We are beach bums. It’s imperative that we go often to smell the salty air and dip our toes in the frigid SoCal water. We always feel better after a few hours hearing the waves crash in. (There is no elixir on this blessed earth like it.) We are spontaneous about our trips, so we like to pack mean and lean, over the years finally coming up with just the bare minimum of beach day essentials.
Recently I came across a list online that named every single thing you could possibly ever need for a day at the beach. A kiddie pool! A table! Pillows! A beach cart! OK, I almost fell for the beach cart. I started to think of even more things I could tow with it: chairs, a huge cooler, etc. Friends, I could go glamping in style! But I happen to think that when you’re talking about packing everything except the kitchen sink, you’re taking some of the fun out of life. There are beach day essentials, and there are beach day optionals. The beach cart falls under optional. It’s good to be prepared … but you need to know what you can do without.
Pack These 5 Beach Essentials
These five things live in the back of my car year-round. Hey, you never know when the beach might beckon.
1. A beach bag packed with these items: towels, swimsuits, sunscreen, hats. I almost didn’t mention this at all because it seems like a no-brainer, but going to the beach would be out of the question without these things, or … at least A LOT less pleasant. I speak from experience here.
2. Pop-up tent. Get one that’s really light and easy to put together, like any of these. If you have children, this little bit of shade will be a godsend to you, and it’s much more reliable than a flimsy umbrella.
3. Snack bag. I always take a few minutes before heading to the beach to stuff some food into a soft cooler bag with ice packs. Proteins are good (lunchmeat, boiled eggs, hummus, string cheese, nuts), some carbs (crackers, muffins) and bananas, apples, carrots, snap peas. For a longer day, cold pizza packs well. Toss in a few bottles of water, and you’re set.
4. Blanket. This is how you claim home base, so get one large enough to seat the family. Target has some really nice lightweight ones right now for $20, and they fold up in an over-the-shoulder carrier.
5. Toy bag. Sand toys like shovels and cups occupy the kids. So do balls: volleyballs, soccer balls. A nice, good Frisbee is a lightweight and fun option for the whole family. I highly recommend one of these. Boogie boards if you are going to the right beach.
What are your beach day essentials? Did I leave anything out?