One of my favorite things to do during the summertime is to go to the pool or beach. I absolutely love the water, and relaxing by the pool. It doesn't cost a whole lot of money, or no money at all, to go enjoy a day a the beach, or to take a dip in the pool. It's something you can make a daily activity out of, weather permitting, as long as you have access to a pool or beach. But before you head out the door to go relax by the water, don't forget to pack your beach bag with at least the essentials. You can always give or take a few items based on your own needs, and what you like to do while your at the pool or beach.
These are the things that I feel that you just can't go to the pool or beach without.
-Sunscreen, whether you are going to swim or just relax in the sun. If you are going to spend any amount of time outside, you should always wear sunscreen, even if it's a bit chilly. Get a water proof sunscreen so that it won't wash away in the pool, or sweat off. A sunburn is never fun, it's painful and is certainly not attractive. The potential consequences of getting a bad sunburn are not fun either, whether it be premature aging, or even skin cancer. Prevention is key, so don't forget to pack a waterproof sunscreen of at least SPF 15 or higher.
-Bathing Suit, it doesn't necessarily have to be a bikini, but something you feel confident in. You obviously need something cute to take a dip in the water in! Some community pools may require you to have proper swim attire before you get in the water. Even if you don't really feel like going swimming, you can still lounge on the beach or by the pool and get a nice tan (just don't forget that SPF 15!). Plus you never know, you may decide to take a quick dip in the pool. You can choose to wear your bathing suit under your clothes as you head out, but if you do don't forget to bring a change of under garments in your bag. You'll also want to bring a plastic bag to put your wet things in. You can also consider bringing a bikini cover up if you don't want to walk around or lay around in just your bathing suit all day.
-Sunglasses, like you would protect your skin from the sun, you should also protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses. If you wear glasses, consider getting transitions lenses, as they change automatically when you step outside.
-Towel, of course if you take a dip in the pool you'll want something to dry off with. Or to wrap up in if you feel chilly when you get out of the water. It also makes a great thing to lay on or throw over your lounge chair to just relax.
-Flip-flops, because sand, wood, and concrete can get really hot and aren't comfortable to walk barefoot on. Plus theres always the chance you could step on a pebble or even broken glass, ouch! Wear flip-flops to protect the bottoms of your feet and walk around more comfortably when you aren't swimming. It's best to bring rubber flip-flops, as they won't get ruined as easily, and you don't have to worry as much about them getting wet. They don't have to be really fancy, you can find some cute flip-flops for only a couple dollars at the dollar store. Just something to protect your feet.
-Hair ties and hair brush, when you are going swimming, it's best to put your hair up before you get in the water. I find that when I leave my hair loose, not only does it get really messy, but it's also really annoying. It keeps getting and my face and it just goes everywhere. If you have shorter hair, you don't have to worry as much about it. But if you have longer hair like I do, then it's best to tie it up. Have a brush with you to gently brush it out after swimming. Braiding your hair will make it less likely to tangle, and will make it easier to brush out.
-Small amount of cash, some beaches and pools have a small amount of money you need to pay to get in. So bring at least five dollars for that. You may also want to have some money to buy something to drink, and have some loose change if you need to lock something up in a locker.
-Water bottle or sports drink, especially on those hot days, you'll want to stay hydrated. Water is best for you on those really hot days rather than drinks high in sugar such as soda. Sports drinks can also help to keep you hydrated if you prefer something other then water. But don't forget that it's important to drink water too. Don't go without something to drink. You wouldn't want to get sick from being dehydrated. You may be able to buy water or other drinks at the pool, but it would save you money to bring your own.
-Cellphone, I have a hard time deciding whether this is essential or just an extra thing to bring. If you decide to go swimming, you obviously won't be using it while your swimming, LOL! But it would certainly be nice to browse the web, listen to music, or play some games while your relaxing. Usually you wouldn't need your phone when your going out to the pool, unless you need to call for a ride or you know you'll need to call someone. However, it's best to have it in case of an emergency. If you know you won't be using it much, it's best to keep it locked in a locker, just to be safe with it.
These are things that you don't really need to brings, but you can depending on how long you plan to stay, or just what you want to do.
-Something to read, there is certainly nothing wrong with going to the beach just to relax and read a good book!
-Healthy snacks, if you get a little hungry you'll have something good to snack on. Try go go for healthier snacks rather then snacks that are high in salt or sugar, as these snacks could cause you to dehydrate faster in the heat. You can even consider bringing a healthy lunch in a little cooler so that you don't have to leave for lunch.
-Make-up, unless you have waterproof make-up, make-up generally won't do so well in the pool. I don't even wear make-up when I go swimming. But if you have somewhere to go afterwards, it would be nice to have some simple make-up products with you to freshen up. You may also want to consider bringing along perfume and deodorant, just to stay smelling fresh.
These are the things that I would typically bring along with me for a day at the beach or pool. Aside form wearing some loose fitting summer clothes on the way there and having them to change back into. Please let me know if I left anything out, and tell me what you would bring along with you. I love to get new suggestions and ideas. :)