You’re lounging on a beach chair, saltwater lapping at your toes, while devouring the perfect summer beach book. How, you wonder, could this possibly get any better?
There’s no doubt about it: a day at the beach is just about perfection. But believe it or not, there are simple tricks—hacks, if you will—that can bring your beach day to the next level. Curious? Read on:
The Perfect Cold Drink of Water
Bringing along a water bottle to stay hydrated is a no-brainer, but warm water that’s been absorbing the sun’s beating rays all day simply doesn’t satisfy as much as ice cold agua.
So why not freeze your water bottle? Great idea—except when you’re dying for a gulp, but the thing has yet to thaw. There’s an easy solution: fill your water bottle about halfway with water, then place it in the freezer overnight on its side. The trick is to ensure that ice doesn’t totally cover the mouthpiece, so that you can fill the remainder of the bottle with water in the morning before you hit the sand. Ta-da!
Set Your Umbrella Up Like a Pro
A shady place to seek refuge from the sun? Perfect. Chasing a stray umbrella blowing in the wind along the beach? Not so perfect.
The first trick is to drive you umbrella into the sand way, way down, around 18 inches deep. You can achieve this by twisting the umbrella as you install it or by using a medium sized rock to hammer the base of the pole into the ground.
Once the pole is in, scoop up a pail of water and pour it around the base. The sand will help steady the pole. Open the umbrella AFTER the pole is all the way in, point the umbrella toward the direction of the wind.
Build the Perfect Sandcastle
The perfect sandcastle requires only water, sand, and your hands. Wetting the sand is crucial to ensure the castle keeps it shape (scientists suggest one bucket of water per 50 buckets of sand, if you want to get precise).
Compacting the sand is another important step to shape retention. Pat it down using your hands or the back of a shovel. A final tip: build your castle by making a mound of sand and carving out of the mound. Your final product will be fit for beach royalty.
Soothe Sun Wounds
Worst-case scenario: the sun got the best of you, and you’re left with a painful, red burn. Besides stocking up on aloe vera gel, pop some vinegar in the fridge. Applying the cool vinegar to the burned areas will feel amazing and help reduce redness.
Don’t freeze the vinegar, or apply anything frozen to your skin: it will feel good in the short term, but will actually further damage the vulnerable skin.
Better Yet, Prevent the Burn to Start With
Guess what. You’re probably not putting on enough sunscreen—most people only apply 25%-50% of the amount you’re actually supposed to use. At least half an hour before you head out the doors, coat yourself with more sunscreen than you think you need. It should be enough to form a thick film on your skin. Don’t worry: by the time you sink your feet into the sand, it’ll be absorbed.
Don’t forget to reapply every two to four hours. One more thing: applying insect repellent on top of sunscreen can reduce the sunscreen’s effectiveness, so get even more heavy-handed with the sunscreen.
Chill Your Drinks, Pronto!
Your buddy is picking you up in 15 minutes, but you forgot to stick your drinks in the fridge. Are you doomed to an afternoon of tepid pops? No way—simply wet some paper towels, wrap the bottles with the damp paper towels, and pop it in the freezer. Fifteen minutes will be just enough to get the liquid nice and cold.