10 Tips for Your Best Beach Vacation 

By Vanessa Infanzon

Whether a beach trip is an annual tradition or a last-minute escape, here are 10 beach tips to help you make this year’s beach vacation the best one yet.

1. Check out the town.

Many beach towns have forts, lighthouses and historical sites to visit. Fort Macon in Atlantic Beach, N.C.; the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort, Southport and Hatteras; and the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, N.C., provide historical perspective to the areas you are visiting.

2. Find a beach that meets your needs.

The east coast shoreline offers a bevy of spots for your oceanside escape. Your AAA Travel Agent can help you find the perfect accommodations based on your taste, budget and length of stay.

3. Pack the essentials.

Bring a beach towel and chair, umbrella and suntan lotion with a high SPF rating. If you have young ones in your group, pack small tent. It’s a great way to give them a break from the sun (and makes for an ideal napping spot). Buy a rolling cart to haul all your essentials to the beach.

4. Download the area’s mobile app.

Many destinations offer an app in the iTunes and Google Play stores. Maps with information about beach access and parking are available.

5. Bring water and snacks to the beach.

Opt for fresh fruit, cheese, crackers and other easy–to–eat foods. Pack it all in a cooler with a few frozen bottles of water that will melt for drinking later.

6. Plan for rainy days.

A deck of cards and board games can be a great way to connect with the others in your group when the weather doesn’t cooperate.

7. Ask about accessible pathways and beach wheelchairs.

Hunting Island State Park near Beaufort, S.C., and New Smyrna Beach, FL. loan out wheelchairs. Visitor centers can direct guests to wheelchair rental companies.

8. Be a “voluntourist.”

Your family may be interested in giving back to the community by joining a beach cleanup or a sustainable beach toy program like New Smyrna Beach’s Mermaid Treasures Box.

9. Add a fishing or nature excursion to your vacation.

Catch dinner or seek out dolphins and manatees on a boat or from a kayak with a local charter company in N.C.’s Brunswick Islands. 

10. Rent a bike.

Ride the trails at a local park or a greenway or head to the beach for an ocean view. Jekyll Island, GA, has 25 miles of paved bike trails through the historic district and along the shoreline with plenty of places to stop for a photo opp.

(Stay)ing safe 
Ask these questions about a property’s COVID protocols before making your reservation: 
  • How is social distancing observed on the property?
  • Do the staff follow safety protocols such as regular testing, handwashing and wearing masks?
  • How often does housekeeping come into the guest room? Is there an option to forgo the daily cleaning?
  • When are rooms occupied after the last guest? Is there time in between guests checking into the same room?
  • Are there options for outdoor dining or takeout at nearby restaurants? Do any of the local grocery stores offer delivery?
  • Will occupancy be at 100 percent or lower?
  • How are tables, chairs and areas around the pool cleaned?

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