camping beach

camping beachIt’s an Insta­gram-wor­thy scene: your camp­site with a back­drop of lap­ping waves, tide pools, sun­sets. Beach camp­ing can be par­a­disi­a­cal with a bit of prep and fore­thought. Max­i­mize your fun with these tips to stay com­fort­able and dry.

Watch the Water and Weather
When set­ting up an ocean­side camp, look for the high-tide mark—on most beach­es, it’s iden­ti­fi­able as a lay­er of drift­wood, sea­weed, and oth­er sea refuse left by the reced­ing tide. You’ll want to pitch your tent, build your camp­fire, and keep all belong­ings ten or more feet inland from the high-tide point.

Keep an eye on the weath­er: high winds can mean errant waves, so if there are gusts in the fore­cast, be extra cau­tious with your camp­site selec­tion. It’s worth keep­ing a tide table handy. You can usu­al­ly find them in boat­ing stores or surf shops and print­ed in the local newspaper—or try an app like TideTrac.

Pro­tect Your­self From the Sun
Water reflects solar radi­a­tion, poten­tial­ly hit­ting you with near­ly dou­ble the expo­sure. If you’re car camp­ing, con­sid­er pack­ing an umbrel­la or sun shade. If you’re back­pack­ing, you’ll have to rely on a wide-brimmed hat, skin-cov­er­ing cloth­ing, and high-SPF sunscreen.

Respect the Dunes
While fun to explore, sand dunes are com­prised of vul­ner­a­ble veg­e­ta­tion. When in doubt whether play­ing on dunes might be detri­men­tal, check with local rangers before explor­ing, espe­cial­ly if you’re unsure whether the area is heav­i­ly trav­eled or pro­tect­ed. And it nev­er hurts to brush up on Leave No Trace principles.

Keep Sand Out
Sea­soned beach­go­ers will tell you pre­vent­ing sand from get­ting in is eas­i­er than try­ing to get it out. Brush off feet, legs, and any oth­er sandy body parts before get­ting in a tent or chang­ing clothes. If you’re trav­el­ing with kids, con­sid­er a two-buck­et sys­tem out­side the car or tent: fill both with water, then rinse feet in both. Then wipe feet with a tow­el and step direct­ly into the tent. And, as a final line of defense, bring a dust­pan and brush for sweep­ing inside the tent.