SunscreenYou can forget just about anything else on this list and probably survive your day at the beach, but forget sunscreen... well, just don't!
Too much sun can not only damage and dry our skin over time, today it can cause a nasty sunburn and even death. Prevention seems to be the key here, so follow these tips:
- Avoid sun exposure during the hottest hours of the sun's rays (between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.).
- Apply sunscreen with a SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of at least 15, paying special attention to the face, nose, ears and shoulders.
- A sunscreen with a SPF of 30 more more should be used for children. Babies should not spend a lot of time in the sun, and your pediatrician should be consulted for babies under 6 months of age.
- Don't forget your lips. Bring along a lip balm with a SPF of 15 or more.
- An Aloe-based after-sun lotion is a great way to soothe your skin after a day in the sun.
It is equally important to recognize and carefully watch for the symptoms of sunburn and know how to apply first-aid. Remember that if you do get a sunburn, treat it seriously.
Cover-UpsSunglasses (with ultraviolet protection) and wide-brim hats are not just fashion accessories. They are must-have items to take along for added sun protection.
Everyone should consider bringing protective clothing. Even something as simple as a t-shirt can offer relief from the sun's rays. Babies under 6 months old should wear protective clothing, a brimmed sun hat and sunglasses to protect the eyes from harmful UV rays.
Bringing along or renting a beach umbrella is a great idea. It adds greater protection from the sun.
Beach TowelsWhat's a trip to the beach without beach towels? Each member of the family should have at least one and it's always a good idea to bring along extras.
ChairsChairs are certainly not a necessity when it comes to beach-going, but those that are made specifically for the beach are wonderful. The sit low to the ground and fold up neatly. Sometimes they even include a handy shoulder strap. Some beaches do rent beach chairs, but many do not.
Sand & Water ToysI'd like to say these are optional, but if you have kids, sand and water toys are a must. By nature, kids are active and love digging and building in the sand.
The standard shovels and pails and sand sifters are great for building sand castles and sifting for shells, but a few items from your kitchen including plastic cups in various sizes and large metal or wooden spoons are better than nothing.
Nerf balls and lightweight Frisbees (the canvas ones) are great for older children.
Bring along a plastic container to collect shells, and don't forget to leave the live ones on the beach.
Some public beaches will not allow floatation devices such as rafts, noodles or arm floats because they are not Coast Guard approved safety wear. Coast Guard approved life jackets are allowed and welcomed for young swimmers.
Drinks & SnacksWater, water, water. I'm not talking about the water you'll find at the beach. I'm talking about bringing plenty of drinking water for the entire family.
If the beach you are visiting allows coolers, this is a great way to keep your water cold and save money on snacks. Bring along fresh fruit, cold sandwiches and munchies like carrot sticks or celery.
Some beaches have concession stands. This is a nice alternative to bringing your own, but be prepared to probably spend lots of money.
CamerasDo bring a camera to preserve those sunny memories, but don't bring an expensive camera to the beach. You can purchase waterproof disposable cameras and there are now even disposable cameras for underwater use.