Shopping local means you’re fully equipped for fun in the sun

By Michael Stevens
As summer temperatures begin to heat up here in the South
Valley, there is no better time to head over the hill to one of our
beautiful Santa Cruz County beaches.
By Michael Stevens

As summer temperatures begin to heat up here in the South Valley, there is no better time to head over the hill to one of our beautiful Santa Cruz County beaches.

The key to getting the most out of a day at the coast is to be well prepared. I recently discovered that I could find all the essentials for a great day at the beach at two of our most popular retail establishments: Costco and The Gilroy Premium Outlets.

I began at Costco. The key to shopping at this big-box giant is to buy seasonal. Right now, Costco is fully stocked with several must-have summer items. For just $11.89, you can pick up a 72-inch-by-40-inch Jacquard beach towel in a variety of colors.

To keep safe in the sun, stock up on Coppertone Sport SPF 30 in the 12-ounce size for only $7.29. For added protection against the rays, you’ve got to get one of Costco’s 6 1/2-foot beach umbrellas, complete with a spiral tip and wind vent stability compartment. It’s a steal at only $11.99.

Because no day at the beach is complete without food and lots of it, grab one of Costco’s 32-quart collapsible rolling coolers for only $24.99. You will have plenty of room for cold drinks, sandwiches, chips and much more.

Although Costco is great for the basics, it does have its limitations. For more variety and specialty items, I needed to go to the outlets. First stop: Sunglass Hut. I found a stylish pair of root-beer-colored Arnette glasses for $99.95. That price is a bit steep, but when it comes to sunglasses, you get what you pay for.

Next, it was off to Pacific Sunwear – better known as Pac Sun – for a suit. I found a large selection of board shorts for $29.99, which included top brand names such as Billabong, Kirra and Quiksilver. My last stop was Eddie Bauer, where I picked up a great Frisbee in the clearance bin for only four bucks.

In a little more than an hour, I was able to find everything for a summer full of fun at the beach. I plan on keeping these supplies in my trunk, so when the surf is up and the waves are calling, I am ready to go. Hope to see you there.

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