing.

I used to apply deodorant on my thighs before an outing but they make sticks specific to chafing now, which work great. Some other easy home remedies you can try are Vaseline or zinc oxide cream. It’s all about creating a protective layer between your thighs since thigh chafing happens from the friction created when your thighs rub together with movement.

Don’t Forget the Beach Gear

There’s a good chance you’ll spend some time out of the water when you’re at the beach. As a bigger person who tends to get hot, I always bring an umbrella to put over me at the beach. Nobody wants to be sweaty even when they are at the beach and let’s be honest, fat people tend to sweat more to regulate their heat.

I always bring two towels per person when I go to the beach, too. One of the towels is to lay out on the sand if I’d like and the other is to help me dry my body. A plus-size friendly beach chair is also a great option for relaxing on the beach, especially if it reclines. I prefer one with legs that are a little thicker, so they don’t sink into the sand when I sit down in them.

Something else that you might not think of at first is bug repellent. With the extra sweat, I’ve always felt like I had a target on my back when it came to bugs. I don’t necessarily like smelling like bug spray at the beach, so I usually use one of those wristbands that repel bugs instead.

Dress However You Feel Most Comfortable

I know, I know, I’m always saying to rock the bikini, wear the crop top, and not be afraid to leave your button-down shirt open. But at the end of the day, it’s really about dressing how you feel most empowered and confident in your own skin. For some people, that involves a little more coverage and that’s okay, too!

I’m not going to get into dressing too much here- that’s for a later section. But if you’re interested, there are some tips later in the article that will help you look your best at the beach.

Don’t Worry What Other People Think…

The ability to not worry about what other people think really comes down to your own confidence. It’s not that you don’t care necessarily, but it’s about having security in your own skin and knowing that what other people think of you doesn’t really matter at the end of the day.

Confidence is something you either have or don’t, but if you don’t have it then the good news is you can work on building it. The first step is to start being more positive about your own body, and to surround yourself with people who are positive about your body, too.

Changing the ideas you put into your head, as far as the media you consume, can really change how you feel about curvier women as well. The media also isn’t as fat-friendly as you’d think. Yes, there are tons of curvy women out there on social media and on runways- but you really have to look for them.

They aren’t as widely broadcasted to viewers as some of the slimmer, more “traditionally attractive” personalities. To make matters worse, every time we go to the supermarket there are tabloids criticizing celebrities with their normal, not-so-fit bodies being bashed on the front page.

And Don’t Assume They Think the Worst

Something else I’ve noticed is that I get in the habit of assuming if someone glances in my direction that they’re thinking negative thoughts about me, especially when I’m baring it all at the beach.

That really changed for me when we were camping last summer and I was at the pool in the suit. I had noticed a girl in her mid-20s maybe looking over at me. Then she started walking over and I got really nervous.

I was surprised when she came up to me and told me how much she loved my suit. And my hair. It caught me off guard a little, but it was really nice hearing that someone appreciated my body at the pool.

Bottom line, when people glance your direction, they aren’t always thinking the worse. Don’t let that fear of others’ judgment hold you back from enjoying yourself just as much as everyone else at the beach.

Don’t Go It Alone

Everything’s better when you go with friends and that includes the beach. If you are worried about confidence, bring along your spouse, a sibling, a group of friends, or whoever you want, really. Make a day of it and be prepared to have a blast!

The people in your life who really love you aren’t going to care that you’re a curvier person at the beach. And if they do care, then you’re hanging out with the wrong people and that might be one of your problems when it comes to confidence.

You’d be surprised how easy it is to make friends when you’re chubby, too! All you really need to do is get out there, meet people, and be yourself!

Styling Your Curves or Your Dad Bod for the Beach

Now that we’ve talked about thigh chafing, beach gear, and confidence, let’s jump into how you can dress to help bring out your most confident self at the beach.

Work on Your Tan

For a lot of people, getting tan makes them feel confident in their skin regardless of what they’re wearing. It turns out there’s actually some science behind why tanning makes people appear more attractive- darker colors minimize the appearance of things like cellulite because it gives skin a smoother appearance.

That being said, the wrong type of tanning isn’t always a good thing since it can decrease skin elasticity and increase signs of premature aging. These wrinkles can make cellulite look worse, so it’s healthier for the skin in the long term to go with a spray tan or a self-tanning lotion you apply at home.

Wear Beach Clothing That Fits

Bigger is not always better when it comes to clothing. When you wear baggy clothing, it makes it look like you’re trying to hide. And whether that’s true or not, you actually end up looking bigger and bulkier than you would in clothes that fit your body well.

For the guys, be sure the swimming trunks you choose have enough room to hold your bottom without cutting into that crease between the groin and thighs. If you do buy a pair and find this area is incredibly uncomfortable, cutting it out is also an option if you don’t mind the freer feeling. (Or you can just return them for a bigger size).

The elastic of your swimsuit, whether you’re wearing trunks, bikinis, or a one-piece, should never cut into your body and leave an impression. A little indent is okay if it isn’t uncomfortable, but you don’t want something that presses into your skin so much that it adds rolls where they shouldn’t be.

