beach vacation

Don’t grow up too quickly, lest you forget how much you love the beach. –Michelle Held
Nothing spells summer relaxation like the sound of the waves, or the gentle lapping of a lake against the shore as the morning fog gently lifts.

We all spend the colder months of the year dreaming about the warm sun, cool water, and gentle breezes found along beaches, from ocean shores to the edges of a lake. We get through the extra paperwork, muscle down to our homework and projects, and count down the days until we can sit back and relax all day on the beach.

Sure, we might fuss over if we are going to fit in our bathing suit, or bemoan the fact that we aren’t as tan as we were by the end of summer last year, but once we set foot onto the warm sands and dip our toes into the water, all those anxieties melt away. A beach can turn even the oldest curmudgeon into a grinning child, ready to build sandcastles or kick back in a canopy beach chair and watch the sunset.

So make sure to double up on the sunblock, pack plenty of water, and don’t forget to include an extra ounce of relaxation: the beaches await. In fact, you’d better grab a copy of our printable beach checklist to ensure you have everything you need for a day in the sand and surf.

You’ll Have a Great Time for Shore

It doesn’t matter if your favorite beach is by the edge of the Atlantic or curled up in a hidden cove along the shores of a small lake, there is something so freeing about spending time along the edge of the water.

Your beach can be made of sand, pebbles, or even bits of seashells like Sand Beach in Acadia National Park; the water can be fresh or salt; and the weather can range from the blistering heat of Florida to the cool waters off Cape Cod. No matter where in the world you end up, the beach is always calling to you, coaxing you towards relaxation and rejuvenation under a warm sky.

While going to the beach may not feel like a grand adventure like climbing a mountain or running a marathon, that doesn’t mean you should be any less prepared for your day of relaxation and fun than you would be when starting out on any journey of exploration.

Depending on where you find yourself, you may end up bringing more along with you, like kayaks, boats, surfboards, and water skis, not to mention pool floats and even an inflatable paddleboard, if you so chose, but these all depend on how grand of an adventure you have in mind. Of course, you will need a good beach wagon for sand to carry it all. Before you look into these beach fun add-ons, it’s a good idea to make sure you have the basics covered. Otherwise you might find that your day on the beach becomes an unexpected trek through the desert.

What To Have On Sand, Er, Hand

Everyone can remember their mother telling them to make sure they put on sunscreen before going outside, and unless you were the perfect child, we all know what it’s like to ignore that warning and end up redder than a lobster before the sun goes down. So listen to your mother and make sure to pack plenty of sunscreen before heading to the beach.

Even a cloudy or overcast day at the beach can leave you in for a severe burn, and even though the sun might not feel that hot now, the UV rays can leave you sore for a while afterwards. You want to make sure you have at least an SPF of 25 on your sunscreen, and want to be sure to apply a half hour before getting in the water to give it time to dry. For more sensitive skin, rash guards and sun hats can help take some of the pressures of the sun’s rays off of you, leaving you to enjoy the wonderful weather without feeling like you’ve been left in the oven too long.

Another important thing to bring with you is water. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t drink sea water, and even if you are swimming on the shores of silver lake, the last thing you want to do is take in a big gulp. Be sure to bring plenty of liquids to hydrate you on the beach (long island iced teas don’t count as hydrating, unfortunately), otherwise you can put yourself at risk for heat stroke.

Now, who doesn’t love a picnic on the beach? Making sure you have plenty of fuel to help keep you on your toes is the key part of any beach adventure, just watch out for seagulls! You’ll also want to bring a windproof beach umbrella or other shade device like a beach tent or pop up canopy to give yourself a place to relax out of the sun. And, of course, even if you don’t have any children along with you on your trip, no one can resist the draw of building a sand castle or two. You can find some unique “construction tools” to help you build the sandcastle of your dreams in a cinch, and a few beach balls will help make you the center of the party on the beach.

No matter if you’re looking to relax and enjoy the sunshine, use a metal detector, or want to dive into the waves, it’s always a good idea to bring a first-aid kit with you, and to pay attention to the weather before hand. If you find yourself heading towards the coast, be sure to keep an eye out for the tides, and bring along flotation devices if you are going to venture onto any form of water craft, or if you’re bringing along younger explorers. And make sure everyone has a good pair of water shoes to give them the footing they need.

So pack up the car, turn up the tunes, and mosey on down to the nearest beach. Summer is waiting.