There is nothing worse than getting to the beach, towel all laid out, sitting on said towel while applying sunscreen, when BAM! You realize you forgot your water and you are dying of thirst. Or you forgot your earphones and you can’t stand the music the people next to you are playing. Or you are getting a horrible headache and you have to go home because you forgot your Motrin. Suddenly, your idyllic beach day is cut short before it has even begun.
We’ve all been there.
I pride myself on being a Professional Beach Goer. (Now, if only I could get someone to pay me for this job, I’d really have life figured out.) I have learned my lessons through trials and tribulations over the years on my many beach day outings. I’ve found that a big part of executing the perfect beach day is all in the preparation. For every trade, there are necessary tools required to be successful. For the Professional Beach Goer, there is the Ultimate Beach Bag.
And thus, I present you with The Ultimate Beach Bag Packing List. It is my hope that it will help you, too, to win every beach day you embark on from here going forward. May your beach day never be cut short by something as silly as a forgotten can of OFF!
1. Start with a solid beach bag
A good sized, tough bag, preferably one with pockets is best. Beach bags with pockets are much like dresses with pockets… priceless!
2. Beach towels – two per person
While this may sound excessive, this one is all about comfort. One towel is for laying on and one is for drying off with. Unless you like laying on wet sandy towels, I think you’ll come to agree with me on the two towel rule.
3. Mask and snorkel
Or at the very least, a pair of swim goggles. Looking for things underwater is what makes swimming at the beach fun, am I right?
A travel size bottle of Johnson’s Baby Shampoo does a great job as a fog deterrent for your mask/goggles so you can see clearly underwater.
5. Finder’s Keep
Are you as addicted to collecting beach treasures as I am? If so, a mesh bag to stow your shells and sea glass is an awesome convenience.
6. Sunblock of choice
A few different kinds of sunblock are good to have on hand, either in spray or lotion form (or both) ranging from SPF 4 oil to SPF 70, as well as sunblock for the face and the lips. I’ll be honest, sometimes I like to tan and sometimes I like to be safe. It’s nice to have options.
7. Insect Repellant
Because nothing can ruin beach fun like no-see-ums and mosquitoes.
8. Baby powder. (Yes – baby power. Trust me.)
No, I don’t wear diapers but this stuff works great to rub on sandy bodies before getting into the car. It helps the sand to slide right off you – and stay out of your vehicle. Try it!
9. Hat of choice
For obvious reasons like keeping the sun out of your eyes and face… or to corral your wild beach hair after swimming.
11. Hair ties
It never hurts to have extra ties handy. Personally, I want to see coral and fish when I snorkel, not my hair in my face.
12. Water-resistant phone pouch
Apparently getting sand and water on your phone ruins it.
13. Travel phone charger
These wireless battery packs can be a real life saver if you need your phone to work all day. Or not. It depends on how badly you want to get away from it all.
14. Waterproof bluetooth speaker
If you want to take your beach day fun to the next level. Please, just be respectful of your neighbors, volume-wise. And also – please don’t judge the way I dance.
Because sometimes the music the people next to you are listening to can really be a vibe-ruiner.
16. Reading material
A trashy romance read or a gossipy magazine always does the trick.
17. Beach spiker
Quite possibly one of the best inventions to hit the beach. These magical cups keep you from drinking grit and amount to far less spilled wine.
18. Water bottle(s)
Preferably, choose a brand that keeps things cool for hours. If you must go old school with plastic bottles, freezing them first can extend their chill factor. What you put in your bottles is your business, but I really do suggest water.
19. First aid kit
Make sure yours includes band-aids, gauze, tape, Motrin, Benedryl, Neosporin, and vinegar. The vinegar works well for jellyfish stings or if someone accidentally steps on a sea urchin. It’s better than asking your friend to pee on you.
Because sitting there with all that space and time makes you hungry.
21. Brush / Comb + Leave-in Conditioner
If you have thick, long hair like mine, it’s nice to brush it after being in the water in order to not look like Medusa. The leave-in conditioner helps wrangle the toughest of sea-formed knots.
22. Trash Bags
Because I care about our beaches and oceans, so I pick up the trash I see. I think you should too. Everyone now say, awwwwwww. Bonus: trash bags are also great for packing up extra sandy stuff at the end of the day to keep the car sand explosion to a minimum.
23. Hard-sided Container / Tupperware
For delicate findings like sand dollars or urchins, containers help protect them on their journey home. I learned the hard way that they don’t last on way home when you put them in your pocket.
24. Water shoes or SCUBA boots
If your beaches are like mine with pokey things like rocks and shells beneath the sand, it’s nice to wade in soft shoes. Just be careful that you’re not actually stepping on coral – protect our reefs by keeping off of them!
25. Wet Bikini Bag and Change of Clothes
When you’re done in the water, you can avoid the dreaded Island Swamp Ass by changing out of your wet bottoms. A wet bikini bag is a great way to keep them from soaking the contents of the rest of your beach bag.
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Did I miss anything that you deem essential?
What is always in your beach bag?