Heading to the beach this summer? Ready for a coastal vacation? The beach is a perfect family destination. Where else can one person relax with a book while another goes fishing, another looks for sand dollars, and yet another wades in the surf? Between the sunshine and water, beaches truly have something for everyone. Whether you'll be camping at the lakeside, along the ocean, or near a rocky coast, certain things are always the same about beach camping.
To ensure an enjoyable beach vacation, you'll want to think through a day of swimming. Do you have swimsuits and sunscreen for everyone, including higher SPF sunscreen for the kids? What about water toys like snorkels and masks, flippers, boogie boards, and other floating toys? Will kids be building sand castles with pails and shovels, or will you want bird watching binoculars, containers for shells, or fishing tackle and nets?
If you'll be headed to a rocky beach or a lake that may have submerged sticks and logs, wading shoes are a great idea. These closed-toed shoes—old tennis shoes or canvas shoes work well—will protect your feet in the water. Wading shoes need to be inexpensive, so you can leave them outside without worrying
After your swimmers come out of the water, they'll need a way to rinse off, either in a public beach shower, an RV park shower, or with a shower bag that's been left to heat up on the top of your RV. Be sure to bring plenty of beach towels. Ideally, you'll have different towels for lying on the sand than the ones you use for drying off after your shower, otherwise you'll cover yourself with sand all over again. At your campsite, a doormat outside your RV or tent is a great way to remove sand at the door.
If you're camping in an established RV park or campground, you don't need to worry about the placement of your camping spot. But if you're tent, car-camping, or RV camping on your own, be sure to avoid headlands and sand dunes that can be disastrous in storms and high winds. Place your tent or RV in a sheltered spot that's away from ant hills and wetlands (that may be filled with mosquitoes).
For many people, beach camping is all about the toys you bring with you. Whether you're avid kayakers, windsurfers, canoers, boogie boarders, sailors, or jet skiers, you'll want to come prepared. Check with the chamber of commerce of the nearest town to learn about equipment rentals and their policies. Be sure to bring enough life jackets and paddles, plus any small coolers or waterproof bags that you might want to carry your lunch and gear in. Brimmed hats, sunscreen, and sunglasses are a must on the water.
Once you arrive at your beach of choice, look for signs and postings notifying you about local events or dangers. Be alert for red tide, Portuguese man-of-war jellyfish, rip tides, and other hazards. Odds are that your beach is safe, but it's always best to keep your eyes open.
If you have a beach umbrella, you'll have plenty of shade from the heat of the day. If you don't, consider putting up an awning or tarp from your RV or bringing a tent that you cover with just the rain fly for a shady area that says cool on sunny days.