The Ultimate Beach Mode Guide

This morning, my kids, their cousins, and I headed off to Dam Neck Beach. There’s just something about the ocean that relaxes me so I am game for a beach adventure when my kids beckon a trip to. My children also love the beach, GSD included. Maybe because one was born in an island, one was born in Surf’n USA California, one was born in Virginia. Such is the perks of being a military family. I, myself, was born in an island, as is my husband. We are therefore, happiest in the summer months when we can enjoy the beach ever so much more. “It calls me.” as Moana sang. I enjoy the waves riding up and over with its splendor, the promise of new sediments to browse thru with the kids, the life that it brings forth. I have not swam with the dolphins but I have seen them pass thru several times over. One day I’ll give it a try, motion sickness be damned.  Haha.

My GSD meeting a sand crab
I found this today.  Nature is so beautiful. “She sells sea shells by the sea shore”

A beach trip for me requires planning for more than just water, sunscreen and beach towel. Oh no, the basic just won’t do! I am a light packer never. So, I’ve got somewhat of a system in placed. My kids know this, anyone that goes with me knows this. They leave me alone to do my thing and reap the rewards of what I have planned for them. Nothing of extravagance but the least, it requires food and activities.

So, just what does a day at the beach look like with me?

You don’t starve or get bored.  Haha

My beach essentials

  • Beach umbrella.  Just because I love the beach doesn’t mean I don’t want a reprieve from the sun. I used to have just a regular beach umbrella but the wind would destroy it when it pleases, let it travel with unattended and hit some random sun bather. So I upgraded to a tent umbrella. I just open it up just like any giant umbrella. It has two zip up windows to help alleviate the wind passing thru and it stays in place.

    My beach umbrella tent
  • Beach mat.  I use to bring beach towels to spread on the sand; but then, when I need to dry myself off ater a swim, there are sand stuck to it. So, I upgraded to a picnic blanket. It folds into a square bag and is easily portable. The sand just shakes off it.
  • Cooler with Wheels.  You don’t know me well just yet; but, you will know, if you continue to follow my blog, that I love to eat, which requires a cooler that can easily be filled and transported. The one we have has two wheels and not so large that it’s too heavy for me to lift into and out off the car. I can fit sufficient amount of food and drinks in it.
  • Sunscreen.  My kids prefers the spray types and we recently started using Neutrogena and the kids love the easiness of applying it with or without sand on the body. I also have regular sunscreen that is zinc oxide base. These will turn you pale though; but, it is better for you and the environment.
  • Individual containers of drinks.
  • Reusable plastic storage bins to store watermelons and corn, typically. These are 1.5 gallon. I used a smaller container for the sushi I made today.

    Homemade sushi is pretty easy
  • Beach bag to store other necessities that don’t need to go in the cooler: wallet, book, change of clothes, towels, phones, etc.
  • Plastic bag for trash.
  • Portable volleyball and badminton kit. I love watching the kids have fun. Ours is light weight and easy to carry, and come with ropes to anchor into the sand (definitely helpful). Bring a container to wet and pack the sand and make it stronger to hold the stakes and poles supporting the net in place.
  • Body Board to ride the waves. We bought ours for $15 each at a beach store. These boards are sold practically every where. The more tricks you want to achieve with the board, the more expensive it will be. The kids just use it to ride the waves to the shore. No other fancy tricks that I’ve seen thus far. I do like that it has a wrist attachment so that when the kids topple over, they can still use the board to stay afloat if need be.
  • Music within respectable volume.

Tips to save:

  • If your beach gear is lacking, buy the items on sale during off season.
  • If you must have it now, use Ebates to get cash back on your online purchases at Amazon and hundreds of other online stores.
  • If you don’t go to the beach all that often and have access to the MWR, rent beach equipments from them: tent shade, tables, cooler, chairs, surfboard, just to name a few.
  • Borrowing things from friends and family is another great way to save.  (Suggestion posted by BabyBoomerSuperSaver)

Typical food I bring

  • Sliced,without the rind, watermelon IMG_6964
  • Boiled halves of corn on the cob 
  • Chips and guacamole dip

    Chips and guac are my fave
  • Oreo cookies and/or homemade vegan cookies
  • Other fresh fruit I have in the fridge: apples, nectarines, peaches, grapes, mangoes
  • Peanut butter and jelly for me
  • Fruit and Vegetable Tropical Smoothie for me IMG_6972
  • Cold cut sandwiches for everyone else
  • If I’m feeling like cooking or being fancy:
    • Rice and tofu-vegetable stir fry is the easiest to make. I will need plates and utensils for this and my Thirty-one thermal picnic basket to keep it warm. Most of my Thirty-one products are gifts from my sis for birthdays, Mother’s Day and Christmas. Her bff is Thirty-one consultant.

      Vegetable and tofu stir fry
    • The kids love California rolls and are very easy to make.

