Beach day essentials

Having the perfect beach day sounds like a breezy feat, hypothetically. But without the right essentials, a sunny day at the beach can leave you with bad sunburns, grainy sandwiches, and more. Avoid all that and more with our DIY beach hack guide.

And if you like our advice but would prefer less of a DIY experience, check out our shopping list below for easier solutions.

Beach day tips

Utilize the fitted sheet hack

Beach towels are helpful for drying off after a swim, or if you just want to lie by the shore taking up minimal space. But if you’re having a group hang or laying out a picnic spread, spreading out a fitted sheet with heavy items tucked in each corner will stop you from finding grains of sand in your sandwich and soda.

Place valuables in an empty sunscreen bottle

Getting pickpocketed at the beach isn’t a pleasant thing to think about, but it’s a reality of many shoreside outings. Protect your cash, phone and other important valuables inside an unsuspecting but clean sunscreen bottle. You can also inconspicuously keep a few dollars rolled up an empty Chapstick tube.

Make your own beach tent

There’s only so far that an umbrella can get you when it comes to staying cool and shaded during your beach day. With just a shower curtain, wood block, tent stakes, nylon rope and PCV materials, you can forge your own beach canopy. Instructions can easily be found online for both frame and shade process.

Remove sand with baby powder

Talcum powder is a foolproof way to keep your skin smooth, but it can also help out sand being stuck in unsavory places. Whether it’s stuck on to a sensitive spot or you happen to be trailing sand into your car on the way home, rubbing baby powder over sandy areas will make grains fall off with ease.

Chill sunscreen the night before

High SPF sunscreen is a must when it comes to protecting yourself from harmful UV rays at the beach, but it can also feel unbearably oily and sticky on hot days. Refrigerating your SPF in the fridge for a few hours before for a more refreshing sunscreen application that you won’t dread slathering on from head to toe.

Prep aloe vera ice cubes

We all know that sunscreen is essential, but it’s still possible to get burned, even if you do prep beforehand. There’s nothing worse than slathering on warm aloe vera that’s been sitting in the sun. Instead, freeze aloe vera in an ice cube tray and pop them out right before your beach trip for soothing relief.

Freeze drinks the night before

Since you probably already have a cooler for food, skip the heavy beverage cooler and remember to freeze your drinks instead. Frozen sodas and juices don’t require ice-packs, which saves space and ensures you have an icy drink waiting for you on the shore.

Create a pocketed beach towel

Purchase a cheap, oversized beach towel and sew pockets into the bottom. Many of us waste precious time at the beach rummaging through unorganized beach bags for books, spilled sunscreen, or headphones with these easy, compartmentalized solution.

Hold beach toys and accessories in a mesh laundry hamper

A tote bag might be necessary for more fragile items, but swapping a larger mesh laundry hamper provides a structured container feel while leaving the sand at the beach, not in your car.

Keep your phone in a plastic bag

It won’t be the most stylish, but your touch screen will still work. This hack is reliable if you don’t want to splurge on an expensive waterproof phone case, or, in a worst case scenario, a new phone.

Fix broken flip-flops with bread clips

Instead of buying a new pair of sandals every time the strap attachment pops out, clip a bread tag on the bottom of the sandal where the attachment is.

Ultimate beach day shopping list

Waterproof Phone Case

like this one by Joto

Navigating your phone through the lens of a plastic bag can be frustrating – especially for selfies. Instead, invest in a waterproof case like this one by Joto which comes with a neck strap for safekeeping.

Beach tent

Coleman Compact Shade Shelter

Working on a DIY beach tent can be fun when you have the time and resources to dedicate to it,  but a pre-made one ensures the perfect shade shelter for you on every beach adventure. Start out with one one like the Coleman Compact Shade Shelter, which provides an oasis on a budget.

Mesh tote

heavy duty bag

This combines the best of our mesh laundry hack and the traditional beach tote for a reasonable price point. Water and sand don’t faze this heavy duty bag which is mildew resistant, waterproof, and washable. It has tons of puffed out compartments to hold valuables, cards, and other items that need to be accessed easily.

After-Sun Lotion

Amara Organics

When choosing what aloe vera to freeze for your ice cubes, choose an organic formula that is pure. Or nearly pure, with no artificial additives and a glide-on feel. Try our favorite version by Amara Organics, made from 99.75% cold pressed aloe vera.

Thermal Food Bag

Chillout Tote by Rachael Ray

These bags keep everything icy for a long time, but still look like a tote. They’re less bulky to carry around than a cooler, and are versatile for future grocery shopping trips.  Thanks to super-foam insulation, a therma-flect barrier, and antimicrobial protection, this Chillout Tote by Rachael Ray is the ultimate lightweight summer accessory.


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Naima Karp writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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