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The Best Beach Hacks for a Fun Summer Vacation (Updated for 2023)

Posted by Dianne Chen on
small cubes on top of a large cube at the beach

Summer is around the corner but you still have enough time to get yourself and the entire family ready. During the year, 97% of your time is spent inside your home, doing your best to keep the place as peaceful (and clean) as it can be. Or at work, fulfilling your family's needs and working like a dog -- now it's time to give yourself a treat, while having some fun with your kiddos. The beach is perfect for building sandcastles, playing catch, and making a mess without upsetting the painstaking organization of the living room. In fact, with a little planning, organization and useful hacks, you can enjoy the beach with your loved ones! 

Life Hacks for the Perfect Beach Trip

We want your summer vacation the best it can be! That's why we've rounded up the most useful hacks so you'll know how to prepare for the beach - from getting there to leaving. Let's get the beach ball rolling!

Before You Leave

Prepping for a fun beach day starts even before you leave the house. Before you go, get to know Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Considerations for Public Beaches.

⚠️ COVID-19 Update

As public beaches are beginning to open at some communities in the U.S., get to know their protocols and health guidelines to keep you and your family safe and help slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. The CDC requires the public beach visitors and staff to observe the following:

✓ Stay at least 6 feet away from people you don't live with in or out of the water.
✓ Don't share toys, food, and other supplies with people you don't live with.
✓ Observe proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.

And now, here are some helpful tips that will make getting ready for your fun summer vacation easy breezy.

Tip #1 - Pack snacks, water, and cold drinks in a cooler.

food and drinks inside a portable insulated beach cooler

Make sure to bring a portable insulated cooler and pack all your goodies and liquids inside. You can even make a cold lemonade in a pitcher and transfer it in a water bottle to keep you refreshed at the beach. Pack sandwiches, dried snacks, almonds, apple sauce, pretzels, or anything that anybody might crave during the trip.

Tip #2 - Use a divided container to pack sliced fresh fruits and veggies.

sliced fruits in a divided plastic food container

For healthy food choices like sliced strawberries, cucumber, and other fruits and veggies, make use of divided food storage containers to keep them fresh and tasty when you arrive at the beach.

Tip #3 - Use clear cubes to pack chips and snack bars.

beach snacks in an orange small cube

Pack snacks with wrappers in a small packing cube to keep them organized. You have fruits and veggies in plastic food containers and chips and snack bars in clear cubes. Yay snacks!

Tip #4 - Make DIY aloe vera ice cubes.

Have your very own sunburn remedy using iced aloe veras. Just simply squeeze aloes into ice cube trays and keep it in the freezer so you can use it when you get back from the beach. Gently rub it on the sunburnt skin to soothe and ease the pain.

Tip #5 - Pack beach towels in large cubes.

beach towels in a royal blue large cube

One of the problems encountered when packing for a trip and after the trip to the beach is the big, bulky towels. Whether they are dry or wet, it's quite difficult to just stuff these large items into a small space. However, you can get rid of this problem by using Large Cubes.


Packing the Car

packing cubes on the car's hood

Before getting to the beach, you must also prepare your faithful steed aka car. Luckily, we've got some tips for that, too.

Tip #6 - Put a towel in the trunk before loading things in.

Place a towel at the back part of your car to make it easier to clean up, especially when sand is involved. Just lay it flat on the trunk before loading your beach chair, umbrella, bags, cooler, and other beach items. After your beach trip, you can easily take the towel out and wash the sand off of it.

Tip #7 - Use a pop up laundry container and packing cubes for beach toys.

small toys in small and extra small cubes

A beach trip would never be complete without the toys, so don't forget to bring them! For larger beach toys like pail and shovel, nerf guns, and more, use a mesh pop up laundry so you can easily clean and wash them (inside the mesh laundry basket!) after use. For smaller toys, use extra small clear packing cubes to keep them organized in one place.


At the Beach

Starter Set

You have three goals once you arrive: keep sand from getting in your things, protect your skin from the sun, and keep everyone cool at the beach. Let's get through these one by one with these tips.

Tip #8 - Bring a waterproof beach bag.

Keep your beach essentials inside a waterproof beach bag to keep wet sand and water away from your things, especially your change of clothes. Don't worry, you can easily organize your beach bag using clear packing cubes.

Tip #9 - Pack your beach essentials in clear cubes.

swimsuit and beach essentials in a black extra small cube

Don't let sand and water get to your essentials by keeping them in clear packing cubes. You can fit your face wipes, sunscreen, sunglasses, phone, cash, and all your other travel-sized beach essentials in an extra small packing cube, while you can store your swimsuits, cover ups, and change of clothes in this spacious medium cube.

Tip #10 - Invest in a reliable waterproof phone case.

waterproof phone case

Other than a drenched change of clothes, the next big thing you wouldn't want to experience during your beach trip is a soaked phone. You can prevent this from happening by investing in a waterproof cellphone case so you can take photos and videos without worrying about your phone.

