19 Genius Beach Hacks to Try This Summer (Many are FREE!)

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These beach hacks make a day in the sand even better!

beach umbrella with tray in sand with white beach chair and bag

Are you one of 60 million people hitting the beach this summer? Try these clever beach hacks for adults and kids to make your trip a breeze!

1. Protect phones from water and sand with this waterproof case with over 50K 5-star reviews.

man snorkeling under water with waterproof phone case hanging from neck

Put this universal waterproof phone case at the top of your packing list! Whether you’re planning to take amazing underwater pictures while snorkeling or reading your favorite Kindle beachside. This is one must-have you won’t regret bringing along and it’s under $7!

Hip Tip: Place a paper towel or napkin in your phone case if you’re nervous about your phone getting wet. This helps with leaks when you are using your phone in the water.

2. One of the best beach day hacks is to use baby powder on sandy legs and feet.

Woman putting baby powder on her children to keep off sand thanks to a clever beach hacks article she read

Up & Up Baby Powder – $2.99

Baby powder is a powerful force against sand on the skin so it’s perfect for rubbing on your hands, legs, or feet! This is one of the best-known beach hacks if you want to avoid sand in your sandwich or in your car when it’s time to leave. We’re using CVS baby powder in the photo, but you can get the similar Up & Up for over half the price!

Add baby powder to your next Subscribe & Save order on Amazon for under $2!

3. Use an umbrella hook to hang wet towels and bags.

red and white stripe umbrella with hooks and bags hanging from them

Avoid sandy towels and beach bags by using an umbrella hook. This beach hack keeps your belongings sand-free, which means less sand is tracked into the car too. 😂

Hip Tip: For faster drying towels, ditch the cotton and use a lightweight microfiber towel instead.

4. Or use an umbrella table tray to keep smaller essentials organized.

close up of white umbrella tray with various beach essentials on top

AMMSUN Beach Umbrella Table Tray$17.99 (regularly $25.50)

This innovative table tray securely fits on the rod of your beach umbrella. It has 2 drink holders plus 2 built-in trays for snacks and other beach essentials like sunscreen, snacks, baby powder, and more!  🙌🏼

5. Keep all the sand off your towels with these innovative sandless towels.

woman holding checked beach towel blanket in sand

Sand Cloud Beach Towels – as low as $44 SHIPPED

There’s nothing worse than a soaked and sandy towel to bring in your car when you’re headed home. We love Sand Cloud beach towels because they’re lightweight, quick drying, and sand won’t stick to them whether wet or dry! Plus, you’ll adore their fun prints and aesthetically pleasing colors.

Even better, if you want a sandless blanket big enough for the whole family, they have that too.

6. Freeze drinks and grapes to keep food colder for longer.

one of the most clever beach hacks is freezing your grapes and drinks like shown here in a cooler

Your food will stay much colder for longer by freezing pouch drinks and water bottles. You can also consider freezing other snacks that freeze well like grapes, watermelon, and popsicles. Packing more frozen foods versus ice packs will free up more space for goodies to bring with you.

Here’s another unique item our Hip reader, Lolly, likes to freeze:

“I also like to bring a soaking wet washcloth in a ziplock bag because somehow I always end up with sunblock in my eyes” – Lolly, Hip reader

Hip Tip: We sourced the best Yeti cooler bag alternatives so you can beach it in style on a budget.

7. Beat the heat with homemade slushies for kids or adults.

beach hacks dining with alice frozen capri sun drink
Photo Credit: Dining With Alice

You could make a quick and easy slushie for the kids by letting your frozen Capri Suns thaw and drinking them before they melt entirely. Adults looking for a little something special can make an adult version from Dining With Alice. All you’ll need is your favorite juices, liquor (optional), drink pouches, and straws. It’s a fun way to stay cool and hydrated at the beach!

8. Keep drinks, phones, and other snacks sand-free with these handy beach cup holders.

blue cup sitting in a starfish shaped holder as a beach hack

Beach Cup Holders 4-Pack – $12.98 (regularly $12.99)

These handy, stackable cup holders can double as a phone, drink, or sunglasses holder. Plus, it’s a great spot to place snacks for little ones such as grapes, cheese and crackers, and so much more! Note that these are best for smaller cups and bottles.

