53 Vacation Nails: Ultra-Fab Ideas for Your Next Trip

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What are your vacay essentials when planning your perfect trip? Well, you’ll be taking a ton of photos, so you want to ensure you’re always Instagram-ready!

That means putting together the perfect clothes, the best accessories, the most eye-catching makeup, and the most fabulous manicure!

After all, whether you’re holding a margarita on the beach or throwing your hands in the air for your favorite bands at Coachella, you’ll want to show off your gorgeous vacation nails!

So are you ready to find your next travel manicure? We’ve got you covered!

We’ve put together some of the most fab ideas for vacation nails you’ll definitely want to try for your next trip!

53 Must-Try Vacation Nails

Looking for some vacation mani inspiration? Check out some of our favorite nail ideas below for your perfect vacay nails. 

We’ve broken them down into five categories based on aesthetic and feel, so you know exactly which one to choose depending on the vacation vibe you want.

A Touch of Tropical Nails

Whether you want beach holiday nails or wish to bring a touch of the tropics on your travels, these fun tropical vacation nails are a fantastic choice.

Pink Seascape

A woman's fingernails with a pink nail polish base that has tropical nail art in blue, yellow, and orange clor
Image courtesy of @katessimplynails

Tropical nails aren’t limited to blue, yellow, and orange. A nice pop of pink with a stunning seascape is an excellent choice for a sexy and trendy vacation mani.

Pearly Shells

A closeup of a woman's fingernails with white nail polish that has 3D accents like pearls
Image courtesy of @mad.nice.mani

This shell-inspired manicure is the perfect choice for lounging on the beach with a delicious tiki cocktail! Use 3D accents like pearls to make this mani really stand out.

Multicolored Mix and Match

A woman's fingernails with a lot of bright color nails that has swirly tips, clouds, and hibiscus flowers
Image courtesy of @kuypernailart

Combine many bright colors to achieve the best summer nails for your vacation! Plus, mixing designs like swirly tips, clouds, and hibiscus flowers can amp up your nails even more. 

Glitter and Dusk

A closeup of a woman's fingernails with baby blue and light coral nail polish that has glittery accent nails and palm tree nail art
Image courtesy of @borcsanails

Bright daylight colors are great for vacation nails, but don’t underestimate the colors of dusk. Pair baby blue and light coral with glittery accent nails and palm tree nail art for softer, dreamier nails.

Neon Sunset

A closeup of a woman's fingernails with a neon yellow nail polish that has palm tree silhouette on select nails
Image courtesy of @nailsby_avril

Go bright and bold with a shocking neon mani in the colors of the sunset! Add a tropical touch to it with a palm tree silhouette on the accent nails.

Sunlight and Flamingos

A closeup of a woman's fingernails with glossy orange-and-pink nail polish that has palm tree, flamingo, and marbly swirl designs
Image courtesy of @practicallymagic_nailsbeauty

Heading down the coast? Give yourself a fun glossy orange-and-pink manicure with palm tree, flamingo, and marbly swirl designs.

Tropical French Tips

A woman's fingernails with a nude nail polish that has palm trees, dolphins, birds, and hearts nail designs
Image courtesy of @nailsbyjenny_az

Give your deep French mani a vacation vibe with a fun pastiche of different nail art styles used to create palm trees, dolphins, birds, and hearts

Neon and Nail Art

A closeup of a woman's fingernails with neon orange and yellow nail polish that has beach silhouettes nail designs
Image courtesy of @katessimplynails

Neon colors like orange and yellow look fabulous, especially when paired with beach silhouettes on the accent nails — the perfect nail design for tropical vacations!

All Pink

A closeup of a woman's fingernails with a pink nail polish base that has glittery accent nails and palm tree nail art
Image courtesy of @_iwnails

Tropical manis don’t necessarily have to have lots of colors. A full pink palette looks beautiful with glittery accent nails and palm tree nail art.

Sea Breeze

A woman's fingernails with white nail polish that has blue, teal, and orange tips

Create gorgeous Riviera-inspired French-tip nails by combining blue, teal, and orange tips to achieve a unique design on a smooth white base.

Sun and Sand

A closeup of a woman's fingernails with a coral and yellow nail polish that has palm trees nail designs

Coral and yellow nails are a dazzling contrast to the bright beach sand of your vacay destination. Amp up your manicure further with vacation nail art of palm trees, which you can draw on with pens like the Kalolary Nail Polish Pens.

