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.
Miscellaneous: 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.
Luggage and bags:
beach bag that can withstand sand
plastic bags for wet clothes/shoes
zip lock bags for food/money
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: old bedsheet to put towels on--quick cleanup
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: after-sun aloe balm--we like Banana Boat
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: SUN UMBRELLA--for that 3rd day of scorching UVB
Miscellaneous: we had a kitchen, so remember paper towels & Clorox wipes.
shared bathroom = air freshener spray
Luggage and bags:
beach bag (something that is bound to get sand in it),
Plastic bags (to protect things from sand),
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Swim Suits,
T- shirts/ Short sleeve,
Sweatshirts (it can get kinda chilly!),
swim suit cover-up,
rain coat (we always have 2 all-day rainy days)
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Aloe for sunburn,
sting medicine for jellyfish stings,
regular lotion- you will dry out from water, sand and sun,
eye drops! must have!
Photo Equipment: Bring whatever you want... there are stores to purchase batteries and film if needed.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Net- you can catch little crabs that come out at night,
Flashlight- to watch crabs or for jellyfish,
Lot of beach towels,
Water spray bottles- wash off sand from your hands or body and keeps you cool when the sun gets hot,
books to read on the beach,
Walkman to listen to music,
little cooler and cooley cup for drinks- easier than running back and forth for a refill,
body board or rafts for swimming
Miscellaneous: If you are staying at a hotel or condo with a pool on the beach, put a towel out on a chair early in the morning (like 6am or 7am) to reserve it for the day.
These chairs are taken up quickly!
Be prepared to get hit by a water balloon or water gun some point in your vacation. They are always around!
DO NOT feed the seagulls- and yell at those around you who do. They will never go away! In fact, we made a game that we continued each year. If you are with a group of people on your vacation- each person that gets pooped on by a seagull gets $1 from everyone else. You are bound to get pooped on- so atleast you can get money for it!