For many people, summer weather marks the beginning of beach vacations to places like Cap Cod (MA), Clearwater (FL), and Coronado (CA). The beach can be the perfect summer getaway for the whole family, especially if you don’t live near the coast. Summertime is the busiest time of year for beaches, but there is something about the beautiful blue ocean and the warm, sundrenched sand that makes you feel a sense of relaxation both mentally and physically. Whether you are planning to stay in a B&B, hotel resort, or a rented beach house, making arrangements in advance will ensure you get the most out of your trip.
Beach vacation planning has to be done well ahead of time. Many beach hotels and resorts book reservations 6 months in advance and some of the more exclusive resorts will book reservations more than a year in advance. When selecting a location do some research and determine what hotels and resorts are for adults only and which locations are kid friendly. Selecting the location that best fits your needs will help make the trip more enjoyable.
Book Your Travel.
If you are traveling by air, book airline reservations at least 21-days in advance to ensure the best rates. If you are applying frequent-flyer miles or credit card rewards points, check air and hotel black-out dates and restrictions that may apply to the dates you have selected. The process of transferring points can take up to 2 weeks; planning ahead will keep this from being an issue as well. Keep a file handy with all your travel arrangements and reservation confirmations.
Beach Vacations offer relaxation and an escape from daily life, but they also present opportunities to enjoy great restaurants, go sightseeing, and nightlife entertainment. Once you have selected your destination, research different Points of Interest, local attractions, and popular restaurants that you will want to add to your list of things to experience. Some of these will require reservations ahead of time. Most hotels and resorts have a Concierge service that will take care of making these reservations for you and many times they will be able to offer insight on local attractions that are not on the national radar. These local favorites often times end up being a better experience than the more publicized ones.
Packing a suitcase for a beach vacation can be tricky as you will want to include a good mix of casual, beach-going attire and your favorite nightlife attire. Plan ahead and select the appropriate attire for the events that will be included for each day of your vacation. Take into account local climates during the summertime. Beach cities tend to be very hot during the day and can cool off significantly during the evening. Check local weather forecasts as you pack your suitcase and bring more than one option incase the weather changes.
What to Pack When You Head to the Beach:
Sunscreen, sunscreen, and more sunscreen. Sunburns are the #1 way to ruin and trip to the beach. Be sure to re-apply early and often. Floppy hats are also a great way to keep from getting too much sun.
Packing a cooler or insulated tote is always a good idea when you plan on spending an extended amount of time on the beach. Your cooler should include plenty of water and ice to keep perishable foods from spoiling.
Bring your camera and protect it from getting damaged by storing it in a waterproof bag when not in use.
Bring lots of beach towels or blankets to sit on and if you don’t have to walk too far, bring a folding beach chair.
Pack sunglasses for everyone in the family. The suns’ rays are very strong at the beach and a long day in the sun can leave eyes dry and itchy.
Bring a book, newspaper or magazines to help pass the time. Nothing helps you relax and enjoy your time at the beach like a good read.
The beach is a great place for playing catch. Pack a Frisbee, football, paddle ball and more. It gives your family an opportunity to have some fun while getting in a little physical activity together.
Although beaches can be hot during the day, they also tend to get fairly cool at night. It is always a good idea to pack a long-sleeve shirt and/or a pair of pants.
What to pack for a Summer Day Trip to the Beach:
Umbrellas are a great way to enjoy the beach without getting too much sun. Floppy hats are also a great way to keep from getting overheated from the sun.
Radios are always a great way to enjoy the beach. If you have a radio with batteries that last at least a few hours, bring it along with you.
Bring lots of toys and sandcastle building materials. This is a great way for kids to pass time at the beach while mom and dad relax and let’s face it, everyone loves a great sandcastle.
If you don’t already have them, boogie boards, surfboards and other recreational equipment can be rented or purchased from nearby shops and beachfront kiosks. Kids love spending time in the ocean learning to ride the waves.
Bring your bike. Some of the best days at the beach consist of cruising up and down the boardwalk on a bicycle and checking out local shops and restaurants.
Tips While At the Beach:
Get you and your family familiar with the different signs and flags that local lifeguards use to alert beachgoers of dangerous conditions such as strong currents and “riptides.” If you are unsure, stop by a nearby lifeguard tower or station and someone will be happy to explain them to you.
If the beach you are visiting allows bonfires, make sure you bring lighter fluid, matches, and plenty of wood to last you all evening. It is always a good idea to find out what restrictions beaches have for bonfires before getting started.
Take some time to check out local attractions surrounding the beach you are visiting. Some beaches have amusement parks for kids and adults, shops, restaurants, or concert venues close by and offer up a great break from the sun and heat; especially if you are there for several days.
Be a good beach neighbor. If you bring a radio keep the volume at a reasonable level and try not to play music that will be offensive to others. When you get up to leave or move your towel, try to keep the sand from flying into your fellow beachgoers lounging areas.
Pick a spot on the beach that best suits your needs. If you have kids, try to find an area that they can play in without bothering others. If you don’t have kids with you, pick spot that will help you relax and enjoy the beauty of the ocean that surrounds you.
Have a great time! There may be no better place on Earth than a sunny day at the beach.