10 Helpful Hacks To Make Your Day at the Beach a Breeze
Your beach vacation is going to be filled with a lot of long, lazy days under the sun. It's important to prepare well. Getting ready for your day on the beach doesn't have to be a stressful, exhausting ordeal. If it is, you're doing it all wrong. Do yourself (and your family) a favor and make every beach day a breeze by utilizing these amazing, yet totally simple, beach hacks.
1. Mark Your Spot On The Sand
You know how it is. Sometimes you walk down to the shoreline, wade in the waters and take in the breathtaking expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. As you make your way back up the beach, you realize you've lost sight of your beach setup. This is especially difficult for kids, since they have a harder time discerning their home base when it's lost in a sea of umbrellas, beach towels and people that all start to look the same from a distance. The struggle is real! We have a solution, though.
Make your location easy to find on a crowded beach by attaching a helium balloon with a distinct pattern or with bright colors to your beach chair or umbrella. That way, your spot on the sand can be easily identified from a distance by you and your kids. Kites or flags can be used also for the same purpose, but balloons are by far your quickest and easiest option. Stop by the Dollar Store on your way to the beach and grab one! Just remember to properly discard of it when you're finished with it, and don't leave any remnants on the beach since they can be hazardous to the health of the coastal wildlife.
2. Mesh Is Best
Every family knows that kids come to the beach with stuff, lots and lots of stuff. You're hauling beach toys, sand tools and various other beach sundries with you each and every beach day. Make it easier on yourself by using a large mesh bag to both contain and carry your beach accessories. That way, you can shake sand the right out at the beach without bringing it all home with you.
Mesh bags are also easy to rinse at the wash station or shower because you can do it while your items stay in the bag. Beach smarter, not harder!
3. You Can't Go Wrong With A Sarong
Hey ladies, this one's for you. Choosing your beach attire wisely is the key to a comfortable day at the beach. Whenever possible, it's helpful to choose versatile items that can be used in a variety of ways to save space in your beach bag, while still having everything you need for the day.
Enter the sarong. It's a pretty common beach clothing item, but are you making the most of its capabilities? Probably not! The most common use for your sarong is to tie it around your waist for a quick and stylish beach coverup. Have you considered the fact that a beach sarong can easily double as your beach towel or blanket, replacing the additional and often bulkier extras? It can! It's lightweight, easy to shake the sand off and comfortable to the touch.
Another twist on the traditional use of a sarong is to transform it into a chic and unique beach dress or cover up with just a few twists and/or knots in the right places. We bet you didn't know exactly how many cute and totally fashionable ways you could tie a sarong! Check out the many looks of a beach sarong and exactly how to tie your sarong here.
4. Roll With It
Back to bringing kids and all of the stuff that comes with them on a day at the beach. You are not a pack mule—and even if you try to be—you can only physically carry so much stuff. The invention of the wheel is a wonderful thing and should be used on the beach to make the work of coming and going a lot easier.
We suggest investing in an all-terrain wagon with wheels that are large enough to work well on sand and big enough to hold you need, if you are an avid beachgoer with younger children in tow. They come in a variety of sizes, shapes, colors and price ranges and can be simple and sturdy or fully loaded with extra amenities like cup holders, velcro pockets and folding trays. All terrain beach wagons are available online and in most of the usual stores like Walmart, Target, Bed, Bath & Beyond, as well as bulk discount stores like Sam's Club and Costco (where you can find some really reasonable prices and seasonal sales).
If you don't want to buy another "thing" and already have a jogging stroller sitting around, that works pretty well too. The wheels are big enough to function in sand and you can put your cooler in the seat portion while stuffing your other beach toys, towels and blankets in the bottom basket or side compartments. (As the writer of this blog, I can tell you that I did this exact thing last weekend, and it worked just fine.)
5. Bag It Up
You know those millions of plastic bags you have collected over time and have stashed somewhere (or multiple places) in your house? Put them to good use by reusing them on the beach. Tuck a few in your car or keep the ones you got when you went shopping to stock your vacation rental for the week and put them in your beach bag.
There are a lot of ways you can reuse your plastic bags at the beach, but here are just a few of the most popular:
- to collect your trash throughout the day
- to collect and contain shells, sea glass and shark teeth
- to store your wet clothes and swimsuits at the end of the day
Please just remember to properly dispose of them and don't leave them on the beach for the sake of the sea turtles and other marine life. It's hazardous to their health as they can mistake it for food or get caught up in it, both which can be fatal.