9. Create a sand-free zone with this genius fitted sheet beach hack.

A fitted sheet being used as a beach hack at the beach to keep our sand

This is one of the oldest beach hacks in the book! All you need is a cheap fitted sheet and your stuff to support each corner – think coolers, bags, shoes, etc. You could even shop at your local thrift store for an even cheaper fitted sheet option and fill plastic bags with sand to make DIY weights.

10. Disguise your valuables in snack containers.

best beach hacks pringles container with money keys and watch inside

Place small items like keys, money, and jewelry inside a food container so people won’t see them. Just don’t make the snack too tempting. 😉 If you really want to fool people, wrap your small valuables in a diaper and place it under your beach chair. 😆 They’ll definitely leave it alone then.

11. Save space in your beach bag with collapsible items.

hand holding a collapsible bucket at the beach

Collapsible Beach Bucket – $11.99 (regularly $14.99) 

  • Or pay just $9.50 each when you buy a 2-pack!

Lugging heavy or bulky items can make your beach trip a hassle and take up precious retail space in your wagon or car. Save space by bringing foldable or collapsible items like these beach buckets.

Hip Tip: Fill one of your buckets with water and use it as a hand-washing station for sandy hands.

12. Easily tote plastic bags for wet clothes and towels with this upcycle beach hack.

best beach hacks wipes container with trashbags inside and flag bathing suit in background

Fill an empty wipes container with plastic grocery bags or trash bags. This keeps bags from blowing away. Then, when you leave the beach, fill the bags with your wet clothing and towels to prevent a mess in your car.

Hip Tip: Check out these other genius upcycling ideas we shared.

13. Save at the salon and grab a lemon if you want sun-kissed hair during your trip.

sliced lemons on white blanket

Squeezing lemon juice in your hair before going into the sun will supposedly give you some pretty amazing natural highlights. Consult with an experienced hairstylist beforehand just to be sure.

14. Soak up some shade with a beach tent.

oileus beach tent on the beach customer review image

Oileus X-Large Beach Tent – $64.99 (regularly $99.99)
Clip the 10% OFF digital coupon
Final cost $58.43 SHIPPED!

Protect your family from the wind or powerful UV rays with a beach tent. There’s one for up to two people or styles for just a baby. Either way, it’s a great way to stay cooler on the hottest of summer days.

large blue and teal beach shade with woman sitting in beach chair

If budget is no object for keeping you and your family cool, check out this unique Shibumi Shade! It weighs only four pounds, can be assembled in just three minutes by one person, and has 50 SPF. Talk about game-changing. 🙌🏼

15. Bringing your own makeshift pool is the best baby beach hack I’ve personally tried.

baby in blue pop up pool in sand with shade

Monobeach Baby Beach Tent Pop-Up Pool $29.68 (regularly $49.99) 
Clip the $5 OFF digital coupon
Final cost $24.68!

Make a hole in the sand, then fill this pop-up pool with ocean water. This handy pop-up pool will keep your little one busy for hours while the big kids play in the ocean. Plus, once they’re ready for a nap, you can empty it and lay down a towel for them to take a snooze under the shade canopy.

Hip Tip: Try doing the same thing with a cheap shower curtain, small tarp, or trash bag if you’re on a tight budget.

16. Use frozen aloe vera cubes to treat your sunburn.

bottles of green and clear aloe vera on store shelf

Did you come home with a pretty gnarly sunburn? Squirt some aloe vera in an ice cube tray, freeze it, then rub the cubes on your skin to soothe.

ice cube tray full of green aloe vera sitting next to plant

Consider making your own cubes if you have an aloe plant at home to make this beach hack essentially FREE! Follow the full tutorial on vitacost.com.

