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Going to the beach can be a hot endeavor (hence the need for sand socks!). Fresh air, warm weather, sand, sun, and surf.
It doesn’t get any better than that right? Maybe your family visits the beach on holiday, maybe you go with your dog for a morning run, either way there’s essential beach gear you need in order to have a good time.
Must-have items include:
But what about other fun and useful items for the beach?
In this article we’ll highlight a few underappreciated beach items that can add to your fun in the sun. A few will provide protection while others might add some laughs. Let’s get started.
Preparations for the Beach
If you’re like me, before I visit the beach I always go through a checklist in my head – “Sunscreen – check, bathing suit – check, towel – check”. I always manage to forget something or think of something later that would be useful.
I also commonly see people with fun items that are new to me and wonder “where did they find that”.
There are so many beach items that are helpful. They range from sun and sand protection to convenience. Much of the problem is discovering them.
The following beach gear are items we like and recommend. Hopefully, they help make your beach experience easier!
#1 Sand Socks
Whoever invented sand socks for the beach was a genius. As we’ve mentioned in other articles, beach socks have been around a while, however they’re finally getting some attention from the casual beachgoer.
Originally made as sand socks for volleyball players, they work great for anyone standing (or sitting) on the beach for long periods of time. We all know the beach heats up around mid-day and stays hot all afternoon.
The heat can make for a challenging walk to and from the car – of course you can choose to wear sandals but it’s not comfortable or polite flipping sand all over sunbathers as you walk by.
Sand socks use lycra and snug elastic to hold your feet tight and a neoprene sole to add a layer of foot protection.
They’re lightweight, comfy and actually make moving around on the sand easier than being barefoot or in sandals. They will help reduce sunburns, blisters, and cuts to the foot and can even be used in the water while snorkeling.
Beach socks come in various sizes and styles. We like the look of the ankle socks best – just know that the lower cut the sock, the greater the possibility of sand getting inside.
If you’re around deep sand, a taller beach socks work best. There are various colors if you want to make a stylish statement – teal, pink, camo (check price and colors on amazon).
I don’t need beach volleyball socks, however I run on the beach often and these socks are great for my feet. An added bonus is I don’t have to worry about avoiding sea shells and debris on the beach.
#2 Spike Ball
It’s no surprise that spike ball has really caught on as a beach game in the U.S. There are tournaments and friendly competition throughout the summer. And not only in the U.S. as we’ve seen people in Australia playing as well.
If you’re not familiar with the name Spike Ball (check price and reviews), you may have seen people playing on the beach. It involves something that resembles a yellow mini trampoline and balls.
It’s common to think that players are supposed to jump on the trampoline but this isn’t accurate, rather players hit a ball off the trampoline. Think of the trampoline as the playing area and the sand as a place to stand.
The game of Spike Ball is high paced and resets after each score. It’s fun because the sand is soft and allows for diving without fear of injury. The best part is cooling off in the ocean after a hard-fought game.
If your family is active at the beach, this is a fun game to get everyone involved – both young and old. Spike Ball is simple to learn, fun to play, and takes teamwork to be successful.
#3 Sand Escape Outdoor Beach Picnic Blanket
Two words are key to describe this product: Spacious and Compact. It sounds like a contradiction right?
When going to the beach we need items that are lightweight, easy to carry, yet functional. The Sand Escape Picnic Blanket meets that criterion by introducing a 7 x 9 foot coverage area that also stuffs easily into a lightweight sack.
Sand Escape (check price and colors) uses the word “blanket” in their description but don’t be confused – it’s not a warm blanket, it’s actually made with ultra light parachute nylon. It won’t be good for snuggling during evening bonfires on the beach but it will be great to lay on at the beach.
At 7 x 9 feet it will fit the whole family. If you want a large, lightweight area for the family this is a great purchase.
Remember, the nylon fabric isn’t waterproof and might get hot if the sand below heats up – these are the negatives about having such a thin, lightweight material.
Sand Escape packs into a pouch that is 6 x 7 inches and sand will shake off easily. There are sand pockets on the corners that are filled up (with sand) to anchor the blanket and there’s even a zippered pouch to protect valuables.
Hundreds of people love this beach blanket and it’s perfect for travelers who need a large beach area but lack room for many towels.
Related: More Beach Items You Need
#4 Beach Umbrella Hooks (shirts, towels, food, and valuables)
Ingenuity at its finest. Someone solved a common problem with this umbrella attachment. Why does sand get everywhere?
If you’re going to the beach be prepared to have sand in your towels, hair, bathing suit, food, and shoes. It’s inevitable right?
