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San Angelo Lifestyles

10 Essentials Items To Pack For A Day At The Lake Or Beach

There is still plenty of summer left, if you have not already, grab your friends/family and head to the lake or beach this weekend! Soak in some sun, swim in the water, just have some fun.
Here are some tips for what to bring to make your day in the sun more fun.


Although you probably won’t drink much of this while you’re actually IN the water, you will most definitely be craving some icy-cold water on the long, hot ride home. So fill up those water bottles with water AND ice.

You don’t have to just bring plain water. Canned/bottled, flavored sparkling water is one option to take because it’s hydrating and also serves as a pretty good alternative to other beverages. If you bring plastic bottles of water, just pack them in a cooler with ice; don’t freeze them ahead of time. Freezing plastic bottles releases more harmful Bisphenol-A (BPA) into the water, which is something we should all avoid. Best choice, just fill a few insulated water bottles and add ice.


Nuts like almonds or cashews make a great boating snack because they don't have to be refrigerated. Whether in small to-go bags from the grocery store or in a Ziplock bag of your own, this is a great high-protein and high-fat snack that will fill you up on the boat. 

Tip: If plain nuts aren't your fave, try making homemade trail mix  to bring along. 

Chips and Salsa
This snack is a favorite, especially when sitting on the boat for hours. 

Tip: Pack a bag clip in your cooler so you can reseal the tortilla chips between snack breaks. 

Granola Bars
This packaged snack is perfect for boating because it will not go bad sitting out in the hot sun. There are so many great flavors that will taste amazing on a boat ride.

Popcorn doesn't always have to be the go-to movie snack, it can also be a great salty treat while lounging on the boat. If you put it in a Ziplock bag, it won't get wet and you can open it to eat fresh popcorn when desired. Be careful not to get it wet though—soggy popcorn isn't the same. 

Packaged Cookies
While not the healthiest boating snack, Oreos and Chips Ahoy are sealed, which makes them travel-friendly. After eating your nuts or granola bar, open a package of cookies to satisfy your sweet tooth while sitting in the sun. 


In my opinion, apples are one of the best fruits to travel with. If you wash a few, wrap them in paper towels, and stick them in a beach bag, they will be ready to eat on the boat at any moment. The apples shouldn't go bad during the day even if they sit out in the sun. 

Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches
A simple but classic option, PB&Js are ideal for munching on the boat. If you make some sandwiches before taking off in the water, they will save throughout the day until you're ready to eat them. Nothing in the peanut butter or the jelly will go bad in the sun either. 

The flavor doesn't matter at all in this case because muffins of all kinds are a great boating snack. Throw some muffins or other breakfast breads in a bag for the boat and they'll be a delicious treat that keeps well throughout the day. 

Tip: Store muffins at the top of the cooler so they don't get squished by the other snacks.



Bring sunscreen. Put it on 30 minutes to an hour before you get in the sun (BEFORE you start sweating or get wet). Reapply after swimming and toweling-off. Take it from me: Avoid skin cancer. Choose a zinc-based sunscreen without oxybenzone or octinoxate and the water creatures will thank you, too. For more tips on sun safety click here.



Sometimes people think they want to get “exercise” at the lake by “swimming” but let me tell you, that stops being fun after about 20 minutes. Sure, it’s great to do a little freestylin’ or breast-strokin’ so you can feel like you’re doing something healthy on the weekend, but lake day means lake DAY. Do you really want to tread water for 8 hours? Bring a tube, a noodle or some water wings.


Necessary to keep drinks cold! Nothing like a cold drink in the hot sun. I prefer the fold-able style of koozie because they take up way less space in your bag. 


The best way to pack a cooler for optimum chilling is to put the drinks in first, then the ice, then all the snacks that must be kept cold. There are a few basic styles available: ones with wheels, ones to carry, and collapsible ones. Which one is best? Here’s how to buy a cooler.

1. Where are you going to be taking it? Ones with wheels are great for pulling across parking lots, boardwalks, and pool surrounds. They are not so good when you have to carry them down stairs or treacherous rocky areas. If you’re going somewhere a bicycle can’t go, you’ll be better off and more comfortable getting a smallish, carrying cooler. Smallish so that it won’t be too heavy when it is filled with ice, water and snacks.

2. Where are you going to store it? If you have a garage or even a big closet, then storage probably isn’t an issue and you could go for either one with wheels or one you can carry. If you have a tiny apartment you may want to go collapsible so it’s not taking up valuable space.

3. How many people are you? Get an appropriately sized cooler. They are sized by how many quarts they hold. If you’re typically just packing for yourself and a friend, a 16 quart cooler is big enough. For a family of 4 or so, a 30-40 quart size will do well. If you’ve got a whole posse to feed, get more like a 50 quart or two smaller ones.

4. Do you like to sit? Get one that makes a good seat.


It’s bright out there on the water. Do yourself a solid and bring some UV-blocking sunglasses that you didn’t pay a lot of money for and protect your eyes. Remember to take them off before you dive in or they will end up sleeping with the fishes. There’s a decent chance they will somehow end up there anyway, and that’s why I never take my favorite pair to the lake.


Bring a nice, soft towel to dry off with and a cheaper one to sit on or use to wipe up soda.


You’ll thank me when you have a nice dry set of comfy clothes in the car waiting for you once you’re ready to go. Chances are good that the clothes you wore to the lake will get wet and there’s nothing worse than having to ride home in wet clothes. Your car seat gets moist and your skin starts to itch. Plus, if you decide to stop and get a bite on the way home, you won’t be feeling cold and wet.

But please don’t make your extra clothes be denim cut-offs. They look cute but there is nothing worse than trying squeeze tight denim over damp skin. Just bring something soft and easy to get in to.


Clean up after yourself. 


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