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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.
First and foremost, hot weather means you have to keep your body hydrated. See also: lots and lots of water.
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.
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!
Right now, you can score 25% off any Aquafina Sparkling 8pk flavor through 6/17 using Cartwheel!
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!
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 😉
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.
If you’ve never had frozen grapes – you have not lived. Man, they are so good.
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!
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!
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?