There are many good reasons to choose the beach as a vacation destination. A cooler, a beach umbrella, and a good lightweight blanket are essentials. Beach towels are fun, but expensive! Brightly colored bath towels at the discount store are your best friend! A sunscreen with a rating of SPF30 – SPF50 is recommended by most dermatologists. Depending on how active your family is, reapply every hour or two hours to assure the best effectiveness. Look for sunscreens that also contain ingredients to block UVA rays. These rays can cause aging damage to skin as well as toughening. Even under that umbrella, the sun will find you! So reapply, reapply, reapply!
Plastic buckets, shovels, a beach ball, and sand screens are good play toys. These items are usually found for not much money at local discount stores. Don’t get taken in by all those fancy “can’t be without it” beach toys! Children will be more encouraged to run and play creatively with minimum toys and maximum space! The handle of a plastic shovel, a stick or a piece of driftwood, a shell, and yes, fingers are good tools for digging, scooping, and drawing in the sand. Encourage your child to draw pictures in the sand and watch the tide as it washes those pictures away. How far up on the beach can they draw pictures before the tide reaches them? How deep before it takes more than one wave to wash it away?
Let children draw a picture in the wet sand, or put the date of the visit, even add their name, and then take a photo that will be a reminder of them and the fun they had. Years from now you will be able to remember how old they were in the photo and family who inherit those photos will know who that kid on the beach was!
“Burying” someone on the beach is a time honored and fun activity. Just exercise caution. Instead of digging down into the sand, have the person lie on the sand and then cover them over, but not so much that they cannot break free.
Hydrate!!! Be sure you have plenty of water for everyone to drink. Dehydration can hasten the burn factor for skin and can interfere with brain function. Refillable water bottles, kept full with larger containers of water in your cooler, are a great idea! Minimize soft drinks and alcohol while at the beach. Those drinks will dehydrate you and that’s not healthy!
Pack some finger size snacks in your cooler. Fresh veggies, fresh fruit, cheese cubes and crackers are fun and easy to pack. Pack in containers and keep in your cooler or an insulated bag. Minimize the mess by using small plastic makeup bags for holding snacks. These can be washed and reused many times.
Names on the bags with permanent markers will keep “ownership” arguments to a minimum as well.
Finally, be sure to take home whatever you brought. Recycle responsibly so that others will be able to enjoy their day at the beach, too!
William Schoellkopf is a vacationist from Wisconsin who enjoys outdoors. In his recent write-up he talks about his experience and suggestions.