It’s hot and humid and there’s not a cloud in the sky. It’s the perfect beach day, but don’t leave it all up to Mother Nature. Packing the right stuff in your beach bag can make a spectacular day of sun, sand and surf even better.
“Prepare beforehand so you don’t forget anything,” says Donna David, a professional organizer in New York City and President of Donna David & Company. What to pack? Here’s David’s top 10 list of essentials.
- Beach bag. “I love a fabulous beach bag, something that’s roomy, colorful and machine washable,” David says. Take the bag idea one step further with this Beach Caddy Deluxe. It lugs up to 100 pounds of gear and features detachable wheels that roll on all types of terrain.
- Sunglasses. They’re a must to protect your eyes and face from the sun. Consider keeping a separate set of sunglasses in your beach bag. “Pick out something fun and inexpensive,” David says.
- A wide-rimmed hat. Sunglasses aren’t enough to protect eyes and face from the sun’s rays and glare. Opt for a hat with a wide rim as well, and make sure everyone wears one — especially if you’re vacationing with young children.
- Sunscreen and lip protection. To protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays, the CDC recommends choosing a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. Reapply sunscreen every two hours and after you come in from the water.David doesn’t leave for the beach without lip protection either.Lip balm by VMV Hypoallergenic Armada Moisturizing Protective, for example, features an SPF of 60+ to help protect against burning, fine lines, and sun-related blisters.
- Beach chairs. Any beach chair can make relaxing in the sand more enjoyable. But one with its own adjustable overhead umbrella, such as the Sport-Brella Beach chair, can make it even more fun, giving you just the right amount of shade just where you need it.
- Beach umbrella. Even if you have a beach chair with its own sunshade, a beach umbrella is useful when you need a break from the sun. This 6-foot multicolor beach umbrella offers 100+ UPF.
- Beach towels. They’re a must for sunning and picnicking.Let everyone pick out their own in a festive color or print, such as this Polka dot & Sea Horse beach towel in blue.
- Snacks. Why wait in the line at the beach concession stand when you can pack your own goodies? David favors nutritious options, such as nuts, dried fruit, and granola bars. Treats pack easily in Itzy Ritzy Snack Happened snack bags, which are washable and reusable. Don’t forget to pack water bottles for everyone, too and sanitizing wipes to clean up the chaos.
- Clothes. Water shoes are a must for navigating hot sand and sharp rocks. Also, save your car from a sand attack by packing extra sets of clothes, including underwear, so you can change before you head going home. A sprinkle of talcum powder can help any lingering sand fall right off, David says.
- Something to do. Don’t forget to pack a good book or your tablet or e-reader.
One last thing — pack an opaque sealed container. When you’re in the water, you can’t take your keys and money with you. But you can hide them in something inconspicuous, such as this Aladdin Food To-Go Container, in your beach bag or caddy. “I like to throw my car keys and money in some type of disguised container instead of bringing my wallet,” David says.