10 Cool Beach Items You Never Knew You Needed
You may have the beach basics covered but don't hit the shore till you check out this list of 10 unexpected beachy must-haves that will make your summer fun and fabulous.
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Locked and Loaded
Your beach bag is already stuffed to the max, and it's also not the safest place to store all your valuables. But we've got the perfect solution: a portable safe. This baby is the answer to ensuring all your valuables stay put while you're out boogie boarding with the kids. With enough room to store cash, a small wallet, keys, or even a compact camera, you can attach the travel-size lockbox to a lounge chair or fence post with its steel cable. Open with a customizable 3-digit combination or a key.
BUY IT: Sharper Image, $49
The more people in your family, the more gear you have to shlep to the beach: towels, change of clothes, chairs, umbrellas, coolers, toys, etc. Bringing all this stuff from the car to the beach and back again is no easy task ... unless you've got yourself an all-terrain beach cart. With heavy-duty wheels, a generously sized gear compartment, and even cup holders, you'll have plenty of room to fit everything your family needs for an unforgettable day. Bonus: It also folds up for easy storage in the car.
BUY IT: Bed Bath & Beyond, $99.99
If you've ever come back from the beach with a wet, sandy bathing suit stuffed into a plastic bag from the supermarket (we've all been there!), it's time for an upgrade. These water-resistant, zippable wet bags will keep your family's bathing suits safe and sound on the way home without getting the car wet. You can even get the bags personalized with each child's initials to avoid a suit mixup.
BUY IT: Pottery Barn Kids, $11
Sun Protection to the Max
We all know by now that we shouldn't even *think* about heading to the beach without a solid, protective layer of broad-spectrum sunscreen, but sometimes even that's not enough. When you're not quite ready for a full umbrella but you still want some extra protection from the sun, you need one of these handy clip-on sunscreen umbrellas. Attach one directly to your lounge chair to make sure your face and torso are covered, or use on the kids' beach chairs for double sun protection for the young'uns.
BUY IT: Amazon.com, $19.99
Hold 'Em or Fold 'Em
While the kiddos are building castles or digging holes in the sand, the adults deserve to have some fun too. These waterproof playing cards are a perfect, easy beach game that will keep you busy for hours. Set up a game under an umbrella or beach tent to stay out of the sun, and play some fun group games like gin rummy or poker. Cards are easily washable, so you can keep bringing them back to the beach again and again.
BUY IT: WebstaurantStore, $4.29
Made for the Shade
This adorable sun shade tent from designers Emily & Meritt would make a stylish addition to your beach gear collection this summer. This could work perfectly as a refuge for mom and dad, or as a designated spot for the kids to play. The tent features UV-coated fabric and a sturdy steel frame construction to ensure it's durable enough to make it through all those hot summer days.
BUY IT: PB Teen, $99
A Beach Butler
One of the most frustrating things about spending a day at the beach is that it often feels like you don't have anywhere to put your stuff. This cool gadget lets you easily turn a beach umbrella into a side table. Simply insert the umbrella's pole through the table when you set it up for a super convenient spot to set down a drink, your sunglasses, or take off your jewelry before you dive into the waves.
BUY IT: Amazon, $18.55
If you love to spend time at the beach and you haven't yet invested in an insulated picnic basket, spoiler alert: You're worth it. This large picnic basket has plenty of room for stowing a whole day's worth of meals and snacks, and the insulation will ensure that everything will stay cool as a cucumber. The picnic basket comes in a variety of colors and is made of heavy-duty canvas. It also includes plates, glasses, flatware and napkins for four.
BUY IT: Hayneedle, $64.95
Keep Your Smartphone Dry
There's no real way to spin this: The beach is a full-on danger zone for your smartphone. The only way to protect it is to make sure it's in a waterproof case like this one. These handy waterproof cases mean you can easily grab snapshots of the kiddos galivanting in the surf, or sit calmly if a stray drip makes its way onto your beach chair. Better safe than sorry, so make sure everyone in your family with a phone (or iPad!) is protected.
BUY IT: Amazon, $7.49
Stop spending all day brushing sand off your towels with this super handy sandless beach mat. Designed for use by the military to contain sand and dust when helicopters land, this mat will keep you and your family 100% sand-free all day. The mat also doesn't absorb moisture, which prevents mold or mildew from developing. You'll love it so much, you might want one for the kids and one for the adults.
BUY IT: Hammacher Schlemmer, $59.95