If you are planning to hit the beach, plan ahead! Figure out what you’ll need in advance, whether you want to lounge in luxury or tough it out with the bare minimums.
Blankets / Chairs
You’re going to need something to sit on. Spread out an old blanket or haul out the old folding chairs… or check out something new and high tech! How about a backpack chair? It can fold into a convenient backpack with storage space for your towel, flip-flops, cover-up, and more!
If you are planning to go in the water, you are going to need a towel. Some people just grab the towels from their hotel rooms… but they can be awfully small. A nice big, absorbent towel will help you dry off quickly and can double as something to sit on or be rolled up to use as a pillow.
No matter how much you love the sun, you’re going to need some shade at some point. An umbrella is a nice traditional choice, but you have plenty of other options. It might be worth the money to pick up an instant shelter that goes up and down in five minutes and collapses for easy storage and carrying.
Buying food at the boardwalk can be really expensive. At the very least, bringing drinks along can save you a lot of money! Most grocery stores and drug stores will sell disposable Styrofoam coolers in varying sizes. Inflatable coolers are popular lately, and are great for storing in your luggage — just deflate it and pack it away.
Beach and Water Toys
Some people just can’t lounge on the beach all day without doing something, at least for some of the time. Inflatable toys like balls and rafts can provide entertainment without taking up too much space. Shovels and buckets are great for building sand cities. Save money by bringing toys from home, rather than buying them on the boardwalk… but make sure anything you bring is a toy you don’t mind losing!
If you’ve never been on the beach before, here’s a tip: the sand gets really really hot. Walking barefoot from your car to the sand to the ocean is not usually a good idea. A cheap pair of flip-flops can save your soles from the heat. If you want some foot protection in the water, too, you may want to find shoes that can go into the ocean with you.
No shoes… no shirt… no service. On the boardwalk, you can get away with walking into most stores and restaurants in nothing but your bathing suit. Off the boardwalk, you’re going to need a cover-up. A big t-shirt solves the problem, but isn’t always the best looking option. For the ladies, a t-shirt dress or sarong skirt can look nice enough to go straight from the beach to the bar.
If you’re bringing a lot of gear along, you may want to think about some kind of rolling cart to help you carry everything! A folding table may make a picnic lunch a little less messy. And don’t forget the sunscreen!