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I love the summer days spent at the beach. Usually, I’m a late afternoon arrival as I like to avoid crowds and strong mid-day sun. There are some essentials I always bring to the outing and some things I omit for ease. Let’s face it the less prep the more time in the sand with these beach picks!

Here are my picks for beach vacationing:

1. Beach Blanket

I’m a fan of the think quilt that can be picked up for less than 100 dollars. They are way more durable that sheets and more cozy that small towels scattered on the sand. I look for darker colors and materials that can take a beating. This needs to be a tough yet soft feel.

I love this one which has a zipper for keys! I grabbed a red one and it’s lasted me years. But target also has a great selection for a great price.

beach picks

2. Hat

I’m terrible at putting in umbrellas so most of the time I’m just grabbing a big hat to keep the sun off my face. Anything that grabs you and makes you happy. Mine often only lasts one season with that wear and tear but if you invest in a piece of course take care to keep it away from the greasy sunblock and cooler treats.

3. Sunglasses

I’ve had expensive and inexpensive ones that I love. Sunglasses can provide good protection against UV radiation. Choose polarizing sunglasses if you spend a lot of time by the water or are sensitive to light. Choose sunglasses with large lenses. Your sunglasses should also be slightly curved so that they also protect against light entering from the sides.

4. Skip the chair- treat the hair

I have learned to forget heavy beach chairs after many hikes over dunes that had me exhausted once I get (finally) to the sandy relaxing place along the ocean. I like to bring is a hair mask to slather on or a UV spray. That way I squeeze in some treatment time for my strands that I can’t squeeze in on a busy workday.

photo by Partick Patton http://patrickpattonphotography.com

4. Nosh

For snacks and food a lightweight cooler bag is sufficient for small groups. Water, gluten-free crackers, some crudités, and fruit along with a tasty healthy dip keep me happy. Hummus or salsas are my go-to’s. I love a great tapenade also!

Tip: I freeze my water bottles so it’s a slow melt all day!

5. Chillout 

 I like to listen to a podcast or soothing music so headphones are a must. I never forget my sandals as I don’t tolerate the hot summer sand well on my toes.

6. Soothing waves, Sun & Games

A frisbee is never a bad thing to toss in and you can never go wrong with the conversational games of 2 truth and a lie, or would You ever. We don’t play around with the sun. I suggest a premium sunblock. This link is a great resource for which ones are best for you and your family.

We all know what damage our smartphone can suffer from contact with sand, saltwater or the sun. You can store it in a cloth case with a zipper or in a transparent bag with a clip, which will protect it from the fine sand and at the same time allow you to use it.

7. Beach cruiser

I have been in the market for a good beach cruiser to squeeze in some extra movement in my day. I have not made the decision which one I’m opting for yet as i’m knee deep in research. Again when you can pack light for the beach it makes a bike a great option for the commute. It is also a fun family activity that keeps you moving and counts as a bit of exercize. Being by the ocean has an immediate calming effect: the sea breeze, the sound of the waves and the limitless horizon are good for the soul. What better way to disconnect and forget the stress of everyday life!