What’s In My Beach Cooler

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With summer on the horizon, it’s time to start thinking about what to pack in your cooler for hot beach (or pool!) days. Let’s be honest – I’ve gone to the beach here in Hawaii nearly every weekend for five years – I could pack our cooler in my sleep at this point – so I wanted to share my must-haves to keep the whole family happy.

What's In My Beach Cooler - Hawaii Life - CommuniKait

First and foremost, hot weather means you have to keep your body hydrated. See also: lots and lots of water.

What's In My Beach Cooler - Hawaii Life - CommuniKait

I’ll be the first to tell you that I prefer flavored water over regular water, so I always reach for something with a little extra kick.

What's In My Beach Cooler - Hawaii Life - CommuniKait
One day while I was browsing at Target (linked) they were sampling Aquafina Sparkling, a 0 calories, 0 sugar, and 0 artificial flavors beverage. Check your local Target, because they are probably giving out samples at yours, too. The taste rivaled a more expensive brand I usually grab, but it was half the price (only $2.99 per 8-pack), so I picked up two 8-packs!

What's In My Beach Cooler - Hawaii Life - CommuniKait

Right now, you can score 25% off any Aquafina Sparkling 8pk flavor through 6/17 using Cartwheel!

What's In My Beach Cooler - Hawaii Life - CommuniKait

I chose Lemon Lime and Mango Pineapple, but it also comes in Black Cherry Dragonfruit and Orange Grapefruit. My favorite is Lemon Lime – it’s the perfect balance of flavor, bubbles and refreshment – especially when it’s blazing hot!

What's In My Beach Cooler - Hawaii Life - CommuniKait

If it’s an over-21 type of beach day, I highly recommend making a low carb margarita by mixing two parts Aquafina Sparkling Lemon Lime sparkling to one part gold tequila with a couple lime wedge squeezed and muddled. You’re welcome 😉

What's In My Beach Cooler - Hawaii Life - CommuniKait

But what else is in your cooler, Kait? Food, of course!

My rule of thumb for beach or pool food is sweet, salty and savory. It’s a great way to cover all the typical cravings without forcing yourself to buy snacks from a local food truck or grocery store. A little extra prep work and you are good to go for the whole afternoon.

My sweet is always fruit. There’s something that’s so refreshing about cold, juicy fruit. I turn to frozen grapes, Dane likes papaya and we always bring along an apple or two for the dogs to share.

What's In My Beach Cooler - Hawaii Life - CommuniKait

If you’ve never had frozen grapes – you have not lived. Man, they are so good.

What's In My Beach Cooler - Hawaii Life - CommuniKait

For the savory portion of our cooler, my go-to is chips and salsa or chips and guacamole. This is my beach eating downfall, because I can easily put away all that I pack alone. I guess it’s my kryptonite 😉 I also put my chips in the cooler, because if they go in my beach bag they end up in crumbs. Is there anything more annoying? Our cooler has a hard exterior, so I know my precious corn chips are safe from being smashed tucked inside!

What's In My Beach Cooler - Hawaii Life - CommuniKait

And finally, my salty cooler treat is a nut of some kind. It usually ends up being peanuts, because I cook a lot of Thai dishes at home, thus we always have peanuts at the ready!

What's In My Beach Cooler - Hawaii Life - CommuniKait

Other cooler must haves include:

Chapstick – I know it sounds weird, but otherwise it will melt in the hot sun! Keeping it in the cooler allows it to maintain its shape and serve your lips better 🙂

Extra Bags – We pack extra plastic baggies in our cooler to use for trash, that way it’s easier to dump when we get home.

Loose Ice – I used to be an ice pack kind of girl, but once we started taking the dogs to the beach, it’s cubes only for us. They not only keep everything in your cooler cold, they are a refreshing (and cheap!) dog treat for hot beach pups!

What’s in your beach cooler?

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  • Jen

    I absolutely love frozen grapes, they are one of my typical go-to snacks. You just can’t go wrong with them.

    • Kait

      ME TOO! They are so refreshing and almost like eating candy!

  • These are such great ideas!! Those Aquafinas look so good, and what a fun treat to take to the beach. Hawaii looks so beautiful right now 🙂

    Meg, Borrowed Heaven

    • Kait

      I agree! Plus, you can always whip up a quick little cocktail with them 😉 Plan your visit, girl! XO Happy Monday!

  • Jamie got totally hooked on these Aquafina Sparkling waters a couple months ago (my post is coming Wednesday – ha!). We both seriously LOVE them though, and the price can’t be beat!

  • I mean, your cooler and blanket situation are just so chic!

    • Kait

      Would you expect anything less?! 😉

  • Well, isn’t this a picture-perfect scene! My beach cooler is a lot less glamorous and usually just ends up with Hendrik’s sandy PB&J remnants… and my beer 🙂