Summer beach gear

By April Hall
Info Guru,

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man wearing sunglasses
Pack up for fun in the summer sun
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Summer is the perfect time to head to the beach with your friends and family. The weather is just right for; swimming in the warm water, getting some relaxing sun, and maybe curling up with the latest summer read. Before you head off to the nearest beach for a fun weekend, however, you are going to want to have the necessary summer beach gear to make your time in the sun safe as well as fun.

Start with the sunscreen

You'll want to make sure that you've liberally applied sunscreen that has an SPF of 15 or higher as soon as you arrive at the beach. applying sunscreen is a quick and simple way to show your loved ones that you care about the long term health of their skin. Talk with your dermatologist to find out what SPF is right for your skin tone, because fairer skin may need a higher SPF.

Add some shades and a good book

The sun that makes a day at the beach so amazing can be hard on your eyes. Be sure to pick up a good pair of sunglasses before you hit the sand. Not only will they protect your eyes from the sun's glare, and the delicate skin around your eyes from sun damage, but they may be saving your eyes from cataracts years down the road. Self-adjusting or photochromic sunglasses will provide the perfect amount of protection as you move from shade to sun or from indoors to outside.

And as for the book…

What would a day at the beach be without a great beach book? Look for something light and enjoyable for a beach read. The beach is probably not the place to try and get through War and Peace. Instead, think action, adventure, or romance. If you wear glasses to read, magnifying sunglasses may be just the thing for you. You'll have all the protection your eyes need, and you won't miss a word of that new thriller.

Fun out of the sun

Another fun, and possibly glamorous, way to take care of your skin at the beach is to purchase a fun beach umbrella. These umbrellas can be a display of your personality, and children will love picking one out. A colorful umbrella is also an easy way for everyone in your party to find your meeting point in the midst of the crowds at the beach.

If you want to enjoy the sun, and still protect your face, a portable face shade might be the answer. Look for a lightweight, adjustable unit that lets you move the shade as the sun moves.

Kick back in a comfortable beach chair

If you are heading to the beach to enjoy a relaxing time of reading, or you just enjoy spending time gazing at the water and napping, then picking out a comfy beach chair is of ultimate importance.

Beach chairs today come in a variety of styles: some fold up into backpacks which can carry all of your summer beach gear, while others fold flat for easy storage and handling. Decide if you want an upright version or more of a lounge. Opt for a well made version…the initial cost will be more than paid back in convenience and comfort as the summer goes on.

You also may want to consider buying several beach chairs if you have a large crew. Nothing can cause animosity faster between two exhausted loved ones than when one person is enjoying a comfy lounge chair and the other is left to sprawl in the hot sand.

Keeping the cold stuff cold

Another important necessary addition to your summer beach gear is a durable cooler. While you're out having fun in the water, or playing beach volleyball, you're expending a lot of fluids, and a good cooler is a convenient way to always keep cold drinks on hand. Fill your cooler with water bottles and electrolyte-rich drinks so it's easy to stay hydrated. To prevent dehydration at the beach and continue having a great time, knowing how much water to drink is an integral part. Make sure that you keep an eye on young children. Their thirst indicators are not as developed as adults, so they don't always recognize when they need to drink.

Other beach stuff you don't want to forget:
  • Beach towels – one for each person plus one or two extras for the drive home if someone's towel is soggy
  • Beach blanket – this can be a special blanket designed for the beach, or just an old quilt, blanket or even a king sized sheet
  • Flip-flops or sandals – yes, the sand will be hot, and no you will not want to put on sneakers or other shoes every time you go to grab a snack, hunt for shells or play Frisbee
  • Change for parking meters and soda machines – change machines don't always work and beachside shops won't provide change without a purchase
  • Toys – Beach buckets, shovels, Frisbees and such go a long way to keeping kids happy when they need to take a break from swimming
  • Snacks – Beach area snack bars and restaurants tend to be expensive, so be sure to bring some basic snacks. Chips, granola bars, cookies, and dried fruit are good choices. Avoid candy (it melts!) or anything that is sticky unless you like sand with your snack.
And never forget

The most important thing to take to the beach this summer is the recognition that things may not always go perfectly while you are there. Kids may wiggle away before you completely cover them with sunscreen, your perfect beach chair may end up being really complicated to fold up, your umbrella may tear, and your cooler may leak.

If you learn to stay relaxed at the beach, no matter what happens, you'll find it doesn't matter in the least if you have the latest gadgets to accompany you. Enjoy the time you have with your loved ones and enjoy the beauty of the water while you have the time to do so.

Happy beach day!

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