For people who have never been on summer beach vacation, they may not know what to bring. Pack comfortable clothes and several items for convenience and fun. Plan to spend plenty of time with the family on the beach, out shopping and just plain sightseeing. Here's a list of 12 must-have items for beach vacations.
1. Beach Towels. Even if you don't plan on swimming in the ocean, bring towels for everyone in the family, plus one or two extras. They should be larger than a bath towel. They come in handy for laying out on the beach and drying off after swimming or wading in the water. Bring at least one smaller towel for wiping sand off coolers, chairs and other beach supplies.
2. Buckets and Castle Forms. One of the most entertaining things for kids of all ages to do is play in the sand. Buckets, shovels and plastic containers bring castles, moats and sculptures to life. Castle forms are a simple way to build entire kingdoms from wet sand in a matter of minutes.
3. Picnic basket. Plan to have lunch on the shore at least once. Some hotels have restaurants where guests can order lunch early and take it down to the beach to eat it later. A cooler full of drinks comes in handy, too.
4. Snacks. Whether bringing along food or picking up something from a local restaurant, pack plenty of snacks to munch on. Foods like chips, cookies and bananas are easy to pop open and eat at a moment's notice.
5. Bathing Suits. While it may sound obvious, many people forget their swimsuits. Bring two if possible so that one is always dry and comfortable.
6. Sunscreen. Even if some family members have a good tan, bring sunscreen to protect their skin from sunburn. Use SPF 15 or higher to protect the fairest skin from the strong sun.
7. Chairs. Comfortable beach chairs are considered optional by some beach-goers. Anyone who plans to read a book, gaze at the ocean or sit up while talking to friends and family members will appreciate the back support. Low chairs and chaise lounges allow maximum sunbathing. If necessary, they can be rented from local vendors and are available at some waterfront hotels.
8. Umbrellas. Bring an umbrella just in case it rains. Shopping, bowling and movie theatres are options, but it's nice to stay dry going from Point A to Point B.
9. Shoes. Bring flip-flops or sandals for the beach. Pack comfortable walking shoes for sightseeing, hiking, biking, miniature golf and other activities. Bring dress shoes to go with an outfit for an evening out at a nice restaurant.
10. Fishing Poles. There are several opportunities for fishing on piers, in the surf and on charter boats. Buy bait and lures at piers, bait shops and local convenience stores.
11. Boogie Boards. Bring a boogie board, surfboard, skim board or raft for floating in the water or riding the waves. They are also available for rent or sale at various local shops.
12. Toys and Games. For inexpensive entertainment on vacation, bring along some family activities for indoor and outdoor entertainment. Try board games or sand games like paddle ball or a soft football or soccer ball.