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A Full Day at the Beach in Only Two Hours

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So you say you don't have time to go to the beach? Maybe you just aren't using your beach time wisely. After all, the beach is open 24/7. You only need to find two hours to squeeze in a good visit. Here’s a brief itinerary for your family’s 120-minute beach trip:

11:30 a.m.: Packing and preparing is critical to pull off the two-hour beach trip. You will need a cooler filled with ice and some of your favorite beverages, a snack bag loaded with the basics (sandwiches, chips, cookies), beach chairs and towels, sunscreen, toys, games, and a good book. … On second thought, better make it a magazine unless you are a speed-reader.

Noon: After finding a sweet parking spot close to the beach (yeah, right), it’s time to spring into action. It’s all hands on deck for getting set up, so make the kids carry their fair share of gear or you will never pull this off. Find a good spot on the beach to set up your umbrella (remember, no tents allowed), spread out your blankets and relax while you can.

12:15 p.m.: If you’re family is like most, it doesn’t take long for things to get competitive. Break out the corn hole boards, the ladder ball brackets or the bocce ball set and choose up sides for a good family game. Losers have to hose the sand off the beach gear when you leave the beach.

12:55 p.m.: All that competition can work up a sweat, so it’s time to cool off with a dip in the ocean. Grab the surfboards, floats and boogie boards and go out for a family swim. Better yet, lighten the load and leave all the gear at home. Body surfing is a fun and gear-free way to tackle the waves.

1:10 p.m.: Time for a little family picnic. Pass out the sandwiches individually wrapped to keep them from becoming “sand”-wiches) and drinks and share the chips, fruit and cookies. Be sure to bring a trash bag to collect all the refuse, and then kick back in your chair for a little rest and sun.

1:30 p.m.: The kids can’t sit still for long, but there’s that pesky “no swimming after you eat” rule that we blindly follow because our parents did it too. That’s a great time for a little stroll down the beach while hunting for seashells and sharks’ teeth. Just don’t walk too far.

1:55 p.m.: Time flies when you’re having fun, but it’s time to break it all down and call it a beach day. Have everyone assigned to carry a certain number of items to the beach shower, hose off the gear and the kids and load them all up the car after a short but successful trip to the beach.

(posted 7/14/14)