Don’t Forget Your Sunscreen, and Other Must-Have Items for the Beach

Ah the beach. Is there a more luxurious vacation? The calm of the ocean waves crashing on the shore, sand so fine it’s a smooth silk, sunsets like a ribbon of sherbert, the smell of tangy salt air. It could be said the beach is the pinnacle of relaxation. Unless you get caught red handed – or rather, red skinned. A beach vacation without sunscreen may send you running to the dark, sunless cave of a hotel room, putting an end to your fun. And it doesn’t stop at sunscreen. Neglecting to do the bit of planning ahead necessary to have an enjoyable vacation can be a real drag. Make sure to carefully consider these options before you zip off to the seas.



We all need protection from the sun. While it feels good to bask in the golden glow of sunshine, rays from the sun can cause sunburns at best, melanoma at worst. Freckles, wrinkles, and leathery skin are all consequences of not keeping your skin protected.

The most popular solution is, of course, sunscreen. Waterproof sports sunscreen with a high SPF keeps your skin protected longer and better than just your regular sun block. Reapply after each dip in the ocean, or after a few hours if you’re outside for a while. Sunscreen doesn’t last all day.

The most delicate skin is on your face, and you need to take a little more care with this part of your body. Since your head is closest to the sun, it also gets the most exposure, so it’s a good idea to get special, high SPF facial sunscreen, too. A hat also does a nice job of shading your skin.

Completely covering your skin is the most effective way to protect yourself from the sun. Many like to wear a thin cover up to stay cool, but also keep the rays at bay. If you’re a little modest, a cover might make you feel more comfortable, too.

Finally, don’t forget water bottles! The sun is draining, and let’s be honest, everyone gets a little salt water in their mouths when they swim, which isn’t the best taste in the world. A quenching fresh water bottle is a hydration must.


It’s hot in the sun. Sometimes too hot. If you want to stay at the beach but get out of the heat, a beach umbrella is the perfect solution. It’s also another way to protect your skin from UV rays.

A good towel is important too. It’s terrible to get to the beach and realize you don’t have your beach towel. A bath towel is an alternative, but it’s so nice to have something big, soft, and absorbent to lay on after a swim in the ocean. Beach towels dry better than bath towels, and they’re particularly nice to wrap around your body if it’s a bit cold out of the water.


Maybe you need something a little more substantial than a towel for the beach. It could be, you prefer sand on the ground and not on your skin. Or, it’s just easier to read upright. For these beachgoers, a chair is essential to achieving ultimate beach euphoria. Sit back, relax with a good book or magazine, and gaze at the waves.

Also, don’t forget flip flops! Easy to get on and off, flip flops are kind of crucial if your beach locale has a public bathroom. And for when it’s time to go home, no one wants to put their wet, sandy feet in shoes.

Beach Activities

So. Now it’s time to chill. Sure, the ocean is soothing, and maybe a short nap sounds rejuvenating. Once you settle in, though, you might be a little… bored. Bring something to while the time. Magazines are perfect for the beach, since they’re disposable, entertaining, and the content is stress free. It’s also easy to share them with a group, as long as everyone likes the same magazines. A book is another great thing to bring along, as is a tablet, or crossword puzzles. It’s nice to have some music going, and while it’s your prerogative to bring something like a boom box, your beach neighbors are going to prefer your iPod. It’s a little more Zen to have it to yourself anyway.

Got a group of friends, or a big family together? A deck of cards can entertain a group for hours, and they’re easily portable. A board game like backgammon or checkers is a fun idea, and a lot of the time you can find them in miniature travel size so you don’t have to haul an awkward case around with you.

Beach Toys

Not all beach trips are for lounging. Some people like to get up and do some activities. Any family vacation requires an assortment of kid’s toys. Don’t feel like you need to bring your entire life with you, just a few items will do. Buckets and shovels for sandcastles are great, as are inflatable beach balls and fun colorful kites. It’s not a bad idea to bring some dry land favorites, too. A book is nice to read in the sun – even kids need to chill out sometimes.

Beach toys aren’t just for children, though. Bring a Kadima paddle and ball, or a volleyball if there are nets. Some like to strap on some rollerblades if there’s a path or a boardwalk nearby, and coast down the beachside.

Water Toys

Water bugs need to get off land and into the ocean. Some are content to swim and check out the fish, in which case snorkels, masks, and flippers are must haves. If the waves are calm, a paddle board is fun to take out into the water for a little exercise and scoot around the oceanside. Kayaks are fun to take out, too.

Still others are strictly there for the waves. Boogie boards are a great option for both kids and adults who want to catch mild waves. The hardcore beachgoers want to surf, so make sure you bring a board along, too.

Children who want to dunk in the water may need some swimmies to help keep them afloat. Life preservers are essential for older children who surf or paddle.

Finally, some beach goers have more than two legs – if you’re bringing your dog to the beach, include a tennis ball or a Frisbee so your fury best friend can fetch in the waves. Dogs love the ocean! If you do bring your dog, make sure you also have a leash (and that you’re even allowed to take Fido off the leash), a doggie water dish, and some plastic bags in case you need to pick up after your dog.

Carrying Device

Well, you have a lot of stuff you’re bringing to the beach. It’s a great idea to get a beach bag dedicated just for this sort of vacation. Having a dedicated bag means you never have to repack or rethink your beach journey. You just go! Keep beach toys, sunscreen, towels, Kadima, snorkels, deflated swimmies, a deck of cards, a cover up, and a few water bottles in your bag at all time. Just fill the bottles and grab a book and an iPod, throw that surf board on the car rack, and you’re off!

Beach vacations are some of the most fun adventures. Getting yourself organized first is the key to relaxing later. What’s your beach routine? What are the best beaches you’ve ever been to?

What Do You Think?

Don’t Forget Your Sunscreen, and Other Must-Have Items for the Beach

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