Music Festivals and Desert Love

Desert music festivals like Coachella and Burning Man are always full of gorgeous bohemian fashion and artistic styles. 

Take inspiration from these iconic annual events and create a manicure that can give you chic, festival-inspired looks wherever you go.

70s Glam and Gloss

A closeup of a woman's fingernails with a nude nail polish that has flowers, smiley faces, and cherries
Image courtesy of @gocaranzanails

Everything about this mani screams boho chic! It combines fun ‘70s vibes with music-fest styles by creating funky nail art of flowers, smiley faces, cherries, and more in a matching pastel palette.

Flower Power

A closeup of a woman's fingernails with a glossy nude nail polish that has multicolored flowers
Image courtesy of @rachelsbeauty_

You can never have too many flowers in your mani — or too many colors, for that matter. This nail design proves it! Go all out by creating standout florals on clear glossy nails.

Abstract French Tips

A closeup of a woman's fingernails with a nude nail polish that has swirly French tips in assorted colors and and cow print
Image courtesy of @nails.by.iz_

Abstract French tips are an artistic way to sport a unique manicure. This mani uses bright, vibrant colors to create swirly French tips in assorted colors with a bold accent nail in bright pink and cow print.

Pastel Tie-Dye 

A closeup of a woman's fingernails with a pastel-colored tie-dye
Image courtesy of @natalie_thedollshouse

Tie-dye is always an excellent choice for summer vacations. This sweet pastel-colored tie-dye mani is perfect for going to concerts or just laying out in the sun by the pool.

Pearls and Swirls

A closeup of a woman's fingernails with a nude nail polish base that has yellow and pink swirls and pearls
Image courtesy of @holliebedsbeauty

Want a combination of striking and sweet? This bold manicure uses bright and vibrant colors to create swirls on each nail, sweetened with pearl accents. 

Stylish Desert Nails

A closeup of a woman's fingernails with a nude nail polish that has desert landscape in Southwestern-inspired color palette nail designs
Image courtesy of @nailsby_avril

These vacation acrylic nails showcase a dazzling desert landscape in a gorgeous Southwestern-inspired color palette. They’re so beautiful and stylish you can’t stop looking at them. 

Gorgeous Neon Swirls 

A closeup of a woman's fingernails with a nude nail polish that has bright and bold neon colors on nail tips
Image courtesy of @nails.by.iz_

Use a lot of bright and bold neon colors to create abstract nail art on a clear glossy base. This particular design perfectly combines hints of seven bright and eye-catching colors for a quirky yet chic mani.

Half-Dipped and Leaf Art

A closeup of a woman's fingernails with a nude nail polish that has abstract leaf art nail designs
Image courtesy of @polishedbykiah

Half-dipped nails are a good alternative to French tips if you want to try something new and unique. Pair these with abstract leaf art for some stunning and classy vacation nails.

Sea Inspired Nails

Do you love the ocean as much as we do? Use your love for the sea as an inspiration to create gorgeous nails, just like these vacation manicures did.

Wave-Crest French Tips

A closeup of a woman's fingernails with a nude nail polish base that has blue and white swirls on nail tips
Image courtesy of @nailsby_avril

Create breathtakingly unique French tips by taking inspiration from the stunning crests of breaking waves. Swirl together shades of blue and white to recreate the movement of beautiful ocean currents.

Shining Shimmering Splendid

A closeup of a woman's fingernails with iridescent nail polish that has seaweed, while glitter polish and rhinestone accents
Image courtesy of @speakeasynails_

These beautiful iridescent nails are perfect for a glimmering under-the-sea-inspired manicure. Confetti nail stickers mimic seaweed, while glitter polish and rhinestone accents provide underwater shine.

Turquoise and Gold

A closeup of a woman's fingernails with a nude nail polish that has cashmere-colored nails with turquoise ocean swirls and glimmering flecks of gold foil
Image courtesy of @nailsby_harieva

Create a sleek, sophisticated, ocean-inspired manicure by decorating soft cashmere-colored nails with turquoise ocean swirls and glimmering flecks of gold foil.

