Bag it at the Beach
Sometimes, getting ready for a full day of fun in the sun on the Alabama Gulf Coast with the whole
family reminds me of trying to plan a military invasion. But a little bit of forethought can make “storming the beach” a whole lot simpler.
Here are a few tips I've learned for making the most of the least amount of supplies:
Tip 1: Store sunscreens and lotions in zipper-seal freezer bags in the cooler with drinks. On hot days, this makes reapplications refreshing instead of seeming like a chore.
Tip 2: Keeping things cool requires lots of ice – unless you plan ahead. Freeze water bottles and juice boxes a day or so before your trip. You won't need as much ice for your coolers, and the melting liquid inside will quench thirst while cooling you off. Just remember: Don't try to freeze anything with carbonation. It's a sure way to make a mess.
Tip 3: Plastic bags, used responsibly, can be your secret weapon. Here are just a few uses to consider:
A. Store beach toys in a plastic garbage bag. You can dump them out on the beach and stash the bag, then repack them at day's end to minimize the sand that gets spread in the vehicle.
B. Buy 1- or 2-gallon freezer bags for transporting clothing. If you roll each item of clothing separately and tightly, you can pack an entire outfit in a small space. Squeeze out as much air as possible while sealing. In a 2-gallon bag, there may even be room for a bath cloth and towel. As each person takes a turn at day's end showering off, everything that's needed to emerge dry and dressed is in one bag. Wet, sandy suits go in individual bags for the return home. This also is a way to ensure that both pieces of a two-piece swimsuit make it back. Many of the public beaches in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach offer shower facilities.
C. Decide how many garbage bags you need, then take one more. Make it a goal to be a good steward of the environment by making sure you leave your little plot of beach cleaner than when you arrived.