Wednesday, May 26, 2021

What's in Your Beach Bag? by Jenn McKinlay

 Jenn McKinlay: As the school year comes to a close,  I am anticipating tasty waves on a beach somewhere...I hope. 

                      Jenn and Hub -- Surf's Up!


To that end, I dug out the old beach bag and started thinking about what I need for a perfect day at the beach. Here's my short list:

1. Sunscreen. SPF 50 and waterproof -- consider this a PSA. Having had skin cancer blasted off my face a few years ago, I'd like to avoid that experience again forever and ever. Amen.

2. Frisbee. This is a must. One can not merely sit all day. You have to get up and chase something. It's the beach, for Annette Funicello's sake!

          


3. A beverage, preferably water and kept cold. You have to stay hydrated out there on the hot sand!

4. Snacks! These are tricky because the sun will melt candy (darn it)  and if you leave your blanket for even a second (see item number two), miscreants, also known as seagulls will make away with your sandwich -- true story. Whatever salty, sweet, or healthy (bleck) item you pack, make sure to keep it on lock down.


5. And last but not least, I need to have a book or two -- obvy. But what book should I bring? I'm open to pretty much anything except scary water stuff. Yes, JAWS scarred me as a child and I can not read any underwater horror/disaster type stuff because I'll never swim again. 

This leaves a women's fiction? Excellent choice - very beachy. But which one? Perusing the titles I've read most recently and enjoyed, I can honestly say I'd pack anything by the Queen of the Beach Read -- Mary Kay Andrews, but I really enjoyed Hello, Summer recently and think it's perfect for the beach. 


If not in the mood for women's fiction then definitely a mystery, but not a rain soaked streets type of suspense. There's too much sun at the beach for that, so I'd probably skew traditional/cozy and my fave read of late was Jesse Q. Sutanto's Dial A for Aunties. Sooo fun!




Okay, Reds and Readers, tell me what's in YOUR beach bag?




65 comments:

  1. Well, I’m with you on the book and the sunblock for summer, but I never go to the beach so there’s no beach bag packing here . . . .

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    1. I get it. It's hard to find a beach without people, which is my ideal :)

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  2. It's been so long... I have an overnighter coming soon and I realize, I've forgotten how to pack! Good thing it's only one night. And a stop at the beach is definitely in the plans. I'm using this post as the start of my checklist.

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  3. Despite living in a town that has the most amount of shoreline in the entire state, I've only been to the beach once in the last 30 years. Usually because every time I get out of the water, the environmental movement shows up and tries to roll me back in.

    But if I was remotely tempted to go to the beach, a bag would contain sunscreen of the highest possible SPF because when it comes to my skin I am SOOOO white, sunglasses, a hat, a book, some snacks and I'd have to bring an accompanying cooler filled with ice to keep any drinks cold.

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    1. Guess I forgot that I'd need a blanket, chair and umbrella too.

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    2. Jay, honestly, you need to write a humor column. Every time I read one of your comments here, you make me laugh.

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    3. LOL! Cold drinks are a must! And a book!

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  4. I can't wait! I bring a low beach chair, because sitting flat doesn't work for me any more. And an umbrella - I am among the white-skinned who has spent way too much time blissing out in the sun in my life. SUnscreen, a book, snacks, water - and if I'm with my beach-loving bestie, we usually sneak in small bottles of wine, too.

    Some years I take my kit up to the beach early, like 6:30, and my notebook and pen, and make the shore into my outdoor office. I leave by eleven when the sun gets too strong. Bliss!

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    1. I, too, have crossed over to the beach chair, preferably with an umbrella.

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  5. Beach bag: water, phone, small towel, keys. I’m a beach walker not a beach sitter. Blessed with living on the beach, I walk the sand nearly every day, checking for sea glass for a friend, watching the boats and the birds, counting the turtle nests, and listening to the waves and the wind, and enjoying the “massive” construction projects of kiddos and parents.

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  6. Not a beach person, however, I would be sitting on the boardwalk people watching with a cooler filled with beverages, snacks and my kindle. I won't forget the sunscreen and a hat.

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    1. People watching it the BEST part of the boardwalk!

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  7. Sorry, I am not a beach person. I do like walking along the shoreline but just plunking myself down on the sand for a long period is not for me. But I would bring a hat, water. snacks and my phone to take pictures if I was near the water.

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    1. I forgot my phone! I'm an Instagram failure! LOL.

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  8. I'm with Edith, a beach chair helps a lot. I bring a hat and an umbrella, a tee shirt or other cover-up, glasses, sun glasses, towel, sun screen (also spf 50), and a book. Food, maybe sandwiches or peanut butter cookies, water. I like to walk along the beach partly in the surf if I can. Irwin's daughter lives near the ocean and sometimes the resident dolphins will put on a show. Spectacular!

