In West Michigan, we know a thing to two about beaches, but do you have beach bag packing down to a science? Entertain your friends and family at the beach with these essential items:
Sunscreen: Don't take risks when it comes to sun exposure. Make sure you have a high enough SPF and that your sun screen hasn't expired. Apply often.
Lip Balm: Don't forget about your lips at the beach! Find a lip balm with SPF (but keep it in the shade as lip balm tends to melt).
Shade: Whether you hunker down under the shade of a sand dune or bring your own (beach umbrella), make sure there's a way for you to get out of the sun if you become overheated or start to burn.
Sunglasses: Easily forgotten, and sorely missed at the beach.
Sandals: Protect your toes from hidden objects under the sand or the heat radiating from it.
Beverages: Keep your thirst quenched and your electrolytes replenished, especially in the hot sun when your body is sweating out essential hydration.
A Large Blanket or Sheet: Beach towels are great, but often are not large enough to avoid getting sand EVERYWHERE. Spread out a large blanket or bed sheet and lay beach towels on top of that.
A Beach Towel (or two): Keep an extra towel on hand–one for sun bathing, one for drying off after a swim.
Beach Chairs: Being on the beach doesn't mean you have to literally be ON the beach. A chair can keep you comfy and out of the sand, if you prefer.
Entertainment: Whatever your pleasure, radio, books, magazines, cards, sand or water toys, etc., bring something to keep your party entertained between dips in the lake.
First Aid Kit: Be prepared for zebra mussel cuts on feet, bee stings, black fly bites, or a wayward football to the face.
Plastic Baggies: Keep a few of these handy for cell phones, cameras, and other anti-sand electronics. Also use them for your new shell collection, or to keep tissues and other toiletries dry.
Jug of Water: Fill a milk carton or bucket with water and take it back to the car. Use it before getting in to avoid sandy floor mats.
Change of Clothes: Even if it's just a new pair of shorts, having something clean and dry to change into at the end of the day will help keep your car's upholstery clean.
For spontaneous trips to the beach, keep these items in a bag or tote in the trunk so you'll always be ready for a day at the beach.
Written by: Erika Fifelski is the West Michigan Woman magazine editorial coordinator. She was born and raised in West Michigan, and after a brief stint on the sunrise side, she's home and loving it. Erika enjoys gardening, vacuuming, and discovering new ways to live sustainably and support local businesses. Photo: Stella Levi