Not everyone loves the sun. Not everyone loves the sand. Not everyone loves to swim. There are no shortage of ways for a person to fashion themselves as “not a beach person.” But maybe they’re just not doing it right. When properly prepared, the beach is a wonderful way to relax on a summer day and spend some time in nature — even if you don’t think it’s for you.
Bring the right kind of bag
One day last summer I brought my backpack with me to the beach. It will forever be known to me as the last time my backpack had absolutely no sand in it. All this to say, sand haters, I get where you’re coming from. But it was my folly for not, instead, opting for the type of bag that couldn’t retain sand even if it tried — the classic mesh bag.
Instead of worrying about getting sand in every nook and cranny of your daily receptacle, treat yourself to one of these mesh bags for all of your beach needs. Not only will the sand trickle out over the course of your journey, but they’re machine washable, which makes it easy to rid of any pesky stragglers. It’s too late for my backpack, but it doesn’t have to be too late for yours.
Pack some baby powder, even if you don’t have a baby
I dislike sand as much as the next person, but I’m not going to let it stand in the way of me having some fun in the sun. Especially now that I know about the baby powder trick. If you’re having trouble with some pesky grains, just add a sprinkle of baby powder into the equation to get yourself sand-free. The baby powder absorbs any moisture, allowing for the sand to easily brush off. Pack this in your mesh beach bag now, and thank yourself for your clean car mats later.
Try the fitted sheet trick
I had thought avoiding sand at the beach would be a fool’s errand, but then I learned about this fitted sheet trick. Take a regular queen-size fitted sheet, turn it inside out, and place a heavy item in each corner to act as a weight. Once set up, you have at your disposal a blanket box. This isn’t going to keep you completely sand-free, but it will add a protection from blowing sand and sand kicked up by strangers passing by.
Hide your valuables more creatively
Nobody wants to be the schmuck who has to stay back with the valuables while the rest of their group have a great time in the water. And now, nobody has to be. If you’re worried about your wallet or phone getting stolen, buy one of these clever receptacles for conspicuously hiding your valuables: One Chel of an Adventure manufactures diversions in the form of water bottles, hair brushes, and bottles of sunscreen to throw the scent off any would-be thieves (assuming your particulate thief isn’t having a bad hair day).
Bring a balloon
Just don’t inflate it. The idea here is that if your ears get clogged while swimming, you can use the balloon as a method of unclogging. The pressure you use to expand the balloon helps push air up to your Eustachian tube. This allows air to be let into the middle of your ear, prompting the fluid to drain out. So long as you come prepared with this latex tool, you’ll never have a reason to read about everything you never thought you’d need to know about adult ear infections.
Opt for your cheapest sunglasses
As someone who’s lost an expensive pair of sunglasses in the ocean, take it from me: Your nicest pair do not belong here. There’s no quicker way to ruin your afternoon than fruitlessly searching the bottom of the ocean for your Ray Bans, because spoiler alert: The ocean is vast. You’re never getting them back. Avoid this situation altogether and bring a cheap pair of sunglasses to the beach, ones that you don’t mind paying as a tax to the ocean gods.
Respect the sun
Behind everyone who’s said they’re “not a beach person” is a story of a time they got too much sun. But one bad burn shouldn’t keep you off the shores in perpetuity. The beach is a grand ol’ time if you remember to respect the sun. To do so, you need to be recording when you last applied sunscreen. This way you’ll be able to keep track of when you should be re-applying — set a reminder on your phone to be safe. But you should still come prepared with aloe just in case; buying ahead of time will prevent you from roaming the halls of CVS looking like a tomato. Lastly, consider investing in a beach chair with a canopy, as a quick and portable way to keep yourself from getting too many rays.
Remember that you don’t have to go in the ocean
Sand people do not also have to be water people — there is an actual line that divides the two. If you’re not a strong swimmer or simply don’t relish swimming in a large body of water with untold number of other creatures (some of which have sharp teeth), you can still enjoy the view from slightly afar. Stake an umbrella in the sand, plop down in a chair, and enjoy a good book with the sand between your toes. You’ve got the sound of the crashing waves to relax you without worrying about being tossed around in them.