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Three Tips for Maximum Beach Time Fun

The beach is always fun, but you can make it perfect by making sure you are prepared. Here are five things to bring to the beach or know ahead of time to maximize your Compass Cove vacation fun:

1) Bring the right stuff.
You want to have all the right beach gear, but not so much that it becomes a burden to carry it. Of course, you'll need towels, sand toys for the kids, and a book or magazine to relax with. And don't forget the snacks and drinking water -- consider packing them with an ice pack in an insulated bag to keep everything chilled and fresh (tip: a zipper-top insulated grocery bag helps keep sand out of the snacks!).

Other helpful items to bring to the beach include baby wipes for quick cleanups, lip balm, sun hats and sunglasses. A mesh bag for beach toys will ensure you don't bring tons of sand back from the beach when it's time to leave. And, bring a zip-top plastic bag or small drawstring sack to collect shells, stones and other beach treasures.    

2) Sunscreen, sunscreen sunscreen.
Nothing puts the bummer in beachtime fun like a sunburn, so make sure you use sunscreen early and often. A good tip is to apply sunscreen BEFORE you hit the beach -- that way your skin is protected from the moment you arrive, allowing you to get straight to the relaxation. But bring it with you to the sand, because even waterproof sunscreens will need to be reapplied every 2-3 hours. Reapply after you've toweled off if you've been in the water, and don't forget oft-overlooked spots, like the tops of your feet and your ears.

3)  Know before you go.
Check the rules of the beach before you hit the sand. For example, most Myrtle Beach locations won't allow you to place your own umbrella forward of the line of umbrellas established by lifeguards. Glass containers, fireworks, and often pets are prohibited. Jumping off piers is not allowed, nor is swimming more than 50 yards from the shoreline.

It also pays to check the local tide tables for the times of high and low tides. Tide charts are available at many locations throughout Myrtle Beach -- just ask -- but for an easy and fast way to track high and low tides provided straight from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, download the free Tides app on your smartphone. It will show you the tide chart for the location nearest you. Or, visit this handy tide chart.

But most of all, have fun!

(posted 3/25/14)