You’re getting ready to head out of your Indian Rocks Beach rental and onto the beach for the day. What essentials do you need to bring with you for a day spent by the beautiful Gulf of Mexico? We’re glad you asked. We have our top 10 list of beach must-haves so you don’t leave anything behind or find yourself having to interrupt your beach time to return to your rental to get what you need. Here are our 10 essentials for a Florida beach day. It’s not a comprehensive list, but we feel like these are some of the most important things you won’t want to do without.
1. High SPF Sunscreen & Protective Swimwear
You definitely want to protect your skin from the Florida sunshine. If you’re a parent, you know it is so much easier to have your kids wear protective swimwear that covers large portions of their body than having to wrangle them up to apply (and reapply) sunscreen. You’ll still have to apply sunscreen to areas such as their face, neck and legs, but it will be much less of a battle. As adults, we often underestimate the potential for sunburns. One application of sunscreen is not enough for a Florida beach day. You should apply approximately two tablespoons of sunscreen before you start your day in the sun and then reapply every few hours for continued protection. Here are some of the top-rated sunscreen options for 2019.
2. A Beach Bag That Works Best for You
Choosing a beach bag is a very personal decision. What works best for one person may not work for another. Singles and couples have very different beach wants and needs from a beach bag than families do, so take a few moments to think about (or make a list of) what you intend to be carrying in your beach bag. That list will then determine the type of bag that works best for you. A stylish beach bag is great but if it doesn’t function or carry well then it’s not really worthwhile, is it? No it is not. This bag is coming with you each and every beach day, so make sure it is more functional than it is fashionable. Do you prefer a lot of compartments? How much bag do you need? Do you want any part of it to be insulated? How does it carry?
3. Sunglasses, Beach Hat & Swimsuit Coverup
For a full day on the beach, sunscreen isn’t going to be enough for hours spent enjoying the beautiful beaches of the Gulf of Mexico. You’re going to want some coverage and added protection from the sun’s rays. Sunglasses with UVB protection, a beach hat to keep the sun off your face (one big enough to also shade your neck and shoulders is even better), and a versatile beach coverup that works for you are helpful. With these items, you’ll have a variety of ways to keep your skin covered, protected and shaded when you need it. Sure a beach umbrella or beach cabana is nice, but it’s not always feasible or easy to bring with you, so we didn’t include them on our beach essentials list.
4. Protection for Your Electronics
Sand, sun and saltwater don’t mix with well with electronics, so make sure you have adequate protection for the devices you plan to bring with you to the beach. You can go as simple as a plastic Ziploc bag to as sophisticated as a waterproof case that allows you full use and protection of your device underwater, by the water’s edge and on the sand. You may have some watersports adventures planned during your Florida Gulf Coast vacation where you’ll want to take photos or videos. You’re definitely going to want your phone or camera protected. Being proactive is so much cheaper than being reactive if something happens to your device—and resulting in you having to deal with it getting fixed or replaced.
5. Sand-Free Beach Mat
Forget your typical beach blanket and go for something that is a lot easier to carry and much simpler to keep sand-free. A well-made, comfy, family-sized beach mat that doesn’t collect sand, is water resistant, easy to fold up and carry, has storage pockets for devices, and is machine washable is the only way to go in this day and age of awesome beach gadgets. This will be one of your most-used beach day items so you don’t want to cheap out on this. We love the one pictured here on the left, but there are plenty of options available to you. Go ahead and invest in a good one—one that works best for you and your family’s needs. You’ll quickly see that you won’t regret it.
6. Supply of Cold Water
You are going to want (and need) a well-stocked supply of cold water during your Florida beach day. You want to stay hydrated and avoid headaches. Whether you prefer to freeze water bottles and sip on them as they melt throughout the day or you have a favorite insulated water container that you like using, you just need to make sure you have enough water to last you and your family throughout the day. The colder, the better! Change it up by flavoring your water with cool peppermint leaves, citrus slices, cucumber slices or whatever fresh flavors you please. Your water intake certainly doesn’t have to be boring. Get creative or keep it simple, but whatever you do, make sure you have enough of it to get your through your beach day.
7. Comfy Beach Shoes or Flip Flops
Like beach bags and water bottles, everyone has a their own preference when it comes to beach footwear. Some people prefer flip flops while others prefer water shoes like Crocs where the water and sand are easily rinsed off and quickly dried. Whichever shoes you are bringing to the beach, be sure that they’re comfortable, durable, and work well on the sand and on wet surfaces (non-slip shoes are definitely helpful here). It wouldn’t hurt to have a backup pair of shoes in your beach bag just in case something happens like one of your flip flops tears, your shoes accidentally float away in the Gulf, or something of that nature. It’s always best to be prepared!
8. Beach Snacks that Travel Well
Whenever you head out for the day, you’ll want to plan ahead for what you’re going to eat. Whether you are going to dine out or bring your lunch with you to the beach, you’ll probably want snacks on hand either way (especially if you have kids or teens). Choose to bring things that pack easily and holdup well in warmer temps. The quickest and easiest snacks to bring are fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, protein bars and anything that you can grab and go without much fuss or mess. If you’re bringing a cooler with you, then you have more options to bring with you what you like. If not then it’s best to keep things simple. Need some quick and easy lunch ideas perfect for the beach? Check these out.
9. Multi-Purpose Mesh Bag
How much do we love mesh bags? Let us count the ways! They have so many uses from shell collecting to sand toy carrying to transporting beach sports equipment like balls and frisbees. The best thing about mesh is you can shake the sand right out of while the rest of the contents stay in. You can also rinse the whole bag at once at the rinse-off station without having to remove the contents and rinse each item out one by one. There are plenty of sizes and styles to choose from, so it mostly depends upon what you’ll be using it for and your personal preferences. It’s also lightweight enough for the kids to carry, so if you need an extra hand bringing stuff to and from the beach, they can use that to help out.
10. Mini First Aid Kit
Last but certainly not least, a mini first aid kit is a great addition to your list of beach essentials. You never know when someone might step on a shell and hurt their foot, get a headache from being out in the sun all day, or need some aloe vera to cool a sunburn. Not too mention the annoying random bug bite or bee sting that needs soothing relief. It’s always best to be prepared! You can put together your own first aid kit of your family’s most used items, or you can purchase a small kit that’s ready to go from most area stores and shops. Read more Family Vacation Safety Tips You Need to Know before you head out for your beach day.
We hope you found this helpful in your planning and packing. Did we miss anything? Let us know!
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We love hearing from our readers! Also read up on these helpful beach bag packing tips. ⤵️