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    1. Love the dolphin spotting! I saw some in the Sea of Cortez and was mesmerized.

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  9. Jenn, I forgot to say that the photo of you and your husband is terrific and to thank you for the reading suggestions.

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    1. Thank you. It's a few (5) years old when life was simpler. Sigh.

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  10. Jenn, what a great photo of you and your hubs! You look no older than the Hooligans. How is that possible?

    I am also not a beach person. On our first road trip together (I flew out to San Francisco to meet Steve, and drove back to Cincinnati with him), we went to Stinson Beach. It was January, so still cold, and we looked like we should be in two different places. In the photos Steve is wearing nothing but his cutoffs (it was 1979), and I am fully dressed, including running shoes, jeans, and a hoodie, zipped up.

    But I do, like Elisabeth and Grace, enjoy walking any shoreline, of any body of water. We spent a great day last month at Cannon Beach in Oregon. Our supplies were bottles of water, zipped to the chin wind/rain jackets, and binoculars.

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  11. If I were to go to the beach, sunscreen, hat, shades, chair, and a giant umbrella (because I can't sit in the direct sun for very long) are a must. But since all that sun comes with heat, which I also don't tolerate well, I don't spend a lot of time sitting at the beach.

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    1. It's a lot of work to get to the beach, so when I land I feel compelled to stay until the sun goes down or I have to pee :)

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  12. I am so ready for a beach trip! (Little brother, I'm looking at you!). All of the above things you mentioned, Jenn--especially Dial A for Aunties! Add in a separate bag to carry any treasures I might find, because I'm a beach walker, too--and like Edith, I prefer to get out there early.

    And yes, Jenn, you look amazing in that photo--what a couple of cuties! You couldn't possibly have an H2 graduating high school!!

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    1. Thank you! We were already in our fifties there, so that's very nice of you to say!

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  13. Great photo of you and your husband at the beach.

    Though I am with you on Sunscreen, hat, books and water, I am not a fan of the beach. I could carry a beach bag with these items, though I doubt I would want to set up a chair or a blanket at the beach. I would walk on the shoreline.

    Diana

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  14. Ah, the beach! It's been way too long since I have been to any beach; I must remedy that as soon as possible. The only thing I know for sure that I'll take with me is a book, natch!

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  15. Seems to be a trend going here. I, too, am not really a beach person, and when I do visit the beach, it is to walk, not to sit. I had hoped more people might share their suggestions for beach reads, though. While not a beach person, I am going on a camping trip in a few weeks and that tends to call for the same kind of reading selections as the beach.

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    1. Susan, take any of Jenn's books, especially if her new book is out when you go!

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    2. I love camping but haven't been in years. I am hoping to remedy that this summer.

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  16. As a refugee of 40+ years in Florida, my beachbag is always packed and ready to go. (By the way, who else remembers those great beachbags of the 1960s? Drawstring tops and waterproof?) I have SPF 50 sunscreen, a separate SPF 30 lip gloss and eyelid protector, and spray SPF protectant made for hair - sheet to spread out, flip flops - and a spare pair in the bag to hold down four sides of the sheet, towel, beachy reads - usually light romances - and a Bubba Bottle from the freezer to defrost gently. Ready to go!

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    1. Me! I had one, Kait, that I took to the pool every day I could get there in the summer. When I was in high school we lived about a mile from a huge city pool, and I often took my younger sibs.

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    2. Nailed it, Kait! You're clearly a pro.

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  17. Umbrella, sun shirt, hat, sunscreen, a mystery lite paperback, water and snacks. If the kids are involved, a football and frisbee. A cell phone only used for photos.

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    1. Football! How could I forget? Or a volleybal!

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  18. Replies
    1. I tend to air dry because I'm always so hot.

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  19. Ah !!! À beach... it’s been so long...........
    I bring all of the above and a hat. If I can find a shaded spot, I can stay there a long time, alternately reading, walking on the shore, going in the water, jumping in the waves, swimming and do it all over. Beach is synonymous of paradise in my head.
    Jenn , your picture at the beach is fabulous.

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    1. Thank you! I love surfing, boogie boarding, and wave jumping, too!

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  20. I haven't been to the coast, to sit and stay, in years. It was our Sunday retreat during the summer if we had more than three days of heat and no fog to cool us off at night and no was there swimming allowed. The Sonoma coast is not a safe swimming area, with the San Andreas fault and continental shelf sitting just off the coast. The Sonoma coast does not have easy access to the beach level from Highway 1 so you wanted one trip down and one trip up. I won't list the items packed up for our trips except to say we could dig a hole and light a fire in the sand in those days. Dad's chicken cooked and eaten on the old Army blanket is a fond memory. Today's list? Well, since I don't feel like climbing down those coast trails anymore, I'll find one of the less popular areas with book, jacket AND sweater, water and maybe a snack of apple, chocolate, possibly a can of diet Pepsi. I'm going to stay in the car, enjoying the crash of the waves below and just stop. Books to take? To be honest, the book is whatever I happen to be reading. I'm not picky, though I do agree with Jenn, I would probably avoid an ocean disaster type book.

