When you’re planning a family trip to the beach, you probably pack with kids in mind. An adult beach day requires a different set of items though, so it’s time to trade in your kids’ toys for card games, beach sports, music, liquor, and more. Here’s how to pack for an grown-up day by the water.
What basics to pack for a day at the beach
Of course, there are the staples: Beach towels, sunscreen, water bottle, sunglasses, and food. Travel blog The Savvy Globetrotter breaks down the essentials pretty well, including the obvious bathing suit, flip flops, ID, and cash for parking or buying ice cream or drinks. You’ll also want a beach blanket separate from your beach towel (the more towels, the better, usually), and beach chairs if you want some back support. Other essentials include a source of shade, whether an umbrella or canopy.
What to bring to the beach for entertainment
Although drinking on the beach is usually prohibited, some beaches allow alcohol, so make sure you research alcohol-friendly beaches in your area if that’s something you’re looking for. Pack a cooler that’s easy to transport and plan to transfer your drinks from their bottles into plastic or other non-glass containers in advance, as glass bottles aren’t permitted on most beaches. Bring chasers or something to mix your drinks, too.
For games, modern classics like Cards Against Humanity or Joking Hazard create funny stories and all your friends likely know how to play by now. If you have athletic types, bring a volleyball, frisbee, football, or cornhole. Spike ball is relatively new and might need some explaining to your friends, so if you plan to play it, send them a link to the site for instructions in advance.
Also, bring a first aid kit. Lifeguards will have the heavy-duty stuff, but a small kit with bandages and alcohol wipes can go a long way for minor accidents. Other miscellaneous items include bluetooth speakers, external batteries for your phone, and a specific bag for your wet bathing suit after you’re done with the water and get changed.
My secret weapons for a trip to the beach
Lugging everything through the sand is one of the worst parts of setting up your spot at the beach, so I never go on any beach trip without a wagon. Some roll better on the sand than others, so go with the ones with the large inflatable wheels. They can be expensive (as high as $500), but there are plenty of good-quality cheaper options to choose from. Once you have a wagon, you can take advantage of my other secret weapon for the perfect beach trip: Bringing full-on meals that would be too heavy to lug and too messy for kids. You haven’t lived until you’ve eaten a real dinner on the beach. Rotisserie chicken, anyone?