1. Choose carefully. That goes for your beach, your suit, and your company (or lack thereof).
· A good beach can be all you need to have a good day, so choose well. I often make the nostalgic choice and go where my family has been going for 25 years: Salisbury Beach. The last stop before New Hampshire, Salisbury offers the rough North Atlantic in all its artic glory and the calmer Merrimac River outlet. Two beach choices for the price of one!
· When relaxation is your utmost goal, you have to be comfortable. Wear a suit you both like the look of and the feel of. Decent sunglasses take shore-side reading and people watching to the next level. A pillow, a plushy towel, or a big hat: do whatever it takes.
· For many a day at the beach is a social event. If that’s the case for you, great: gather the troops and make a playlist. In the case you are more like me, less is more. Take someone along who is prepared to read – or watch you read – for the next four hours. That way everyone’s’ happiness is preserved.
2. Pack Accordingly. You’re going to the beach, not moving your residence.
· The eternal ‘beach book’ is a hotly debated topic. Chick lit or solid fiction? Smut or the classics you never read in college? And finally, is non-fiction always a no-no? Personally I’m the first one to hit the sand with “Crime and Punishment” or the true life story of Henry VIII’s mother’s aunt’s hand servant, so I think the best thing to do is to bring whatever interests you. If the most involved piece you read this summer is Ok magazine, enjoy it. It’s still better than not reading at all.
· Snacks! What American cultural tradition exists without at least some type of food at the center of it? Bring fruit and water to stay hydrated. Dehydration is a funkiller. Beyond that, bring something that resists or benefits from the inclusion of a little sand. Unless sand is your kind of thing…
· Remember it’s just a day (or even a few hours) at the beach. Don’t bring your whole wardrobe / library / apartment. You’re only going to have to lug it back home and then remove all the sand from it (and there will be sand).
3. Embrace the experience. It supposed to be fun!
· I’ll admit I have trouble relaxing. I grew up in a house of perpetual motion and cannot help but to always be moving, cleaning, working, etc. This isn’t a great way to be though; we work so we may earn the opportunity to relax and vacation. Don’t waste it. Don’t worry about it being perfect or if it will rain (because it will) and enjoy. Treasure it. Not everyone has the chance to sit on the beach with no more purpose but to sit.
· Beaches, lest we forget are living, breathing ecosystems. There will be animals and birds and slimy plants that touch your legs without warning, making you scream like a baby. But the ocean would not be the beautiful destination it is without its living organisms. Nothing is going to hurt you (I only speak for the North Atlantic; Australian beaches scare even me) or bother you, so leave the little crabbies alone. It’s like you are visiting their home, so be a good house guest. Don’t harass animals or birds, take only empty shells, and forgive the seagulls their incredibly annoying ways; they just can’t help themselves.