Tip #11 - Use a mattress cover instead of a towel.

Instead of using a towel or chair, spread out a mattress cover and secure its corners using heavy objects, like bag, beach chairs, shoes, etc. That way, sand won't be able to penetrate your formidable mattress fortress.

Tip #12 - Apply sunscreen before leaving and when you arrive at the beach.

sunscreen for the beach

Before you think 3 sunscreens seems a bit too much, let us explain. Apply a lotion-type sunscreen before you leave, use spray-on sunscreen when you get to the beach, and use a sunscreen stick to dab on your face so you won't have to touch your face and end up with icky gooey hands. Make sure to pack travel-sized ones to keep your load light.

Tip #13 - Wear a beach hat with flaps and wide brim for better protection.

A great sun hat does not only make you look good and stylish under the sun but it also provides coverage for your ears, at the back of your neck, and at the top of your head - areas that are not easy to keep reapplying sunscreen. Get your kids one of these to keep them cool and safe from too much sun exposure.

Tip #14 - Guard your skin with rash guard for extra sun protection.

father and son at the beach

**Thanks to Kaycee for this photo!

Yes, yes, flaunt your beach bod but protecting your skin must be your top priority! Wear your swimsuit when the sun's not too hot, like maybe late in the afternoon but in the morning, especially at noon, when the sun's high and mighty, wear rash guard with long sleeves to protect your skin from the harmful UV rays.

Tip #15 - Be a 'fan' of this portable rechargeable fan!

portable rechargeable clip fan

Make beach life cool and breezy by bringing your own portable rechargeable clip fan. This little life saver has a rechargeable battery and clip that lets you attach it on an umbrella or anywhere for the best beach and chill experience. Don't forget to bring a portable charger or a power bank to recharge the fan in case the battery dies.

Tip #16 - Spray the heat away with a spray bottle.

clear plastic spray bottle

Not planning to get into the water? No problem! Beat the heat by spraying some fresh water on your face and body using a spray bottle to help cool you off. And if the fam wants to have some snacks after swimming, quickly spray the sand off their hands so they can eat right away.

Tip #17 - Create a DIY cool beach pond with a shower curtain liner.

Make your summer vacation at the beach a fun family affair for everyone, even for babies and toddlers, by making your own DIY beach pond using a shower curtain liner. Just dig a big hole in the sand, put the shower curtain on top and pour fresh water on it to create like a small pond. Use it to cool down after dipping at the beach or as a toddler's mini pool. Bringing inflatable pool is another option, but it would be too much of a hassle to inflate and deflate it right after use.

Tip #18 - Keep your things from flying away using clips.

beach clips

Don't keep chasing windswept towels, use dollar-store beach clips instead. They're great for a windy day, keeping anything clipped down onto your beach chair, be it your bathing suits, towels, and other things that get easily blown away by the wind.

Tip #19 - Use a clean diaper to ward off any dirty intentions.

If everyone is swimming and nobody's left to look after your things, put your valuables, money and phone, in a clean diaper and wrap it as if it's a dirty used nappy. To make it look even more real, spread a bit of melted chocolate so that no one would even dare pick it up to throw it. Put it beside your flipflops and other things so it's less likely to be thrown away.

Going Home

beach essentials in a large cube

You've packed your snacks and your essentials, had your fair share of fun and laughter at the beach, relaxed and sunbathed by the shore but now, it's time to go home. Here are some tips to help you get prepped for going home.

Tip #20 - Use baby powder to get rid of sand.

Sand is quite difficult to get rid of, especially when you're about to go home and there's still sand sticking onto your wet slippers and feet. The remedy? Just pour the baby powder onto a towel, tie it with a rubber band and dab/rub it on your arms, foot, and even slippers, where sand may stick so you can go back to your car sand-free. The powder absorbs the moisture and the sand falls off like magic!

Tip #21 - Leave no trace at the beach with garbage bags.

a lady cleaning the beach

Don't leave your snack wrappers and fruit peels lying around on the beach. Throw them right away in a designated trash bag. As you pack up, getting ready to leave, separate your trash from your clean things by using a garbage bag. It will be easier for you to carry all your items this way. You can easily dispose your litter in a big trash bin that might be available at the beach.

And there you have it, folks. The best tips and hacks that will make your summer vacation at the beach extra fun and special! However, if there's one last tip that we could give you, it would be this: Expect the unexpected.

Even if the weather is lovely, anything can still happen. The beach can be hot one minute and cold the next. In short, expect the unexpected. Be sure to include every necessary thing inside your beach bag such as an extra sweater, extra clothes, socks, sunblock, and more.

Now that you've mastered the best tips and hacks for a fun summer vacation, be sure to download our Free Best Summer Vacation Packing List! Yup, it's totally free, just click the link above.

Have fun in the sun, sunshine!

P.S. Looking for more travel tips? Check out our post on The Best Travel Tips: 100 Ways to Travel Smart (er)!


Summer Vacation Beach Hacks You Never Thought You Needed


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