Everyone loves a good beach day. There’s something about the sand in your toes, the warm breeze, and the sound of the waves that makes everyone happy! However, there are so many beach day mistakes people consistently make, that could ruin your day!
If you are planning for a day at the beach, there are a handful of things you need to prepare. Maybe you already know some of these things, if you are an avid beachgoer.
However, for the majority of us, going to the beach is a special event, and you might not even think about some of these beach day mistakes! We’re here to help you have the best possible beach day imaginable.
This list will walk you through some tips for avoiding getting sunburned, what clothing to wear, where the best spots on the beach are, and things you should bring that people usually forget about!
If you are going to the beach on your next vacation, or just going to your neighborhood beach, this list is for you! Don’t be that guy coming home completely burned, or spending the day miserable at the beach!
Make sure you take a look at our list of what to bring on a beach day, so you can roll up to the beach with everything you need for an amazing day!
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Not Wearing Sunscreen... even in the shade
Okay, I know this is probably the most obvious tip when going to the beach, but you would be surprised by how many people forget, or just choose not to! As someone who gets burned very easily, this one is super important to me! I hardly go anywhere without sunscreen, not just the beach!
Of course, many people go to the beach with the intention of getting a little tan. I can understand that completely! However, you still need to wear sunscreen.
The sun is actually stronger and more harmful to your skin at the beach since it reflects off the water and sand.
The Cleveland Clinic did a study to test whether an umbrella or sunscreen did a better job of protecting skin from burning. Come to find out, those wearing SPF 100 had significantly less burning than those under an umbrella. Crazy right?! I thought it would be the opposite!
The moral of the story is, shade is not enough by its self to protect you from the sun at the beach. Although it is better than nothing, you still need to wear your sunscreen! Protect your body as much as you can.
Don’t let this deter you from having fun, though. Go frolic in the waves and walk along the shore with your special someone. Build a sandcastle and sip mixed drinks in the sand. Just remember to keep applying your sunscreen, and take breaks in the shade once in a while!
My favorite sunscreen is Neutrogena ultra-sheer, dry-touch, water-resistant, and non-greasy sunscreen lotion with SPF 100. I don’t think I’ve ever burned wearing this, and I burn very easily. It doesn’t give you that gross sticky feeling either that other sunscreens do! Try it out, you won’t be disappointed!
Not Doing Research Before-Hand
Other beach day mistakes include not doing any research. This one sounds kind of weird, I know. But, hear me out- it is actually very important to the success of your beach day!
Before going to the beach, you should make sure you at least look it up quickly online. What are the rules? Is your dog allowed to come? What are the hours of operation? Can you drive your car on the beach? These are all important questions you will need to know about!
Without answers to these questions, you run the risk of getting into trouble with security at the beach, but also making it more inconvenient for yourself. Maybe you brought a lot of stuff because you were hoping you could drive on the beach. Now, you have to carry it all.
Maybe you brought your dog because you assumed he was allowed. Now you have to turn around and go all the way back home to drop him off. These are not the best ways to be starting your relaxing day at the beach!
Additionally, you will want to research what the sand is like. Is it rocky sand or soft? Will you need water shoes when going into the water? Are there a lot of shells? This could make or break your beach day!
You don’t want to be caught without the right footwear on a rocky or shell filled beach. Plus, your kids might be ready to build sandcastles, only to find out the beach is mostly rocks! A simple search on Google can help you answer all these questions!
Once you have your research done, you will know exactly what gear you will need to bring for the best day at the beach! It only takes a few minutes to check, so don’t forget this one!
Bringing the Wrong Food
I think we can all agree the food is a very important part of a successful beach day. Many beachgoers make these beach day mistakes surrounding food, which can really be a day ruiner.
When packing food for the beach, you will want to opt for pre-made, handheld food options. For example, you might not want to bring a deli tray for everyone to make their own sandwiches. This is just setting things up for a disaster!
You want your food options to be as simple as possible, so you don’t have to worry about sand getting everywhere, or not having a surface to put the meal together on.
Some examples of good meal options to bring are pre-made sandwiches and wraps, pizza, and these ideas. This way, you won’t have to worry about what you will eat for lunch- everything will be all ready to go!
If you are looking for healthy options, fruit is always a good option! Grapes, strawberries, and bananas are a good snack on the go! You might want to stray away from sticky foods like oranges unless you have some wipes with you.
Additionally, get yourself a good cooler to keep your food cool at the beach. Pick foods that don’t necessarily have to be super cold to stay good!
