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With the official start of summer last week and the double-scorching-digits we’ve been having weather wise, the beaches are filling with ready participants looking for ways to cool off and enjoy the season. I’ve already rounded up some of my favorite suits for your little guys and gals, but if you’re headed to the shore this summer, here are some essentials I make sure I’ve got on hand. Plus, a couple of tips I’ve learned over my time spent beach combing… and a big giveaway too!beach-bag-essentials

1// Beach bag
We used to carry a bag for towels, a diaper bag, a snack bag and more all down to the beach… and it was crazy. This Hayden Reis bag is a generously sized beach carryall and it does the job so well! We pack up our beach blanket AND towels in it, a few snacks and other beach essentials, and it all fits easily in this exceptionally lightweight bag. Being made of sailcloth, it’s durable and water resistant as well. I was skeptical at first, because a tote is a tote, right? Well, not anymore, I seriously love my totes-adorable beach bag and use it at every beach outing now! So, whether or not your ready to invest in a high-quality beach bag, make sure to find one that will hold all of your belongings, thus making your life, and trip to the beach, much easier. And if you decide on a Hayden Reis bag, you can thank me later… also, now through July 4th, they are offering a 15% discount–use code FOURTHFASHION!

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2// Beach hat.
A good beach hat is a must. Whether it’s a big floppy hat or a fedora, you’ll need something to keep those extra rays off of your skin and scalp. To be honest, I don’t wear mine the entire time at the beach, but after about an hour, I like to keep the heat off of my face, and am always glad when I can pull my hat from my bag.

3// Sunscreen.
We all know the cardinal rule of a day in the sun right, apply and then re-apply… and don’t forget the lips! Gotta sunscreen those babies too. My favorite lip sunscreen right now is this peppermint vanilla SPF balm, but there are some great inexpensive versions too. And as for a good sunscreen, I just always keep an organic SPF 50 for baby with me and use it on all of us, it makes life easier than packing a bunch of different sunscreens and it’s handy to just reach into the bag, grab it and reapply often. Beach Bag Essentials (27 of 38) Beach Bag Essentials (26 of 38)

4// Sunglasses.
A hot trend right now is the wooden look and these lightweight, handmade and 100% sustainable bamboo sunnies are a perfect option. Since you’re not wearing too many accessories at the beach, your sunglasses should make a statement. Just don’t wear them into the water… you don’t want a rogue wave taking them away! (These are so in style for both guys and gals, and my husband sometimes grabs mine on his way out the door and raves about how lightweight they are… plus he’s been getting tons of compliments on them!)Beach Bag Essentials (23 of 38)Beach Bag Essentials (16 of 38)

5// Waterproof phone case.
Hello, soap box. I know I get on this one a lot, but being a mother of three and living near the water means that keeping my electronics water-free is a must! I keep my phone and my iPad in a waterproof Lifeproof case.Beach Bag Essentials (35 of 38)

6// Beach spiker.
Okay so maybe this one isn’t necessarily essential, but it IS super adorable (comes monogrammed, too!) and handy. No more sandy drinks while lounging on the beach… especially if you’re like me and like to stop for an iced drink on the way! Beach Bag Essentials (24 of 38)Beach Bag Essentials (39)

7// Phone charger.
Between all the social media surfing and posting my fun summer beach photos to Instagram, to letting my kids use my phone as their personal gaming system, my battery can run pretty low at times. I keep this inexpensive battery charger with me for quick charges (works for my iPad too!), and especially for a day at the beach.beach-bag-essentials-(1-of-2)

8// A good read.
I used to always grab a magazine for a day at the beach, but lately, since it’s so tough with three kids to get in much reading at home, I like to always have a  good book with me. Summer reading is fun with a novel that transports you to another place and time, like Moonflower, the first of an upcoming series.

9// Beach blanket.
Okay, so we pretty much always have some kind of beach blanket with us, but our favorite new trick is to use an outdoor tablecloth! It’s water resistant, the sand slides right off when you shake it… and ours has an umbrella hole in the center where we stick our beach umbrella and it’s equipped with corner weights on the edges! Perfect for an outdoor picnic table, and perfect for the beach.

10// Wristlet.
This mini beach bag is perfect for keeping your little items together and easy to grab, like your lip balm, mineral water spray, wallet and phone. It makes a run to the restroom or beach cafe easy and stylish!Beach Bag Essentials (2 of 38)

Throw in a towel and don your favorite swimsuit and you’re all set for a day at the beach! Of course, if you have kids, read on for a few super helpful tips I’ve picked up along the way from all of our beach-loving days.

  • Let them help! If they can carry something little, let them! We usually have our kids carry their own beach bucket, with a small toy, snack, water bottle and towel all in it. This is essentially everything they will need. Of course, I have my bag with the beach blanket, sunscreen, etc… and then just carry that and the baby. If I can make it to the beach by myself with three kids and all the essentials, I think that is a pretty stellar packing-for-the-beach job!
  • Bring a travel size baby powder. Most of our beaches have a shower area, so we can rinse off all the pesky granules of sand that stick everywhere, and living in Florida we’re just used to sand being everywhere. But it is nice to be able to gently rub most of the sand off our feet before we get in the car. Just a little sprinkle of baby powder and the sand glides right off… plus, it leaves a great scent!
  • Leaving your stuff behind? We set up our little “space” at the beach, and then many times all head down to the water together, meaning all of our gear and gadgets are left unattended. Granted, we don’t go all that far and I’m not too worried about our stuff, but a good trick we use sometimes is to wrap our most important things, like phone and keys, in an unused diaper. NO ONE wants to take what looks like a dirty diaper, plus your phone is protected from the sun and heat! 
  • Drink water and have fun! Too many times I see stressed out parents because things don’t always go as expected. With three kids, I’ve learned that things pretty much never go as expected, and with a trip to the beach, even if it is a quick one, the point is to relax and have a good time. Let the sun do it’s work and relieve some stress as your feet walk through the sand (true story) and let it go. Let your kids have fun, release expectations. Someone will eat sand, someone will get bumped, someone will cry… but everyone will have fun if you set the example! And remember to have everyone drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. 

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If you’d like to win some of my favorite items from my beach bag, just enter below! The giveaway winner will receive their own Hayden Reis wristlet, Soleil bamboo sunglasses, a personalized beach spiker, an autographed copy of Moonflower by EDC Johnson, a Jackery mini portable charger and a Lifeproof case for your phone!! Enjoy the sizzling summer friends!

*** Giveaway winner is Tina Basham. Congratulations Tina!




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