Now that we’re nearing July, summer is in full swing. If you’re lucky, you might be planning a beach getaway to the ocean, the lake, or just the neighborhood pool. A day in the sand, the sun shining down, gentle waves…sounds like bliss. However, a day on the water could turn into a disaster if ill-planned (like yesterday when I forgot to take a towel to the pool).

Check out this list of 11 beach bag essentials to be sure you’re fully equipped for a fun and relaxing day. You can never be over-prepared!

  • Sunscreen- Be sure it’s water resistant and at least SPF 30. Reapply as needed, which means any time you get in the water and then towel off afterward. Make sure you’re diligent with application — it’s your best defense against wrinkles and rough skin!
  • Lip balm- Make sure your lip balm has SPF as well. Trust me, you do not want to burn the sensitive skin on your lips — they can blister!
  • Hair products- There’s nothing worse than being stranded under the sun without a hair tie! I suggest always being equipped with an elastic, a clip, some bobby pins, and a headband so you can keep it all out of your face. Also, consider bringing a UV-blocking spray for your hair — your locks will appreciate it!
  • Sunglasses– Not only should your sunglasses be cute and complement your suit, but they should also block 100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays. A shield style will block the most sunlight if you’re facing a long day in the sun.
  • Reading material- The day is not complete without something to read on the sand (or poolside). Magazines are good for waterside reading because it’s easy to stop and start up without losing track of a storyline. If you’d rather read a book, I recommend some easy-reading chick lit.
  • Hat- Get a shady and lightweight sun hat to help you stay cool and keep the sun off your face. This will also protect your hair and scalp from getting too much sun.
  • iPod- Have fun making a summer beach playlist full of your current favorite songs!
  • Camera- Make sure your camera is in a protective case to avoid water and sand damage. You could even leave your nice camera at home and get a disposable one. They make for hilarious photographs!
  • Cover-up- A sundress or some type of swimsuit cover-up is a must-have. You can’t go wrong with a flowing white cover-up because it will match any of your suits.
  • Sandals- Because the sand can get HOT. Plus, you should never go barefoot in those waterside bathrooms!
  • Beach towel- This is something you would think is hard to forget, but sometimes the most obvious items are the ones we leave without.

If you have your bag packed with those essentials, then you are ready for action! Have fun!