First and foremost in this age of health and beauty is sunblock. And didn't you hear? This essential bit of beach gear is no longer a bargain item. No, these days sunblock is made by the same brands that come out with forty-dollar zit cream, so get ready to shell out the big bucks to keep that complexion nice and pasty. Some other essential beach gear items in the vampire category are hats and umbrellas. You don't want to be the nerd following your family around in the foam visor, and your kids will pretend they are lost if the beacon you stick in the sand is a giant umbrella that says "Life's just BEACHY!" Lord knows your beach gear inventory is still sadly wanting if this is all you've got. Towels are a no-brainer, at least one hopes so, as are flip flops, water shoes, and some sensible cover-ups for the boardwalk. No haul of beach gear is complete without some of the toys that will make your days...well...just beachy. Some snorkeling sets and flippers are always great to have around for those nice, clear as mud ocean waters. Strap those suckers on and go explore with the family, because who knows what you might find? Old beach gear, probably, calcified into the surrounding reef. Whatever you do, don't leave home without some noodles. These beach staples are old standbys for good reason. They are perfect for all ages, and can be used for fun as well as for torture. Just think about it...it gives the whole "hit with a wet noodle" thing a whole new meaning. So, while you shop around for the perfect spot on the beach, remember to pack the perfect beach gear to go along with it.