If you’re practically living at the beach these days, we’ve got a way to maximize those shoreline sessions and get you out the door in a flash. Just like we keep a spare set of toiletries packed and ready to go at all times for longer trips, we make sure to stash a fully stocked beach tote in our closets or by the back door, so that as soon as we get the “I was thinking of hitting the beach today” call, we’re in the car and on the road. Once we get home, we unpack the tote bag, rinse it out or wash it, and wash our cover-ups and towels. After everything dries, we repack the bag for our next trip.
Here’s our list of beach essentials, and how we get them ready:
- Pick up a sturdy indoor/outdoor tote. This weave is perfect for the beach, because sand, bugs, and other nasties can be rinsed away with a hose (a gentle bit of scrubbing with a soft brush and a mild detergent usually takes care of more stubborn stains) when you get home. We like a widemouth, single-compartment tote, because it allows us to pack it to the hilt.
- Choose a washable packing pouch or cosmetics case for stowing smaller items—like a wallet, car keys, lip balm (with SPF!), blotting papers, or reserve cell phone battery—that would otherwise roll around and get lost in the bottom of your bag. This can double as a cute clutch if you head out for post-sunning drinks or snacks.
- Roll up a lightweight, absorbent towel. We love this waffle-weave towel, which dries quickly after each use. If you prefer separate items for drying off and sitting on the sand, you can also pack a blanket or a 3’ x 5’ indoor/outdoor rug (alas, the latter will not fit in your beach tote, but it’s easy to transport under the arm in its rolled-up form).
- Find a good sunscreen. Of course you’ll want maximum protection (this goes double if you’re heading to the beach with kids), but we also favor sunscreens that contains mostly natural ingredients and that won’t make us break out or feel like a sticky, oily mess. This one from Supergoop! has just the right texture and consistency, and pretty good staying power.
- Up your style quotient with a cute cover-up, like this embroidered linen tunic, which fits in with this season’s breezy kaftan trend without making you look like you’re drowning in fabric. Don’t forget a great pair of sunnies; for the beach, look for sunglasses that not only have a fun shape, but that also have good coverage, including at least a slight wraparound on the sides.
- Hydrate and snack pack. Choose a BPA-free refillable water bottle, which won’t leach toxic chemicals into your water even if it sits on your beach towel, baking in the sun, for hours. We fill it halfway with ice and halfway with water, to ensure that it stays cold and refreshing for as long as possible. Since we don’t usually feel like eating heavy foods while out in the hot sun, we pack small, energy-enhancing snacks like organic granola bars and roasted almonds or walnuts (skip the salted variety; these will just make you more thirsty).
- Don’t forget the entertainment. Even if you’re heading to the shore with your best friends or your family, something about the beach calls for me time and quiet contemplation. We love an iPod or MP3 player stocked with favorite summer playlists. And can anything beat the feeling of digging your toes into the warm sand while reading a paperback? Hilary Liftin’s fizzy faux memoir, Movie Star by Lizzie Pepper, has kept us turning the pages lately.
Like what you see? Let’s go shopping:
Take it to the beach! Annie is giving one lucky reader a super-sized Fresh American Le Tote and ultra-cozy Pine Cone Hill Waffle towel—a combined value of $164—both in the colors of their choice! Check out the Rafflecopter entry form below for 4 easy ways to enter! Contest ends on Tuesday, August 11 at 11:59 p.m. EST. View the full details.
Congratulations to our winner, Maree from Illinois!
a Rafflecopter giveaway