10 Helpful Beach Hacks and Tips for an Awesome Vacation | Beach Life

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Summer days at the beach provide us with some of the best memories of our lives.  It could be from family holidays, university spring breaks, or a childhood spent by the ocean.

In any case, the beach is a place for smiles, laughter, and a good time.  In fact, I’m willing to bet you can’t think of a bad memory you’ve had at the beach.

Every year millions of American’s head to the beaches in search of waves, suntans, and relaxation, however many people forget items that can turn their trip into a hassle.  A mistake at the beach could be costly, such as a stolen wallet, or could be uncomfortable, such as a sunburn.

Beach Life Expert is here to help with some beach survival hacks.  Not all of the following are “hacks” per say but also tips to make sure you have an enjoyable experience.

The Best Beach Hacks and Tips

No. 1 Observe the Current, Make Entry Adjustments

Every beach has a current and even the most experienced beach bums get tricked by the ocean and end up farther away from their beach towel than they intended.  Once you set up your towel take a look at swimmers in the ocean and make a mental note of the way they are moving.

Once you know, you can make adjustments where you enter the water.  Walk down the beach enter the water and by the time you come out of the water you’ll be back in-line with your towel.

Otherwise you’ll be spending a lot of your time walking back and forth in the water trying to stay in-line with your stuff.  This is especially important if you’re alone and need to keep an eye on your valuables!

No. 2 Umbrella Poles Aren’t Reliable

I’ve experienced this problem multiple times at the beach, and I assume that others have the same problem.  Maybe you’ve purchased a simple umbrella that uses a pole anchored in the sand.  They work IF there is not wind and IF the sand is soft enough to put the pole deep in the sand.

This past summer I visited the beach in San Diego with my parents.  They brought an umbrella and I spent a lot of effort trying to push it deep enough into the sand for it to stand on its own.  The problem was the wind and the hard layers of sand below the surface.

If I had a shovel I would have dug a deep hole then buried the pole deeply, however I didn’t bring shovel and only relied on my body weight to push it down.

Rather than purchase an umbrella that anchors into the sand, try an attachment umbrella that connects to other beach items like a chair or a cooler (pictured right).  The SportBrella attachment is one of amazon’s best sellers!

No. 3 Bring a Real Book Instead of Kindle

We all know this one but we seem to bring our electronics to the beach anyway.  It’s actually difficult not to bring them because of habit.  One thing you should always remember is to bring a real book.  Real books, especially paperbacks do really well at the beach and with sand.

There’s no problem if sand gets into the book just shake it out when you leave.  I can’t say the same for a kindle because once sand gets in those crevices it’s virtually impossible to get it out.

Make sure you’re careful with the book because ocean water can do some damage to a paperback – we’re all smarter than getting to close to a rising tide right?

Related: Beach Essentials You Need

No. 4 Ziplock Valuables

This hack isn’t anything special.  It seems like everyone knows about this idea…I suppose because it’s common sense.  Ziplock bags can be perfect for the beach.  In college I would go the beach alone and put my valuables in a ziplock bag.

Before I went in the water I dug a hole and buried the ziplock bag.  Anyone walking by will see your towel, a hat, and sandals but they won’t be interested in those things.

The key with burying anything at the beach is to not forget where you did it, otherwise it turns into a disaster.  I usually mark it with a corner of the towel or with a sandal.

If you’re with a group of people the Ziplock bag still works well to keep your valuables and electronics sand free and organized in one spot!  You can use this Beach Lock (pictured right) to keep your bags safe too.

One of my personal rules is to never take good sunglasses to the beach.  I’ve had a number of sunglasses broken and lost at the beach. I’ve worn them in the water and been hit by a wave (fail).  I’ve also damaged my lenses from sand rubbing against them.  Save your designer sunglasses for driving, sunny days at the park, or shopping, but don’t take them to the beach.

