Whenever someone says they’ve never been to the beach before, I begin to formulate a brilliant plan in which I kidnap them and bring them to the shore so they can see what they’ve been missing. Now, normally my better judgment kicks in before I actually commit any crimes, but really—how have you never seen the ocean?! What you need to do is go to your local hiking store, buy a compass, and start walking east (or west, if you prefer) until you begin to smell funnel cake. When you hit a massive body of water, you’re there.
You might have a few misconceptions about the beach if you’ve never been there before (or haven't been in a while), so I’ll here's a few tips to clear those up:
- SHARKS! Actually, the only shark I've ever seen at a beach was in a two-foot thick glass tank right next to the penguin exhibit. But if you must be terrified of a sea creature, be afraid of jellyfish. Don’t let their cute squishy appearance fool you! Even if you see one dead on the beach, its tentacles can still sting you. I’ve actually never been stung, but I’ve heard it’s similar to getting a bee sting: you’re not going to die, but it hurts like hell. However, you still don't need to worry about jellies—they usually only wash up after a major storm.
- Sunglasses are for n00bs. I’m not saying don’t wear sunglasses—sunglasses are great! They’re fashionable and they have all that UV protection and stuff. But if you lay out the entire day in the sun while wearing them, you will return home with an embarrassing “raccoon tan.”
- August is awesome! If you go to the beach at the beginning of June, you will only see two groups of people in the water: children and tourists. That’s because the water is freaking freezing! If you want to go in the water AND keep all your toes, plan a trip from mid-July to early September. The water’s nice and warm by that point.
- Get a spot near the lifeguard stand. Not because it’s safest if you have a problem, but because all lifeguards are crazy attractive. FACT.
- No binoculars, chairs, or metal detectors. The right to have these at the beach belongs exclusively to the “old people.”
- The sun rises in the east, and sets in the west. You probably already knew that, BUT did you know that it still applies while you’re at the beach? Yeah, you won’t be seeing any sunsets on the East coast, so if you do want to see some beach-sun action, you’ll need to be at the ocean by 5 in the morning. Have fun with that.
- Most things in life aren’t free. Including beaches. Now some beaches are free (usually the ones coated in undesirables), but where I’m from you’ve got to fork over 8 bucks to feel the sand between your toes.
- Wear a bathing suit that's secsure. Yes, I just love your new string bikini. It’s so cute, you look great in it, and that color really goes with your eyes. But if you’re planning on going in the water with it, you might come back out without it.
- You will burn in places you didn’t know could burn. Wear sunscreen. At least once per summer I disregard this advice because I forget what happened the last time I didn’t wear sunscreen. And I burn.
And, a quick check list of things to bring with you:
- Beach bag
- Beach towel
- Beach blanket
- Change of clothes
- Plastic bag for your camera, phone, and iPod (you do NOT want them layered in sand, or worse, salt water)
- Your camera, phone, and iPod
- Sun-tan lotion
- A good book
- A Frisbee or volleyball
- Sand castle equipment
- A big hat and umbrella (if you’re planning on staying out of the sun entirely)
Did Faye miss anything? Let her know, because IT'S BEACH TIME.