Get the most out of a day filled with sand and surf.
When my family drives out of the beach parking lot late on a summer afternoon, blissfully tired out by hours spent by the shore, I often say, with joyful sarcasm, “well, this was no day at the beach!” The phase, of course, is meant to contrast something stressful with the pure pleasure of a day spent eating picnic food, riding waves and gazing at the sea.
It might be the delirious feeling of a vitamin D infusion that makes me giggle at using the phrase ironically. But it’s also part of my way of marveling at the unique positivity of time spent on a beach. The phrase is a cliché for good reason—a day at the beach is better than a great number of alternative ways to pass a few hours.
However, a day at the beach isn’t immune from stress. We can get caught up in whether we packed enough sunscreen, whether the picnic will stay cold enough or whether the car is going to be filled with sand for the rest of the summer. How can we get back to that feeling of luxuriating in a seaside day? Try these four simple tips for a positive day at the beach.
1. Pack Light, Pack Smart
There’s a fine line between having the right number of supplies for a beach day, and burdening yourself by dragging a back-wrenching load across the sand. Make sure you have a towel for each person, sun shade like an umbrella, a light meal and some beverages, an empty bag for garbage, a book or magazine, and sunscreen.
2. Don’t Bring the Valuables
If you aren’t ok with something getting coated with sand, leave it at home. That applies to electronics as well—if you want to bring your phone or an e-reader to the beach, wrap it in a zip-top plastic bag, or invest in a waterproof case.
3. Manage Your Temperature
On peak summer days, the sun can blaze uncomfortably. Even if you’re not a swimmer, dip your feet and legs into the water every now and then to bring down your body temperature. Make sure to spend some time in the shade, even if you’re wearing sunscreen, to keep from overheating. And hydrate—we sweat even when we swim!
4. Discover Something
Make sure you take the time to notice the beauty around you. In between folding towels and handing out sandwiches, seek out a natural discovery like a special shell, a pleasing slope of dune, or a bird helping itself to a seafood lunch.