No. 5 Care for Your Feet (multiple tips/hacks)

Hot Feet

We’ve all experienced this right, you start walking on the sand and realize it’s super hot.  Your feet start burning so you jump or run faster on the beach.  Relax, the fix is easy!  Take a breather and dig your feet back and forth in the sand.

Once your feet get 2-3 inches below the surface the temperature is quite nice and you can take a break.  Once you start walking again you’ll feel the heat, but do the same every couple steps.

If you want extra protection for you and your family, get a pair of sand socks.  Sand Socks will help with the heat and protect them at the same time.

These are really popular with beach sports, especially volleyball.  They also work well for running on the beach and for snorkeling when you’re not sure what you’ll be standing on in the shallow water.

Related: Beach Must-Haves for Women

Sandals on the Beach (Tourist Alert)

This one is a tourist tip!  If you don’t want to look like a tourist take your sandals off as soon as you hit the sand. Better yet, leave them in your car and walk across the parking lot barefoot.

It saves carrying an item you don’t need once you’re on the sand.  When beach locals see a guy or gal walking through the sand with sandals and he/she is flipping sand everywhere its a clear sign this person doesn’t know what their doing.

If I don’t leave them in my car, I walk with my sandals to the edge of the sand, remove them, and carry them until I reach my spot on the beach.  I realize this can be difficult when you have your arms full with beach gear, but consider it next time you’re at the beach. best beach hacks

If you take Sandals…

Take sandals that also have a bottle opener.  How does that work?

These Reef Sandals are not only comfortable and a best seller, they also have a handy bottle opener on the underside of the sole.

It doesn’t impact the comfort or quality of the sandal but it will be impressive when everyone forgets to bring one and your grab your sandal..surprise!  This is a great gift idea for the beach bum in your life and a nifty invention hack by the sandal industry!

No. 6 Fly a Kite – All Day

Everyone loves flying kites.  We bring them to parks and of course the beach.  Our children have fun with them for about 30 minutes and then we lose interest.

People enjoy watching kites but don’t want to hold onto it for long.  Then we wind up the kite and it remains unused for the rest of the time at the beach.

While at the beach make the most of flying a kite.  There is almost always a breeze, especially once it gets airborne.  The kite can be staked into the sand and flown on auto-pilot.    The kite can also be used like a flag so friends and kids have a beach identifier for the beach spot.

Related: Best Beginner Kites for the Beach

No. 7 Don’t Sunburn Early

Take it from me, I never learn.  The worst time to get a sunburn in on your 1st day of vacation.  If that happens the rest of the week, or weekend, is shot for fun in the sun.

I am usually diligent about applying sunscreen but I always forget to ease my way into the sun.  I think because I have sunscreen on, I can stay in the sun all day.  This isn’t true.

Although it’s hard to moderate your first days in the sun, make sure you spend plenty of time under the umbrella.  Apply sunscreen early and often the 1st day and make a point not to get sunburned.

Check out this affordable hat + neck cover (check on Amazon).

If you want to get sunburned the last day, no problem.  But take it easy on your first day otherwise it will be an uncomfortable weekend/week.

The hat + neck cover option is great for keeping your face and neck protected.  Take extra precaution for those areas because they receive the most sun damage throughout your life.  In addition, they will end up getting sun whether you’re at the beach or out shopping.

In Australia young students are required to take hats to school and wear them outside…We should require the same in the U.S.

No. 8 Bury An Ice Chest

This idea is great for long days at the beach.  Ice chests (or coolers) need to keep food and drinks cool all day.  If you’re at the beach on really hot day I’ve got a few tips to care for your cooler and make the ice last longer.

1) Dig a hole that the cooler can fit into.  You’ll realize that once you get below the surface sand, the temperature of the sand becomes much lower.

If your ice chest is the plastic type, bury it 3/4 in the sand so only the top sticks out.  Doing so will increase the insulation and reduce heat exposure to the cooler.  As a result, your ice will last longer!

2) Pack your cooler in the same way you’ll be consuming food and drink.  The reason is that ice melts the fastest when the cooler is opened and cool air is replaced by warm air.  Reduce the time with the cooler open and reduce rate of ice melting.

