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The first order of business when going to the beach is protection from the sun. Make sure that everyone—dark skin or not—has plenty of sunscreen. A sunproof factor of at least 30 is recommended to truly protect you from harmful rays. Use lotion generously, especially on children who tend to be more susceptible to burning. Babies need to be covered, too, even if you plan on keeping them out of the sun. Everyone ends up getting a few rays when you’re at the beach, whether it’s on the way or in the water. The other thing to remember with sunblock is that it needs to be reapplied at least every three or four hours, or if you get in the water. Even if the lotion is waterproof, it can wash off—better safe than sorry.

Next, you’ll need lots of water. A cooler is best if you want to keep your liquids and foods cold. This also helps keep the sand out, since the cooler provides a good barrier. It can also make a good seat for someone. Ice packs are best since they don’t turn to water, but you can make your own by freezing a bottle or two of water the night before you hit the sand. That way, you’re sure to have plenty of H2O and it’ll be cold. Don’t forget to bring some unfrozen water, though. The stuff doesn’t melt instantly.

The only other necessities for a successful beach trip are something to sit on and something to sit under. Bring plenty of towels and blankets to sit on so everyone can comfortably stretch out. This is good for kids too since it will prevent handfuls of sand. You’ll also want to have some protection from the sun. Umbrellas do the job, but they can get caught in the wind if it stirs up. A better solution is a tent-like canopy that can be weighted down with sand or other objects. The bottom line is to have some relief from the sun. It’s not a bad idea to make sure everyone has t-shirts and towels to cover up, too. You also may want some protection from blowing sand, depending on where you’re headed.

This stuff can help make the beach less hassle and more fun. Big bags are best to pack it all in. It’s also a good idea to bring an empty plastic bag or two for trash. Mother nature will appreciate you packing it in and packing it out.