Hot weather and clear skies mean that everyone will be driving away from the concrete streets of the city and heading to the beach to take a dip in the refreshing water and relax in the sunshine. If you plan on spending your free weekends lying on the shore, here is how to make and pack your very own beach bag.

There is no point in buying an expensive beach bag when you can customize your own at a fraction of the price. If you are good with a pair of crochet hooks, you should go to the website Yarnspirations to follow their easy Lily Sugar’n Cream Beach Bag pattern — it can also come with a practical roll-out mat for a convenient sand-free lounging spot. This way you don’t have to debate whether you should use your one towel to lie down or to dry off after swimming. Pick out bright Lily Sugar’n Cream yarn in shades like country, lime, violet or American stripes for a festive design. When you order these spools from the website, they will be sent directly to your home address within days — the shipping will be entirely free if your total order is more than seventy-five dollars.

The first things that need to go in a beach bag should protect your body from sun damage and skin cancer — this means there should be good-quality sunglasses to shield your eyes from UV rays, a wide-brimmed sunhat and a bottle of strong sunscreen. If you’re worried that your skin will still turn lobster-red during your trip, the best tips for treating a sunburn are taking ibuprofen, drinking lots of water and slathering on soothing aloe gels or moisturizers. Store all of these emergency items in your bag but reserve them as backup plans in case your precautions don’t work.

Once you have inserted all of those essentials, you should shove in some items that will make sure that your time away from home is pleasant. Put plastic containers full of perfect beach snacks like baked banana chips, fresh summer rolls, berry watermelon fruit salad, chickpea crackers or crunchy peanut butter granola bars into your bag. Packing snacks will stop you from gorging on heavy fast-foods like hotdogs and French fries available in the area, and you won’t have to worry about abandoning your spot in the sand. Scan your bookshelf for one of the best beach reads so that you have an exciting thriller, jaw-dropping mystery or gut-busting comedy to read through when you’re tired of splashing in the water. With the right paperback and snacks on hand, you will be ready to savor the entire afternoon on your mat.

Summer is all too short, and soon enough the falling leaves and brisk weather of fall will show up in the blink of an eye. Don’t waste your time lazing around the house, when you could grab your bathing suit and do the same thing on a dazzling beach.

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