Tips to Plan and Prepare For a Day at the Beach

Spontaneous trips to the beach can be had, we do it often living next to the Pacific Ocean, but if you're planning to spend a significant amount of time sunning, swimming, and playing outdoors on the sand and in the water it's best to be prepared with everything you need.

Sun protection

Frolicking outside for any substantial amount of time, particularly between 10 and 2 p.m., partially clothed, on the beach and in the water, protecting your largest organ from burn is very important. If you don't, you're in for a miserable day and night. Too much sun without any sort of defense and relief can contribute to dehydration and serious burns, even death under severe conditions. Protection is necessary. Always have a backup.

Sunscreens and lotions are one obvious solution and with various options on the market, you should have no problem finding products that work for each family member.

sun protection

Clothing and accessories

Shielding your skin from the elements is a universal need no matter where you are located. Even on gloomy days, the sun's rays can penetrate through the cloud cover when you don't think it can. It does. Besides sunscreen, there is UPF protective clothing available to cover a range of body parts for everyone and with all different levels of UPF protection. Some of the clothing objects are water-resistant and waterproof keeping the users comfortable. Don't forget to bring your swimwear.

Sunglasses and hats are perfect accessories to wear during your day at the beach. Besides being compact and small, they're easy to pack. For your head, scalps do burn, and neck protection bring a hat with a wide brim all the way around and fabric that offers UPF protection. Polarized glasses with 100% UV protection are best.

Shade providing gear

Other non-essential gear items may include an umbrella or shelter, if there are no trees around. Both these items give some relief from the heat and provide a larger space to place blankets and chairs. Obviously, these items are bulkier and take up more space when packing not to mention you'll need to lug these items to the shore.

Some beaches on lakes, rivers, and oceans have rocky shores and bottoms so it might make sense to wear water shoes in these locations to prevent lacerations and help keep you from slipping.

Food and water

Do I even need to mention this? Water is an essential item that we all need, and lots of it while spending time outdoors recreating. Pack a picnic lunch, with more food and snacks than you think you'll need, to energize your troops. Sandwiches, cut veggies, dips, and fresh fruit are my go to items. Pack a cooler of refreshments for the entire day. Some of my favorites are frozen grapes, strawberries, watermelon, and oranges.

beach fun


Keep it simple and swim in the water, dig holes and build primitive sand castles with your hands. No gear necessary. Or bring more stuff. Make sure to have the entire family help carry.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Boating / sailing

  • Kayaking

  • Stand-up paddleboards

  • Surfing

  • Kites

  • Frisbee

  • Bocce ball (this is a fantastic game to play on a sandy beach)

  • Buckets and shovels

  • Football

Bring your sense of adventure and positive attitude

Obviously, planning for any sort of large adventure can be hectic, but being patient is important. Divide and conquer. Assign tasks to each family member. Have one-person load the car and another person do food prep and pack the cooler. A day at the beach is meant to be fun. Don't worry too much about the planning and just focus on the fun day ahead with family and friend and the great outdoors.

posted by
Traci Lehman
Blogger at Walk Simply
Traci Lehman is an IT Analyst by trade and when she's not in the office she shares her walking and outdoor adventures on Walk Simply. Based in Southern California, Traci hopes to inspire others to go outside, enjoy the little things, and view our world up-close. Follow along on her adventures and keep up on her newest contributions here, on her own blog or on Twitter.
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