The Must-Have Beach Accessories You Didn’t Know You Needed this Summer

Today marks the official first day of summer. Summer means lots of time spent outside and lots of beach trips. Have you ever wondered what to bring to the beach when you want to spend the whole day there? Or what to pack when you’re going on a beach vacation? Or maybe, you think you’re a beach expert and have no need for this list. But, we guarantee there’s at least one beach accessory on this list you’ll want.

We did some digging and found a handful of must-have beach accessories you never knew you needed.

For the whole family

Portable charger: this one isn’t too surprising, but a definite beach day necessity. A portable charger saves you a lot of headaches, whether it’s for that Bluetooth speaker you’ve brought for the beach party or for your Kindle while on a beach vacation, your portable charger has got you and your electronics’ back. It’s always hard to remember to fully charge all your electronics the night before. But with a portable charger, you don’t need to. Just make sure your portable charger is fully charged.

A couple enjoying the beach on their sand free mat, a must-have summer beach accessory.
Sand free mat to keep your towel sand free

Sand free mat: no matter how much you try, do you find it’s really hard to keep sand off your towel? If you spend all day at the beach until sunset, you’re bound to have a towel covered in sand by the end of the day. These sand free towels are a definite game changers. They’re made from a mesh cover attached to a tarp-like piece to sit on the bottom, which protects from sand coming up onto the towel. Water and sand fall right through the mesh top, away from your towel. They’re large, which takes up space on a crowded beach, but they’re definitely worth it for a happy beach day.

An awning that attaches to your Jeep to create a shaded area. It's a must have beach accessory for the summer.
Jeep awning for a shaded beach site

Jeep Awning: in some places you can drive your car right onto the beach, which is why a lot of people in those areas own Jeeps, one of the best cars designed for a beach day. Now, there’s an awning designed to attach right to your Jeep, creating a shaded area right at your beach site. No umbrella needed! Plus, the awnings don’t need to be screwed into the ground, like umbrellas, to only fly away when a 5 mph gust of wind occurs. You can easily pack it up and store it in the back of your Jeep for the next beach day.

For the Adults

Spikeball and KanJam: you can decide to bring one of these beach games or both, but you definitely need to bring one along for a day at the beach. Both games are easily transported to the beach of your choosing, they’re simple to setup, and provide hours of beach fun. Spikeball is sometimes better on sand as well since a lot of diving can occur during games. Kan jam takes up a little bit more space, but you can usually find a good spot to play at the beach. You need 4 people for each game, but you can play for fun with just 2 people.

A baseball cap with a hole above the typical baseball cap hole, used for high ponytails and buns. It's a must have beach accessory
For those who want to rock a messy bun or high ponytail at the beach

Ponycap (also called a high ponytail hat): this one is for all the long haired people out there, especially the ladies who love rocking a high ponytail or messy bun during their beach day. It’s a bit of a quirky beach accessory, but definitely a useful one. These trucker hats have the regular snapback hole, but they also have a oval-like shape above that for higher ponytails. Now you can keep that messy bun for your beach hair while also blocking your face from the sun. These are also great for those really sunny days on the water when you paddle board.

A cup holder that digs right into the sand to keep your drinks sand-free. It's a must have beach accessory for the summer.
Convenient holder that sits right in the sand

Sand cup holders: this is a beach party must-have. The worst thing about drinking any beverage at the beach is that the bottom of the cup, can or bottle gets all sandy when you put it down. You start getting sand everywhere and, somehow, it travels up the side of the drink into the actual liquid. The bottom of these cup holders dig into the sand for stability. Once it’s dug in, you have a little holder on top that sits above the sand. Some are even equipped with a place for your drink AND a place for your phone. No more sand infested drinks here!

For the Infants & Toddlers

An infant pop-up pool for the beach with detachable shade. It's a must-have beach accessory for infants and toddlers.
Make your own shaded pool at the beach for the kids

Pop-up pool: these are for families with infants or toddlers who want to play with or in the water, but have no one to supervise them near the ocean shore. You dig a hole, line the hole with the pop-up pool, then pour in a bucket of water. Now the kids have a little water hole to play in without having to be too far from adult supervision. It also comes with a detachable tent piece depending on whether you need shade or not. This accessory is going to make it a lot easier to build sand castles, no need to truck water back and forth in tiny buckets (…though that may help tire the toddlers out quicker).

