Packing the Perfect Beach Bag
Cynthia Bogart
Packing the Perfect Beach Bag
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So many of us are heading to the beach, a lake or a river this summer—anywhere where we can cool down! I used to tend to over pack when taking my crew out for a day of water fun. I mean, what happens if I forget something? Will it ruin our entire day? Will I have to trek all the way back to the parking lot, get into the car and drive to get ‘it’?

Thus, a few years ago, I made a Beach Bag List and a Master Beach Wagon List. I just pulled it out for this summer and thought I would share it with you. I have refined it down to the ‘what we absolutely need and nothing else’ categories. I realized I did not need two changes of clothing for each kid, food for a week, and every beach toy in the store. Now when we go to the beach or the lake, it’s not a major production and it’s ACTUALLY fun!

The Beach Bag List

This is my basic bag whether I am going alone, or with my entire clan and friends.

    • Paperback books I don’t bring hard covers (too heavy) or my Kindle.  I don’t want to worry about my Kindle being stolen should I decide to swim or walk.  I’d worry and besides, the beach should be a vacation from electronics.
    • Money & Valuables I bring only the ‘need to have’ stuff.  One credit card, some cash for drinks, entrance to the beach, and my driver’s license.  If I lose my purse or it is stolen, no biggie. I can cancel one card and get a new license, but I could never replace my real wallet that holds my entire life in it. I never bring jewelry to the beach—if I loose an earring, fat chance I’ll ever find it in the sand.
    • Sunscreen, SPF 30 or higher Tons of it, and a tube of aloe vera as well… just in case someone gets too much sun too quickly.
    • T-shirts I bring extra
    • Wipes and paper towels
    • Sunglasses

The Master Beach Wagon List

Now for the all-day beach list.  This is when I am packing for husband, kids, kids’ friends, and my folks.

  • Beach dolly This is the master element. When we’re going for a day or we have a big crowd coming, I load up our beach wagon. It holds a ton and is great for keeping things organized at the beach.
  • Large beach blanket I could buy a cool snappy one, but I use an old quilt that is softly worn from years of being sat on in the sand.
  • Towels After all, we are at the water! I bring extra.
  • Picnic Hamper I load this up with easy-to-eat foods like sandwiches, fruit, packaged cookies, nuts. Anything that doesn’t require utensils and is not a sand magnet works.
  • Cooler Only if we’re going for the entire day. If we are going to a place that has a concession stand, I let the kids get fountain sodas.
  • Umbrella Get a good umbrella or you will fry at the beach! It will make the difference between having a good time at the beach or a hot time.
  • Beach chairs I always bring chairs. Always! And I have one with MY name on it.
  • Beach toys for everyone The kids need the buckets and shovels, and my husband and the older kids need their games. Making sand castles is a great past time for all of them to do together. My family loves frisbee, beach bocce ball, beach balls, swimming gear, boogie boards, and skim boards. The big rule is that everyone carries their own toys. Not Mom.

What’s the best part of being at the beach besides the sun, fresh air, relaxation, and cooling by the water’s edge? It’s being with my family and friends. Where else can you relax with all the everyday distractions removed and just ‘be’?

- Cindy

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Leave Your Thoughts (3 Comments)

  1. Kate Smith ·

    You are a pro beach bum! I may just have to find my way over to your sandy beach in RI. Thanks for the great post!

    • cynthia at the daily basics ·

      THAT would be so much fun! You are invited!

  2. Dave ·

    Thanks for the great suggestions. I’m going to be beachin’ it this summer as much as I can!