Don’t Go to the Beach Without These 15 Hacks

As a native Michigander, I’ve spent time almost every summer of my life at the beach, enjoying the long sandy shoreline of Lake Michigan.

Over the years, I’ve developed an arsenal of strategies to maximize the fun of these trips while minimizing any potential inconvenience. However, even I found some new tips and tricks while writing this article.

Whether you’re heading to the ocean, the Great Lakes or a local watering hole, here are 15 beach hacks to try this year:

1. Use a fitted sheet instead of a beach towel

Sam Chadwick / Shutterstock.com

OK, you need a couple of things to make this work correctly. The first is four heavy objects to act as anchors. The second is no kids.

Lay the fitted sheet upside down on the sand. Put your four anchors in the corners and pull the sheet up and taut. When you’re done, you should have four short walls around you to prevent blowing sand from invading your space.

Kids will quickly turn this area into a sandbox, so I would skip the aggravation and save this hack for when they’re older, or you’re alone.

2. Hide your valuables where they’ll never be found

OlegDoroshin / Shutterstock.com

To avoid someone taking off with your valuables while you swim, hide your cash and keys somewhere they won’t be found. If you have a kiddo in diapers, put your valuables in a diaper and wrap it up so it looks like it’s dirty.

You can also clean out an empty sunscreen container and put cash, cards and keys in there.

3. Put your key on a cork

Ingrid Maasik / Shutterstock.com

Make an extra key to your vehicle, attach it to a wine cork and lock all your other keys in the car. If the car key falls into the water, the cork will help make it visible and more easily found.

Yes, there’s a chance it could float off if you don’t notice it right away — but hey, no hack is perfect. If you’re worried, use hack No. 2 to hide your key rather than keeping it in your pocket.

4. Use baby powder to help whisk away sand

MIA Studio / Shutterstock.com

Nothing is worse than wiping wet sand off yourself, right? I’ve heard that if you sprinkle on some baby powder, it will absorb the moisture and make it easier to leave the sand at the beach rather than hauling it home with you.

I can’t vouch for this one personally, but if you’ve tried it, tell us how it works by leaving a comment below.

5. Store your phone in a plastic baggie

pedphoto36pm / Shutterstock.com

If you need to bring your phone to the beach, keep it sealed in a plastic sandwich baggie or or inexpensive carrier designed to protect it from sand and water. If the bag is thin enough, you may find you’re able to use the touchscreen without even taking it out of the bag.

There are a number of variations on this product now — since we all travel with electronics. Check out this one, which locks closed and tethers to your beach chair or other large object so you can enjoy a swim instead of policing your valuables.

6. Search for wayward kids downwind

Belle Ciezak / Shutterstock.com

In a perfect world, you would have eyes on your kids at all times. But I have five kids and am painfully aware of how easy it is to make parenting mistakes.

So no stones thrown by me if you have a child wander away from you on the beach. However, I will give you this advice: When you start frantically searching, your best bet is to start by looking downwind.

Unless there is something really tempting upwind (like that huge dune your older child was eyeing), kids typically take the path of least resistance.

For greater peace of mind, consider investing in a wristwatch that doubles as a GPS tracker for your child.

7. Keep a balloon handy to clear your ears

Evlakhov Valeriy / Shutterstock.com

When my ears need to be cleared at the beach, I typically hold my nose while trying to blow out of it. I’m sure that’s super attractive, right? If you’d rather use a different way to clear your ears, bring along a couple of balloons.

Trying to blow up a balloon is an easy — and possibly not so “goofy” looking — way to clear your ears. It might also be an easier concept for little ones to grasp.

8. Put on your cheap sunglasses

Dog in sunglasses
Travelling.About / Shutterstock.com

If there is one truth about beach trips, it’s that you’ll always leave something behind. Or, it’s just as likely that someone will step on or sit on something and break it. You certainly don’t want that something to be your expensive sunglasses.

Head to the dollar store and buy a cheap pair for a buck. It’ll get the job done. Then, if the glasses are lost or stolen, it won’t break your heart.

Click here to shop sunglasses online.

9. Hit the dollar store for all your beach needs

Basic beach toys can be found at most dollar stores at low prices - and offer lots of fun.
By Nadya Eugene / Shutterstock.com

Kids’ beach toys are particularly prone to getting lost or lifted by another kid at the beach. Sure, a dollar store bucket is cheap and flimsy, but it only needs to last a few hours at the beach for a day trip. If you have to buy another one for the next trip, don’t worry: It won’t break the budget.

For more, check out “21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store.”

10. Highlight your hair as you soak up the rays

Evgeny Karandaev / Shutterstock.com

You 1980s girls know all about this, right? That decade seems to be when the spray-on product Sun-In was all the rage for highlighting your hair in the summertime.

While you can still buy a highlighting product in the store, you can get the same effect by squeezing some lemon juice into your hair and combing it through before you hit the beach.

The acid in the juice can be harsh and damage some types of hair, so try a little to start and see how it goes before drenching your locks in the stuff.