6. Cool Tips
Packing your cooler efficiently and packing it well are vital parts of a successful beach day. Your cooler is usually filled to capacity, right? Right. Try conserving space by considering other options besides bagged ice or bulky ice packs.
Here are a few smart ways to pack your cooler and keep it cool while also saving space:
- Freeze wet sponges in a small ziplock bag to use in place of ice packs. They don't drip when they melt and they can squeeze into small spaces easily and compactly.
- Freeze your water bottles and use them for double duty: cooling and drinking.
- Freeze Capri Sun pouches. They make great little ice packs to tuck into your cooler and your kids can eat them as a slushy with a spoon or drink when they defrost.
7. Mini First Aid Kit
It's always good to be prepared just in case someone steps on a shell, gets stung by something, has a throbbing headache or has had too much sun. It only takes a few short minutes to pack up a mini first aid kit that you can fit right in your beach bag. You just need the basics in the event you need them.
Here are a few suggestions in putting your beach first aid kit together:
- Make it small enough to easily fit in your beach bag and quickly accessible.
- You can use a small plastic container from the Dollar Store, a small zippered cloth bag or just a resealable plastic bag to contain the contents of your kit.
- Pack only the beach essentials: assorted bandages of differing sizes, travel-sized packs of pain relief like Tylenol, Advil and Zantac, antibiotic ointment and antibacterial wipes to name a few.
8. Save Your Skin
It is so easy to underestimate how much sun you'll get on any given beach day (ask us how we know this!). Skin protection is vital, so load up on the SPFs and reapply often. Applying more than you think you need and more often than you'd expect is a good motto when protecting your skin.
In addition to applying a high-SPF sunscreen, here are a couple of other things you'll want to do to be proactive in skin protection:
- For cooling relief, bring a simple skin refresher like cold water in a spray bottle, frozen aloe vera cubes, lavender essential oil or chilled green tea. They all have amazing benefits to soothe and refresh sun-drenched skin.
- Bring hats and sunglasses, cover ups and rash guard swim wear so you have the options you need to give your skin a break from the sun's constant rays during a long day on the beach. Beach umbrellas and sun shelters that give you much needed shade are also highly recommended.
9. Kid Safety 101
Everyone wants to stay safe on a family beach vacation. Kids may need a little extra help in this area as they're still learning and sometimes unsure of how best to handle life's safety situations as they arise.
Here are a few helpful kid-safety tips to make your beach day less worrisome for them and for you:
- Give them a Safety Tat, specially made for kids, in case they get lost or separated from you unexpectedly.
- Make sure you familiarize your kids with the surroundings and help them to be able to easily identify your setup on the sand (refer to #1).
- Remind your children that if they get disoriented or can't find you, to go to the nearest lifeguard station for assistance (it also helps if you choose a location on the sand close to one from the get-go).
- Always keep a watchful eye on your kids, even if you're right near a lifeguard station. Things can happen fast, so always be watchful and mindful of the surroundings and the location of your kids.
10. A "Pawfect" Pet-Friendly Beach Day
Dogs are part of the family too, and many of them join the family on their beach vacations. It's always good to know the pet-friendly beach rules before you ever step foot (or paws) on the beach. Since every beach is different, it's high priority to know what to expect before you get there.
Here's what you need to know about pets on the beach on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
It's also necessary to be mindful of the elements no matter which beach you're on. The hot sand, constant sun and scorching hot pavements are not dog-friendly and are truly dangerous to your pet. Be prepared to give your dog shade, fresh water and a cool place to lay down where he can escape the sun when he needs to. Be mindful of your surroundings including the people around you, other dogs or any other distractions that may affect your dog so as to prevent any unnecessary issue or problems.
- To soothe an upset stomach from lapping up too much saltwater, keep some low-sodium chicken broth with you to give your dog.
- Speaking of chicken broth, use an ice cube tray to freeze cut-up apples in chicken broth for a nice cool treat on a hot day.
- Make an ice lick by freezing toys, treats, bones, and water (or chicken broth) in a cake mold.
- If you need a quick DIY dog toy idea, just put an empty water bottle inside a sock. Tie a knot in each end and you have an instant crinkly-sounding dog toy, which makes a great distraction and source of entertainment for your pup.
Whew, we've covered a lot of ground here and hope you can use some, if not all, of these beach hacks on your next Outer Banks beach vacation. If you find any of them particularly helpful or useful, please let us know. We love hearing your feedback!
RELATED READING: What Every Beach Bag Absolutely Needs To Have
What are your best beach hacks, tips or tricks? We'd love to add a few more to our list!