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We love going to the beach in the summer. This past week, my in-laws were visiting for my daughter's high school graduation. So when we heard that Katie's Uncle Stuart had never been to the Pacific Ocean, we knew what we had to do: a summer beach day!! If I'm gonna drive all the way to the beach, that's not my only stop for the day. That means we have to pack light, stay clean, and be efficient on the trip. I learned from my abuela to be efficient with my trips and to pack it all in … from filling the day with activities to bringing your own snacks and making sure to pick up all your trash from the beach. Today I'm sharing our best beach tips including how to pack for a beach trip on a budget.
One of my favorite stores for summer deals is 99 Cents Only Stores. It just so happens that my in-laws love to shop the 99 when they're in town too. The 99 has everything you need for an incredible beach day on a budget, including beach towels! We grabbed plastic buckets, sand toys, and beach towels from the summer fun aisle in the 99 and fresh grapes and carrots for snacking in the produce section. Yes, the 99 has fresh produce all year long … you don't have to be wealthy to eat healthy!
I remember setting off for the beach or fishing (or fishing at the beach!) with my Mexican grandparents in their old truck. I now own that old 66 Ford pickup and drive it around! The family always packed homemade food to go … the best way to stick to a budget is to make your food ahead at home. The dashboard of that truck was always lined with burritos wrapped in foil before we set off on the trip. The sun would keep the burritos warm until we were ready to eat them. As we ate the burritos, we'd ball up the foil into one ball so it was easy to pack back home and throw away. It's this idea of less waste, frugality, and resourcefulness that influences my own family trips today.
Like my family, my mother-in-law likes to bring her own meals on the go. She picked up some packs of cold cuts and a loaf of bread at the 99 for our beach day. We stuck with chips, sodas and sparkling waters, and fresh produce since I am trying to stick to a vegan diet for at least two meals a day. There is always something new and exciting at the 99. You never know what you'll find when you “do the 99” (shop at 99 Cents Only Stores)! Here's our haul for beach day:
Tips for Planning a Beach Day
I've gone to the beach a lot growing up in Southern California and there are a few things I've learned along the way that make the trip so much easier and more enjoyable for everyone. Watch this video to see how we packed for our trip with or haul from the 99. Then read our tips for summer beach trips!
I actually didn't like going to beach that much as a kid because the family always brought too much stuff. You'd have to go to the car for the ice chest and then back for the chairs and another trip for the umbrella. By the time we got all set up, I'd need a nap!
We pack light, bringing only what we can carry from the car in one trip. This time, we brought pails from the 99 packed with all of our refreshments, toys, and even beach towels! Talk about easy peasy …
Bring sand toys that have multiple uses
The 99 has a wide variety of sand toys but I like to choose the ones that have multiple uses. We used the sand pails to also hold our lunches and beach towels. We chose toys in bags with hoops or loops on the end so we could hang then on the handle of the sand pail.
I got that big yellow shovel at the 99 too … it's also a bubble wand!
If you can carry it all in with one hand, then that's less you have to worry about keeping track of and then hauling back out after the beach day is done.
For example, my son Matthew's pail had a water gun shaped like a shark, Takis, grapes, carrots, goggles, sand castle toys, a shovel, a Fanta, and a beach towel all in the ONE bucket that he could carry to the beach all by himself.
When you're back home, you can use the pails to store markers, crayons, and other small toys. Or use them to plant flowers for the summer! I love trying to get more mileage out of the things I buy, just like my parents and grandparents taught me. I hope that's getting passed down to my kids too!
Bring a variety of snacks
You never know what's gonna be available at the beach … sometimes the snack bar is closed. We like to bring a variety of snacks for everyone's tastes. Luckily, the 99 has a variety of drinks and snacks for everyone.
Matthew had to get his favorite chips, Takis.
Katie got a bottle of La Croix …
And Xaver packed in grapes, his favorite! Make sure you bring a mix of salty and sweet snacks to satisfy everyone's tastes.
Plus, you can never have too many varieties of drinks. We got all of these drinks at the 99! 99 Cents Only Stores have all of your favorite name brands at a price that can't be beat. Keep drinks cold without a cooler by wrapping the drinks in a towel after refrigerating all night.
Use baby powder to remove sand from your feet
My dad's number one reason he doesn't like the beach is the sand. I don't like the sand in my car either. You know how we roll, keeping the car nice inside! But then I heard that you can baby powder to remove the sand from your feet and legs after a day at the beach. Any kind of powder will do, such as body powder or foot powder. And guess what? You can pick that up at the 99 too!
Here's what to do:
- Sit on the trunk of the car or a bench away from the sand
- Douse your feet with powder and rub it everywhere there is sand
- Use a towel to dust off your feet
Your feet will smell fresh and there won't be any sand on your skin. No need to wash your feet off (which we couldn't do because the showers at the beach were broken that day).
Bring a laundry bag to put everything in to shake out the sand
We always bring a mesh laundry bag to the beach to put all of the sand toys in. These bags are great for carrying all the gear out to the beach but they're even better for sandy toys; put the toys inside and give the bag a shake to get most of the sand off at the beach (and not in your house). The 99 has large mesh bags in pretty colors next to all the pails in the summer fun aisle.
Pack it in and pack it out – be respectful of the beach
The beach stays nice and clean for the next guests if everyone does their part to clean it. We were always taught to leave things nicer than we found them and to always pick up our trash. By packing everything in our toy buckets from the 99, we minimize the trash we bring to the beach. As the day goes on, we can pack our trash back into one of the buckets until we can dispose of the trash in a trash can.
We had a great time at the beach for a few hours. After that, we packed everything up, heading to downtown LA's garment district and other Los Angeles landmarks. Who says you can't have more than one adventure in a day?
Planning a beach trip?
Be sure to hit up the 99 before you go. See what they have in store and more here:
- 99 Cents Only Stores on Facebook
- 99 Cents Only Stores on Instagram
- 99 Cents Only Stores on YouTube
- 99 Cents Only Stores on Twitter
What's your best tip for the beach? Let me know in the comments!
About the Author
Jennifer Priest is a 20+ year designer in the arts & crafts industry and home DIYer with a passion for creativity. An Army veteran raised on a ranch, from her experience, she shares smart DIY projects that save money and fun craft ideas that anyone can make. Besides blogging, Jennifer is a Master Practitioner and Trainer of NLP, Hypnosis, and MER, and coaches other online entrepreneurs on money mindset, business, and living an intentional life. When not blogging, Jennifer is having adventures in the wilderness, on road trips, playing with her cats, and making paleo food.