Accentuate All Your Best Features

I’ve never met a single person who didn’t have at least one part of their body that they didn’t absolutely love. So, if you do have an area of your body that you’re insecure about, you aren’t alone. I also want you to know that that specific body part doesn’t matter when it comes to your overall attractiveness.

That being said, for women, there are all types of bikini shapes and sizes. You can choose bikini bottoms that show off your butt or a top that draws attention to your chest. Go high-waisted if you’re worried about your belly rolls or cover it up with a ruffle or a one-piece. They even make shorts and skirts that give fuller coverage over your thighs and bottoms.

Don’t limit yourself to certain clothing either. Like this woman said in this video, bike shorts are so much better fitting and more affordable than Spanx, and maternity-style swimsuit stops have some advantages if you find a style you love!

For men, don’t be afraid to accentuate your butt if you think it’s cute. Pick out trunks that are well-fitting in the back but still loose enough to be comfortable around the legs. Pair this with a tank top or an open Hawaiian shirt that fits well in the chest if you want to make your chest appear more muscular.

Don’t Worry Too Much About Colors and Patterns

Something that I absolutely hate is being told that I can’t wear something because of the pattern or the type. Now, there is some truth to the fact that darker colors make something appear smaller and brighter colors draw the eye. That being said, why should you not wear a pattern that you absolutely love just because someone said so?

I’ve also heard that bigger people shouldn’t wear certain patterns that might be distorted by their extra weight. While I’m not a fan of thin, horizontal stripes, thick horizontal stripes actually really cute and when you’re a woman, they really accentuate certain areas of your body.

There’s a lot that can be said about well-fitting clothing here as well. Clothing that isn’t stretched too far across your body isn’t going to be distorted anyway.

Ease into Confidence

I know I’ve talked a lot about confidence- but you don’t have to start out feeling yourself 100% to enjoy yourself at the beach. I’ve found the best strategy with confidence is really to just do it.

I spent six months in Asia and as I mentioned, they have a much thinner culture and I did have a few times I didn’t necessarily feel 100% when I stepped out in my shorts or my bikini. But, once I had done it a few times, my brain started to realize that it really wasn’t that bad. I was having so much fun that I wasn’t worried about what I looked like or who was looking.

Make Your Beach Outfit Pop with Accessories

Personally, I find my sunglasses and beach hat are must-haves for the beach. When I want to feel extra sexy, I even throw on a pair of wedges instead of just my usual flip-flops.

The right accessories can really make you feel like you are wearing more than just your swimsuit. Plus, sun hats are great for protecting the sensitive skin on your face from UV rays that advance aging and sunglasses keep your eyes safe from the sun.

Accessories aren’t always a clothing option either. I’ve found a lot of people put off body modifications like belly button piercings or tattoos until they are a smaller size. However, piercings and tattoos are for fat people, too! If it goes with your personal style, body mods are really a great way to dress up your body and boost your confidence.

Bring a Cover-Up or Swim Shirt if You Want One

I’m really big on doing whatever you have to do to get out there on the beach. For me, the decision to bring a cover-up is mostly for the walk from the car to the beach (and then back again). I really don’t want to worry about my swimsuit riding up or shifting and really showing everybody everything while I’m trying to carry my gear.

They make all types of cover-ups for the ladies, in all types of colors, patterns, and materials. It makes it really easy to find something that you like.

For the guys, a Hawaiian-style button-up shirt is great for the beach. If you want to go with something a little less cliche, though, they make swim shirts for fat guys, too!

I don’t want you to think that this means that you have to hide, though. There’s no reason that you can’t walk across the beach in just your swimsuit. Like I said earlier, it’s all about whatever you feel most confident doing!

Check Your Posture

Not only is poor posture bad for your neck and back, but it’s also horrible for your self-esteem. I’ve found times when I looked at the ground it was because I was worried that I’d make eye contact with someone looking at me.

That worry kept me hidden away when I was in my early 20s- but it’s something I absolutely refuse to do. I even awkwardly smile at people that I pass when walking down the street.

When you walk down the beach, stand with your back straight, your chest forward, and your head picked up. Take bold, determined steps and strut your stuff across the beach. When you walk with confidence on the outside, it really changes how you feel on the inside, too.

Final Word

There isn’t a weight limit for the beach and you shouldn’t feel that you have to cover yourself up to enjoy it. Swimming is fun no matter what size you are and I love having fun with friends at the beach. The best way to go about it is to get out there and have a great time. When you have fun, positive experiences related to the beach, the enjoyment part is going to come naturally.

While it’s easy to tell you just to get out on the beach, I definitely think you should be able to enjoy yourself while you’re there, too! From pampering yourself beforehand and picking out the perfect swimsuit to accessorizing and bringing the right gear, hopefully this article has covered all the bases on how to enjoy the beach when you’re fat, so you can get out there and soak up the sun!

Camila R.

Camila is a body positive blogger and fat activist that's focused on helping people of all sizes live life big! That means accepting yourself at any size and just enjoying life! She lives in New Mexico with her husband and two chihauhuas.

Recent Posts