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    1. Deana, Santa Cruz offers much easier access to the beach, the area near the marina is really nice and you can watch the boats going in and out. Much warmer, much less wind than the boardwalk area.
      Lots of nice informal places to eat and watch too.
      I used to go to the beach a lot, it’s only about a thirty minute drive from Los Gatos. My beach bag from the seventies, sounds like the sixties versions. It contains sun screen, water and reading materials. There are many places ti get snacks near the beach at Santa Cruz., which is at the north end of Monterey Bsy.

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    2. Fire pits. Heaven. My brother used to make absolute bonfires that could be seen from space at our cottage on the Bay of Fundy. Good times.

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    3. Susan: Santa Cruz is lovely, I've been at least once but it is a 2+ hour drive from my Santa Rosa home. :-)

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  21. Jenn, the photo of you and Hubs is so wonderful. Cuties, indeed! It's been so long since I've been to the beach--we are really landlocked here in north Texas. But I'd go early or late, would love to walk the beach. And if sitting, shade, baby, shade. Sunscreen, hat, umbrella, water, and a good beachy book!

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  22. I'm not a sit-on-the-beach person, but would definitely walk along it early or later in the day to avoid the sun/heat and the crowds.

    Jenn: You and Hubs look terrific in that picture. Go ride that wave!

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    1. Hub is a beach bum at heart. Hard to get him out of the water once he's submerged. LOL.

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  23. I never spend more than two or three hours at a time on the beach. Faded redhead married to a faded blonde. I have a chair, towel, bucket or sack for my sea shells and treasures, and a book. I wear sunglasses, hat, sun shirt over whatever, lots of sun block. I can't sit too long. I have to wade in the water and comb the beach for treasures and check out whatever has washed in. With luck we're within easy distance of somewhere with adult beverages my faded blonde can retrieve. We were in Galveston spontaneously a couple of months ago just to walk around. I'm thinking a night or two down the coast in Port Aransas is sounding good.

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    1. That does sound good. Galveston is one of those places I have yet to see. Moving it up on my list!

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  24. I'm not a beach sitter, too hot and too sandy (sand on everything), but I do enjoy walking along the beach and looking out at the ocean. I still would need my sunscreen and hat and sunglasses. I do like sitting at ocean-side cafes for a bit with a book.

    Great picture of you and hubs, Jenn.

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    1. Beachside cafes. Heaven. Lord, I need a vacation.

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  25. I can't tell you how happy it makes me to see how many of you are being diligent with your 50SPF sunscreen! Remember, reapply after 80 minutes or if you're at a beach where it's feasible to swim (not here in Maine, where today it's a record-breaking 92/33 degrees, but the water at the beach is 54F/12C!)

    It doesn't feel like it's been that many years since I was taking kids to the shore, so i always also thing of buckets, scoops, shovels and other sand-moving toys. If you're getting some for your kids or grandkids, make them BRIGHT, so it's harder to overlook them when it's time to pack up and go.

    A friend of mine used to bring a great beach amusement that was fun for most ages: a giant bubble wand. You carry the soapy water in a bottle, and pour it into a clean bucket. Because the bubble-making part of the wand is a fabric belt (maybe nylon?), it collapses into the bucket, so you don't been anything weirdly large. It gets kids running up and down the beach, and even hard-to-impress teens enjoy it.

    My beach read recs: One of my faves is Nancy Thayer, the queen of the summer-in-Nantucket story. This year's is FAMILY REUNION; it came out earlier this month. But start anywhere, they're all great.

    If I want a mystery instead of women's fiction, summertime means domestic suspense (I want to revel in rich people behaving badly.)First into my beach bag this summer is Kaira Rouda's THE NEXT WIFE, which was featured on JRW just a week ago. It sounds like the perfect beach read.

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    1. I regret all the years I neglected both SPF and a hat. Soooo dumb.

      There's a guy who does the bubble thing in Pacific Beach. Everyone goes bananas the bubbles are MASSIVE!

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  26. Towel! You have to have a towel in your beach bag. Sun screen, water, a Frisbee, and a book. So throw in a towel, and our bags would be identical.

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    1. Usually I air dry, but when you get that salt water in your eyes, yes, a towel is a must!

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  27. Oh this is such a fun thing to think about! Sunscreen. Water. Another water in case someone needs water. Sunglasses. A tee shirt. A big towel. Another big towel in case of sand or water. A book. Another book in case . A bandaid because you might need one. And my solar phone charger—a fabulous item!

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