17. A mesh bag leaves the beach at the beach.

Time and Tru Women's Mesh Beach Tote Bag in Pink

Don’t bring the beach home with you. If you carry beach supplies in a mesh bottom bag, the water and most of the sand will fall out as you walk to the car. Plus, you can give it a good shake before heading home. You can use any mesh laundry bag or we love this mesh bag at Walmart for under $8 each!

18. A makeup brush makes sunscreen application easy.

hand holding a bottle of sunscreen and a makeup brush

Thinksport Mineral Sunscreen for Kids 50+ SPF – $16.40 (regularly $21.99)

Does your kiddo fight to put sunscreen on their face? One way to make the process fun for them is to use a makeup brush to apply the sunscreen. Not only does it make for a quick and smooth application, but the brush helps blend the sunscreen into the skin for less of a white cast!

19. Remember your trip with a DIY souvenir!

beach hacks plaster of paris handprint souvenir from Crafting A Green World
Image Credit: Crafting a Green World

The kids or grandkids will have a blast making this sandy souvenir! You’ll love having a keepsake handprint or footprint. All you’ll need is some plaster of Paris, a plastic Ziploc bag, water, and sand! Get the full DIY instructions from Crafting a Green World.

Check out the latest summer deals now!

About the writer:

Sara is a self-taught blogger & photographer and brings 9+ years of experience to her craft. Her work has been featured in numerous esteemed publications, spanning building, travel, and fashion. Beyond her creative pursuits, Saraโ€™s primary mission is to empower others to embrace a toxic-free & sustainable lifestyle.

Join The Discussion

Comments 40

  1. babymair

    Sara,thx so much for these ideas,and the time,and effort you put into this post .. I will be using a few of these ..keep up the good work and God bless.

    • Sara

      I’m so glad this post was helpful to you! Enjoy all your trips to the beach this summer! xo, Sara

  2. MommySpendsLess

    Those phone cases come with a recommendation to test them with a paper towel inside before using with your phone. I highly recommend actually doing that. I got a two pack for our recent trip to LegoLand. I used one just for money/license/credit card (my phone was in a locker). I wore it in the lazy river and wave pool and everything stayed perfectly dry. My daughter used the second one on a water ride (tons of water splashing on us but the case was never summerged) and hers got water in it.

    • Sara

      Oh no! So sorry to hear about your daughter’s phone. Thank you for sharing your experience with us!

  3. Bunny

    The fitted sheet idea is so clever! Thanks for the tip!

    • Sara

      Isn’t that idea so amazing, Bunny?! Perfect for small babies too!

  4. Luna

    Great ideas and recommendations going to hit the beach with two kids and Iโ€™m so nervous about this trip. ๐Ÿคช

    • Dawn

      I would recommend 3 buckets and double the toys, because some will get buried and lost. The extra bucket can carry water for the sand castle. Arm floaties are not safe, nor are kick boards. Please invest in life jackets and enforce no water without using them, you too may need to wear one because they want you safe too. Set stong rules and stick to them, we live by undercurrents, many people drown each year.

    • Sara

      Best of luck to you Luna! You’ve got this! Hopefully, our tips will make your life a little easier!

  5. Ashley

    I love the waterproof pouches for my phone. I always put a dollar bill in the pouch so I can tell if itโ€™s getting wet. Never had any issues though!

    • Sara

      That’s such a great idea to test it out, Ashley, thanks for sharing that! Also, a much less expensive way to find out if it works or not. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. Just A Though

    I always keep a bottle of aloe in the fridge that way itโ€™s always cool for sunburn.

  7. Sara

    I did think of that and debating sharing that one, but then thought about after you’re off the sand? Would you scratch it across the pavement and all the way to your car? LOL! It’s still a great tip for sand though, thank you for sharing!

    • Chantillylace85

      Yep! My son uses a wheelchair and we use a jet sled (intended for hunting) and load him and all our belongings in it. It works perfectly! We use it in the snow, sand, through the woods- a universal form of mobility!

  8. Sara

    Thanks for sharing your tip! I love the pop-up pool we used all summer last year, however, the shower curtain is a great idea too!

