California is blessed with year-round mild weather, so almost any day is an ideal beach day. When the sun is out and the water is calm, kayaking, sailing, diving, fishing and sunning are great ways to enjoy the seashore. When the surf is up, grab a surfboard, paddleboard, or boogie board and head for the nearest shore or point break. When the temperature dips and the sky’s are cloudy it’s a perfect time for tide pooling, bird watching and an invigorating run on the sand. No matter what the time of the year, or which activities you enjoy, there are some essentials no beach bag/backpack should be without:
Beach Tar Remover- In Southern and Central California, natural offshore oil seepage is a common occurrence. The result of that seepage is that gooey tar balls can dot the water and the beach. The occurrence of tar balls tends to be worse in the warm months, but can also be found year-round in certain locations. The goo can stick to bare feet, shoes, surfboards, fishing and boating gear and can be a mess to remove. Traditional methods of removing beach tar have been oil-based like, Vaseline, olive oil and even peanut butter. Those methods leave an oily residue on your skin or equipment. The oils can stain towels and socks and can also harm sea life when you re-enter the water after applying. The other traditional methods use alcohol. Treatments like rubbing alcohol can dry out your skin and sports equipment. There is a safe all-natural eco-friendly tar remover- Oil Slick Beach Tar Remover. Oil Slick is made from citrus extracts that are gentle on the skin and do not leave an oily residue. Oil Slick Beach Tar Remover comes in 2 oz and 4 oz spray, or individually packaged bamboo fabric wipes. Packing Oil Slick spray and a couple of paper towels, or using the pre-moistened wipes is a great way to avoid the messy frustration of tar on the beach.
Sunscreen- Save your skin by packing a broad-spectrum (UV and UVB) sunscreen rated SPF30 or higher- ideally one that is also water resistant. If you have skin sensitivities, you might choose protection that is mineral based instead of chemical based. A mineral based sunscreen sits on top of the skin and uses ingredients like zinc and titanium oxides to actually block the harmful rays. Chemical protection soaks into the skin and causes a chemical reaction that absorbs the rays. Sunscreens come in lotions, oils and sprays. Some of the most popular brands are Neutrogena, Banana Boat and Blue Lizard. You may want to use separate sunscreens for your body and face to prevent pore-blocking breakouts on your face.
Sun Glasses – Protecting your eyes from the glare and UV rays from the sun is important for the long-term health of your eyes. The cost for sunglasses can run from $25 to hundreds of dollars depending on the brand and whether they are prescription or not. Cheap or expensive, you want to make sure the sunglasses you bring to the beach offer 100% UV protection and also preferably are polarized. Polarized glasses help cut down on glare. Some of the most popular names in sunglasses are – Foster Grant, Ray-Ban, Abaco and Oakley.
Beach Towel- Whether you plan on getting wet, or just relaxing on the shore, having a beach towel is a beach bag essential. The best towels for the beach are soft and absorbent, but also dry quickly. Cotton towels often feel the best on your skin. The longer the cotton fiber used, the plusher a beach towel will feel. Another option is thinner micro-fiber synthetic towels that are often advertised as “sand-free”. These towels tend to dry faster, but not feel as good against your skin and can have static electricity build-up. There are also Turkish towels that are thin and lightweight. They are usually made from cotton and because they are usually one-ply they tend to dry quickly. Some beach goers also like using bamboo mats as a shield against the sand of course they don’t do much in the way of drying you off.
Lip Protection- Lips are skin too and because they can’t be protected by regular sunscreen it is important to apply lip protection when you go to the beach. Just like sunscreens for the rest of your body, a lip protection product should also provide broad-spectrum UV protection against the sun’s damaging rays. Since lips tend to get dry, especially when exposed to salt water, many good lip balms also include moisturizing ingredients such as glycerin, aloe vera or beeswax. Experts recommend avoiding lip balms with cooling ingredients such as menthol or alcohol in them, as they can dry out your lips. It is also best to avoid lip balms with parabens, which have been linked to certain cancers.
Hydration – Being in the sun and surf can quickly deplete your body of fluids, so it’s always a good idea to bring a reusable insulated water bottle filled with your favorite beverage. Water is the best, but sports drinks can also help replenish electrolytes. If you need a little caffeine pick-me-up, ice tea or ice coffee can be a refreshing beverage, although they tend to have diuretic properties that can be troublesome if there are no nearby rest rooms.
All the products referenced here can be found on the Amazon website, Walmart website, or the manufacturer websites and many can be found in local surf shops and drugstores.