For the Dogs

Dog Tote: Dog owners love being able to bring their furry friends to the beach, especially when the dog really enjoys it. This Dog Tote is the all-in-one accessory to keep Fido happy for a full day at the beach. It includes the bag, a blanket, a dog food carrier, two collapsible bowls, and a frisbee. There are a lot of pockets and places to carry everything you need. You can bring food, treats, water, toys, etc for your beach buddy. It’s easily cleaned inside so you can bring ice packs to keep anything for your dog cold, like frozen watermelons for a treat.

A dog tote that comes with multiple dog accessories. A must have beach accessory for your dog.
All-in-one dog tote to satisfy all your dog’s needs during an all day beach trip

With this list, you’ll be able to go to the beach all day, sunrise to sunset, with all your needs met. The only thing you’ll need to remember is to pack lots sunscreen to make up for all the extra time in the sun. Beach days are what summer is all about and these beach accessories will help you enjoy those days all summer long.

Some of our posts may contain affiliate links, meaning as an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases (thanks for the beer!). There is no extra cost to you.

The Best Ways to Protect Against UV Rays

…and tips for relief in case sunburn strikes

How many times have you been out on your paddle board only to realize it’s time to reapply sunscreen?  It’s not a job you look forward to doing. It very well may be the least enjoyable part about going out on the water.  

Unfortunately, it’s a necessary evil.  

If you’re paddling in the morning when the sun isn’t strong or you’re out on the water during twilight, you don’t need to put on sunscreen, but all other times on the water you do.  

Don’t forget the sunscreen

It’s recommended that you reapply sunscreen at least every 90 minutes. The risk of skin cancer is too great nowadays to take any chances. Plus, who wants to deal with sunburn?  It’s ugly, uncomfortable, and peeling skin is gross.

Here are our top 3 picks for sunscreens:

  1. Neutrogena Beach Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 70 – the best thing about Neutrogena is how lightweight and fast absorbing it is.  You don’t feel sticky after applying like you may after using some other sunscreens.

    It’s broad spectrum, so it protects against both UVA and UVB rays (the harmful UV rays from the sun).  The beach defense line is great because it stays put better than other brands after you go in the water. Both lotion and spray work well – so that decision is up to you.
  2. BullFrog Water Sport SPF 50 or more – BullFrog was made for surfers, so naturally, it’s a great choice for water sports. It’s the first brand to have offered water resistant sunscreens, making it the OG.

    BullFrog is also great because it contains soothing gels from plants, so if you’re feeling sunburned already, it eases that discomfort.
  3. MDSolarSciences Mineral Crème Broad Spectrum SPF 50 – this is a natural sunscreen that’s great for people with sensitive skin. It’s third on our list because it’s more expensive than most other brands. It doesn’t leave a residue, is broad spectrum, and natural..so it checks all of our boxes.

Sometimes dealing with sunscreen, whether it be lotion or spray, can get way too annoying.  

Instead of bothering with sunscreen every 90 minutes, there’s now UV protection clothing.

Sun Protective Clothing

Plenty of outdoor brands, like REI, have begun selling clothing that is equipped with UV protection.  This clothing helps protect you all day as you paddleboard without having to reapply sunscreen (though it is recommended that you use sunscreen as well, but it’s not as important when wearing UV protection clothing).

You’re probably skeptical of UV protection clothing, we know we were the first time we heard about it.

How does it work? Does it really work? Or is it just another buzzword used to sell the same old clothing?

It turns out that it is different from regular clothing… but not all that much. This special clothing is manufactured in a way that allows it to carry a UPF rating.  

What the heck is a UPF rating, you ask?  It stands for UV Protection Factor. The higher the UPF, the better the protection. This rating is granted by ASTM International, which is a legit society that tests all types of materials.

When a piece of clothing has the ASTM rating, you can trust that it is lab tested to guarantee that UPF rating.

UV protection clothing is woven tighter and uses denser fabrics that are proven to protect against UV rays.  Some items are also treated with an ingredient that is said to protect against harmful rays. This will be noted on the label if it is.

The problem is that no company states what this ingredient is. So who knows how it works, how long it stays on the clothing, or if it really does work.

But the good news is that UV protection clothing carrying a UPF rating is actually sewn different from regular clothing, so it’s worth the purchase and does provide protection.

If you don’t want to go out and buy more clothing though, you can look at what you own already and see if it can provide some defense against the sun.  Denim and corduroy are great against UV rays, the problem is they’re not exactly material you want to be wearing while you paddleboard.

The fabrics that help most against UV rays (but work for being on the water) are:

  • Polyester
  • Rayon
  • Unbleached cotton

Turns out bathing suits are made from these materials already. Doesn’t it all makes sense now?