11. Eat a big breakfast to avoid sandy snacks

Elena Veselova / Shutterstock.com

Every time I take a cooler to the beach, I regret it. It’s a pain to drag or carry over the sand. Then, the food gets sandy and my kids usually pick it over so it goes to waste.

Nowadays, I make sure we eat a big meal before heading out for the day. I might pack some drinks and a light snack — granola bars or packets of fruit snacks — but I never bother with sandwiches or something more substantial.

12. Turn your steering wheel around when parking

Alisher Moiseev / Shutterstock.com

The beach parking lot can be brutal on cars. As a child, I remember crying because I’d sat too quickly on a searing hot vinyl seat.

Fortunately, vinyl is no longer standard-issue upholstery in most cars. But a hot steering wheel also can make the first few miles home painful. Minimize the pain by turning your steering wheel all the way around after you park. Then, the bottom of the wheel will take the brunt of the heat, and the top will be cooler when you flip it around to leave.

13. Make your own cooler ice packs

Zevei Wenhui / Shutterstock.com

Maybe you’re not going to take my advice, and you’ll bring a cooler of snacks and drinks. In that case, hack your own ice packs.

Don’t use the reusable ones –that’s just more stuff for you to haul. Instead, fill sealable gallon plastic bags with water and freeze them. Use those for ice packs. When the ice melts, or when you’re ready to go, dump out the water and remaining ice and use the bags to store suits and other damp items until you get home.

Click here to shop for coolers.

14. Cover the kids with clothes, not just sunscreen

At the beach
At the beach. (Photo by Blue Orange Studio / Shutterstock.com)

I tend to think every parent has had the experience of realizing, when the sunburn appears later, that they missed a spot with their kids’ sunscreen or that they forgot to reapply it after their child got out of the water. At least, I hope I’m not the only one.

A better option than obsessing over sunscreen is to buy swimsuits that cover more skin. You can get swim shorts and rash guards for both boys and girls. Many offer extra sun protection built in — and the less skin that’s exposed, the less sunscreen you need to worry about applying and reapplying.

If you’re in the market for a deal on high-quality sporting goods, check out Columbia’s ongoing summer sale.

15. Corral little ones with an inflatable kiddie pool

Maksim Striganov / Shutterstock.com

This final hack is intended for those of you with newly-mobile babies. You know these little darlings: They can move just enough to get away from you if you’re not careful, but not enough to easily climb over obstacles or walk away.

Your day at the beach will be much more enjoyable if you bring a small inflatable kiddie pool with you. Once inflated, plop your baby in it with a few toys or maybe some water, and you’ll keep your kiddo both contained and entertained.

(Click here to see an array of inflatable pool options on offer at Walmart.)

Do you have secrets for savoring the beach? Share them by commenting below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
9 Products That Will Organize Your Home for Under $45
9 Products That Will Organize Your Home for Under $45

These clever Amazon finds can help transform a messy nest into the pristine home of your dreams.

Want a Healthy Retirement? Turn This Device Off
Want a Healthy Retirement? Turn This Device Off

A common behavior becomes increasingly dangerous for those who are 50 or older.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

15 of the Fastest-Growing Jobs Today
15 of the Fastest-Growing Jobs Today

Times are tough, but these career fields are thriving.

Why Half of Retirees Now Owe Taxes on Social Security
Why Half of Retirees Now Owe Taxes on Social Security

Growing numbers of seniors are paying taxes on their Social Security benefits, but you might be able to avoid this fate.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership
How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership

The warehouse club often has some of the cheapest gas in town. Here’s how you can get it as a nonmember.

10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home
10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home

If you like to keep things simple, avoid these purchases.

A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today
A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today

A few steps can keep your phone from ringing when a spammer calls.

This Company Makes the Best Tires in America
This Company Makes the Best Tires in America

Driver satisfaction with tires is at an all-time high, but one brand stands out.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Vacuums from this brand can last a half-century, if not longer — and they’re hot on the resale market.

This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance
This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance

One type of pain is especially associated with cognitive decline.

Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?
Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?

Knowing when to claim can help you maximize benefits.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

This iconic dinnerware is prized for everyday use as well as reselling for profit.

Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs
Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs

Don’t let these health care expenses catch you off guard in retirement.

8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon
8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon

The giant retailer shines when it comes to these things, from basics to hard-to-find specialty goods.

Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken
Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken

Something foul may lurk in those delicious, ready-to-eat birds.

5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food
5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food

Anyone can take advantage of these resources.

5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees
5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees

All of these states are located in the same region of the nation.

6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home
6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home

Stashing money around the house is anything but harmless.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make
7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make

Sometimes a big-ticket purchase is nothing more than a big waste of money.

5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic
5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic

Sometimes the brand-name version is clearly superior.

This Cellphone Carrier Has the Worst Network Quality, Customers Say
This Cellphone Carrier Has the Worst Network Quality, Customers Say

One major wireless provider stands out for the least reliable call, messaging and data services.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.