One of the best-loved vacation destinations is the ocean. While the surf and sun, breeze and wildlife are captivating, it can require a bit of creativity when it comes to sand, snacks, and sun protection. Here are 10 of our favorite beach tool hacks for your next Sandbridge Beach vacation:
#1 Sort Your Stuff With Packing Cubes
A beach vacation requires packing lots of little bits and pieces, especially if you have kids. Invest in several small or medium clear packing cubes to quickly sort and group small items. For example, you can have separate packing cubes for miniature toys, travel size toiletries, suntan lotions, and first aid necessities. Clear packing cubes not only make packing more manageable, but they also make it easier to lay your hands on what you need when you arrive.
#2 Make a Pocket Beach Towel
Traditional terry beach towels aren’t nearly as cool as thin, roll-up towels that have pockets for sunglasses, suntan lotion, eReaders, books, and toys. You can buy roll-up beach towels with pockets on Amazon, but you can also make your own. Martha Stewart’s website has an easy-to-follow pattern, and you don’t even need a sewing machine.
#3 Create a Bottle Safe
Upcycle a large format plastic bottle to create a secret stash for your phone, keys, and cash. From the back, cut the top half of the bottle nearly all the way off, just leaving the front panel intact. Wash the bottle with plenty of dish soap and let it dry. Attach a piece of clear packing tape to the back to hold the two pieces together. At the beach, stash your valuables in the bottle and tape it shut. No one will ever know!
#4 Make a Waterproof Camera
Cell phones are expensive, and they aren’t waterproof, so it’s a little risky to take one to the beach. Luckily, several manufacturers have started making inexpensive waterproof bags for phones. Not only do these bags keep your phone (and keys) safe at the beach, you can actually take them into the water so you can snap photos. Waterproof phone bags range from $10 to $30 — not a bad investment when you consider you’ve got a ready-made waterproof camera.
#5 Create a Sand-Free Zone
Beach lovers know that sand has a way of getting into everything, and it’s no fun when it gets into your picnic. You can easily create a clean, sand-free zone with a fitted sheet. Just place the sheet upside down on the beach and put four heavy items, such as beach bags or coolers, in the corners and pull the elastic over them.
#6 DIY Sunscreen
Sunscreen can be expensive — and full of synthetic chemicals. You can make your own natural sunscreen by combining just a few ingredients. Here’s a three-ingredient recipe that provides 20+ SPF protection:
- 4 oz. Aveeno lotion
- 2 Tbsp zinc oxide
- ¼ tsp carrot seed oil
Mix ingredients in a bowl and store in an airtight container (or reuse an empty sunscreen bottle).
#7 Cork Your Key
Most car keys have electronic mechanisms that aren’t waterproof. If they get wet, they can cost hundreds of dollars to replace. Leave your car key ring at home and just take your rental-house key when you hit the beach. Make a cheap floating key ring before you leave home by screwing a small eyebolt into a wine or champagne cork. When you get your rental keys, put the front door key on your cork key ring. If the tide comes in while you’re out splashing or you forget it in a pocket while you’re surfing, the key will float.
#8 Upcycle Drink Floats
If your little ones have outgrown their armband floaties, don’t toss them. Instead, fill them with water and put them in the freezer. Pack your frozen floaties in the cooler so that when you’re ready for a beach beverage, you’ve got an instant drink insulator that will take a long time to melt.
#9 Protect Your Snacks
Save empty peanut butter jars, gelato containers, or any plastic container with a screw top. When you’re packing snacks for the beach, fill them with grapes, goldfish crackers, mini-cookies, or any other nibble that would otherwise get crushed to dust in a beach bag.
#10 Dust Off the Sled
Plastic snow sleds can do double duty as beach wagons in the summer. Instead of buying an expensive beach wagon that you may only use once a year, dust off your snow sled and use it to haul food and gear to the beach. The plastic will glide just as smoothly over boardwalks and sand as it does over snow.
Sandbridge Beach vacations are all about the easy life. Employ some of these great beach hacks, and you’ll save money, protect what’s valuable, and find yourself relaxing as soon as your feet hit the sand.