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Best Overall: L*Space Allison Cover-Up Dress at Amazon
"This chic cover-up dress will take you from the beach to drinks with friends."
Best Budget: ADOME Oversized Swim Cover-Up at Amazon
"This budget pick comes in a variety of colorways so you can pick up more than one."
Best Jumpsuit: J Valdi Printed Flowy Cover-Up Jumpsuit at Macy's
"A breezy drape cut allows your swimsuit to dry that much faster."
Best Maxi Dress: Ro’s Garden Sofia Cover-Up Dress at Anthropologie
"This beautiful caftan is made from high-quality fabric featuring a hand-blocked design."
"Also looks great when paired with your favorite leggings."
Best Pant: Summersalt Palazzo Pant at Summersalt
"Wear it at the pool, or with a cute cropped tee for running errands on the way home."
"Has side slits that show off your sandals or warm-weather sneakers."
Best Night Time: Tiare Hawaii Krawang Kimono Dress at Shopbop
"Chic enough to take you from beach lounger to beachside lounge."
Best for the Beach: La Blanca Slouchy Hooded Cover-Up Tunic at Nordstrom
"This nautical striped hoodie will put you in a beachside mindset the minute you start packing."
Best for the Pool: Charlie Holiday Senorita Maxi Dress at Shopbop
"Adjustable straps are helpful when your shoulders turn pink after too much sun by the pool."
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: L*Space Allison Cover-Up Dress
California-based L*Space’s collection of swimwear is always a good shout for a splurge, but their line of cover-ups is just as covetable. Case in point: this casual but chic cover-up dress that goes from the beach to drinks with friends. The lightweight fabric hits at the ankle, with side slits on either side of the vertically striped front panel, and the plunging back has a pretty tie where the empire waist hits. With a drapey fit that goes on over the head, it’s easy to change in and out of at the beach, too.
Best Budget: ADOME Oversized Swim Cover-Up
If you only go swimming a couple times a year—or just need something inexpensive to round out a vacation wardrobe—this ADOME cover-up is a great budget pick. It’s a traditional shape for a daytime cover-up: short skirt, batwing sleeves, and a caftan-like fit reined in by an empire waist level drawstring. And the sheer variety of colorways available, from breezy solids to stripes that pair well with your favorite beach hat, means you can grab a second for your beach trip if you fall in love with the first one you purchased. One tiny downside is that it’s made of polyester, so it might get a little warm if you wear it out for hours in the direct sun; but on the plus side, it’ll dry in a flash.
Best Jumpsuit: J Valdi Printed Flowy Cover-Up Jumpsuit
With a smartly designed drape cut—all that breeziness allows your swimsuit to dry that much faster—J Valdi’s softly-printed gray and white jumpsuit is excellent for the pool or beach. It’s easy to pull on and off thanks to a lack of seaming at the waist. And it has a scoop neck and wide-cut legs, which is great for getting on when your swimsuit’s still a little damp because nothing’s worse than having tighter-fitting legs on a jumpsuit cling to wet legs. Whether you wear it to the beach with flip-flops or out later with tennis shoes, it’s a cute cut for any time of the day. And, did we mention, it has pockets?
Best Maxi Dress: Ro’s Garden Sofia Cover-Up Dress
Sure, it’s the splurge on this list, but this cover-up dress by Ro’s Garden is worth every penny. The line specializes in beautiful caftans and beachwear made from high-quality fabrics featuring hand-blocked designs—meaning this cover-up should be around for a few beach trips to come. Plus, with its cheerful floral pattern, this bohemian dress is a great take on the long-sleeved prairie dresses we’ve seen the past couple of seasons—with a timeless dose of vacation vibes.
Best Tunic: Swimsuits for All Kelsea Sorrento Tunic
If your summer plans call for days spent poolside, Swimsuits for All’s Kelsea Sorrento tunic is the perfect throw it on and go option that’s ideal for getting from the car to the pool and back, thanks to an easy-on-easy-off loose cut with dolman-style sleeves. Double side slits keep the air moving while you walk, so you don’t have damp material sticking to you from torso to thighs. Plus, can we just talk about how pretty the soft bohemian pattern on this tunic is? Make it do double duty when you're spending time around the house: this caftan-like cut looks great when paired with your favorite leggings.
