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Nothing beats a relaxing day at the beach. It’s the perfect way to spend time with your family and get a little mental health time.  Whether it be for a couple of hours or the whole day, you can have a fabulous time if you plan accordingly.  Whether you’re just having time with friends, taking the kids or having a play date, you’ll want to be prepared. With that in mind, we’ve put together a guide of what to pack for a day at the beach.

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Get yourself a spacious beach bag, with enough room to house bulky items such as towels, blanket and bottles. You don’t want to be carrying an arm-full of items, especially if you’ve a long walk to the spot you wish to settle in for the day. A waterproof bag is a very practical choice for the beach as you will want your things to stay dry.

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12 Beach Bag Essentials

  • Sunscreen:  Who doesn’t love some color on sunny days?  However, we need to take care of our skin, especially with little ones.  One of the most important things to have on hand is to make sure there’s enough sunscreen for all. Even on a day where the weather looks overcast, you can still get a sunburn.  Even before you leave the house, make sure you put on at least one application.  Every couple of hours you should reapply.
  • Water:  A play date at the beach or even taking a stroll in the park can dehydrate you. Water is easy to pack and, if you have containers, you can usually refill at local waterholes or at a drinking fountain.  Staying hydrated can help you avoid sunstroke and other related illnesses. With increased sweating in the sun, we tend to lose a lot of fluids, so it’s important to drink moderate amounts of water often to avoid getting thirsty and therefore dehydrated.
  • Towels:  Whether you plan on getting wet or not, taking one towel per person is ideal.  No one wants to share a sweaty or wet towel.  If you plan on laying out in the sun, you may want to bring extra or have that beach blanket. Having different styled or decorated towels helps avoid the sibling fights that can occur.  Having a distinct blanket can also help identify your spot at the park or beach.

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  • Beach mat or blanket:  A beach mat or blanket is a practical choice  when going to the beach or park.  You can lay down, eat snacks and play games on an area you know is yours.  Also, if you are wet, it saves you from having to dry off on a very sandy towel. There are many different types from bamboo to waterproof mats and blankets that are all relatively inexpensive.
  • Food and snacks: Keep your energy levels up and your blood sugar levels sustained to avoid feeling weak and peckish. Not all beaches are equipped with plenty of amenities, so it’s always a good idea to pack some snacks. Fruit is a great option or anything else that doesn’t require preparation. If you’re taking sandwiches with you, remember that they may go soggy if not placed in a cool bag. A cooler is a fantastic way to carry all you food and water. We happen to love Wrigley’s Extra® gum. Did you know they now have a fabulous water proof, extended pack in several great flavors?  Great for throwing in a beach bag, purse of keeping on hand with 35 sticks to share. It helps to clear any after taste you may have from lunch or a dunk of sea water.  We picked up our pack at the Walmart checkout.

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  • Sun hats and sun glasses:  Eye damage can occur as well as sunburn on faces, sun hats are a must for young children in particular. In addition, hats keep you cooler and with the right hat, looking cool as well. You should choose a hat with a wide brim, so the side of your face and neck is protected too. Sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays and avoid squinting (which tends to lead to a headache) by packing a pair of UV protection sunglasses.
  • Games, books and toys: Stay entertained and busy with some well picked beach and park entertainment. A bucket and spade is always a winner for kids and if you’re on the right kind of beach, perhaps a net too. For older children and adults, a game of bat and ball, cricket or playing with a frisbee is a great way to have fun. For those who are wanting some quiet time, a nice book is a great way to keep entertained.  Also, if little ones are needing some down time, reading a story while lying on the blanket is a great way for little one to relax.
  • Umbrella: You are going to need some time in the shade.  A large, fabric sun umbrella is a fantastic way to get some shade while still enjoying the outdoors.  An umbrella is also a handy way to protect yourself from gusts of wind that can pop up.
  • Empty plastic bag: As the Scouts say, leave no trace behind.  Put your rubbish in your plastic bag and take away with you.  They are also good to keep your valuable dry and clean.
  • Cash: It’s always good to have some cash on hand for emergencies, parking or for a special ice cream treat!
  • Antiseptic cream and antibacterial hand gel:  Accidents may happen, nick from a shell, stumble in the park, etc., taking a small tube of antiseptic cream, you’ve the peace of mind of knowing any scrapes and scratches can be cleaned off. In addition, small bottle of antibacterial hand gel will ensure that everything is spit-spot and ready for handling food.
  • Camera:  Don’t miss those great moments! Bring that camera or your smartphone!

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Once your bag is packed, you’ve gotten off to a good start. Make sure to get on the road early and beat the traffic. You and yours are sure to have a great time.

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