Every trip to the beach is magical, but it can take a turn for the worse if you forget a few key ingredients to your vacation. Sunscreen and rash guards protect skin from the harsh rays of the sun, while life jackets make water play safe and fun. Sand toys are a must if you are traveling with kids, or creative adults, while snacks and loads of water will keep everyone happy and well hydrated as they play in the sand and surf. Here's the list I always use when packing up my family for another fun trip to the beach.
There is no question about it; sunscreen is a must anytime you hit the beach this summer. Even at colder beaches, like those found in the Pacific Northwest, sunscreen should not left behind. If the sun is out it can burn you, even if you aren't sweating throughout the day. Some of the worst burns can happen on cloudy days because people don't take the proper precautions. Pick up a tear-free SPF 30+ for your kids, and a decent sweat or waterproof sunscreen for yourself. Banana Boat makes a great spray-on sunscreen that dries almost instantly and protects well, even under the 100+ degree brutal sun of the tropics.
If your kids hate having to reapply sunscreen, a rash guard is the perfect solution, and actually protects better than sunscreen alone. This season rash guards have gotten even more popular with many companies creating tankinis with built in rash guards for women, and matching rash guards to go with boys and girls swimsuits. Long sleeve rash guards protect the best and limit the need to apply sunscreen to just your face and legs, but short sleeves protect the shoulders and torso just as well. Just make sure you don't forget to apply sunscreen to the neck. It may seem like it is covered up, but the sun can sneak down there and burn just as easily as anywhere else.
If you have inexperienced swimmers or are going out on a boat or other watercraft, make sure the whole family is fitted for life jackets. Smaller children and those who aren't excellent swimmers can play more freely in the water and give mom and dad a little piece of mind without having to hover. Still stay close though. Kids can get swept out to sea by a strong current even with a life jacket on.
Even the best parents can forget their sand toys when they head out to the beach for the day or a longer vacation. Keep all of your sand toys in one easy bag that you can throw in the car before you take off. If you are flying, you can still pack a few shovels and even a bucket. Pack socks in your buckets to save room in your bag. Worse case scenario, there will most likely be a shop that sells sand toys that your children will love if you do forget your own collection at home or just don't feel like packing them.
Snacks and water
Most beach goers know to pack a little water and maybe a snack, but when it comes to families, you can never have enough of either. Everyone should have their own water bottle, with a few extras in reserve. Remind your kids to regularly take sips, even if they claim they are not thirsty. Make sure the whole family stops for some lunch so hungry bellies can get fed and energy restored. Grab a spot in the shade to take a break from the sun and indulge in sand-filled sandwiches, salty chips, cold water and a few cookies before running back to build a sandcastle.
What are some things you always take on a trip to the beach?