There’s nothing quite as rejuvenating as spending a day with your toes in the sand, the sun on your skin, and also taking a few refreshing dips in the ocean or lake.
But before you throw your swimsuit on and head out the door, here’s a handy checklist of what to pack to ensure you’re staying safe in the sun and have everything you need to extend your magical day at the beach!
- A Bathing Suit, Cover Up, and Flip Flops
Make sure to pack your bathing suit if you don’t put your swimwear on before you leave for the beach. And while you’re at it, stash a cover-up in your bag that you can throw on with ease if you need to quickly walk anywhere nearby, like a public washroom. It’s also a good idea to have a pair of flip flops on hand for the same reason.
- Sunscreen and SPF Lip Balm
Everyone knows that SPF is an absolute must if you’re heading out for a day in the sun, but your sunscreen considerations may look a little different if you’re planning on swimming. For a full day at the beach, be sure to choose a water-resistant sunscreen that’s at least SPF 30. If you haven’t used your sunscreen in a while, be sure to check its expiration date and replace it if the date has passed. Sunscreens are required to maintain their strength for three years, but after that it may not be sufficient to protect your skin from burning. So, always check your bottles for an expiration date. If you buy sunscreen without an expiry date, write it on yourself. And don’t forget a lip balm with SPF to protect the delicate skin on your lips.
- A Sun Hat, Sunglasses, and An Umbrella
Whether you fancy a floppy, wide-brimmed beach hat, a beach visor, or a sporty baseball cap, it’s a good idea to pack a hat and sunglasses, especially for when the sun hits its peak heat around 3pm. That’s also a great time of day to put an umbrella up and take a break from the blazing sun.
- Portable Speaker and Portable Battery Charger
The beach is a great place to take a break from electronics, especially screens, but there are a couple of electronics that should make your list: a portable speaker and a portable battery charger. Charge up your portable speaker the night before and toss it in your beach bag for some enjoyable beach tunes. For a happy, chill beach playlist try this pre-vetted one. And it never hurts to have a power backup, especially when you’ll be gone for an undetermined amount of time. Pack a small portable battery charger to ensure your phone doesn’t run out of power.
- Blanket, Beach Towel, and Beach Chairs
A perfect day at the beach calls for a place to park your caboose and just sit back and relax. Have your pick between an oversized beach towel, a blanket to share, or light-weight foldable beach chairs. If you’re with a group, bring them all for a variety of options to share.
- A Beach Bag With Compartments
Choosing the right beach bag may not seem that complicated, but it could mean the difference between a day of endlessly searching for items in a bottomless abyss of a bag and breezily passing the bug spray from its dedicated side-pocket. Choose a well-organized beach bag with compartments and one that can be easily cleaned for a streamlined day. Apart from the usual suspects like a towel and sunscreen, consider packing a waterproof case or zip-top plastic bag for your phone, hand sanitizer, a hair clip, hairbrush, and some after-sun care—all things we tend to forget and wish we had later on.
- A Good Book or Audiobook
If you don’t get lost in the latest best-selling beach read, are you even at the beach? Regardless of your preferred genre, don’t forget some good reading material to dig into while you lay out. For a totally hands-free experience, download an audiobook, pack your headphones, and simply lay back and listen.
- A Cooler
A cooler is a beach staple you’ll need whether it’s just for snacks and drinks or an entire meal. We’ve come a long way from the heavy, inflexible coolers of the pre-aughts. Today, coolers come in all shapes, sizes, materials, and colors. Have your pick of a large cooler on wheels, a picnic basket cooler, a personal mini cooler, or perhaps a backpack cooler if you need to be hands-free to ride a bike or lug other essentials. Don’t forget the ice!
- A Mini Grill
If you plan on staying at the beach through mealtime, a small hibachi grill or a portable propane barbecue is a super-fun addition to your beach picnic and will save you money from eating out nearby. Load the cooler up with ice, salads, and whatever you like to throw on the grill and you’ve got yourself a meal. Try these healthy grilling options. And don’t forget to be a good steward of the planet and pack eco-friendly plates, cups, and utensils.
9. Insulated Water Canteen
Stay well-hydrated in the hot sun and humidity with an insulated—and preferably oversized—water canteen. Add plenty of ice and the insulated canister will keep your water icy cool all day. On extra hot days, try adding an electrolyte pack to your water to replenish lost minerals.
- Beach Games
Plan on bringing a few games for your crew to be interactive. Think frisbee, volleyball, or a lightweight and portable cornhole set.
- First Aid Kit
We never want to think about something going wrong on our glorious day with loved ones at the beach, but it’s better to be prepared for any situation and save the day if needed with a trusty first aid kit.
- A Sweater or Light Jacket
If you’re lucky, you’ll have one of those epic beach days that you never want to end, and thanks to this comprehensive list of essentials, you’ll have everything you need to extend your stay and maybe even catch the sunset. The last thing you may need to comfortably make it to dusk is a light sweater or jacket if the evenings tend to get cool. An outfit change is also a good idea. There’s nothing quite like changing into fresh dry clothes after a day of sitting in a damp bathing suit. Don’t forget undergarments!
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