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Accessories not always necessary for fun at the beach

A relaxing day at the beach actually takes some planning and lots of hands willing to carry necessary accessories from the car or hotel down to the sand and surf, especially for families with kids.

It’s not always as simple as grabbing a towel and hitting the waves. Families on vacation in Myrtle Beach find they may need other accessories, like umbrellas, chairs, tents, shovels, pails, blankets, coolers, boogie boards or surfboards, life jackets, sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, books and more.

Other folks, though, might choose to forgo all that stuff and just enjoy the water and the waves.

After such a stormy weather start to this past Monday, a family of three enjoyed an afternoon in wooden beach chairs on Myrtle Beach’s sands by Ninth Avenue North.

Larry and Mary Joe Weightman and son Otto Case basked in the breezy sunshine among a flock of beachgoers who had set up camp to watch or swim in the surf.

The Weightmans, who built a beach vacation around helping move Case in for his final semester before graduation from Coastal Carolina University in Conway, enjoyed their final day together on the coast before starting their drive home to Derry, Pa., east of Pittsburgh.

As Case, a political science major, frolicked in the waves then lay down on a towel in the sand, his parents talked about their simplicity in packing for a day on the shore.

“We pack lightly,” Mary Jo Weightman said with the SkyWheel making its rounds in the background.

Her husband of 13 years explained how they avoid going heavy on gear by renting – instead of buying and hauling – chairs, and filling a trunk or van full of belongings.

“When you have kids, it’s different,” Mary Jo Weightman said, resting her legs on a channel in the sand dug in with her feet.

The Weightmans said books, drinks and chips fueled their pastime on the beach, and a walk on the Myrtle Beach boardwalk gave them easy access to lunch.

Back after a splash and holding a beverage kept cool by a coozie, Case said he hits the beach once or twice a week in the summer, and every trip requires just some “small stuff.”

With E.L. James’ best-seller “Fifty Shades Freed” in hand, Mary Jo Weightman said they each brought their cellphone as a must-have accessory, as well.

That’s so “you can take pictures and Facebook everybody,” Larry Weightman uttered with a smile.

“We sit there and text one another,” he said.

“This way, you don’t argue,” his wife said, flashing her own sense of humor.

No time to read

A few miles south at Myrtle Beach State Park, Ed Williamson watched his younger son, Brogan, 5, carve a channel around the sand castle they built, as wife Shari Williamson walked with their son, Hayden, 7, north toward Springmaid Pier. The Buckeye State-native couple raising their family in Boone, N.C., also welcomed her father, Gary Ingold, of Richmond, Ohio, near Steubenville, for their Grand Strand vacation.

Seeing the high tide rolling in, Ed Williamson remarked on the immediacy that Brogan’s moat would fill with water. Scanning their small pile of goods about 15 feet up from the waves, the father said packing for their beach trip didn’t turn into a tidal wave of things to carry from their rental site for the week.

Their goods included towels, snacks, skimboards, life jackets, sand pails and shovels, which were put to work on building their castle and moat.

Williamson, a Cincinnati Reds fan and stay-at-home dad who works part time as a deliveryman, said the beach time gave the whole family “quality time” and a break from their everyday routine that includes baseball and soccer practice.

A beach cart would not fit in their car, and sharing the small load by carrying everything was easier than rolling a cart anyway, Williamson said, remembering their waiting out part of the morning storm in the pier shop.

In rounding up their beachbound load, he said he had mentioned to his wife, “I need to get a book,” to which she replied they wouldn’t have time for reading anyway because they would be tag-teaming to keep their “eyes on the kids.”