How to Pack the Perfect Beach Bag
The best way to ensure a relaxing day at the beach is to start with a little planning. Giving some thought to what to pack in a beach bag means you won’t get settled on the sand only to discover that your bottled water and sunscreen are back at your condo or hotel room. Following are some tips on how to pack the perfect beach bag, along with some other suggestions to keep your day stress-free.
Choose the Right Beach Bag
Pick a roomy bag with a lot of separate compartments so you can organize and separate things that are wet or covered with damp sand. It should also be lightweight, water-resistant, and machine-washable. If you have kids, you’ll probably want to pack a separate bag for them.
Pack Enough Towels
Include at least one per person. They’ll most likely be the bulkiest things you’ll tote, so pack them in the bottom of the bag, adding smaller items on top.
Don’t Forget the Sunscreen and Lip Balm
Choose SPF 30 sunscreen (this is the optimal strength — going higher doesn’t provide a lot of additional protection) and SPF 15 lip treatment. Insect repellent is also a good idea. Another suggestion from a veteran beach-goer is white vinegar for jellyfish stings. In fact, a small first aid kit is not a bad idea, especially if your group includes children.
Add Sunglasses and a Floppy Hat
For maximum sun protection, choose a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection. (Inexpensive ones are best, in case they get lost in the water, stepped on, sat on, or otherwise damaged.)
Pack a Cover-Up or Long-Sleeved Shirt
When you’re wet, even a slight breeze can feel chilly, and it’s no fun to sit and shiver. Don’t cut your beach trip short because you are uncomfortable.
Protect Valuables From Sand and Water
Plastic food storage containers and plastic zipper storage bags are ideal for keeping phones, keys, cash, photo IDs, and other necessities clean and dry.
Include Something To Read
Check out the Internet or your favorite bookstore for the season’s most popular beach reads. Now’s a great time to read one of those books everybody’s talking about or that novel you’ve been trying to get to for months.
Carry a Cooler for Water and Snacks
Choose a cooler that’s soft-sided and lightweight to keep drinks cold and snacks fresh in the heat.
For the Kids
Don’t forget the Frisbees, beach balls, and other toys to keep young beach-goers entertained. Inflatables can be carried deflated to save space and blown up at the beach.
About Chairs, Umbrellas, and Tents
Instead of lugging these bulky, heavy items, consider renting them if there’s a rental option at or near your destination. Many of the management companies listed on our site offer amenities packages that include free beach chair and umbrella service seasonally.
For great accomodations, restaurants, and other fun things to do while you’re at the beach, check out our Gulf Coast beach vacation rentals.