60 Beach Ideas

Photo: Yunhee Kim

Our best beach ideas for summer, whether you're lounging by the shore, or just inspired by its beauty.

01 of 19

Seashell Soap Dish

seashell soap dish in bathroom
James Baigrie

Want to put your beach finds to practical use? Turn a pair of pretty shells into a soap dish. Clam or scallop shells are ideally shaped for holding bars of soap. Wash one big shell and one small shell. Make a ring of crumpled newspaper to cushion them as you work. Attach the big shell to the small shell, back to back, with a dab of two-part epoxy. Place the shells in the ring of newspaper, small shell down, so the paper supports the top shell and keeps it from slipping out of place. (Be sure the epoxy doesn't touch the paper.) Let dry thoroughly.

02 of 19

Shell Mirror


Put your beachcombing treasures to good use by creating a pretty decorative mirror.

03 of 19

Fancy Shades


Embellish plain sunglasses with sequins, seashells, or confetti hand-punched from colorful paper. Just apply craft glue to the object, then press it onto the frame. (For heavier items, an adult should use craft cement.) Let dry completely before striking that movie-star pose.

04 of 19

Beach Bucket Cachepots


Free from gritty sand and briny water, beach pails are pleasing to the eye, with their sturdy proportions and bold palette. So put them to decorative use, on display as cachepots hiding less attractive flowerpots within. Collect your favorites from the local discount store.

05 of 19

Beach Towel Tote Bag

woman holding beach towel tote bag
The Morrisons

Turn bathroom towels into an all-in-one beach mat and tote bag.

06 of 19

Summer Skincare


Be aware of the dangers of too much sun, but instead of stressing your way through summer, take action to build up your skin-cancer defense with our tips.

07 of 19

Vanilla-Pecan Sand Castle

vanilla pecan sand castle

Ice cream and the beach are two of the best things about summer. Bring two favorites together in one sand-castle-shaped cake that's sure to delight adults and kids alike.

08 of 19

Sand Castle Tool Kit


The beach is the perfect place to indulge any hidden architectural impulses. A little wet sand is just right for building a simple castle, an intricate palace, or even something more exotic such as a human figure, a face, or an animal. But to do the job right, you'll need to equip yourself with the proper equipment, including lightweight shovels, such as feed scoops; a bucket; funnels to create a roof for the castle's top; putty knives for fine detail work; brushes; straws for blowing sand out of tight spaces; ice pop or craft sticks; and a pouch in which to keep it all. Look for all these items at hardware, toy, or pet stores.

09 of 19

Sea-Glass Earrings

Rick Lew

It's easy to transform gently wave-worn remnants such as sea glass into beautiful earrings.

10 of 19

Washing Shells


Like a swimmer at the beach, seashells need a good shower before they're ready for the house. Getting all the grit out of the shells by hand is a challenge; instead, slip them into the utensil basket of the dishwasher, and run them through a cycle. They'll be clean and ready for display when they come out.

11 of 19

Summer Skin and Health Tips


Maximize your fun -- and minimize your health risks -- with our best natural solutions for summer ailments for the beach, your yard, or wherever you spend your sunny days.

12 of 19

Beach Body Scrub


This indulgent Orange-Jasmine treatment is made with wet sand and essential oils you've packed in your beach bag. Once you've applied this skin-softening scrub, you can rinse it off in the ocean.

13 of 19

Shower-Curtain Key Ring

David Meredith

Losing a set of keys in the jumble of a beach bag -- or worse, in the sand -- can put a damper on your day. But it is easy to keep them close at hand with a steel shower-curtain ring. Simply clip the ring onto the handle of your bag and slip on your key ring; you'll always have your keys in sight.

14 of 19

Watering Can Shower


To avoid tracking in sand or soil after a day at the beach or working in the garden, set up a rinsing station just outside your door or at another convenient location. A teak bath mat provides slip-free footing and good drainage. The steady stream from an ordinary watering can cleans every unwanted speck from your feet and flip-flops or waterproof garden shoes.

15 of 19

Strawberry Shellies

strawberry shellies
Kirsten Strecker

Store-bought madeleines sandwiched with strawberry ice cream look just like delicate shells.

16 of 19

Protective Hair Treatment


With a little advance preparation, you can use the hours spent relaxing on the beach to actually improve the condition of your hair.

17 of 19

Shell Wind Chimes

person holding shell wind chimes
Laurie Frankel

Any beachcomber will enjoy this project. Find two sticks 6 and 3 inches long. Use cotton string of varying lengths; tie one end around a shell or piece of sea glass and the other end to one of the sticks. Use two same-size pieces of string to connect the sticks. Tie a 24-inch string to the top one to hang.

18 of 19

Terry Wrap


Turn your towel into a sarong with Velcro closures. Wrap a towel around your waist. Pin one side of Velcro inside towel flap; position corresponding strip on towel's facing side on the diagonal. Stitch Velcro in place.

19 of 19

Ticking Beach Chair


Over the years, the seats of old, reliable beach chairs may begin to tatter, fray, or show other signs of wear and tear. If you need to replace a seat or simply want to customize your chair, try ticking -- a washable, durable, and attractive fabric traditionally used to cover feather mattresses and pillows as well as to line suitcases and suits.

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