      Homemade baby size California rolls

While I do believe there is safety in numbers, more fun with a crowd, I do enjoy a lesser crowd count personally, which is why we chose to go to Dam Neck Beach today. The kids do their own thing and I get to sit down and enjoy a read. We do love to go to this beach; however, it is not the only beach we go to. We do live off the coast of the Atlantic Ocean so there are a few choices within our area.

Beaches We Love to Visit in our Area

Little Creek Beach.  This beach is situated within the Little Creek Base. It is a military installation and only those that are granted access to a military installation are welcomed. ID check is in full effect at this base; but, guest can be sponsored in by a military member and dependent. This is where the annual ASYMCA Mud Run takes place. There are hardly any waves at this beach, so don’t come here looking to surf.

Little Creek Base Beach Mud Run

Fort Story Beach.  This beach is just after Little Creek Beach and is also within a military installation. Only those that are granted access to a military installation are welcomed.  ID check is in full effect at this base; but, guest can be sponsored in by a military member and dependent. Others things to see in this base is the Cape Henry Lighthouse. I believe you can not swim at this beach. You must be out of the beach before sunset as there are no lights at this beach. Shore fishing is big here.

These rocks makes for a great photo op
Cape Henry Lighthouse at the background

Chick’s Beach.  This is a public beach. We go here mostly to crab for blue crabs. Parking at this beach is a bit of a struggle for me as it is limited. The beach is surrounded by hotels and rental homes. The water here hardly has any waves, fed by the Chesapeake Bay, making it prime for paddle boarding, canoeing, kayaking. There are no lifeguards at this beach.

Sunset at Chick’s Beach.  No filter, cell phone photo.

Oceanfront. If you love the idea of walking out of your hotel and having the convenience of restaurants and stores right within your reach, Oceanfront Beach is for you. It is a tourist area so there are a lot of things to see and do at this beach, morning thru night in the warmer months. The waves are pretty decent on some days for surfing. There are numerous paid public parking available along the strip. I especially love the gym at 36th street and the kid’s playground at 2nd street. The kids’ playground has a public restroom, which I love, and it’s own paid public parking lot.

Surfing the waves at Oceanfront
Hillier Ignite Fitness Park at Oceanfront
Grommet Island Playground at Oceanfront

Camp Pendleton Beach.  This beach is situated within a military base installation and is only open to those granted military base access. I don’t go here very often; but they do have cabins here that I am interested in trying. However, the cabins are not pet-friendly.

Dam Neck Beach. This beach is situated within a military base installation and is not open to the public. Only people granted access to the base may enter; but, guest can be sponsored in by a military member or dependent. There are cabins here by the beach, RV lot by the beach, all-day ’til dusk pet-friendly beach area, as well as the general beach goers area with full working restrooms and showers. There are also shaded picnic tables here with grills; but you won’t be able to see the beach from it. Be prepared to go up and down stairs to get to the beach.

Taken this morning
Me and my boy. I believe this was taken last year.

Sandbridge.  This beach is a public beach and I love going here as well. I find that the waves here are the strongest. As a plus, there is paid parking lot and 2 full restroom buildings and playground. Picnic shelters can also be rented at this place for large beach party events. We’ve had a graduation beach party here before and it was fun.

Sunrise at a beach house rental my sister rented

The downside, the picnic shelters are separated by the sand dunes and you won’t be able to see your kids at the beach if you are manning the picnic shelter.

Back Bay Natural Wildlife Refuge Beach.  This is a paid locale just a little farther down the road from Sandbridge Beach. It is a wildlife reserve so pets are not allowed. As this is a national park, you may also get in for free with a military id. While there is a beach here, swimming, sunbathing, and other non-widlife dependent activities, are prohibited. You will need to bring bug spray if you are planning on heading out to this place to hike or check out the scenery of wild animals, especially in the summer months when bugs are most prevalent. Also, watch out for snakes. I’ve screamed my share here as I’ve come across two thus far. I go to this place maybe once or twice a year. I’m scared of ticks, more so than poisonous snakes that try to avoid you.

Final word

So, these are my beach essentials. I hope you enjoyed the additional info about the different beach locations available in our part of the world. It is no paradise like Hawaii and Guam, that we’ve been privilege to live in courtesy of our military life, with it’s palm trees and year round beach weather; but, I’m happy I still get to be by the beach, all year round really, even though the winter gets pretty chill.

What are your essentials when you take a beach trip?  I’m interested in knowing if I’m not the only one that over prepare for a beach outing.  Haha.

Until next time.


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2 thoughts on “The Ultimate Beach Mode Guide”

  1. Beautiful pics! Sharing is also an option for low-cost beach trips. If you’ve got friends & family who like to share, there’s no sense in everyone buying all the same things. Once family can loan out the beach umbrella, another one can loan out boogie boards, etc. (As long as you don’t all go to the beach at the same time, lol).

    1. Hi. Thank you for stopping by and leaving your mark on my blog. I appreciate that. You made a great point. Sharing is another great way to save on equipment and food. Beach outing is definitely more fun with more friends and fam, especially to the kids.

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