Nothing is quite as relaxing as a day at the beach. Camping out extends the enjoyment but presents a few particular challenges that, if planned for, won’t hamper your weekend by the shore. Here are a few tips for beach camping and picnicking to help you make the most of your experience.
Camping at the beach involves one major nuisance – sand. The first step is making peace with the fact that a little sand will end up everywhere. The second step is to do what you can to minimize its impact.
A ground cloth or tarp under the tent (a “footprint” in tent-speak) is particularly handy when beach camping; make sure it’s large enough to extend out in front of the tent door. The footprint will provide a mini-porch on which to put shoes and equipment. It will also prevent the door zipper from sinking into the sand, potentially ruining it.
Unless you are going ultralight, consider packing a small broom and dustpan. They are quite handy for removing sand from tents and brushing off gear before repacking.
Room with a View
Secure your tent! There may be only a hint of breeze all day long but winds can rise any time. Tent pegs or spikes will not work in the sand so you’ll need to bring strong rope or cord to make guylines. Loop the guylines through the tent’s tie-outs then wrap around heavy rocks to anchor. You can also make your own sandbags. Bring a number of Ziploc bags, fill them with sand and wrap the guylines tightly around them. Burying the sandbags will provide even more stability.
Heavy fog or mist can roll in overnight so it’s best to bring what you can into the tent, put items in the car or cover them with a tarp. Putting the rainfly on your tent is also advised.
Made in the Shade
Natural sources of shade are often slim to none with beach camping so it’s important to bring the right tools to create your own. Beach umbrellas are the obvious first choice. A canopy or cabana is great if you’ve got the car space or pack a tarp, securing lines and perhaps a pole or two and make one yourself.
Bon Fire Appetite!
Keep food items in well-sealed containers to avoid sandy meals. You can prepare your own box lunches in Tupperware as long as you leave out dressings and condiments that could make sandwiches and salads soggy. Place your cooler in the shade and freeze Ziploc bags of water to line the bottom. Freeze food you won’t use on the first day and make sure all the food kept in the cooler starts out cold.
If you plan to cook over an open fire, bring along a barbeque grate to place in the fire so you have a flat cook-space on which to put kettles, pans and so forth. Don’t forget to confirm in advance that a campfire is legal at your site.When it’s time to clean up, a little wet sand is a great natural scourer for those greasy or food-encrusted pots and pans.
More Sun and Surf Suggestions
Set your tent well above the high tide line or that floating feeling might not just be a dream. Bring face and body lotion as skin dries out quickly with the sun and salt air. Pack some aloe vera gel, too; it’s great for soothing sunburns or bug bites. Lastly, day and nighttime temperatures can vary greatly at the beach so remember to throw in a sweater, even in the summer. Enjoy!