By Colleen Clark,
Sure, you’ve packed a towel, but did you remember your snorkel camera? We didn’t think so. Here’s your go-to guide to 10 shore things you never knew you needed.
Easy Underwater Camera: Lining up a killer coral shot while bobbing in the waves is no small feat. The Explorer Series snorkel-mask camera makes taking clear, five-megapixel photos and videos a hands-free snap. The camera, from Liquid Image Works, can be used up to 15 feet underwater. liquidimageco.com , $100.
Smarter Sand Toys: Even a careful parent can accidentally leave behind a shovel—especially one hidden deep in a sand castle’s keep. Zoë B biodegradable beach toys will ease your eco-guilt: The corn-sugar-based bioplastic breaks down to organic materials in as little as two years if immersed in water or soil (regular plastics can take up to 500). zoeborganic.com $22.
Seaworthy Speakers: When you want to listen to A Flock of Seagulls instead of a flock of seagulls, the Eco Extreme floating speaker case from Grace Digital Audio delivers. Just pop your MP3 player inside, seal the pressurized waterproof compartment, and press play. You’ll get up to 30 hours of tunes out of three AA batteries. gracedigitalaudio.com $50
E-Book Shield: Electronic readers have many strengths, but beach-friendliness has never been one of them. The new Kindle KlearKase, made from the same tough, transparent polycarbonate used in F22 fighter-jet windows, takes scratches, splashes, and errant grains of sand out of the equation. amazon.com $50.
Protect Valuables: Nervous about taking a dip while your valuables sit unprotected on the sand? Tuck them in a Vacation Vault. The 7″ x 6″ x 4″ case keeps your keys and cash secure with a three-digit combination lock. The attached cable loops around picnic tables or beach chairs to ensure no one snags your things without making a scene. csnstores.com $20.
Futuristic Beach Blanket: Large towels are bulky and take forever to dry. Instead, flop down on the ingenious Grand Trunk Parasheet, a beach blanket made from nylon parachute material—it dries in minutes, is mildew resistant, and stays cool to the touch even in the blazing sun. Weigh it down via built-in corner pockets that can be filled with sand. llbean.com, $40.
Waterproof Playing Cards: Stack the deck without getting it soggy with Invisible Playing Cards, by designer Peter Woudt. Made of transparent PVC, a flexible and durable plastic, the deck is easy to wipe down should it come in contact with saltwater or a melty ice cream cone. momastore.org, $8.50.
Carry-on Sunscreen: Bulky bottles of sunscreen are decidedly TSA-unfriendly. SmartShield Towelettes provide waterproof (and sweatproof) SPF 30 protection that won’t trigger security. As a bonus, you get insect protection via chemical-free repellants like cedar essence and lemongrass, which remains effective up to four hours. smartshield.com, $16
To-Go Grill: Who doesn’t love a beach cookout? For one, the guy who has to carry the cooler, the grill, and the utensils. That’s where The Buccaneer comes in. This all-in-one cooking kit includes an insulated tote (perfect for carrying raw hamburgers) with a reinforced base that stores a grill. A zip-open pocket holds essential BBQ tools, such as a fork and tongs. beachmall.com, $135.
All-Weather Shelter: It’s hard not to feel like a turtle when you’re toting around a Sport-Brella XL on your back—the nine-foot-wide umbrella practically doubles as a second home. Side flaps can be anchored in the sand with spikes, converting your umbrella into a cabana, and wind vents mean that a strong gust will simply pass through rather than topple your shelter. sport-brella.com, $70.