15 Dreamy Ocean Tattoo Ideas If You're An Actual Mermaid Inside

From seashells to sea animals.

15 ocean tattoos to inspire your next piece of body art.
Getty Images/Cavan Images

When it comes to finding inspiration for tattoos, it's easy to spend hours upon hours scrolling through Instagram and Pinterest boards to figure out your next (or your very first) bit of body art. These are great spots to find ideas, but if you already have an inkling (no pun intended) of what you want, it's time to narrow things down. For those who love the beach or an adventure on the water, an ocean tattoo could be the way to go.

One of the most popular trends in ink right now is the micro tattoo, and you can opt for an ocean-inspired design within that category — think small, single-line waves. But if you're looking for an ocean tattoo that's a bit different, know that you don't have to go with a literal art piece. From marine-based animals like an octopus or sea otter to symbols like seashells, there's more than one way to get a water-themed tattoo.

If you've been on the hunt for the perfect sea-inspired ink and need a few more inspiration pieces to add to your Pinterest board, here are 15 ocean tattoo ideas that'll make you feel like an actual mermaid.



This stunning vertical portrait tattoo is a chic way to incorporate color while showing a snippet of the ocean's beauty. One idea? This viewpoint from the edge of a beach.



Sure, an ocean tattoo can just be of the sea itself, but you can customize it by adding your favorite quote.


Sea Animals

Enamored with a creature of the ocean? Turn it into a piece of body art. This intricate octopus design is the perfect example of something ocean-themed that's not the water itself.


Fine Lines

If you do love delicate, fine line ink, this minimalist tattoo showcases your love of the ocean without being too bold.


Micro Waves

Just because a tattoo is micro doesn't mean it has to be simple. This beautifully colored, highly-detailed piece is small but makes a statement.



Another ocean tattoo idea is to try a grouping like this one. The mix of small and large waves adds dimension to the design.



If you'd prefer to do more of a subtle nod to the ocean, go nautical with an anchor. This stunning tattoo features one plunging from the ankle onto the top of the foot for movement.



You don't have to be realistic with your art piece. This stunning, colorful tattoo is an abstract interpretation of the ocean's waves, and its uniqueness is what makes it a must for consideration.


Dot Work

Much like single-line tattoos, dot work has become a major trend in body art. This stunning use of the technique gives depth and dimension to an ocean scene.



Another more subtle way to represent the ocean? This fun combination features micro-sized images of sea-related symbols (like a super-cute mermaid tail and seashell).



Do you love landscapes? Try a contrasting, geometric design like this one. With a beautiful forest set on top of a beachy ocean scene, you'll get the best of both worlds.



Consider a stunning geometric tattoo. With delicate linework and a subtle homage to the ocean via the wave in its center, this design is ideal for those who prefer more abstract styles of body art.



Besides going for a beachside ocean tattoo, you can opt for another sea scene — like this gorgeous lighthouse piece. Whether you've always loved a local pier or boardwalk from your hometown, you can customize your design however you want.



Want something tiny and cute? Opt for a seashell. This delicate piece of body art is adorable and still gives the beachy feeling of an ocean tattoo.



For those who love color and comic-book style illustration artwork, this tropical beach tattoo is the ideal inspiration.