Your trip to the beach will be more fun if you're prepared.
Are you excavating your tote bag for the season's first trip to the beach, lake or pool? Once you've shaken out last summer's sand, you may discover you're a wee bit out of practice in loading it up again. Besides the obvious basics (sunscreen, sunglasses, towel), here are five things to pack to ensure a great day outdoors.
1. Lip balm with sunblock.
We're getting better about slathering on the SPF -- but don't forget your lips! Your mouth is sun-sensitive too, and if you get a bit dehydrated during the day, your kisser will start to crack.
Nivea's A Kiss of Protection SPF 30, with titanium dioxide, is a top pick of the beauty editors at "Allure" magazine. For something sweeter, try Fresh's rose-tinted Sugar Lip Treatment with SPF 15, blackcurrant oil and vitamin E.
2. Bottle(s) of water.
Instead of buying lukewarm plastic bottles of water at the beach or pool, bring your own drinks in reuseable bottles. Kleen Kanteen now has an insulated version of its BPA-free, stainless steel bottle that keeps drinks cold for 24 hours. Not only is this a greener choice, but you can infuse water with fruit for an especially refreshing cooler.
You might also try an agua fresca recipe. Nope, we're not talking about Fresca soda -- agua fresca is a simple, lightly sweetened drink often made with melon, citrus or cucumber. It's a favorite in Mexico, where they know something about battling heat!
3. Waterproof slip-on shoes with some tread.
You might be wearing cute sandals or sneakers on your way to the waterfront, but once you're there, you'll be glad to have something waterproof to slide on and kick off. Hopping across hot sand, picking your way along a pebbly beach, heading into a grimy public restroom or slippery shower area? A rough-and-ready pair of beach shoes will carry you through. You can even moonlight as a treasure hunter with a pair of metal-detecting sandals.
4. A bandanna.
Think of this as the Swiss army knife of the beach. Need to clean sticky fingers, tie back your hair, wipe up a spill or cover the back of your neck if it starts to sizzle? This classic standby can do it all -- and since you'll wash and reuse it, it's eco-friendly. Wrap it around a frozen reuseable ice pack for a welcome cool-down later in the day.
5. A few large, self-sealing plastic bags.
Use these to pack up at the end of the day: corral trash, stuff in soggy swimsuits and safely stash the seashells or other beachcombing finds. And they'll hopefully reduce the inevitable mess in the car coming home....