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Beach Vacay? Don’t Leave Home Without These Must-Haves!

If your vacation plans this summer include hitting the beach, well, you’ve come to the right place. Not only do we have some amazing beach-friendly workouts for you to check out (like this interval set! or this long beachy run! and of course, there’s always this!), but now that I live near a beach (close enough to ride this baby right onto the sand!), I have a little extra insight into some helpful products to have on hand for a beach trip. It’s not that you need every single one of these things, really, but I’ve found them all super handy.

BEACH vacay

Skin: I know I’m not your mother, but you guys. Wear sunscreen. Put on more than you think you need to, and reapply often, because little can cause a great beach vacation to come to a screeching halt as quickly as a massive, painful sunburn. Not to mention that whole skin cancer dealio. The three I’ve got in rotation are:

  • COOLA — I loved it back in the day and I’m still a fan. I actually wear the COOLA mineral sunscreen for the face ($36) pretty much every day (and one tube has lasted me a long time even with consistent use), and their Sport Sunscreen ($36 and smells awesome) feels really good and can handle significant sweat and water time.
  • All Good — Their natural Sunstick ($7.99) is easy to stash in a bag or pocket without having to worry about it leaking, and it’s great for touching up those spots that tend to get a little extra sun (nose, shoulders, cheeks, collarbone).

Feet: While I love being barefoot, I am not generally a big fan of regular ol’ flip flops anywhere but the pool deck. They’re not great for your feet,  plus, they’re kind of dangerous on a bike. (Yes, I know, tell that to the thousands of people I see wearing them as they ride their bikes to the beach every day. But still! You can catch that open toe on a pedal!) Happily, I discovered my new favorite shoes not long ago, and I wear them everywhere — meet the Sanuk Fiona ($55). They’re comfy like a sandal, and they breathe enough that my feet don’t feel all hot and sweaty like in many closed-toe shoes. They’re super casual but cute enough that I don’t just wear them to the beach, but they’ve even become my go-to casual outing shoe, and on my recent trip to Seattle, they were just about all I wore (when I wasn’t running a half marathon, that is).

Body: As I learned all too well in my surfing lesson in Hawaii, the surfaces of surfboards and the like can be brutal on your skin, so whether you’re trying to protect your thighs from board rash or just want a little extra coverage, you might want to look into some swim and surf capris, like these Body Glove Surf Capris ($75) from The Sweatbar. They’re comfy, really pretty, and can coordinate with either their Swim Crop, Sequence Top, or your own rash guard.

If you’re looking for some lightweight coverage on land, check out the lucy Girl’s Best Friend Burnout Top ($49). I’ve been throwing this top on over bikinis at the beach, workout clothes after a sweaty run — I even wore it over a cami with jeans and a chunky necklace for a casual evening out, so when I say it’s versatile, I couldn’t mean it more. It’s probably the lightest weight item in my closet, and I like that it’s just sheer enough to show what kind of cool top you have on underneath without being too revealing if you’re popping it on over a swimsuit.

Stuff: Remember a few months ago when I reviewed the Fivesse Home-Gym-Work Bag and marveled at how it had a specific pocket for, like, everything? They also offer beach bags in both a tote ($86) and — my personal pick — backpack style ($64). Like the gym bag, it has a pocket for practically everything — ID, phone, snacks, sunscreen, sunglasses, water bottles and more, and it also has an exterior drawstring system so you can stow damp towels (or anything else that’s wet, sandy or just gross) on the outside of your bag as you head home for the day. Plus, the interior is waterproof. ‘Nuff said.

However, if you’re just taking a quick run or stroll along the beach (or anywhere for that matter), you might not want to carry a whole bag, but you need a few more things than you can securely carry in a pocket. The Hip Appeal ($25.99-$27.99 depending on size) is a neat option. It’s available in a variety of colors from all black to neon combos and is roomy enough to hold phones (yep, even the big ones), keys, cash and more snugly against your body. And don’t get nervous when you see them called fanny packs — it’s the same concept, but a whole lot sleeker. I would not lie to you about this.

What are the three things you cannot possibly hit the beach without? I’m lost without sunscreen, sunglasses and nice, cold water. Unless, of course, I have something a little more, uhh, interesting to sip on … —Kristen

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