Essential Beach Gear

Essential Beach Gear

The countdown is on for our trip to Puerto Morelos, and I’ve been shopping and packing our essential gear. We’ve got an entire checked bag filled and ready to go (five people=a lot of gear), but that’s much better than our usual carload for beach road trips.

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links for which we may earn a commission. Some aren’t because we want to share cute and useful things with you from the places we actually shop even if we don’t have an affiliate relationship.

Beach-Friendly Camera

After a fair amount of research, I ordered the Fujifilm XP120 Waterproof camera.


We missed having a good waterproof camera on prior snorkeling trips.  The reefs and sea life are so beautiful, but we don’t have the photos to prove it! We’ve tried the disposable waterproof cameras (don’t even bother) and putting an older camera in a waterproof pouch (this worked ok but the pictures weren’t great). I wanted a sub-$200 camera that could take decent pics.  This one had good reviews, except for indoor lighting, and is waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof. Seems like just what we need for snorkeling and riding ATVs in the jungle. I haven’t tested it underwater yet, so I’ll update with pics after our trip.

Ours came in a bundle that included a waterproof strap. If your camera doesn’t come with a waterproof strap, make sure you get one, you don’t want your camera to fall to the bottom of the ocean if you drop it!

The Olympus waterproof camera was also well-reviewed during my research but at a higher price point.

And, of course, the Go Pro Hero Session is a popular option, especially if you are interested in taking videos. I’m more interested in still pictures, so I went with the Fujifilm.

Swimwear

Our primary beach activity will be swimming, both in the ocean and in the pool.  The girls and I all needed new swimsuits.  Nothing says fun like shopping for swimsuits with three teenage girls! We gave up pretty quickly shopping in actual stores–it seems you can never find two pieces that actually match one another in the right sizes, and all those hangers and straps end up in a tangled mess.  So, we turned to my true love, internet shopping.

Two of the girls found super cute, retro suits at Modcloth.

retro swimsuit

Liz and I found our preferred suits at Land’s End.

 

swimsuit

I like the Land’s End suits because I’m a mom with the figure to prove it.  Their suits are good at hiding flaws and staying in place while you’re chasing kids, snorkeling, and kayaking. My preferred bottom is definitely the swim short.

swim short

The girls also picked up a few inexpensive extra suits from Amazon. Take note to read the listings carefully when purchasing clothing from Amazon (especially inexpensive clothing), because sizes tend to run very small.  The girls had to go a size or two up from their normal sizes.

 

 

Swim & Snorkel Gear

Once we had swimsuits, we started thinking about fun stuff. I bought a couple of  spring floats for chilling in the pool or ocean.

These fold up to about the size of a dinner plate, so they’re easy to throw in the bottom of a suitcase.

Kenny and I already had snorkel gear, so we just needed to purchase for the girls.  This is the set I have, and it worked great on our prior trips:

We decided we didn’t need more than a couple of pairs of fins (at least you can borrow those without much yuck factor), so we just ordered masks and snorkels for the girls.

I also ordered snorkel vests for everybody. Kenny and I had a pair from previous trips. You can inflate them as much or as little as you want. Just a little bit gives you some buoyancy, while still allowing you to go underwater while snorkeling. They also come in bright colors, to make you more visible to boaters or in case you get into trouble. These fold up completely flat, so they’re easily packable.

Security

It’s always a little worrisome leaving your personal belongings on the beach when you go for a swim and snorkel.  Some places have lockers, but not all. To address this issue, I picked up this portable safe.  It is very lightweight, just big enough to hold a couple of cell phones and keys, and has a cable that you can wrap around a lounge chair or other fixed object.

beach safebeach safe

Certainly not perfect security, but at least it will be obvious if someone tries to take your stuff.

Do you have any thoughts on essential beach gear? Let us know in the comments!

I am a 40-something lawyer and mom of 3 teenage girls. I love exploring new places, and when I can't be on the road, I'm planning my next trip. Over the years, I've learned a lot about how to travel in a pack of five. Our trips range from budget-friendly road trips with the family, to more luxurious trips for work, either solo or with my husband, Kenny.

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