I’ve always loved the beach. Growing up in Chicago, I spent my summers daydreaming about living in a place where the waves could actually roll in bigger than the ones in Lake Michigan. I would lay out on North Avenue ‘Beach’ and pretend I was where the weather felt like summer all the time.
I was a beach bum at heart. And finally, years later, I chased my dream of living by the ocean.
Now I live in Southern California, less than 100 feet from the water. If I sit quietly outside in the dead of night, I can hear the waves crashing into the shore. I have a permanent towel bag tucked over the bench chair in my backyard filled with sunscreen, my favorite beach reads, and an extra pair of flip flops. And my hair always smells faintly of salt water.
There are certain things you learn when you live by the ocean, tips and tricks to make your life easier. As summer comes around—regardless of whether you live by the ocean, or are just visiting—there is a bit of beach bum within all of us.
Here are some life hacks to make your trips to the water a bit easier.
1. Get a towel rack that actually dries and prevents the spread of bacteria.
One of the most essential beach bum life hacks is to invest in a towel rack that will actually keep your towel(s) clean and dry between each use. This Airfold towel rack is pretty revolutionary. Unlike traditional racks or hooks that keep the edges of your towel pressed together, this rack creates space to promote quicker drying and less bacteria-fostering dampness.
The design of the Airfold is simple; it creates gaps for easy drying. The company’s goal is to create a sustainable product that will increase a towel’s freshness, while simultaneously reducing the amount of washing machine loads. It’s definitely a yes for anyone who heads to the beach multiple times per week.
[Click here to check out the Kickstarter and be the first to order the new and innovative towel rack!]
2. Use baby powder on your feet (before and after).
You may have heard of baby powder as a life hack for stinky feet. While this is true, baby powder is also used in other ways, especially for beach-goers.
Before you head to the beach, toss a little in your shoes. This will keep your feet fresh and dry, remove odor when you take them off at the beach, and also help the sand from sticking. This is great, especially if you’re getting into someone’s car after leaving the beach—less of a sandy mess!
[Click here to get some hypoallergenic, aloe and vitamin E-infused baby powder.]
3. If you’re going to drink, don’t be obvious about it.
While day drinking on the beach isn’t for everyone (and isn’t legal in a lot of places FYI), if you’re going to do it, it’s best to do so conspicuously.
Getting an alcohol flask is a great way to be incognito. There are flasks that actually disguise as something else, for example this sunscreen flask that actually looks like a bottle of Hawaiian Islands 30 Proof.
There are also water bottles that you can actually hide a beer in, like the Bottle Keeper, that removes the issue of having to spill the drink into another container because it simply screws in the bottom.
4. Pack lunches/snacks and invest in an insulated cooler.
If you’re planning a beach day, chances are, you’re going to be there for a least one mealtime. Rather than binging on expensive (and often unhealthy food) keep up with your healthy eating goals and save your wallet by packing food. And if you’re going to pack food (which you should) then you need somewhere smart to store it so it doesn’t get warm or bad while you’re in the sun.
There are portable containers literally built to make your beach life easier. This set of six stack-able containers has three different sections for anything from dips and chips to sandwiches and sides.
This cooler can hold multiple containers, plus has side pockets for drinks and dry snacks. While there’s much to be said about bringing a large cooler (especially if you have a large group) this can often be cumbersome and difficult to transport. You’ll also want to avoid anything with wheels, too, because that’s a nightmare to roll on the sand.
Something lightweight, shoulder-friendly, and can hold a lot is exactly what you’re looking for in a beach cooler.
5. Lather, rinse, then repeat.
As much as people say, ’Oh, my burn will just turn into a tan,’ the burn is miserable and really unhealthy for your skin.
When you’re planning on being at the beach for the day, don’t be foolish. Get sunscreen that will protect your face and body (purchasing a special brand for your face helps!) and make sure you lather both before and after you get in the water.
The initial lather will protect you when you get there, and the post-water lather will protect your now wet and more sun-attracting skin. It’s best to reapply often, too, about every 45 minutes to an hour. You’d rather be safe than sorry!
[Click here for the best face sunscreen (in a cheaper 2-pack!).]
Now You’re Ready To Beach!
Ever since I was a little girl, the beach has been close to my heart. My family would take trips to Florida, California, and to lakes (that I would pretend were the ocean). I was always drawn to the cool water, the grit of rocks and sand beneath my feet, and how the sun would bake the salt into my skin.
Whether you’re like me and a beach bum at heart, growing up far away and always dreaming of the ocean waves, or are blessed to have lived in a beach-side place all your life, there are a few tricks to enjoying your time without the hassle.
At the end of the day remember this: sunscreen, a good attitude, and a clean towel are all you really need.
Featured Image Credit: Andrea Vehige