Mermaid Tails

A closeup of a woman's fingernails with a sea blue nail polish that has a tail on one nail and a close-up of beautiful mermaid scales nail designs on another
Image courtesy of @fowler08

Glam up a sea blue manicure with mermaid accent nails. You can paint a tail on one nail and a close-up of beautiful mermaid scales on another.

Sea Swirls

A woman's fingernails with a combination of nude and several shades of ocean blue that has swirly French tips
Image courtesy of @nailsby_harieva

This ocean-inspired manicure is more abstract than literal; it combines several shades of ocean blue instead of typical ocean-inspired nail art elements.

Mix and match this plain mani with swirly French tips and beautiful accent nails with blue swirls. 

Kanagawa Waves

A closeup of a woman's fingernails with a nude nail polish that has blue-and-gold ocean wave tips
Image courtesy of @nailsby_harieva

Make your nails a literal work of art! Recreate this glossy manicure with blue-and-gold ocean wave tips inspired by the famous Japanese artwork “The Wave of Kanagawa.”

Under the Sea

A woman's fingernails with a combination of different shades of blue and purple nail polish that has turtles,  seaweed and octopus nail designs
Image courtesy of @practicallymagic_nailsbeauty

These fun vacation nails showcase a stunning under-the-sea story by combining shades of blue and purple and featuring nail art of turtles and seaweed, along with an octopus stretching across several nails.

Breaking Waves

A closeup of a woman's fingernails with a nude nail polish that has ocean waves and seagulls nail designs
Image courtesy of @1999houseofnailsnz

Pay tribute to turbulent but beautiful ocean waves with this manicure that showcases stunning break waves and seagulls flying over the sea.

Blue, Purple, and Pink

A closeup of a woman's fingernails with a pale pink nail polish that has watercolor sea swirls, purple and gold accents
Image courtesy of @natalie_thedollshouse

Add feminine flair to these pretty watercolor sea swirls with a pale pink base color. And finish the gorgeous look with touches of purple and gold accents.

Nails Perfect For Stylish Sunny Days

Get inspiration from sunny days and blooming flowers to create cute nails for vacations, no matter where you go. 

These vibrant nail designs and floral manis are some of our faves!

Minimal Florals

A woman's fingernails with a pale pink nail polish that has orange and hunter green flowers and leaves
Image courtesy of @rachelsbeauty_

Sunny summer vacations call for fabulous florals. This stylish minimalist manicure features burnt orange and hunter-green flowers and leaves.

Orange Sunrise

A closeup of a woman's fingernails with a nude nail polish that has orange and pink and glittery gold outlines
Image courtesy of @nails.by.iz_

Bright, vibrant orange and pink make the perfect color combination for a refreshing summer mani. This one looks extra special with the addition of glittery gold outlines.

Flowers and Leaves

A closeup of a woman's fingernails with a  nude nail polish base that has rainbow-colored matte floral nail
Image courtesy of @natalie_thedollshouse

You can never get enough florals. These rainbow-colored matte floral nails combine several colors, flowers, and leaves in one bright and beautiful manicure.

Sunny Yellow Landscape 

A closeup of a woman's fingernails with sunny yellow nail polish that has landscape silhouette on the accent nails
Image courtesy of @katessimplynails

Sweet sunny yellow is always a good choice for a vacation manicure. Elevate your soft yellow nails further with a landscape silhouette on the accent nails.

Fruity Orange Nails

A closeup of a woman's fingernails with white nail polish that has leaves and accents in blue and gold
Image courtesy of @natalie_thedollshouse

Try this fun twist on refreshing orange nails. Surround them with leaves and accents in unexpected colors like blue and gold.

Colorful Nail Art

A closeup of a woman's fingernails with a multicolored nail polish that has matte or glitter finishes and floral nail art
Image courtesy of @nails.byabb

While nail art can work with matte or glitter finishes, there’s just something super classy about a glossy mani. This multicolored manicure looks beautiful with colorful nail art and a shiny finish.

Bright Red and Pointillism

A closeup of a woman's fingernails with a combination of white and red nail polish that has multicolored pointillism-inspired flowers with gold center
Image courtesy of @_racquelsnails

Make red polish work for your summer vacation manicure by option for a bright and vibrant shade. You can pair it with multicolored pointillism-inspired flowers with gold centers.