Being too far from the bathrooms & parking lot
Other beach day mistakes include being too far away from the bathrooms and/or parking lot. I’m sure this one does not need too much explaining!
You will want to set up camp on the beach at least semi-near where you parked your car. Think about having to lug all your things back and forth- what a hassle! Also, if you forget something in the car, you won’t have to walk a mile to go back!
The same goes for the bathrooms. You won’t want to walk a long distance every time you need to go! That will just get annoying- especially if you have children! Better to stay within a reasonable distance!
However, you don’t want to be too close to the parking lot or bathrooms, as these areas tend to be the busiest. This can easily ruin your peace and quiet relaxation!
If you do find yourself needing to go a distance away from where you parked, make sure you get this awesome folding cart to make bring all your belongings back and forth a breeze!
Not Dressing in Layers
Other beach day mistakes include not dressing in layers. This might seem weird since you typically wear your bathing suit to the beach! Well, you might need more than that!
There are a couple of reasons you might want to have some layers with you at the beach. For one, you never know when the weather might switch! Especially by the ocean, the weather can change pretty rapidly. It is also windier by the water, so you might get a little cool and want some layers!
Additionally, rain might pop up for a few minutes, so you might want a light jacket just in case! Also, sometimes after swimming in the water, you get a little chilly. Having an extra layer or two can help you out!
Secondly, layers can help protect you from the sun. As someone who burns easily, I always bring layers to the beach, just as an added protection for my skin! Even just a t-shirt and shorts can be enough, just to give your skin a little break from the sun!
Check out this guide for more UPF beach items and ways to protect your skin from damaging sun rays!
Another reason you might want some layers is in case you go somewhere after the beach. Maybe you want to try that restaurant right on the beach! If you don’t have the proper clothes, you likely will not be able to enter. You can even keep your extra clothes in the car, just in case you might need them!
Many women wear bathing suit cover-ups, which might not be enough to enter some restaurants. Bring a backup option, just in case!
Showing Up Late
Especially if you are visiting a popular beach, this is one of the most important beach day mistakes you should be mindful of! Do not show up late to the beach!
Unless you want to be crowded near tons of people, or find the only open spot is near the complete opposite edge of the water, go to the beach early!
Coming to the beach early is a good way to “claim” a good spot. With fewer people early on in the day, you have more opportunities to set up camp in the perfect spot.
An easy way to “claim” your spot is to simply put down a beach towel and a few of your belongings. This will prevent anyone from taking your space!
Be mindful, however, that as the day goes on and more people visit, you might have people starting to be closer to you! Spread your towels and belongings to give you ample room to enjoy yourself, without being squished near other beach-goers!
The morning/early afternoon is also the best time to visit the beach because it is simply not as hot. You will be able to enjoy yourself without having to deal with the burning sun. After enjoying your time for a few hours, you will still have the rest of the day left!
Not Having Proper Gear
Another important aspect to remember before going to the beach is to have the right gear! But, don’t you just need a towel and a bathing suit? Well, sure. But that’s not all!
If you are planning on spending most of the day at the beach, you will want to have some things to keep you comfortable. Bringing just a towel is probably not going to cut it!
One thing you will definitely need is a sand proof and water-resistant towel. This one is actually really amazing. It is soft to the touch, and really does keep all the sand away! Now you won’t track all that sand in your car, in your house, and finding it everywhere for the next 2 months.
Additionally, you will want a good beach umbrella. I’ve used this one as well, and it works perfectly! It is pretty easy to get set up, and is big enough to fit 3-4 people! It is also SPF 50+, so it will help you avoid sunburn!
Read our guide for more ideas of what to bring on a beach day!
Next time you go to the beach, I hope you don’t make any of these mistakes! The beach is supposed to be a relaxing and fun place to be, so you don’t want to be making any of these beach day mistakes!
Always remember to wear your sunscreen, even if you plan on getting a little tan. Remember to bring easy to pack lunches, like handheld sandwiches or wraps.
Show up to the beach early so you can grab the perfect spot, preferably close to the bathrooms and parking lot. Do your research beforehand so you don’t end up on a rocky beach without the right shoes, and cut up feet.
Lastly, bring the right beach equipment. Bring your sand proof and water-resistant beach towel, your SPF umbrella, and these other ideas of what to bring on a beach day.
With these tips, your beach day should be a successful one!
Did I miss any important beach day mistakes? Let me know in the comments below so we all don’t make them!