I hate the beach.
I know, it’s heresy. I’m supposed to love sandy toes and salty kisses, sun and surf and waves. On a sweltering day, I’m supposed to troop down to the water’s edge with an umbrella and towels and sand toys and drinks and sunscreen and beach chairs and snacks. After I arrange these things to my liking, I am supposed to fling myself, and my small children, into the churning waves.
This sounds, to me, like something akin to chewing sand.
Just in case you’re a beach-hater like me - and there are dozens of us! - you don’t have to suffer. You can pout in relative comfort with these top-ten beach hater hacks.
Put on sunscreen twenty minutes before you even approach the sand. Yes, manufacturers say you need to do this so the sunscreen will be effective and all that jazz. We’re not concerned about that. Twenty minutes gives that goo time to soak into your skin. Put it on any closer to beach time and you’ll find yourself with sand sticking to your SPF. Uncool.
Bring a fitted sheet. Set it face-down on the sand, and use something - a soda can works well - to hold up the corners. This gives you a several-inch barrier against dreaded sand invasion. Sure, the kids will still track sand onto it. But at least your butt will be blessedly un-sandy for a little while.
Look fab. Half the reason you hate the beach is that you hate the sun, right? Rock that look. Wear a flowy white coverup - the best to deflect the sun’s rays. Accessorize with an enormous, floppy straw hat. Bring back the giant sunglasses. Make sure you can remove everything for a quick dip in the water, so as not to get too hot, then immediately put it all back on.
Bring lots of sand toys. This seems counterintuitive, because no one likes sand everywhere. But sand castle building requires much less supervision than swimming. Convince your kids to dig a hole to China. Encourage tide pool construction. The sand toys keep them out of the water and on the shore, where you can safely (mostly) ignore them.
Freeze your beverage of choice the night before. Addicted to tea? Freeze bottles-full of it twelve hours beforehand, so you’re assured of a cold beverage at all times. Coolers take up too much space and require too much hauling - don’t bring down ice you don’t need. As a bonus, if your drink isn’t fully thawed, you get to have a slushie. Do this with juice to keep your kids hydrated.
Bring sting-eez. Someone is going to step on a jellyfish. Unless you want to go through the whole urination-on-the-leg drama (which probably doesn’t work anyway), stay low key with some actual meds on hand.
An umbrella is not optional. Cabanas are nice, too. But if you’re to get through this ordeal, you need shade. Shade means you need an umbrella. Make sure you dig a good-sized hole, angle it for maximum shadiness, and keep turning it as the day goes on. Watch out for wind.
Bring a solar charger for your phone. That way you’ll never, ever be without the sweet, sweet escape of the internet. If the fitted sheet holds, your phone won’t get too sandy, either. Make sure you position the charger outside the umbrella shade, and keep the kids from messing with it. It might be worth setting it on a towel of its own.
Wear sandals. When you walk down to the beach in the morning, the sand will feel pleasantly cool. It will rapidly become a raging inferno as nine am turns into one pm. You do not want to walk on the raging inferno. Make sure you have some kind of foot protection, and make sure it matches your cover-up.
Get some wheels. It might be an all-terrain wagon. It might be one of those rented beach carts. It might look like a stunted dune buggy. But if you’re going to get all this stuff down to the beach, you’re going to need it. Stuff it full and make someone else haul the darn thing over the sand. After all, you’re here under protest.
What are your best beach hacks, beach haters?