Black Pink

A closeup of a woman's fingernails with a different shades of pink nail polish that has black leaf nail art on select nails
Image courtesy of @polishedbykiah

This combination of pink nails and black leaf nail art is both sweet and stylish. If you want a vacay mani that’s good for both day and night, these beautiful nails can make the perfect accessories for strolls on the beach to cocktails at the hotel. 

Sunset Swirls

A closeup of a woman's fingernails with a nude nail polish that has golden sunset's orange and yellow colors in watercolor-inspired swirls with gold flakes
Image courtesy of @nailsby_harieva

This gorgeous and sophisticated manicure features a golden sunset’s orange and yellow colors in watercolor-inspired swirls with gold flakes. A super stylish and glam choice.

Feminine Florals

A closeup of a woman's fingernails with a pale pink nail polish that has flowers and leaves nail designs
Image courtesy of @natalie_thedollshouse

Create stunning feminine floral nails on a minimal glossy manicure. It’s stylish and sweet, and you can switch it up by alternating between painting the flowers and leaves at the top and bottom of your nails.

Pink Sunset

A closeup of a woman's fingernails with a full pink nail polish that has soft gradient nail with a sunset silhouette
Image courtesy of @katessimplynails

Break up a full pink mani by adding a stunning accent like this soft gradient nail with a sunset silhouette. It’s pretty, sweet, and stylish.

Sweet Strawberries

A closeup of a woman's fingernails with a combination of nude, bright red and pink nail polish that has full strawberries on each nail nail designs
Image courtesy of @bysarahnailartist

Combine bright red and pink to create a summer strawberry mani. Instead of painting full strawberries on each nail, mix it up with pink and red nails and berry-inspired French tips. The result is playful and vibrant.

White Vacation Nails

A woman's fingernails with a white nail polish that has florals on the tips and cuticles
Image courtesy of @mad.nice.mani

Who can say no to a stunning white manicure? It’s sleek and stylish. You can add some floral fun to your nails by painting beautiful summer blooms on the tips and cuticles.

Glam Works of Nail Art

Whether you want a glamorous and sophisticated manicure or quirky and cute nails for your vacation, going for nail art is your best bet!

You can opt for detailed drawings or abstract art in your chosen palette and create a manicure that will have everyone looking twice at your nails.

Turquoise and Yellow

A closeup of a woman's fingernails with combination of turquoise and yellow nail polish that has abstract nail art and leaves nail designs
Image courtesy of @nails.by.iz_

The combination of turquoise and yellow is always so refreshing. Combine them with abstract nail art for a gorgeous and glossy nail design for tropical vacations.

Creative Contrasts

A closeup of a woman's fingernails with a combination of nude, pink and blue nail polish that ahs floral, swirly nail art, pale and pretty pastels and dotted black and white patterns
Image courtesy of @_racquelsnails

Don’t be afraid of mixing pastels with unconventional colors like this beautiful mani does, with a lovely contrast between floral and swirly nail art in pale and pretty pastels and dotted black and white patterns.

Bright and Beautiful

A closeup of a woman's fingernails with a multicolored nail polish that has gold foil details and black accents
Image courtesy of @bysarahnailartist

These nails are ready for every vacation shindig! You can easily elevate a gorgeous multicolored mani by adding gold foil details and black accents. 

Luscious Leaf Work

A closeup of a woman's fingernails with a nude nail polish that has abstract shapes, gold and blue nail tips, and leaves nail designs
Image courtesy of @polishedbykiah

Leaf nail art combined with abstract shapes is a gorgeous way to create a beautiful and stylish manicure. The autumn palette makes these nails perfect for beautiful fall destinations.

Hello, Hawaii!

A closeup of a woman's fingernails with a combination of a glossy nude and orange nail polish that has colorful gradient swirl with gold accents
Image courtesy of @polishedbykiah

Pay homage to everyone’s favorite beach destination with these Hawaii-inspired nails! Create landscapes of sea, sun, and sand on your nails, and you’ll be ready to hit the beach.

Pool Pretty

A woman's fingernails with a multicolored nail polish that has colorful gradient swirl manicure with gold accents
Image courtesy of @rmnailtech

Are you lounging by the pool this summer? This gorgeous, colorful gradient swirl manicure with gold accents will look fantastic as you perfect your tan!