  9. Sara

    Isn’t that so unique Cat?! You can swim with wild pigs in the Bahamas. It’s definitely on my bucket list! ๐Ÿ˜€

  10. Sara

    Ahh! So sorry to hear that Laura, what a bummer!

  11. Sara

    That would be Lina’s watch, isn’t it pretty?! She said the brand is Maurice Lacroix.

  12. shop4mybabies

    I would never steal someone’s money and keys, but i would probably steal someones pringles ๐Ÿ™‚ signed my inner fat girl (and the outer one too)

    • sunny_girls

      Lol! I had the same thought!๐Ÿ˜Š

  13. Juls

    That is an awesome idea! We were JUST discussing the litte ones, wagons and going long distances down the beach. You’re a lifesaver!!!

  14. Maria

    Love the frozen aloe idea! Will definitely be using some of these tips. Would not recommend drinking from previously frozen water bottles though, I read that it can cause chemicals to leach into the water. Love frozen grapes though

  15. Dave

    Instead of the Pringles can I recommend getting one of those locking bags that you can tether to your beach chair to keep your valuables locked up and safe.

    • Dgal

      Couldnโ€™t they just take the chair?

      • Hipgrandma

        Agreed. Our 2 beach chairs were stolen

  16. kmark

    Agreed. Those aloe products are FULL of alcohol as well. Very drying and not good for sunburn. Youโ€™re better off getting after sun lotion and sticking it in the fridge. Also you can buy a big leaf of real aloe at the grocery store for pretty cheap!

  17. Sherri Wooward

    Great post! I found the information to be both informative and well-presented. Bravo.

  18. Lolly23

    I always freeze Peppermint Patties ahead of time for the beach-they are so nice and refreshing…also Hawaiian Tropic dry tanning spray in the pump bottle is great for keeping those black flies that bite away. Only had that experience once, but those flies will ruin your beach day really quick.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks for these tips! I’ll have to bring some frozen Peppermint Patties to the beach on my next trip! ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ™Œ

  19. Lolly23

    Oh yeah, and also I like to bring a soaking wet washcloth in a ziplock bag because somehow I always end up with sunblock in my eyes๐Ÿ™ˆ

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      YES! I’ve had that happen before too! Thanks for that smart suggestion! โค๏ธ

  20. Beach Is My Happpy Place

    I purchased the Shibumi Shade last year. It has truly been a game changer. Only 4 lbs. So easy to set up!! The hardest part is filling up the black bag with sand.., that isnโ€™t hard at all. My family had 4 adults beach chairs and two children under the shade along with coolers and beach toys. Iโ€™ve seen the Shibumi Shadeโ€™s on the beach from NC to FL.

    • Trish (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks so much for sharing your experience with the Shibumi Shade! Good to know how many people, coolers and beach toys can fit under this shade! ๐Ÿ™Œ ๐Ÿ’•

  21. Sahreesh Ismail

    Check out thesunfort.com. its a walled outdoors blanket that works on sand and grass, it’s a great option for #9!
    The bedsheets gets wet and not to mention the heavy items you need to make it work.

  22. Nanners

    Is the baby powder for use before you hit the sand or after? Does it deter sand from sticking or help get it off after itโ€™s on? ๐Ÿค”

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Great question! You’ll sprinkle the baby powder on the sandy areas of your feet and hands and then easily brush it off. ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿ’•

  23. Robin

    We bought the Shibumi 3 years ago….it is honestly the best (unless you have crazy beach winds that can’t seem to pick a direction). It is expensive but totally worth the investment. I can even tell you how many beach umbrellas we have replaced over the years…which are also not cheap. Last summer we had 3 adults, 2 teenagers, a beach wagon and a huge cooler under it.

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks for letting us know how highly you recommend the Shibumi, Robin! ๐Ÿ’™ I do see quite a bit of those on the beach when I visit, and they sure seem practical and easy to set up and use! ๐Ÿ™Œ

  24. Vicki

    Just be careful with the lemon on hair trick. If it gets on your skin the sun can cause a nasty and painful chemical reaction called Phytophotodermatitis.

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks for the warning about the lemon, Vicki. ๐Ÿ‹ Good to know!

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