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10 Life-Changing Things You Should Take To The Beach

Because we tried them for you first!

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Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

The BuzzFeed staff are always trying new products, apps, hacks, and DIY projects, and we decided it was time to start sharing the best of them with you. Each month, we post our recommendations for what's actually worth it. With summer upon us, we decided to round up our favorite items for the beach. For the sake of transparency, items under "Things We Bought" were purchased with our own money and/or were not the result of a PR pitch. Those under "Things We Tried" are items that were provided to us at no cost for the sake of review. (But! We're under no obligation to write a review of those things, let alone a positive review.) Let us know in the comments what sorts of things you'd like us to review next month!

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1. REI's XL Lite Multitowels — $22

rei.com

I love REI's XL Lite Multitowels because they're extremely light, quick drying, and you can really shake all that sand out. I originally started using them when I was traveling through India during monsoon season (with constant 100% humidity) because they dry so quickly. But they're also amazing for the beach because they don't get sticky from the dried salt like the normal terrycloth material. You can also fold them and carry around so much more easily than bulky, gross towels. And the large size is perfect for laying out. —Caroline Kee

2. Rio Brands Sand Anchor — $9.75

amazon.com

CHAPTER I: In which I finally purchase a beach umbrella and am amazed (amazed!) by how long I spent going to the beach without one. It's sort of like your own private tree. It's so nice.

CHAPTER II: In which I realize that on an even moderately windy beach, it's a huge pain in the ass to prop up a flimsy umbrella in the sand without it falling over or blowing away, and apologize profusely to several strangers for (repeatedly) almost injuring them with my runaway umbrella.

CHAPTER III: In which I purchase this anchor, which you can use to literally screw an umbrella into the sand, and it works perfectly, as promised, and I am content.

Rachel Sanders

3. Pizza Slice Float — $33.99

Conz Preti / Via instagram.com

I really wanted something fun for a recent trip to Miami and found myself looking through all the floats offered on Amazon. After hours of browsing I decided to buy two pizza slices, mainly because they could be clipped together, so my boyfriend and I could have our own space and not float apart.

The float itself is great. It's much easier to blow up than other large floats because of its shape. (I do recommend buying a pump because it's impossible to blow up manually without passing out.) We got a super basic foot pump and the slice was ready to go in the water in less than 10 minutes.

The slice comes with a bunch of little elastics on the side of it so you can hook onto other slices (and potentially make an entire pizza) or, like we did, put a rope through them and tie yourself to a boat/shore/anything. That way you won't have to worry about getting lost at sea on your pizza slice. It also has a two beer/drink holders so you can do some hard chilling while floating. One slice is big enough to hold two people who don't mind their legs touching, but if you want to tan it's ideal to be by yourself. It's also waaaaay more comfortable than the swan/unicorn-shaped floats since you can lie down perfectly without touching the water or having to sit up all the time. —Conz Preti

4. ModCloth Bathing Beauty Bathing Suit — $89.99

Things I am not: a Spring Break Person, a Pool Person, a Beach Person, or a Bikini Person. This meant I was a Person With a Bathing Suit Problem for several years. The problem was twofold. First, I never wanted to buy a swimsuit in March when they first start appearing in stores because, well, it's March...but by actual summer, they were super picked over. And second, I didn't want to spend a lot of money on an item of clothing I wouldn't get very much use out of. So basically, every June, I found myself at Target, looking for a cute, trendy one-piece swimsuit that cost around $30...and I couldn't figure out why this magical swimsuit was eluding me.

Finally, a couple years ago, I accepted that I probably needed to suck it up and spend a little more to get the swimsuit I'd been looking for. The one that convinced me? The ModCloth Bathing Beauty, which comes in several colors, prints, and sizes. I'm a sucker for a retro-style one-piece, but what really sold me were the amazing reviews and the photos that reviewers had uploaded of themselves wearing the suit — seriously, every woman looked fly AF in it. I finally look the plunge (following the site's advice to size up because it runs small) and dropped the $90 on it, and as soon as I put it on, I knew it was worth the money. It's super comfortable (god, one-piece bathing suits are so underrated!), and I just really love how it looks on me. It was more money than I wanted to spend, but I've had it for three years, and I'm no longer buying dumb cheap swimsuits I hate every summer, so the cost balanced out. I love it so much that I'm planning on getting a second one in black or navy this summer! —Rachel W. Miller

5. Chuckit! Flying Squirrel — $10.18

So you own a Frisbee? Fine, sure. But this isn't some college quad. This is the beach, Dog Owner, and you don't want runaway pups or damp toys in your bag. Enter: Chuckit! This "flying squirrel" toy floats, is basically indestructible, and can't get thrown too far out of reach. It finally makes fetch happen. —Marisa Carroll

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6. MDSolarSciences Quick Dry Body Spray Broad Spectrum SPF 40 — $19

Jess Probus

As a pale person who grew up in Florida, I've been searching for the perfect sunscreen since birth. Possibly even before. And while my pale and highly sensitive skin has been protected by any number of creams and sprays, none have really managed to be both pleasant to use and effective. Most creams are sand magnets and succeed in making my white skin look almost translucent when they fail to rub in all the way. Most sprays still need to be rubbed in and leave such a greasy residue that you become instantly slippery. Which is not as fun as it sounds.

