Summer 2020 is rapidly approaching, and with the warmer months still ahead, you’ll want to make sure you have everything you need to take advantage of the sunshine. If it’s been a while since you’ve spent time at the beach, you may have forgotten everything you need to have the most fun and relaxing time possible. And, if you live miles away, you won’t want to get there and realize you’ve forgotten your sunscreen or some other essential.

Don’t stress. We’ve got you covered. Check out these summer beach essentials you need to pack before heading out for your day of surf and sun.

Sun protection

We really can’t stress this enough. While spending hours soaking up rays is a great way to relax and enjoy yourself at the beach, it’s important to do it wisely. You don’t want to wake up after an hour-long nap to realize you’ve got 3rd degree sunburns all across your body, that’s not great self care.

If you plan on spending time in the sun, don’t forget these essentials that will help you do so responsibly:

  • Sunscreen: this is pretty much your top priority. When you’re out on the beach, chances are that more of your skin is exposed than on an ordinary day. Be sure to slather yourself in sunblock after you disrobe!
  • Beach clothes: if you start to overheat or feel like you’re taking in too much sun, it’s good to have a beach shirt around that you can quickly throw on. Sometimes you’ll need that solid layer to protect against sunburn.
  • Umbrella: though the idea of sitting out in the sun all day may sound great on the car ride there, chances are you’ll want a little break at some point. Bring an umbrella for a bit of shade to hide under when it gets too hot.
  • Water: this may be one of the most important things on the list. Remember, you can’t drink seawater; bring plenty of bottles.

Once you’re sure you’re protected from the sun, you’re ready to focus on having fun!

Fun and games

Of course, the point of going to the beach is to have fun! Sure, sitting out in the sun is nice on its own, but if you plan on spending hours there, you’ll want to have something interesting to do. Here are a few classic beach activities you can bring with you to ensure you have plenty of awesome options:

  • A good book: there’s nothing quite like laying out and enjoying a book as you listen to the gentle rhythmic crashing of the waves.
  • Sand toys: if you’re brining kids, they’ll definitely want to play with the sand. Bring shovels, buckets, and fun molds so they can build their very own beach kingdom!
  • Boogie board: swimming in the ocean is serene and beautiful, but if you want to kick up the adrenaline a bit, pack in a boogie board that you can use to ride the waves! Trust us, it’s pretty exhilarating.
  • A football or frisbee: with all that open space, you’ll want to toss around something for fun! Bring some balls, some friends, and have an awesome game out on the sand.

Of course, all those fun and games are likely to kick your appetite into high gear…

Food and refreshments

If you’re bringing food to the beach, it’s smart to plan ahead to decide what you can realistically prepare and eat without too much hassle and without ending up with a mouthful of sand. Luckily, there are some steps you can take to make sure it goes well:

  1. Bring a cooler. You don’t want your food to spoil in the sun, so pack in a cooler filled with ice to keep things fresh.
  2. Prepare as much as you can ahead of time. If all else fails, a few peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a great option that’ll keep you full.
  3. Bring plenty of water, as we noted in the first section. Really, this can’t be overstated.
  4. Throw in some tasty chips, pretzels, nuts, or other salty snacks to munch on as you read or look after the kids.
  5. Optional: if you’re really ready to go all-out, you could bring a camp stove and some hot dogs or burgers to fry up as lounge. If you’re spending all day at the beach, this might be your best option.

Have fun at the beach this summer, and remember to bring everything you need to have a safe and enjoyable time!