As relaxing and fun as the beach is, everyone can remember at least one beach day of utter disaster. Maybe the warm sun left you as red as a lobster. Maybe the course sand got in the most uncomfortable places. Maybe you were simply bored out of your gourd. Whatever happened, it wasn’t pleasant, and you definitely don’t want to repeat the mistakes that ruined your beach day.
Though it is impossible to foresee every possible beach fiasco, you can prepare against most of them with a well-packed beach bag. Here are a few of the items you will always need with you at the beach.
You’d be surprised by the number of beach-goers who show up to enjoy sand and surf ― only to discover their swimsuits aren’t packed like they thought. If it’s the last thing you do before you head to the beach, you should make sure you have something to swim in. Even better, you should have a swimsuit you absolutely adore ― one that feels comfortable, fits well, and is on-trend. One-piece swimsuits are best if you plan to get in the water, and they are incredibly in this year.
The beach is a great place to get a tan ― and get skin cancer while you’re at it. Every time your skin changes color due to sun exposure, you increase your risk for deadly cancer. Even if you tan rather than burn ― even if you are melaninated ― you can get skin cancer after a day at the beach. Therefore, you absolutely need a tube of quality sunscreen.
The best sunscreens are broad-spectrum and at least SPF 30. If you are going in the water, you need a water-resistant option. Regardless of the SPF, you should reapply every two hours or so. When you apply, you shouldn’t forget areas like under your arms, on top of your legs, or even your lips ― but you might prefer lip balm for that.
While the sun desperately tries to develop melanoma on your skin, it is also working to degrade your macula, which is an important part of your eyes. Over time, UV light from the sun will cause you to lose your sight ― unless you protect your eyes, too. You can’t rub sunscreen into your eyes, but you can protect your retinas with a cool pair of shades.
Like sunscreen, your sunglasses should be broad spectrum to protect your eyes from UV-A and UV-B rays. You might also consider getting polarized lenses, which will decrease the glare from the ocean. Other than that, your sunglasses style is up to you and your face shape.
You’ll probably only wear them to mosey from the car to your designated beach spot, but you won’t regret having a durable pair of shoes. Basically, all you need is something to protect your delicate soles from the rocky terrain that tends to lurk above the high tide line, so simple flip-flops will probably be fine.
At the beach, towels aren’t just for drying off. Your towels are the primary barriers between you and the multitude of sand that is eagerly awaiting entrance to your most sensitive places: your purse, your electronics, and more. Therefore, the bigger your towels, the better.
You might head to the beach in search of bright sunshine, but after about 10 minutes under the hot, glaring rays, you will long for the dark. If only to give you a break from diligently applying sunscreen, you should establish some sort of shade, whether by big, floppy hat or tall, broad umbrella.
Snacks and More Snacks
There might be restaurants or refreshment stands within walking distance, but food and beverage prices at the beach are unfairly high. Instead of hoping you won’t get hungry and thirsty ― because you definitely will ― you should stuff your bag with snacks and drinks. Healthy options include sliced fruit, mixed nuts, and water; fun options include your favorite chips and a cooler full of beer.
Something to Do
One of the primary allures of the beach is potential for relaxation: When you are at the beach, you have no responsibilities; you can simply be. However, like the sunshine, having nothing to do gets old faster than you think. At the very least, you should bring along a waterproof speaker and your favorite beach tunes, but it is even better to have an engrossing book or some beach toys to keep you busy.