Don’t Forget the Sunscreen: Our Summer Survival Guide

Don’t Forget the Sunscreen: Our Summer Survival Guide

With the kids out of school, summer is vacation time for families. Whether you’re going on a long trip or just getting away for the day, it’s important to pack the things you need for the activities ahead. Here are some helpful tips for what to bring and what to do—and since we are who we are, of course we included some shoes!

Camping Out

Taking the whole family camping can be a fun adventure, but it can also be a pain if you’re not prepared. Be sure to wear the right shoes (we recommend water-resistant outdoor sandals like the men’s Teva Minam, or full-on water shoes like the girls’ Christiana from Stride Rite, and the women’s Peony from JSPORT). Shoes like these are comfortable for walking, dry quickly after walking through puddles or playing in the creek, and are perfect for the outdoors. Along with the tents and sleeping bags you’ll need, we also recommend bringing a paper map of your camping area—we rely too much on our smartphones these days, and many campsites won’t have a cell phone signal or a place to charge your phone!

You should also pack plenty of snacks, some pots and pans for cooking over the fire, and, possibly most important, bug spray. Choosing the right insect repellant can make your trip—get a spray with 20 percent or more DEET to fight off both mosquitos and ticks, and be sure to apply sunscreen before you apply bug spray—this works better than the other way around.

Speaking of sunscreen, that’s always essential when you’re going to be outdoors, no matter how naturally tan you get. Check the sunscreen’s SPF (Sunburn Protection Factor), and if you’re outdoors choose a sunscreen that’s SPF 30 or higher. It’s also a good idea to choose sunscreen that has a broad spectrum (protecting against UVB and UVA rays), and that is sweat- or water-resistant.

If you’re an expert family camper, please feel free to share your additional tips in the comments below!

Hitting the Amusement Park

Visiting amusement parks is a summer tradition for many families. You’ll be doing lots of walking between rides, and lots of standing in line for popular attractions, so wearing comfortable casual athletic shoes is probably your best bet. The FS Lite 3 Run from Nike is a great choice for Dad, the Go Step Shift from Skechers works for Mom, and the Nike Revolution 3 is a great youngster option. To prevent blisters from all that walking, make sure everyone’s shoes fit properly and everyone’s wearing moisture-wicking socks.

You’ll want to have that sunscreen on hand for the amusement park as well. The most dangerous times for UV rays are between 10am and 4pm, which overlaps with the most popular amusement park hours as well. In addition, a fanny pack or small backpack to carry belongings is necessary. We recommend keeping cash, credit/debit cards, and other essentials in plastic Ziploc bags to keep them safe on water rides.

You’ll also want sunglasses for everyone—though be sure to tuck them in your backpack or fanny pack when you get on the rollercoasters!

We’re On a Boat!

Taking a boat out on the lake, nearby river, or even ocean is another hit summer activity. Again, sunscreen and sunglasses are incredibly important, especially with the way the sun’s rays reflect off of the water. In addition, your boat should be equipped with life vests that properly fit every member of the family.

Those backpacks or fanny packs you brought to the amusement park, with your belongings in Ziploc bags, are great for boating as well. You’ll want to also bring plenty of snacks, also in Ziploc bags so splashing water doesn’t get everything too soggy.

Flip flops and, of course, boat shoes are the recommended footwear for a trip out on the boat. Be sure to choose something with good traction, as boats tend to get slippery. The men’s Sperry Leeward boat shoe features razor-cut Wave-Siping™ on the sole for wet-dry traction. The women’s Breeze Mila sandal from Clarks has a rubber traction outsole, and its casual flip flop construction is perfect for warm days on the lake. For kids, shoes like the Roxy Ahoy II boat shoe make for great options.

We’re sure there are plenty of other ways to plan for great summer activities. Share yours in the comments below.


Center for Disease Control: Insect Repellent Use and Safety

REI: Sunscreen: How to Choose