Every summer for as long as I can remember my family and I took a trip to the Jersey shore every year. We would pack up the car with everything we needed and drove 2 hours to Ocean City, New Jersey. As a kid, I would pack items to keep me entertained for hours at a time and ensured that I would never be bored. Looking back, I honestly packed too many items that were unnecessary and just added to the clutter in the car and hotel room.
Now that I am an adult, I still visit the Jersey shore each summer but I have now become more refined with the items that I bring with me in my suitcase and beach bag. Packing a beach bag is somewhat of fine art. If you pack too little, you’ll end up missing things that you really needed for your trip, or if you pack too much, you’ll spend more time rifling through your beach bag to find your sunscreen than you will actually enjoy the beach!
Over the years I like to think that I perfected my beach bag and all the items that I bring with me to the beach. I can be ready to go and packed in a matter of minutes because I keep a list of everything that I should bring. So whether you are planning a day trip to the beach or a long vacation, here are some essentials that you’ll need to bring along to make your time in the sand more enjoyable.
If you are going outside, no matter if it is to the beach or for a walk around your neighborhood, you should always wear sunscreen. I can’t express how important it is to wear the proper SPF to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays that can burn you. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, you need to be using sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, which will block out 97% of the sun’s UVB rays. Also, remember to reapply the sunscreen every two hours when outdoors, even on cloudy days.
In my beach bag, I bring multiple types of SPF to protect myself. One made especially for my face with less oil, one for my lips to protect them from sunburn, and a large bottle that to use on my legs, arms, and torso. You can also buy eco-friendly sunscreen that is ocean safe, protects the coral reefs, and your skin!
When I was a teenager, my summer job was being a lifeguard at a local waterpark in my town. I learned the importance of sunscreen and drinking water. I knew water was important, but I had no idea how necessary it was to stay hydrated in extremely hot weather. So when I go to the beach, I make sure to bring 2 bottles filled with ice and cold water.
It would be best to use a reusable thermal bottle that will keep the contents inside the bottle cold throughout the entire day. No one likes drinking hot water, so be sure to keep the bottle out of direct sunlight. Stay hydrated all day long by always packing a big bottle of water or two and sipping on it throughout the day.
As a kid, I loved spending my time at the beach by playing in the ocean and building sandcastles. I never understood why my mom always brought a book to read when there were so many other fun activities that she could be doing. Now that I am older, I understand why she reads at the beach because it’s relaxing as hell. This year was the first time I brought a book to the beach because one, I was very invested in the motivational book and two, I wanted to be able to tan, listen to the wave, and read all at the same time.
I loved reading on the beach and I don’t know why I haven’t done this sooner! I also made sure to bring some magazines to read, but I ended up reading them in the car while my mom was driving us home.
Something I have learned over the years is that I dislike laying on a tiny towel, aka a beach towel that is exactly the length that I am. I enjoy being able to spread out on the towel and have room for all my belonging and myself. Bringing an oversized towel with you in your beach bag will surely make your life better.
You should also make sure to have a towel that is easily recognizable and will stand out when there are crowds of people on the beach. My towel is a giant round towel that looks like a brightly colored beach ball. I love laying on it and I can always find it!
An important item that most people forget about to bring with them in their beach bag is a waterproof pouch of some sort. How many times have you had food in your bag get everywhere or a water bottle cap comes undone, or even worse, the sunscreen lip pops off and wreaks havoc on the inside of your bag? I have had these things happened to me and I have learned to always bring a waterproof pouch with me to the beach.
The pouch will hold dry items like my phone, wallet, keys, earbuds, bobby pins, sunglasses, and hair ties. It’s a nightmare trying to find these smaller items in the depths of a beach tote, so I find keeping all these items contained in an area as well to reduce the stress.
When I am packing my beach bag for a day in the sand, I like to bring a cover-up with me. I wear my swimsuit all day long but when I have to go up to the boardwalk or the bathrooms, I like to wear a cover-up over top of my bikini. Your cover-up can be a thin sundress, a scarf you can tie around your waist, or a kimono.
The trend of wearing a kimono as a swimsuit cover-up has grown in recent years. It’s because they are so easy to wear and lightweight to carry in your beach bag when you don’t want to have it on. It is so easy to throw on when you want to go into shops or grab some pizza without feeling exposed in just a bikini.
What items do you bring with you to the beach?