School is out and summer is here, which means I have two things on the brain – the beach and the pool. The lazy days of summer for our family means a trip to the beach every year and many days spent lounging by the pool. I relax and soak up some vitamin D and the kids enjoy swimming and creating different games in the pool. Marco/Polo is so yesterday.

Since I do spend quite a bit of time outside and by the water, I have a bag packed with essential items to ensure I’m fully sun-protected, fashion-savvy, and entertained (besides the entertainment of watching my kids make up crazy games of course).

Here are 10 Beach Must-Haves for Moms.

1. The right bathing suit. When you have a bathing suit that is perfect for your body type, not only do you look good, you feel good as well. I have made some major fashion no-no’s in the past years when it came to purchasing a bathing suit. Whether it was because I chose the bathing suit in a hurry or it was on sale and I just couldn’t pass it up, buying a bathing suit that wasn’t right for me ended up being oh-so wrong.

2. A fun cover-up. There are so many different styles of cover-ups to choose from. You can buy one that wraps around your waist or fits like a dress. When making your choice, decide the purpose of covering up. Are you wearing it to hide a body part or is it something you just need to slip over your bathing suit so you can drive over to your neighborhood pool? This will influence what you buy, and maybe you’ll need a few different options.

3. A hat. This is the first year I’ve added a hat to my beach must-haves list. Why? I wasn’t into hats until I realized how much I truly needed one to prevent migraines and protect the skin on my face. Sunblock doesn’t always cut it. I will never leave the house for the beach or the pool without my hat again.

4. A great pair of sunglasses. Packing sunglasses is most likely a no-brainer for most. I’ve learned to find ones that truly offer very good UV protection, while also looking stylish.

5. Sunblock. A friend and I were reminiscing over the days we baked in the sun with baby oil when we were teens. Now the thought makes me cringe. Who knows what damage I did to my skin all for a glowing suntan. Of course, that glowing suntan usually ended up being a blinding red and incredibly painful sunburn. Use sunblock and make your kids slather it on as well.

6. A large beach towel. I have gotten quite picky when it comes to my beach towels. Call it aging with wisdom if you will. I need a beach towel that is soft, covers the entire lounge chair and is cute. A good quality beach towel will last you several summers.

7. A bottle of water. Since you’re out in the sun all day, you need to hydrate. Skip the carbonated beverages and go for a nice cold drink of water. Purchase a reusable water bottle that you can refill and use all season long. I have a designated pool-side water bottle that my kids know “touch this and you’ll regret it” that I’ve used the past couple of years.

8. Just the right beach bag. It’s taken me forever to realize I need a beach bag with pockets, tons and tons of pockets – both inside and outside the bag.  A mom needs a good beach bag to organize all of these must-haves and still leave easy access to the lip balm.

9. A Pair of comfortable flip-flops. I’ll never forget the year I bought a “buy one, get one half off” flip-flops deal and they were the worst pair ever. What did I get for my money? Two enormous blisters on my feet. I’m now very picky when it comes to the shoes I put on my feet, even for lounging by the pool and definitely for walking along the beach. I am a huge fan of Yellow Box flip-flops. They are both comfortable and stylish.

10. Something to read. I love to have a stash of magazines and a good book for entertainment while relaxing in the sun. There are so many lists on good beach reads, so finding the perfect one for you won’t be hard.

Are there any beach must-haves I didn’t include that you never leave the house without? Enjoy your time in the sun this summer and I hope this list of 10 beach must-haves leaves you feeling well prepared.

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