Summers past, we have kicked off the season with an epic all day trip to Coligny Beach, the Sea Pines Beach Club or one of the Island’s private plantation club pools. And—despite multiple sunscreen applications—each year my three fair skinned daughters have soaked in a little too much fun in the sun and we have ended up spending the rest of the week applying aloe from our garden and doing puzzles (of other people enjoying the beach). In the past, because 80% of one’s skin damage happens before the age of 18, I was left feeling a little bit defeated by summer and deflated by my hopes of being “Super Summer Mom”.
But not this year. Not my family—and not yours, either. As Hilton Head continues to heat up, we are chilling with 3 simple steps.
Step 1: Get the Gear
- Sunscreen. Not all sunscreen is created equal, so despite multiple applications you might feel the burn unless you get the good stuff. According to a 2013 Consumer Report covered by CBS News in May, “Six sunscreens were recommended: Wal-Mart Equate Ultra Protection SPF 50, Coppertone Water Babies, Walgreens Continuous Spray Sport SPF 50, Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch SPF 30 and Coppertone Sport High Performance SPF 30.”
- Sun proof apparel. Hilton Head’s outfitter shops are well stocked with clothing that can protect mom, dad, the kids and even the dog. Outside Hilton Head sells sun shirts that are quick drying and offer 50 UPF for UV protection from infant to youth sizes from Dakine and Patagonia, as well as Patagonia Sunshade shirts and Columbia’s new Omni Freeze shirts.
- Hat/Sunglasses. A hat is always helpful. Get a carefree one from the local grocery store and spend your money choosing sunglasses. Look for UV-protection details on sunglass labels. Choose ones that block 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays—for you and the kids. (Polarized are an added bonus, especially when on the water.)
Step 2: Practice Summer Safety Tips
- Be a sunscreen wiz—even on cloudy days. Remember to apply to trouble spots such as the ears, feet and nose. We do our first big application before the girls even put on their suits and then reapply every other hour.
- Drink plenty of water and add electrolyte mix to your water if need be. (Daphne’s Café sells children’s Emergen-C).
- If beaching it, be aware of the rules and regulations of the beach (signs are posted near most beach accesses) and look out for the on-duty lifeguard—chances are he or she is super attractive and easy to spot.
- When with kids, periodically do a head count. When I go to the pool with my neighbor Jennifer (who has 3 girls, too), we take turns with counting or having the girls count off.
(Note: For a full list of Shore Beach’s safety tips click here)
Step 3: Have a Good Game Plan (See below for a fun-filled, beat the heat good time)
- Morning. Get going early—whether it’s on the boat, beach or poolside.
- Afternoon. Pick a fun lunch spot or make a picnic. My family packs sandwiches (gluten free bread, local honey and almond butter), fruit, carrots, organic cheese sticks and water.
- Late afternoon. Take a break from the sun. We like to go to Daufuskie and listen to Cranford and Sons on Sundays but you may enjoy a movie or shopping.
- Night. Gregg Russell at Harbour Town or Shelter Cove fireworks are both great options.