Best Pant: Summersalt Palazzo Pant
Wear it at the pool one day over a solid-colored swimsuit, and with a cute cropped tee for running errands on the way home. These versatile pants are breathable on hot days while making sure you stay protected from the sun, and sway as you walk to create a flowy, maxi-skirt illusion. The high-waist is a fun retro touch, and while the material is so silky you might think it’s sheer, it’s actually opaque enough to pull on for dinner out on the town. It's available in six different color patterns including abstract stripe, leopard, and deep sea dot, and comes in sizes ranging from extra small to 2X.
Best Daytime: Alja Horvat Grass Is Greener Cover-Up Dress
With an eye-catching pattern and side slits that show off your vacation sandals as well as warm-weather sneakers, this cover-up can easily take you from the beach back to the city streets. The dress was designed by Slovenian-based illustrator Alja Horvat as a collaboration with Anthropologie, and the result is a jubilant array of abstract shapes set against a bright green background. Anchored by cross-back straps and highlighted by a contrasting tie around the waist, it's the perfect daytime dress—whether you’re at the pool or grabbing a bite to eat after an afternoon in the sun.
Best Night Time: Tiare Hawaii Krawang Kimono Dress
If you like your swimsuit cover-up dresses with a splash of glamor, this Tiare cover-up dress is just the thing. Made from floaty voile, it's chic enough to take you from beach lounger during the day to beachside lounge as the sun sets. Thanks to a long maxi cut, embroidered back panel, floaty cap sleeves, and floral eyelet cut-outs at the bust. While it’s a little too cut-out to wear anything but a swimsuit under, it’s perfect for those long, hazy days during vacations where each hour blends into the next.
Best for the Beach: La Blanca Slouchy Hooded Cover-Up Tunic
With festive nautical stripes, this La Blanca cover-up will put you in a beachside mindset the minute you start packing your suitcase. The hoodie-like swing fit is easy to throw on when you’re trying to get everyone in the car (or packed up at the beach), and the shorter hem is great in the hot sun. While it’s unusual to see long sleeves on a cover-up, we love the idea for after a few hours in the sun. Straps don't dig into your shoulder this way, and your skin gets a little respite under the thin knit after having been exposed to the hot rays all day. Plus, if the waves are a little colder than you expect—or you happen to stay on the beach after the sun goes down—the long sleeves will keep you warm too.
Best for the Pool: Charlie Holiday Senorita Maxi Dress
This isn’t your usual basic coverup; instead, this flowy Charlie Holiday maxi dress is one of those simple but genius pieces that’s quickly going to become one of your seasonal wardrobe staples. The black material is sheer enough to let the breeze through as you dry off while remaining opaque enough that you’ll feel comfortable wearing it at your next poolside party. Plus, the adjustable straps make all the difference when your shoulders turn pink after a little too much sun by the pool.
Best Sheer: Free People Walking on a Dream Slip
Free People is known for its breezy, bohemian style, and those vibes translate perfectly to when the warmer weather keeps you by the pool or beach for most days (not that we’re complaining about that). This sheer white cover-up looks great over any suit, with a tie back and a delicately dropped waist anchored by an intricately embroidered band. If you want to get extra use out of it, simply add a slip under it for a layered look. Just be sure to hand wash this garment on cold so it holds up for years to come.
Best Black Cover-Up: Vera Black Crochet Cold-Shoulder Dress
While there are plenty of little black cover-ups out there, our favorite has to be Vera’s black crochet take on the look, with a loose fit and pretty open-shoulder detailing. It’s great if you have a few stops to make after the beach or want to stick around for happy hour cocktails at the local rum shack, and it hits at that perfect mid-thigh length that’s neither too short nor too long.