If you’re taking a beach umbrella for protection think about getting this practical add-on item. These umbrella hooks (check price and reviews) will keep your valuables off the ground (shirts, towels, phones, food, glasses, keys) away from the sand.
In addition to keeping materials away from sand, the umbrella hooks will keep them out of sight from fellow beach goers. The canopy of the umbrella will cover your valuables while potential thieves (like seagulls) scan the ground looking for them.
The hooks are relatively inexpensive and customers like that it’s easy to attach to any umbrella. Some people use for towels while others hang a lightweight beach bag from it.
#5 Personal Folding Beach Table
Rio Brands is mostly known for their beach chairs, but this is a great idea for people with families that need to keep items out of the sand.
Similar to the umbrella hooks we mentioned above, the personal folding beach table provides another way to keep beach gear out of the sand – specifically food. If packing lunch or snacks the mini beach table is great for an afternoon snack or a sundowner to accompany the sunset.
Of course using the top of a beach ice chest can work as a table too, but if taking an ice chest is to heavy, a bag of food with the folding table will suffice.
It is made of aluminum and measures 16 x 14 x 10 inches – a perfect height next to a beach chair (check price and reviews on Amazon).
By extending the legs, the chair height can be adjusted taller or shorter. For transport to and from the car, it breaks down to 16.75 x 8.5 x 2.75 inches and fits in a handy bag (included).
Some reviewers say it’s perfect for use on a boat because it can be folded for storage, however most people say it’s perfect or cocktails and beers! We like that it’s practical, lightweight, and folds down to make carrying easy.
#6 Otentik Beach Sunshade
Talk about a cool product, the Otentik beach sunshade looks great while helping families with shade.
We all visit the beach for sun, but the problem is we usually end up getting way too much of it. Young kids and older adults can’t handle the heat the way a young adult can and will likely need to take a break.
Usually this means walking back to the hotel or car, or leaving the beach to find a tree to rest under. Beach tents can be bulky and without proper ventilation they become hot. Otentik solves that problem with an open-air sunshade.
When folded up it’s the size of a beach towel. The sunshade uses sandbags (included) to stabilize the shade and is much easier than using stakes. Otentik (check price and colors on Amazon) uses Italian sport fabric that provides UPF 50+ sun protection and comes in 5 width/height sizes and plenty of colors.
We think this beach sunshade is great for families and for beach events like surf competitions, BBQs, and wedding receptions.
#7 Beach Behemoth – Giant Beach Ball
This giant beach ball is a fun idea for the beach. We like it so much we also listed it on another post. The Beach Behemoth is 12 feet tall and can provide hours of fun for the whole family.
Warning: if you take this to the beach you will attract a lot of other kids – things might get wild.
The beach ball (check price and reviews on Amazon) is made from a thick 30 milimeter vinyl and reinforced seams – strong enough to be kicked and pushed.
For beach fun, this is one of those items that will make a trip memorable (kids will likely forget the color of the sunset, but they can’t forget a giant beach ball).
The main challenge with this giant beach ball is blowing it up. A pump works best and finding a pump at the beach will be difficult. Maybe there’s a pump that plugs into a car cigarette lighter? Yep, found one!
#8 Deluxe Wonder Wheeler Beach Cart
Our last under-the-radar product is a beach cart from Rio Brands (they also make the foldable beach table mentioned above). This product is a wheeler for the beach and it’s basically an off-road beach cart for any and everything.
Throw fins and snorkels in, boogieboards, backpacks, towels, umbrellas, sunscreen, and coolers. The beach cart can even be used as a trash bin after establishing a beach camp.
We think this beach cart (check price and reviews on Amazon) works well for people who are renting a beach house and don’t have far to walk.
It folds down so it can travel in the back of the car too. We like the oversized tires, umbrella and beach chair holder and extra pockets for personal items.
If traveling with kids, the deluxe wonder wheeler makes going to and from the car/house easier and makes getting across the sand a breeze. This beach cart will save your back and free your hands.
A summer trip to the beach is a favorite American past time. We visit to soak up the sun, enjoy time in the water, and most of all spend time with family. Whether visiting the beach as a group or individual, we need the right gear.
Beach gear will include the obvious such as sunscreen, sunglasses, a bathing suit, and beach towel. However there are other items, large and small, that will make time at the beach more convenient.
Sand socks are a great example of a practical solution to hot sand. Originally used as beach volleyball socks, beach socks have become a mainstream item to protect our feet while walking and exercising.
There are many other useful items for the beach like umbrella hooks, sunshades, beach carts, beach bikes, and beach blankets that are compact and make a day a the beach better.
At Beach Life Expert, we hope this article is useful as you prepare for a day (or week) at the beach. Feel free to check out our other beach articles and review beach products, tips, and safety information.