School’s out – or will be any minute now. The weather’s hot. The sun, sand and water await. Whether you’re sticking close or heading on a road trip, here are some items ready to pack for a day at the beach:
Waterproof phone pouch
A good idea for those heading to the beach or water. We spotted one by Travelon at Bed Bath & Beyond for $9.99. It’s designed with an air- and water-tight closure; controls operate through surface. It comes with a carry strap and a foam insert that allows it to float. There are pouches for eReaders and iPads, too. See www.bedbathandbeyond.com.
Great beach bag
There are many options from which to choose, but here is one that caught our eye: the Summer Tote at Barnes & Noble. It is fashioned with a basket-weave pattern and comes in a choice of three vibrant color combinations that scream summer. It’s made of polypropylene so it can be easily cleaned with a damp cloth. The 14-by-17-by-7 tote is priced at $17.95 in store and online at BN.com.
Rash guards in UPF fabrics provide surfers and anyone else with extra coverage from the sun. Lands’ End (landsend.com) offers them for all members of the family, including a zip-front style for women in a pretty hibiscus pattern and a long-sleeve swim tee rash guard in blue-and-white stripes. As Oprah writes in the July issue of O the Oprah magazine: “Long sleeves for swimming? It cracks me up, but apparently it’s a thing.”
Or, more precisely, the Grand Trunk Parasheet from L.L. Bean. Reviewers – and budgettravel.com – love this thing. Here’s the description: “Made from nylon parachute silk that remains cool to the touch even on hot summer days, it features corner pockets that can be staked down or filled with sand to keep the blanket from blowing away. Easy to clean – shake it once and sand flies off – and dries in minutes.” Plus it comes in a pretty turquoise/sky blue combination and a choice of single or double sizes, $24.95 and $39.95. See www.llbean.com.
A must. ShopSmart magazine lists its seven Smart Picks in the July issue: Banana Boat Ultra Defense Max Skin Protect SPF 110 (spray); Bullfrog Water Armor Sport Instacool SPF 50+ (spray); Neutrogena Ultimate Sport SPF 70+ (lotion); Up & Up (Target) Sport SPF 50 (spray); Well at Walgreens Sport SPF 50 (spray); Coppertone Water Babies SPF 50 (lotion), and Equate (Walmart) Ultra Protection SPF 50 (lotion). The four-page article explains why the testers like the Smart Picks and also offers tips on applying sunscreen, decoding label claims and more.
Many mister options are out there for when you want to cool off but not get up and jump in the lake. One of them – MistyMate 3 oz. Hand-Held Personal Mister spotted on www.brookstone.com – works with a hand pump (no batteries). Priced $14.99 each or two for $25 for you and your beach buddy.
Along with your properly applied sunscreen, a big-brim hat will help protect you from the sun. Plus, you’ll look glamorous – especially with shades that come with UVA and UVB protection, another beach essential. Tilley offers hats rated UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) of 50+ in a variety of styles, fabrics and colors. Visit www.tilley.com for buying information.
You can keep it simple – a gauzy cover-up in a solid neutral, perhaps, or a beachy white one with a bit of embroidery. You can go sporty – a big cotton shirt, a T-shirt and shorts or a striped zip-front cover-up with a hood. Or you can go glam – from sarongs to long loose dresses. Shopathome.com reminds us that while a tank and shorts will do, you never know when you may want something a little dressier – especially if the beach party moves into the evening. Its recent recommendation: A pretty, patterned long caftan, perhaps in a crinkly fabric so you don’t have to worry about the wrinkles.
For those who take their kick-back time at the beach very seriously comes the Beach Lounger Pack Chair with Speakers and Digital Amplifier from Brookstone. The lightweight aluminum frame chair features two attached thermal coolers, umbrella, detachable tote bag, pillow, storage compartment, two speakers and a digital amplifier that operates on batteries. Then, when it’s time to return to reality, the whole thing folds up like a piece of luggage on wheels. Price $299.99. Of course there are many more beach chair options out there – including many with protective canopies – but we couldn’t resist telling you about this one. Read more and watch a video at www.brookstone.com.
What’s a trip to the beach without some toys – no matter your age? We spotted a colorful beach toy set at Party City for just $2.99. It includes a pail, shovel, sand sifter and more. Also recommended: Budgettravel.com suggested a deck of beach-friendly playing cards a few years back; the Invisible Playing Cards are made of transparent PVC so they are easy to clean. You can find them for $8 at momastore.org. The designer is Peter Woudt.