Ah, a beautiful beach day. You've loaded the car with kids and sand toys, beach chairs and towels, a cooler full of healthy snacks, and an umbrella to stave off the UV rays that can make your skin look like a leather handbag. You've hauled it all like a pack mule to the shoreline, ready to relax and enjoy. But that temperamental umbrella will not stay upright. How can you enjoy your beach read when the sun is in your eyes? Here's how to get made in the shade.
Steady Your Beach Umbrella
Choose a damp spot in the sand, preferably when the tide is headed out. (If it's headed in, you'll have to move back sooner.) Wet sand will accept and grip an umbrella stake better than dry sand.
Disassemble the pole from the umbrella top if possible. With the collapsible piece of the umbrella still attached, it's unwieldy and more difficult to dig into the sand deep enough to hold.
Drive the umbrella pole into the sand by pounding it as you would a tent stake. Use a mallet you bring from home or find a rock of some weight—5 pounds or so should suffice—and pound downward against the flat surface of the lower half of the umbrella pole until it sinks 8 to 12 inches into the ground. Then reattach the upper half of the umbrella and pop it up for shade.
If you are working against the wind, shore up the pole by placing three medium-size rocks you gather from the beach around the base.