Use these helpful insider tips and tricks to plan the perfect beach day for you and your family!
This post is in partnership with Christmas Tree Shops andThat!, a brand I know and love!
My family has always loved the beach and for much of my life we lived right on the water. As a young kid, I grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan and from my teen to adult years, I lived near the Atlantic Ocean and on the Chesapeake Bay. Sand, sun, and sea have always been essential forms of summer entertainment! Over the years, my family mastered a few tips and tricks to make our time at the beach more enjoyable. This summer whether you are heading out for a day at the beach, or a week-long beach vacation, here are some important beach necessities and tips to consider!
1. Invest in good, lightweight beach chairs.
If you do not currently own your own beach necessities, it may be tempting to head to the beach with a towel and little else. While a good, highly absorbent towel is a necessity (bring extras if you can), I also highly recommend investing in some lightweight beach chairs! Look for chairs that are easy to open, easy to carry, and have storage space for drinks and phones.
My mom lives right on the beach and when we visit I often rely on using all of her beach supplies. It was time to invest in my own, so before our recent beach vacation I made a one-stop shopping trip to Christmas Tree Shops AndThat! If you’re unfamiliar with Christmas Tree Shops AndThat!, they offer affordable and stylish items with an ever-changing assortment that makes shopping a fun treasure hunt-like experience. Don’t let the Christmas in the name fool you, their tagline is “Every Season. Every Reason.” From beach furniture, to coolers, to beach toys, to flip flops, to sunscreen, to beach snacks—they literally have everything you need right now for a successful day at the beach! Watch my short video below to see all of the beach treasures I acquired for my trip!
Click the arrow to see my fun beach day shopping trip!
2. Large water-resistant beach bags are ideal and here’s why.
Over the years, I have tried many different kinds of beach bags and my favorite bags are always very large and water-resistant. Many beach aficionados swear that mesh beach bags that are breathable and allow sand to fall through are the best, but I find mesh bags to be scratchy to carry. This cute blue floral beach bag that I found for a song at Christmas Tree Shops AndThat! is water resistant, so our wet towels, wet clothing, wet bathing suits, and sweating water bottles can comfortably be toted back home without leaking through the bag! It’s also large enough to fit all of our towels, food, change of clothes, and other beach sundries. The laminated inside is easy to wipe out and clean.
3. Apply sunscreen BEFORE arriving at beach and always reapply.
Skin cancer runs in my family, so we take sun protection very seriously! Rash guards, hats, lip balm, and sunglasses are all wonderful items to add to your sun-protection list but sunscreen needs to be at the top. The temptation for kids of all ages to jump in the water immediately upon arriving at the beach is strong. Be sure to make all family members apply sunscreen 30 minutes prior to heading down to the beach. Areas that are often missed and most susceptible to burns are ears, nose, shoulders, back, around all straps and outline of swimsuit, and tops of feet. Christmas Tree Shops AndThat! sells a wide-array of sunscreens, including my favorite, Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunscreen Spray SPF 70. If using a spray sunscreen, note that you will need to reapply it more frequently.
4. Bring a way to create your own shade.
Whether you choose a beach umbrella, tent, canopy, or cabana, bringing your own shade to the beach is essential for a more comfortable day! Determine the size of your party and what kind of shade is most needed to suit the needs of your family. My kids are always in the water when we are at the beach and rarely sit still. A simple beach umbrella for two is all we need for our family, so I picked up this portable blue and white wave-patterned one from Christmas Tree Shops AndThat!.
5. Freeze water bottles, juice boxes, and grapes to keep food in cooler cold.
Swimming, beach walking, and sunbathing can conjure up quite a thirst! Lighten your load and keep foods cool by using your liquids and freezables as “ice packs” for the cooler. Freezing water bottles, juice boxes, and grapes the night before will eliminate the need to weigh down the cooler with ice and will ensure a cold drink for the day.
6. Bring beach toys!
The beach is more fun with toys! Kids and adults alike enjoy beach floats, body boards, sand pails, and beach games. If you have toddlers and preschoolers, bring a small inflatable pool to fill with sea water. The pool will keep them occupied and entertained away from the threat of large waves. I purchased two body boards, a frisbee, a sandcastle pail, and one funny shark float and my boys and their cousins were occupied and entertained on the beach all week long!
7. Use a rope and anchor to secure inflatables.
This is an insider tip from living on the beach and seeing many a child cry as their inflatable blows out to sea! Strong beach winds can blow inflatables away when not in use. Prevent this from happening by bringing a rope and beach stake with you to secure your inflatables. My kids also use the rope to tow each other around on their inflatables and prevent their tube from drifting with the current.
8. Come prepared to fight pests like biting flies, sand fleas, and jellyfish.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry! Unfortunately, bugs and stinging things share our space at the beach and can quickly put a damper on a fun day. Bring a small bottle of white vinegar with you to the beach to help neutralize any jellyfish stings. Simply pour the vinegar on the skin affected by the sting and allow to air dry. Follow up with some aloe, or hydrocortisone cream to relieve the pain. To ward off biting insects, a bug spray or essential oil spray helps. I prefer using essential oil sprays containing cinnamon, peppermint, and citronella which ward off several types of biting insects at the beach.
9. Get clever when hiding valuables.
Although it’s best to leave your valuables at home when heading out for a day at the beach, inevitably you will have your phones, wallets, and keys on hand. One option for keeping these items safe is to place your items in a gallon ziplock bag and shallowly bury the bag under your towel and chair. A thief would have to go to extreme and obvious measures to uncover your buried treasure! Some less drastic hiding spots to consider are under the insert of the beach bag, inside an empty and clean sunscreen lotion bottle, or in a Ziplock bag inside the cooler. When leaving valuables unattended is unavoidable, I prefer to store my phone and credit card in a waterproof phone case and simply bring them with me.
1o. Cornstarch or baby powder work great to easily remove sand from feet.
Keep your car and home free from sand by using this tried and true trick! If you don’t have access to rinse off stations, use cornstarch or baby powder on your sandy feet and legs to easily remove the sand. When I lived at the beach, I kept a bottle of powder in my glove compartment to use when needed. Liberally sprinkle on the powder and use a dry towel to brush off both the sand and powder. The cornstarch absorbs the moisture in the sand making it easier to brush off the skin.
I hope these insider beach tips have proven helpful for planning out your next beach day! For your convenience, I’ve made a beach supply list for you below.
Beach Trip Necessities Supply List:
- Beach chairs
- Beach towels (at least one per person)
- Beach bag and/or beach cart
- Umbrella, tent, canopy, or shade item
- Sun protection: sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, rash guards, lip balm, coverups
- Cooler with frozen water bottles, snacks, food
- Beach toys and games
- Baby pool for little ones as well as life jackets
- Rope and stake for securing inflatables
- Bug spray
- White vinegar and aloe for jellyfish stings
- Extra Ziplock bags for shells, wet bathing suits, or storing items to hide
- Cornstarch or baby powder for sand removal
- Dry change of clothes
Thanks again to Christmas Tree Shops AndThat! for partnering with me and helping make our time at the beach a memorable one!