If you have clothing made of these materials, they’ll help protect you, but may not be as tightly woven as clothing specifically made for UV protection. Any clothing is better protection than nothing though.

Tips for when sunburn strikes

Ouch…

So, let’s say you take all the necessary precautions, but still manage to get sunburn. You’re uncomfortable. You’re skins burning. You’re turning as red as a lobster.  

It’s. the. Worst.

Instead of just sitting there and suffering, here’s a few tips on relieving the pain from sunburn:

  1. Aloe – you can use this by getting an aloe plant and breaking open the leaf.  Or you can buy the gel in a bottle. Slather it on and bask in the the glory of the cooling relief.
  2. Cold showers – cold showers help lower your body temperature and decrease inflammation.  If you want to feel like a real tough guy, try an ice bath.
  3. Light clothing – wear clothing that lightweight, isn’t tight, and allows your skin to breathe.  Any item made of a fabric that stays cool is also a plus.

All these tips are great ways to make this summer paddle board season really enjoyable.  Not only will they keep you safe in the sun, but they’ll protect you from uncomfortable sunburn. You don’t want to end up missing any time out on the water this summer, right?

Some of our posts may contain affiliate links, meaning as an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases (thanks for the beer!). There is no extra cost to you.

Memorial Day: The Kick-Off to Summer

Winter blues have you down? Are you over the cold weather? Well, with Memorial Day right around the corner, most people are starting to dream about summer.  Summer vacations, summer nights, and the best of all: paddleboard season.

If you’re reading this right now, you’re probably part of the latter group. After being cooped up all winter long, getting out on the water on your paddleboard probably sounds like a really great idea. To prepare for the kickoff to summer, here are the top 5 destinations in the United States for paddleboarding:

Hawaii

Honestly, go paddle board anywhere in Hawaii on any island.  You can’t go wrong paddleboarding in Hawaii.  There’s so many opportunities for awesome paddleboarding off any of the islands.

You can rent a board for the morning, take a SUP-yoga class, or paddle out at twilight while your board is illuminated from below.  If you can only choose one island to paddleboard at, Oahu would be the first choice. It’s the 3rd largest of the Hawaiian islands, but it has some of the best paddleboard spots.

There’s a SUP company located on any side of the island you’re on, so you won’t be too far from renting a board and getting out on the water.  The views are amazing anywhere you find yourself.

California

Are you surprised? Probably not.  With California’s extensive coastline, there’s plenty of spots to launch your paddle board.  You can go out off the coast of Santa Barbara or head south to Santa Monica, a more popular city for tourists.  Going south from there you can go to Huntington Beach or even further south to San Diego.

No matter where you choose in California, the paddleboarding will be fun and the views will be great.

Key West, Florida

To get to Key West, you can either take a flight to the Key West International Airport or you can fly into Miami and drive.  The drive over the bridge to Key West is epic. It may be longer than taking a flight, but it’s an experience all in itself.  

The best part of paddleboarding in Key West is the white sands of the beaches and the clear blue water. You can see all the marine life under you as you paddle.  There are plenty of spots to rent paddle boards as well. You can take them out day or night, your choice.

Key West is one place where you feel like you’re actually walking on water.

Three women paddleboarding in Key West, Florida.
Paddleboarding in Key West, FL is beautiful

Lake Tahoe

Since Lake Tahoe is in both California and Nevada, it gets its own place on the list.  The lake is huge and perfect for paddleboarding. One of the great experiences of paddling on Lake Tahoe is that you get different scenery than in the previous places on this list.  It’s not sand and ocean views.

Lake Tahoe has views of evergreens and snow-capped mountains. It’s a whole other experience when paddling in the warm weather, but seeing nature that’s more suited for a winter wonderland.  

If you’re a confident paddleboarder, you can make your way out to the state line in the middle of the lake. You’ll be able to say you’re in two states at one time right on your board.

Seattle

Seattle probably makes you think, “Really? A Northwest state? Isn’t always raining there?”  

Well, it turns out all that rain has created plenty of bodies of water to SUP on. A lot of people in Seattle live in houseboats and travel the city that way. It’s a new way to explore Seattle as well, instead of just setting out on foot. Take to the waterways and paddle your way around to see the city and the scenery around it.

After dreaming about all the places on this list, summer can’t come soon enough.  It’s time to book a trip and get out on the water.

Let us know your favorite places to SUP this coming summer.  It’s gonna be a great 2019 season.