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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Top items families should bring to the beach this summer

Summer is upon us, and hopefully your family is planning many trips to the beach to celebrate the season. Make sure you are properly prepared for the sand and the sun by bringing along the following items:

Beach blanket

Towels and blankets are so outdated compared to the GrandTrunk Parasheet from LL Bean, which is crafted from nylon parachute silk material. The Parasheet naturally stays cool, even in the burning sun, and dries very quickly. It’s also mildew-resistant and has corner pockets to help weigh it down and collect errant sand. After the beach, keep the Parasheet on-hand for camping trips or picnics in the park.

Beach chairs

The best types of beach chairs easily convert to a backpack so you can keep your hands free for carrying more important gear. The RioHigh Back Steel Backpack Beach Chair by WearEver is a comfortable and easily portable option. It comes with an adjustable pillow headrest and durable, weather-resistant polyester seat. There’s a storage pouch on the back of the seat perfect for holding a blanket and small cooler.

Sand-off mitt

In case one of your kids tracked sand onto your futuristic Parasheet, pack the Sand-Off Mitt as a back-up! This convenient sand wipe-off mitt keeps the sand off of your beach blanket and out of your car. Simply wipe feet with the all-natural, unscented mitt and enjoy sand-free skin.

Foldable, Portable Grill

No trip to the beach is complete without a burger or hot dog! This minicharcoal grill from Crate and Barrel folds into a thin profile and is easy to tote around. It opens to a freestanding grill with 18.5"x11" grill grate and 18.5"x5.5" charcoal grate, and comes with its own carrying case.

Smarter sand toys

Conscientious about cluttering up the beach with environmentally unfriendly sand toys? Even the most detail-oriented parent can accidentally leave a shovel or scoop in the sand. The ZoeB biodegradable beach toys are guilt-free and come in a set of five pieces: bucket, sifter/lid, shovel and two cups. Crafted from corn-sugar-based bioplastic, the toys will break down to organic waste after two years if they become submerged in water or soil and left there. (Compare that to regular plastic, which can take up to 500 years to decompose.)

Smarter “Smart” devices

The newflagship product from Samsung is perfect for the beach. It is both water and sand-proof, so you don’t have to worry about your klutzy teenager dropping it while trying to take a selfie or turn on some tunes. The Samsung Galaxy S5 is available through T-Mobile, which offers great family rates. T-Mobile customers enjoy zero annual service contracts, zero overages, zero hidden device costs and America’s fastest nationwide 4G LTE network. A family of four could save an average of $1,200 a year with T-Mobile, compared to families locked into a contract with a competitor like Verizon.


We are all aware of the dangers of sun exposure — skin cancer, wrinkles and sun spots are just a few of the risks! Make sure you’ve packed the proper sun protection that’s easy to apply to squirmy kids. Try the SmartShieldSuncreen Towelettes, which offer SPF 30 protection and are waterproof and sweatproof. They are also insect-repellant, thanks to natural ingredients like cedar essence and lemongrass.

Beach shelter

The RioPortable Beach Shelter, available at Wal-Mart, is a great way to get a much-needed break from the hot rays at the beach. This lightweight polyester canopy sets up in minutes and features two interior and two exterior pockets for keeping beach supplies safe. The canopy comes in its own carrying case with a shoulder strap. It’s easily machine-washable when you get home at the end of the day.