Days at the beach are one of the best parts of an Outer Banks vacation. Warm sand, picnics, and hours to read, nap, and gallivant in the surf are the main ingredients for a relaxing break. A perfect day at the beach takes a little planning, so here are 13 clever beach hacks to help make your next Outer Banks vacation even better:
Bring a Yoga Mat
Yoga mats are much more comfortable than just lying on beach towels on hard-packed sand, plus sand doesn't stick to yoga mats the way it does to towels.
Invest in Towel Anchors
If you are using beach towels, invest in towel anchors before you leave home, buy them online, or pick them up when you arrive in the Outer Banks. Towel anchors are like tent stakes with clips on the top. Just push the stake into the sand, clip the corner of your towel in, and it will stay put while you swim or stroll.
Hide Your Cash in a Sunscreen Bottle
Next time you stock up on sunscreen, buy a jumbo-sized bottle with a lid that snaps on instead of screws on. When the lotion is gone, clean out the bottle, cut out the top, and snap the lid back on. Use your clean bottle to hide money, keys, and even your cell phone while you swim.
Fix a Broken Flip-Flop with Bread Clips
Don't throw out the little square clip that ties your bag of sandwich bread. Keep it in your beach bag in case the toe post pulls out of your flip-flop. Slide the clip on the bottom of the flip-flop between the round post and the shoe for a fast fix.
Keep a Whisk Broom in the Car
Unless you want to vacuum your car for the next several months, it's best to brush off sandy feet and gear before you load up after a day at the beach. Use a soft, handheld dust broom to whisk away sand before you get in the car, and you'll keep your ride much cleaner throughout your vacation.
Sprinkle Baby Powder to Remove Sand
When you're ready to head home, sprinkle baby powder on feet and legs before you get in the car. The powder removes moisture from your skin and, without moisture, sand can't stick.
Use Mesh Produce Bags for Beach Treasures
Look in your grocery store's produce section for fine mesh produce bags. Keep a set in your beach bag to collect treasures such as shells and driftwood. At home, rinse the whole bag with a hose to remove sand, then let it all air dry in the sun.
Borrow Plastic Kitchen Utensils for Toys
If your rental comes with plastic measuring cups, spoons, and spatulas in the kitchen, bring them along as sand toys. The different sizes and shapes are great for building pint-sized sandcastles or decorating a masterpiece castle. Be sure to round everything up at the end of the day and return them to your rental.
Keep Track of Everything With a Fitted Sheet
Take an old fitted sheet, place it upside down on the sand, then use coolers and beach bags to expand the corners upright. Your improvised "beach tray" will help keep toys corralled, and will provide a cleaner place for little ones to nap and play.
Use a Mesh Laundry Bag
While cotton or sisal beach totes are cute, it can be nearly impossible to remove sand from them. Instead, use a collapsible, plastic mesh laundry tote to carry sandy towels and toys. When you get to your rental, just rinse everything off with a hose and let it dry outside.
Bring an Inflatable Baby Pool
If you have a little one, an inflatable baby pool allows him/her to stay cool, safe, and under the shade of the umbrella while they play in the water. Fill the pool with salt water and let it warm in the sun if ocean temperatures are chilly. Even if you don't have a baby, place an inflatable pool filled with ocean water in front of your chair for a cooling foot soak while you tan or stay in the shade.
Keep Your Phone in a Zippered Plastic Bag
You don't need an expensive bag to keep your phone safe, dry, and sand-free at the beach. Keep your mobile in a zip-top baggie and you'll still be able to use the touchscreen through the plastic while keeping it protected.
Use an Empty Pill Container for Small Bits
Plastic pill containers are water tight — and they float. Use an empty pill bottle to keep rings, earrings, and hair ties safe and organized. (Be sure to black out personal information on the label.)Summer is almost here and it's time to start planning your Outer Banks vacation. Take advantage of these smart beach hacks and you'll be ready to hit the shore.