Heading to the beach can be the start of a fun day of sand, surf, and sea air, but only if you come prepared. If you forget to pack everything you might need, you may find it quickly turns into a day of sunburn, thirst, and discomfort. So what exactly should you plan on bringing to the beach? The answer depends based on what you plan to do there and the makeup of your family. Here are a few things you don’t want to forget.
- Something to sit on – If you are going to be spending any time beyond the boardwalk and actually on the beach itself, you’ll want something between you and the sand. The best choice for your situation likely depends on how long you intend to stay and what you’re going to spend your time doing. If you won’t be there for too long, beach towels might be good enough for you. With a towel, you can lay out, sit around, and still have the means to dry yourself off at the end of your day. If you plan to be at the beach all day, however, you’ll likely want some beach chairs. Sitting on the beach all day without any back support can be a literal pain in the neck, and you’ll be much more comfortable in a chair. Luckily, basic beach chairs only cost about $10 at Target, Wal-Mart, etc.
- Sunscreen – No matter your complexion, your race, or your usual level of resistance to sunburn, if you’re going to spend a day at the beach, always bring sunscreen. Getting burnt is no laughing matter as it increases your risk of skin cancer. Even though it’s not always pleasant to lather up with sunscreen, it is the smart thing to do if you will be exposed for longer than a few minutes. Over the past several years, sunscreen manufacturers have come out with different types for those who don’t like the traditional lotion. Try out the aerosol spray or powder sunscreens and see if you prefer these.
- Bottled water – One of the most common causes of heat exhaustion from a day at the beach is simple dehydration. Even if you’re just lying there relaxing all day, the heat will likely cause you to get dehydrated. Always bring a few bottles of water along with you to the beach and keep drinking throughout the day.
- Snacks – You never know when you might get a little hungry and want something to snack on. This one is especially important if you’re going to the beach with kids. Even if there is a snack bar at the beach, you will likely end up paying astronomical prices for a bad hot dog.
- Cash – Plan on having to pay for parking along the beach, and don’t bank on them accepting credit cards. You might also need cash to visit the aforementioned snack bar with the astronomical prices.
- Layers – If you want to stay at the beach into the late afternoon or early evening, you will likely find that it starts cooling off. Bring a sweatshirt and maybe even some sweatpants to change into so you won’t get cold and have to cut your evening short.
- Hat and Sunglasses – Your head and face are the places that are most likely to get sunburned the longer you are out, so bring a hat and wear it. Your eyes can also get damaged by the sun, so if you’ll be out for a while, plan on wearing some shades.
- Something to pass the time – If you’re really planning on spending a whole day at the beach, you might find you get bored of just lying around. Pack a book, an MP3 player, and a camera if you want something to do to pass the time.
- Toys – Kids will often get especially bored at the beach, but if they have something to do there, they’ll have a blast. Pack buckets for building sandcastles, shovels, beach balls, and other toys, and you’ll be able to have a great time playing with your little ones.