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Beach Bag Essentials : Basics to Remember

As summer rapidly approaches and the school year is nearing its end, the beach becomes a necessary weekend stop for me. Many of you are planning your beach vacations. What would you pack in your beach bag? What are the essentials? Here are my summer beach day essentials:

  • Flip-flops – The soft sand that you first set foot on when walk onto the beach can get very hot in the summer heat. It can be a shock that will send you hopping madly for a cooler surface! Throw on some flip-flops while entering and exiting the beach to curb surface heat.
  • A few dollars in change – You may need to put money in a parking meter or wish to head back up for some refreshments from the drink machine on the boardwalk.
  • Sunscreen or sunblock – Your preference! I’d highly recommend SPF 30 or higher. The American Academy of Dermatologists advises that as long as your sunscreen has an SPF of 30, you are providing a sufficient level of protection for your skin. A broad spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays – ideal protection. Keep in mind the peak UV hours also! Protect well between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. as the sand and water reflect the rays at a swift rate. Remember too that you can burn on a cloudy day, not just a sunny day!
  • Lip balm – The sun dries out your lips which can lead to chapped discomfort. Avoid that by packing Chapstick or your favorite lip balm.
  • Water bottle and snacks – Stay hydrated! The sun and sea can dehydrate you quicker than you realize while you’re more focused on the fun you’re having. If you choose to bring a cooler, pay attention to the local beach regulations regarding beverage choice. Hilton Head Island beaches prohibit all alcoholic beverages. Don’t forget snacks! Children become voraciously hungry frolicking in the summer beach sun. Bags of chips, crackers, fruit, sandwiches and granola bars are good choices for a quick food break. Refuel and rehydrate!
  • Cleaning wipes – A mother’s best friend, right? These come in handy for so many things at the beach. Too much sunscreen? Sticky fingers? Spills? No problem!
  • Shades or a hat – The beach can be a very bright place in the summer sun! The sun reflecting on the water and off of the sand can create glare. What could be worse than spending your day in such a beautiful location squinting? A hat or sunglasses will let you enjoy the summer sun.
  • Towels and a beach blanket or chairs – Save the towels for absorbing saltwater and bring a large blanket or chairs for relaxing on the beach. Trying to use your towels for double duty leave gritty, sandy skin!
  • Things to play – A Frisbee or maybe a Paddleball set can help break any boredom if need a little game action at the beach! If you’ve got children in tow, some beach shovels and a pail are must!
  • Baggies – I usually just take leftover grocery plastic bags, but zip-lock gallon freezer bags are ideal. Any wet clothing can be sealed in so you don’t have to worry about what else you pack back in your beach bag after your day’s adventures.
  • Books and magazines – This to me is the epitome of relaxation! Plop me in a chair with book in my hand, warm sand beneath my toes with the sounds of ocean waves rolling and seagulls overhead spells D-I-V-I-N-E!
  • A clean change of clothes – Many times have I gone to the beach and by the time to leave found my cover-up to be rendered useless due to using it as a pillow or having a soaking wet child stand on it or grab it for a makeshift towel. Now I just remember to pack an extra cover-up or shirt and shorts. If that café up the road from the beach is sounding mighty tasty, I want to make sure I have clothes ready to go sit down and fill my belly!

Bring a smile and be ready to make memories that you can recount with family and friends for many years to come!

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