How to plan the perfect day at the beach
For many people, their worst day at the beach is still better than their best day at work or in the classroom. And, while enjoying the warm sun with a gentle, cooling breeze and the relaxing sound of waves lapping at the shore sounds like pure bliss, the perfect day at the beach doesn't happen by chance.
But it doesn't require military-style planning either. Just follow our simple guide so you'll rest easy knowing you have the necessary items for beach day perfection.
Sun essentials in your favourite beach bag? Tick.
Car loaded with beach tent or beach cabana? Tick.
All your favourite water sports equipment? Tick.
Esky, soft chiller or portable fridge for keeping drinks cold and food fresh? Tick.
Looks like you're almost ready to roll!
Be Sun Smart
A perfect day at the beach involves protecting you and your family from the harsh Australian sun. Over-exposure to harmful UV rays - resulting in lobster-red skin and even sunstroke! - can put a dampener on the fun, not to mention increase your risk of serious health issues as you age. Thankfully, there are some easy ways to stay sun smart that can also make your day at the beach so much better.
Sunscreen and sun protection are vital for a perfect beach day, so make them some of the first things you add to your planning list. Sunscreens with a SPF greater than 30 provide the best protection but, for sunscreens that are beach-friendly, choose something that won't come off in the water.
Insect repellent is also a must-have, especially if you plan on keeping flies off your food or watching the sun set over the ocean at the end of your day.
Beach tents and gazebos
Not only do they provide awesome protection from the sun and shelter from the elements but beach tents and gazebos - sometimes known as 'beach cabanas' - are also great for a little bit of privacy (especially appreciated when going for a quick change out of wet bathers).
Packing a beach tent, gazebo, sun shade or a beach umbrella will help make sure you and the family avoid sunburn, and that you get some shade and feel a little more comfortable on even the hottest of days. By keeping your beach fridge or esky in the shade these tents and gazebos provide, you'll ensure your food and drinks stay colder and fresher for longer, which will means you can stretch your beach day for longer too.
It's important to check any shelter's Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) before buying. Look for shelters that have a 50+ UPF rating to make sure they provide nothing less than excellent protection for you and the family against the sun's harmful rays.
Choose beach tents and gazebos that not only suit your preferred beach lifestyle but are easy to set up and take down, and neatly pack away for space-saving storage when transporting in the car or when stowed away over winter.
Sun smart clothing
Stay Hydrated And Well Fed
While the popular image of a day at the beach is one of relaxation, naps and turning the pages of your favourite book, you're likely to be a bit more active than you think - especially if you're looking after the kids in the surf, or getting a game of beach soccer or cricket up and going.
However, even if lazing around, any perfect beach day involves staying well hydrated, and having plenty of tasty and nutritious food on hand to help keep your energy levels up. A portable fridge or cooler like an esky is perfect for keeping food fresh and making sure your drinks are crispy cold.
Nibbling on fresh fruit, healthy sandwiches and tasty salads across the afternoon is a much better way to bolster your energy levels than getting weighed down with junk food. Still or sparkling water, and low-sugar drink choices, will also keep you and the kids better hydrated for longer when compared to the usual suspects.
Pigging out on deep-fried foods and sugary treats that are the traditional staples of beachside cafes have their place in moderation but enjoying homemade foods, slices and other treats kept ice cold in your esky, soft cooler or portable fridge is much closer to that touch of perfection!
Outdoor Chairs: Keep Calm And Remain Comfortable
Feeling the sand between your toes has a unique way of helping you feel relaxed. Let's be honest, though, sand in other bits of your body isn't so relaxing! A purpose-designed beach chair brings an element of indulgent comfort to your perfect beach day, which also means keeping the sand at bay (and out of your body crevices).
What makes a good beach chair? High quality, durable materials, excellent UV protection and ample padding for additional posture support are some of the features you should be looking for in a beach chair. Not only should they be comfortable and hard-wearing, but the best beach chairs will be easy to carry, quick to pack up and compact enough to store when you're not using them.
Lastly, but by no means least, a perfect day at the beach involves bringing your favourite water sport and activity gear.
Nowadays, physical activities like stand up paddle boarding, bodyboarding and wakeboarding, kayaking and snorkelling are all the rage at Australian beaches. As well as being plenty of fun, these activities are an excellent way to explore the coastline from a whole new perspecitive, and a great new spin on a refreshing stint in the water. They're also fantastic for mixing a workout with the added appeal of one of our beautiful Australian beaches.
Not all of the fun has to happen on or in the water either! Starting a beach cricket match is as much of a summer beach tradition as melted ice creams, collecting shells, building sandcastles and burying Dad in the sand! If cricket isn't your thing, then why not try a game of beach soccer or touch footy instead?
Inflatable toys are also an integral part of planning a perfect day at the beach. If kayaking, SUP boarding and other such activities sound a bit too energetic for your liking - or you have a young family that's not quite ready to get their adrenaline pumping at that level - inflatable daybeds, swimming rings and floats make relaxing on the water both fun and safe.
Don't forget: water sports and activities aren't without their risks. Packing and then ensuring you and the kids are wearing the correct personal floatation device is a very important part of your perfect beach day planning.
With a little bit of forethought, the perfect day at the beach is achievable everytime you decide to head to the coast.
Don't make a drama out of it - maybe a quick list that you can refer to? - keep your beach essentials handy and make sure getting to the beach across the summer months is fun, safe and hassle-free.