20 Ocean & Beach Tattoos for Everyone Living the #SaltLife

Joe Osborne | Jan 23, 2020 Beauty & Style
20 Ocean & Beach Tattoos for Everyone Living the #SaltLife


The beach -- or "the shore" for the East Coasters out there -- is the archetypal vacation spot, no matter where we are in the world. With the warmth on our skin, the sand in our toes, the water all around us, and the tastes and sounds, it's all basically magical. Whether it's from a lakeside beach or an ocean shore, they almost instantly calm and recharge us. It's basically why beach towns still exist: the money they rake in between the months of May and September in the US do a lot to keep them afloat. There's so much about the beach and ocean that draws us, both literally and figuratively. Suffice it to say that just about everyone has a personal connection with the beach or the ocean, and so there's an absolute myriad of tattoos out there featuring the beach.

Of course, we've managed to find an eclectic collection of tattoos inspired by the beach and oceans -- 20, to be exact. It should come as no surprise that these topics inspire an abundance of artistry and variety. For instance, we've got moody black-and-white pieces with outstanding shading and line work, while we've also found lots of American traditionalist-style tattoos that are brimming with color. There are also a few pieces below that are so painterly they could just as easily be spotted in an art gallery. Whether people are looking for a traditional piece, something more stark and moody, or something in between, we've likely found a tattoo to drive inspiration for representing that #SaltLife.

  • Beach Noir


    We love this piece because it's an interesting subversion on the whole beach vibe. Inked by Tribal Roots Tattoo in New Zealand, it's an expert piece of line work as well as shading, creating an amazing silhouette with a surprising amount of depth. 

  • The Ultimate Walk Captured Forever


    This is the kind of walk we dream of during either sunrise or sunset, the fine sand between our toes and our skin being warmed by the sun. Artist Pablo Torre of Madrid captured this sentiment beautifully with staggering line work, not to mention amazing detail with the dot work.

  • Life Is Better Seen Through Shades


    Isn't looking at the world just that much more pleasant when it's through some dark sunglasses? We think so, too, and so does Tattoo Ink of Sweden, making a black-and-white piece with so much personality and and detail that it's palpable.

  • Live for That #SaltAfterLife


    Belena Enora, based in the beach town of Clearwater, Florida, and roaming the US, inked this excellent American traditionalist piece with a touching message -- at least from our interpretation. Is the afterlife like some never-ending sunset on a warm beach? Man, we sure hope so...

  • Sailing the High Seas


    It's easy for the mind to wander from beaches and sand to, well, pirates ... and here we are. Done by Different Pulses tattoo studio in Tel Aviv, Israel, this piece is brimming with vibrant and sharp line work, making for an incredibly realistic illustration of a pirate vessel.

  • The Beach in a Bottle


    If we could only trap all of the spirit, joy, and warmth of summer in a bottle. That's what studio Bamboo Cai Tattoo in Taiwan managed to capture with this American traditionalist tattoo. We particularly adore the shading and color work on this piece.

  • The Ultimate Beach Ride


    For some, the first things that come to mind in addition to summer aren't sand and surf, but rather their favorite or an iconic vehicle, like the Volkswagen bus. Done in incredible detail from its shading to its line work, this piece by Electric Lotus Ink in Robins, Georgia, nails that '60s summer aesthetic.

  • Making Waves


    This here is one of those rare accomplishments in dot work, in that nearly the entire piece is comprised of ink dots. The dots coalesce to create waves, sort of like the microscopic molecules of water that come together to create waves in the ocean. Thanks to Joa Jar in Guatemala for this number.

  • Good Vibes Indeed


    Is there another phrase out there that captures the spirit of summer better than this? We think not. Inked by Familia Tattoo studio in Argentina, the coloring and shading of this piece are especially impressive, once again showing the versatility of the American traditionalist style.

  • A Serene Summer Landscape


    It's hard not to get sentimental looking at a piece like this, taking us back to the many sunsets spent staring at our own personal star as it's gobbled up by the horizon for the other half of the world to enjoy for a few hours. Talk about inspiring line work by Bryan Gutierrez of New York City.

  • Black & White Beach


    This black-and-white beach-themed tattoo is iconic and stylish. The line work here by Mariya Mathers in Winnetka, California, is absolutely expert, especially within the palm tree leaves and the sun's reflection on the ocean.

  • Crabs Are the Beach


    Here's another example of different peoples' different associations with the beach. Many folks  almost immediately associate the beach with crabs. We have to give it to Ry Carter of Jacksonville, Florida, for this colorful wonder.

  • An Illustrated Seascape


    This is a brilliant piece of ink by Brooke Erin of Edmonton, Canada, looking as if it could appear in an art gallery just as likely as it sits on this lucky person's leg. The line, color, and shading here are all top-level work, immediately taking us to this beautiful beach scene in our minds.

  • A Sea of Dots


    In an expert display of dot work here by Taiya Irons, we have a beach scene unlike any other. The shading and sepia tone coloring within the array of dots is what impresses us most here. Also, the presence of the sun by sheer absence of ink is a clever touch.

  • Traditional Beach Side Ink


    This is the peak of American traditionalist style when it comes to beach tattoos, we think. We're in love with the vibrant color on display here in conjunction with the expert shade work by Sergio Ogres of Brazil. Meanwhile, the line work has a certain cuteness to it that we can't describe.

  • Watercolor Waves


    It's hard not to love the watercolor-meets-sketch quality of this gorgeous tattoo. Inked by Paul Pineda in Mexico, the coloring and line work are expert-level here, almost blending the colors like a watercolor painting would. We also like the locket-like quality of the piece's frame.

  • Symbolic Waves


    This piece is awfully similar to the tattoo above, but it takes a more symbolic tack to the whole theme. We could easily see this piece as a logo or icon on a T-shirt, thanks to the masterful coloring and dot work by an artist known simply as Ida based in Seoul. 

  • A Splash of Sunshine


    Here's an ankle piece that's so adorable it's easy to love, which is an adjective we never thought we'd apply to a sunrise or sunset (we can never really tell in these situations). This piece was surprisingly inked by a brand-new artist on Instagram named Caitlyn Gilliam.

  • 'Jaws Returns' in an American Classic


    Of course, by "American Classic" we mean the style of tattoo used here, featuring a cool-looking, almost hieroglyphic shark beneath a sunset -- wait, are those two suns? Is this beach on Tattooine ... if this tattoo a Star Wars reference? Anyway, this is fantastic work by Grande Paolo Ink based in the Czech Republic.

  • A Two-Legged Beach Scene 


    This exquisite tattoo required a canvas so large that it spans the width of two legs. (We're just going to assume that the back was already filled.) Using a truly painterly style here, we'd consider this to be a masterpiece of watercolor and sketch-style tattoo work. Kudos to Megan Murphy of southern New Jersey on this gorgeous tattoo.                                                       

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