But now that I've tried MDSolarScience's Quick Dry Body Spray, I will never use another brand again. It is legitimately quick to dry — as in dries almost instantly — and doesn't leave ANY greasy residue. And it works for hours, even when swimming, without needing to be reapplied. I used SPF 40, stayed outside in direct sun for several hours, and even went in the water several times with no sign of a burn. At $19 a bottle, it's not a cheap investment, but it's totally and completely worth it. —Jessica Probus

7. La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral Ultra Light Sunscreen — $33.49

Casey Gueren

I'm one of those people who can't wear regular sunscreen on their face. I get this horrific burning sensation, especially around my eyes, and particularly after reapplying. Turns out, this is a pretty common reaction for people with sensitive skin, and it's caused by most of the ingredients in chemical sunscreens (the kind that soak into your skin).

After talking to lots of dermatologists about this, I learned that you can avoid this by using something that just sits on top of the skin (known as a physical or mineral sunscreen — like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide). These used to only come in those awful white/purple formulas that never looked like they were rubbed in (because they weren't). But this one from La Roche-Posay is way less obnoxious with an almost-matte finish. It still looks a little white (especially on darker skin tones), but luckily they made a tinted version (again, not perfect on all skin tones, unfortunately).

It's not greasy, it's a little more water-resistant than others (only up to 40 minutes, though, so if you're legit swimming or something, reapply afterward), and it keeps my face from burning — both from the sun and from a reaction. It's a little pricey at $33.50 for 1.7 oz (SO SMALL) but it's so worth it if you have sensitive skin. —Casey Gueren

8. Coppertone Oil Free Sunscreen Lotion — $9.49

Let's talk for a moment about sunblock. Do you enjoy the feeling of your burnt-to-a-crisp skin peeling off in scales? Are you really looking forward to skin discolorations? Do you have a death wish that involves melanoma? If you didn't answer yes to any of those questions, keep reading.

As a brown-skinned person who grew up on a tropical island, my attitude to the sun is "so lovely and warm, I'll be just be here in the shade wearing this wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses and SPF 50." I've worn some form of sun protection on my face, neck, chest, and hands every single day without fail since my 25th birthday. It is none of your business how long ago that was.

A great beach sunblock is a) waterproof enough that you can frolick in the waves for a bit before you need to reapply (which should be at least once an hour, regardless, and you're probably not applying enough anyway), b) unscented, because sandflies do attack, c) not sticky, because sand is enough of a hassle as it is, and d) cheap, because spend that cash on a great bathing suit.

I've been using Coppertone Oil Free Sunscreen Lotion (or the Sport version, pictured above, if the regular version is unavailable) as my go-to beach accessory for several years. It'll run you about $10, is available practically everywhere, and (crucial detail!) closes firmly so minimize sunscreen-all-over-the-inside-of-your-bag-swag risk. —Stacy-Marie Ishmael

9. Using Baby Powder to Remove Sand

By_djenka / Getty Images / Johnson & Johnson / Natalie Brown / BuzzFeed

I spend all winter dreaming about sandy beaches, but when it comes down to it, I hate the feeling of sand stuck to my sunscreen-greased, ocean-dampened skin. Especially when I have to climb into a car or sit on a bus for the ride back home...which, unless I'm at the beach of a fancy resort (a very rare occurrence), I have to do every time I leave the beach.

Before you start insisting that beaches have those cold-ass showers nearby just for that purpose: What are you supposed to dry off with? That same towel you've had in the sand with you all day? There's sand on that towel, no matter how vigorously you tried to shake it off. A special second towel just for this purpose? Um, OK, but there's also a solution to this problem that won't take up so much space in your bag: a small container of baby powder.

Shower if you must (or don't), then get mostly dry with your still-pretty-sandy towel. Then, sprinkle the baby powder on your skin, rub it around, and the sand will fall right off. Bye, sand! Then just use your palm to rub the baby powder (mostly) off. You won't get sand in your car, and you won't have grit stuck to your legs, arms, and wherever else the sand sticks. —Natalie Brown

10. Lovin' Summer Beach Tent — $160

As we've already established, I'm not a Beach Person, but I have started to enjoy a day spent reading on the beach a bit more in my old age. But I am still often vexed by the lack of shade, as hats/visors aren't really my thang, and I'd prefer to avoid the tan lines caused by sunglasses. An umbrella seemed like a good idea, but it's also not something I'm terribly inclined to invest in, nor is it something I'd know where to store in my apartment on the 363 days a year when I'm not using it.

When a PR company pitched me on this tent, I was equal parts interested and skeptical. I mostly doubted that it would be as easy to carry, set up, and break down as they promised it would, and I wasn't really sure it would make that much difference in my beach experience. I. Was. Wrong.

The first time we took it to the beach, a few friends had it unpacked and assembled within minutes. It makes it easy to get a lot of shade or just partial shade, and it's really beautiful. Everyone in the group raved about how much they liked it, and several complete strangers at the beach stopped by to ask us where we got it. And! At the end of our beach day, it was just as easy to break it down and put it back into the yoga-bag-sized tote it came in. We actually didn't take it to the beach for the first time until last August, but I've been eagerly waiting to tell you guys about it since then. —RWM

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