Leaf Press

A closeup of a woman's coffin-shaped fingernails with striking white nail polish that has green leaves nail designs
Image courtesy of @nailsby_avril

The best vacation nails look gorgeous no matter where you go! These striking white and green leaves on acrylic coffin-shaped nails are stunning whether you’re in the tropics or the city.

All That Glitters

A closeup of a woman's fingernails with a green glitter and a pink nail polish that has intricate nail art and rhinestones
Image courtesy of @minea.nails

Opt for acrylics if you want a long mani without worrying about breakage. These nails beautifully combine stunning green glitter, intricate nail art, and rhinestones for a manicure that is exciting and elegant.

Blue Mountain

A closeup of a woman's fingernails with powder blue manicure that has white mountainscape on select nails
Image courtesy of @bysarahnailartist

Liven up your perfect powder blue mani with a stunning white mountainscape. Perfect for wrapping your hands around your hot cocoa in your mountain cabin.

Modern Art

A closeup of a woman's fingernails with a nude nail polish that has cobalt blue tips, gold flakes, and black leaves
Image courtesy of @nails.by.iz_

Your nude nails can be a canvas for beautiful art like these gorgeous cobalt blue tips, gold flakes, and black leaves. It’s glossy and gorgeous — perfect for travel shopping or museum hopping.

Magical Sunny Nails

A closeup of a woman's fingernails with a nude nail polish that has hot pink, orange, and yellow in yin-and-yang and swirly patterns and adding floral accents
Image courtesy of @kuypernailart

The sweet combination of hot pink, orange, and yellow is fresh and fab. Make it even more fun by mixing yin-and-yang and swirly patterns and adding floral accents.

Sophisticated Style

A closeup of a woman's fingernails with a nude nail polish that has leaf nail art in black and a gold polish
Image courtesy of @nailsby_harieva

There is something so stylish and timeless about this classic combination of beige, black, and gold. Add gorgeous leaf nail art and keep it glossy and chic. 

Frequently  Asked Questions

What’s the best polish for vacation nails?

Generally, gel polish is the most ideal choice since they last longer than other nail products, giving you worry-free vacation nails. 

The Beetles 20 Gel Nail Polish Kit is a good option for this. The kit has several fun colors for you to choose from. 

How Can I Make Sure My Vacay Mani Lasts?

If you aren’t going for a gel or acrylic manicure, you’re generally looking at a manicure that lasts roughly five to seven days, depending on your nail polish. Here are tips on how to make your mani last longer:

  • Swab your nails with alcohol before your manicure. This removes oil build-up that can create a barrier between your choice of polish and the surface of your nails.
  • File nails to keep them neat. Whether your nails are short or long, keeping your nails filed neatly prevents breaking and chipping. 
  • Use a base coat. This helps your polish adhere to your nails longer. A good base coat you can use is the OPI Natural Nail Base Coat.
  • Dry your nail polish with cool air. If you’re using your hair dryer, use the cool setting, as cool air helps nail polish firm up faster. As they dry, you can also dip them quickly in ice water.
  • Reapply clear top coat. You can apply a top coat to your nails every two to three days to maintain shine and prevent chipping. One of our favorite top coat products is the Sally Hansen Dries Instantly Top Coat, which is formulated for ultimate color protection.
  • Keep hands and nails moisturized. Avoid alcohol that can dry your nails. You can also apply nail/cuticle oil to keep your nails hydrated.

The Perfect Vacation Nail-Fie

When planning the ultimate vacay, you want everything to be perfect, from your outfits to your hairstyles to your accessories, and yes, your nails too!

We’ve put together tons of gorgeous mani inspiration ideas for your next trip, whether you’re heading to the beach, the mountains, or anywhere in between.

So feel free to experiment and try different manicures and color combinations until you can say you have the perfect nails for your travel adventures!

Need more nail inspo?

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Author

  • Michelle Alejandro

    Michelle has had a lifelong love affair with makeup. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Communications /Journalism, she began an illustrious career as a writer. Michelle penned a beauty and lifestyle national newspaper column for over a decade and became the Beauty Editor for Chalk Magazine and Editor-in-Chief for Metro Weddings for over nine years, working with some of the biggest makeup artists and trusted beauty brands in the business. During this time, she also completed a course in Creative Artistic Makeup Design and worked as a freelance makeup artist, beauty editor, and writer.

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