Related: Best Ice Chests or Coolers for the Beach

3) Cover your cooler with towel or umbrella.  This one is self-explanatory.  A cooler in the shade will keep things cool much longer than out in the sun.  Better yet, white color coolers work better than dark-colored coolers.  A white cooler will reflect the sun while a blue cooler will absorb heat from the sun.

4) Lastly, freeze drinks and use as ice for cooler.  Maybe you won’t have much space in your cooler for a full day at the beach.  Reduce the amount of ice needed and use your frozen water bottles to keep things cold.  You can also drink the water bottles as they melt!

No. 9 Timing is Everything

As the saying goes, timing is everything.  Preference also plays a role for these tips.

Some beach-goers love to be at the beach during prime time.  By this, I mean the middle of July, on a weekend, at mid-day.  The time when the beach is the most lively and packed.

If this is your style, do it, however I like more space for my family.  With this in mind, here are a few tips for scheduling a more quiet trip to the beach.

Time of Year

If you’re planning a holiday look at dates in late May and early September.  For those of us who live near the beach, we look forward to those times of year when the weather is still nice and warm, but the beaches lack the crowds.  Do you see what’s common about those dates?

It’s before school is out, and when school begins.  In Southern California we know the beach schedule and the school schedules go together.  If you want the summer weather without the crowds, consider those times, especially in September when the water temperatures have heated up.

This also relates to rental prices.  Many families rent out beach houses in the summer for a week or weekend.  Planning your trip before the busy summer and just after it can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars.  If you’re on a budget like me, then consider it.

Early Bird Gets the Parking Spot

If you must go in the middle of summer, get there early.  You might think this is only for a parking spot, and that’s a part of it.  But you also get good weather and avoid the crowds.  In the mornings the breeze is usually calmer and picks up in the afternoon.

If you get there at 8 am you can get a great parking spot,  a great beach spot, and plenty of warm weather time from 10-12pm.  By mid-day the weather is hot, the people are still arriving, and that’s when I’m leaving.  The great thing about going to the beach in the morning is you’ll still have half the day to take care of other business.

Tan Before it Gets Too Hot

Most of us know that the most harmful UV rays occur between 10 am and 4 pm.  Get to the beach early and tan before lunch.  Your exposure to harmful solar rays will be kept to a minimum while still allowing to keep your tan.

No. 10 Towels Are Overrated

Beach towels are a mainstay for our beach trips.  We need them.  We sit on them. We dry ourselves with them.  They are also thick and bulky.

When possible, I like to take multifunctional items below are a couple extra items

Old Sheets Work Great 

Rather than throw your old sheets away or give them away, put them in your beach drawer and use them to lay on.  We always encounter the problem of using a towel that is to short to lay on, or gets covered in sand.

A bed sheet takes up a lot of space and is enough for multiple people to lay on.  Better yet, it’s super thin, folds up much smaller than a towel, and weighs little.

I understand you might be concerned about a thin sheet blowing away at the beach but you can solve that problem easily.  Put your bags and sandals on the corner to hold down the sheet.  You can even use these towel (sheet) stakes (check on Amazon).

In the past I’ve put all my beach gear inside the sheet, grab the corners and carried my things in the sheet as a sack.  Sure beats separate trips.

Sarong Wraps

A sarong wrap is just as useful as a sheet and you can wear it.  It originates in Asia and is especially popular in Southeast Asia for hot weather. Wearing it around your waist is stylish and practical for staying covered before you reach the beach.

Once you arrive to your spot, it can be removed and spread out on the sand to lay on.  Sarongs can also be used as a towel after a dip in the ocean.  It’s a comfortable and practical piece of clothing perfect for the beach.


After decades at the beach Beach Life Expert decided to share our insider tips with you.  We help you enjoyed these helpful beach hacks. We’ll be sure to add to this list over time.  Let us know if we missed some in the comments below.

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