Hit the Beach With These Apps
The warm days of summer are the perfect time for a trip to the beach, and numerous apps out there can help plan your next outing with friends and family. Weather, surf and tide forecasting apps help you catch waves, while apps that help prevent sunburn keep you safe. Check out 13 apps to help make any upcoming beach trips a breeze.
Surfline (Android, iOS: Free)
If you're into surfing, wakeboarding, and other extreme watersports, Surfline (Android, iOS) makes for a good planning app, delivering current and forecasted conditions at your favorite surfing spots. Surfline delivers everything from information about wave heights, wind conditions and tides. Free users get at three-day forecast, while subscribers get a 17-day forecast. In addition to surf conditions and forecasts, Surfline includes a feed of surfing related news, videos and photos sent straight to the app.
MSW Surf Forecast (Android, iOS: Free)
Another option for your surf and tide forecasts is Magicseaweed.com's Surf Forecast app (Android, iOS), which delivers long range surf forecasts for thousands of beaches globally. Forecasts include a quick star rating summary of conditions, surf size, swell size, period, wind conditions and temperature. Users have access to 7-day forecasts, wind and tide station data, and live webcams for select beaches, as well as related media. Premium subscribers get extended forecasts and reduced advertisements.
Beach Safety (iOS: Free)
My Surf World's Beach Safety app might not have the sharpest of interfaces, but it's got important, easy-to-understand information that can help you stay safe at the water's edge. The app provides a variety of safety pointers, such as how to recognize and escape from riptides and information on jellyfish injuries and treatment.
Waterkeeper Swim Guide (Android, iOS: Free)
Are you sure that water's clean enough to swim in? The Waterkeeper Alliance's free Swim Guide (Android, iOS) app provides water quality information for more than 7,000 freshwater and marine beaches in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and New Zealand. Users can search for nearby beaches or look them up in the map interface, with simple color-coded icons for water quality. Drill deeper and you can check when the water was last tested and to what standards, as well as historical data. The app also doubles as a beach finder, with details about amenities, lifeguards, parking and other useful information for your beach trip.
Weather Timeline (Android: $0.99) & Dark Sky (iOS: $3.99)
A good weather app can give you a heads up when it comes to planning for the best day to go to the beach. iOS exclusive Dark Sky is famous for its hyper-local forecasting, giving you fair warning about rain or shine almost on an hourly basis. On Android, the premium Weather Timeline provides another excellent option, with a no-nonsense, ad-free interface that delivers either a tight timeline of weather predictions, or a meaty, data-rich presentation, with information sourced from a variety of agencies, such as Dark Sky's own Forecast.io.
EPA SunWise UV Index (Android: iOS, Free)
The beach is a great place for fun under the sun, but stay out for too long and you put yourself at risk of sunburn and UV overexposure which can cause skin cancer. The EPA's free SunWise UV Index (Android, iOS) provides an hourly UV index forecast for give locations and zip codes, with general exposure recommendations and suggestions as to what level of sunscreen SPF you'll need if you're out and about. It's low frills, but a useful app to look at before heading out to the beach.
UVLens (Android, iOS: Free)
For a slightly more feature packed UV index and sunscreen calculator app, check out UVLens (Android, iOS). Users can create a personalized skin profile for more accurate estimates of their sunburn risk, including estimated time before getting a sunburn on a given day, as well as recommended precautions. A UV index forecast can help suggest the best times of the day to be out, and a sunscreen reminder notifies you when it's time to reapply your sunscreen.
Wolfram Alpha Sun Exposure (iOS: $0.99)
Another solid sunburn warning app comes, unexpectedly enough, from the computational mavens at Wolfram Alpha. The Wolfram Alpha Sun Exposure app gives you an estimate of how long you can stay out in the sun without getting burned, using a combination of your skin type, location data, time of day and the SPF factor of the sunscreen you're using. Users can consult a UV index forecast, check out recommended SPF levels and tap into extras such as sunrise and sunset times, current sun position and the weather forecast.
Spotify (Android, iOS: Free)
Lounging around with good friends at the beach only gets better with some music to liven things up, so get your groove on with Spotify (Android, iOS), a fantastic free music streaming app with a broad library of artists, albums, radio stations, personalized recommendations and curated playlists. While you could stick to the free tier, a $9.99 monthly subscription nets you ad-free and offline listening, as well as enhanced audio quality.
Kindle or Audible (Android, iOS: Free)
Of course, if your idea of a holiday is a quiet day at the beach basking in the sun with a good read, then maybe Amazon's Kindle (Android, iOS) app is more up your alley. A multi-platform e-book reader and marketplace where you can buy individual books or subscribe for a read-all-you-can experience, the Kindle app is easy and comfortable to use, with a customizable display and cross-platform syncing. Alternatively, there's also Audiobooks by Audible (Android and iOS), which does audiobooks quite well, and also integrates with Kindle with Amazon's near-seamless Whispersync system.
TripIt (Android, iOS: Free)
Planning your beach trip can be a challenge all its own, from booking flights and arranging accommodations, to setting up your itinerary. Thankfully, TripIt (Android, iOS) is here to help. A longtime favorite travel app for many users, TripIt automatically pulls emails related to your reservations and bookings from your inbox in order to build your trip itinerary, with important data such as flight times, gate numbers, and check in and check out times all within easy reach and designed to be accessible offline.
MORE: Best Travel Apps
Packpoint (Android, iOS: Free, with in-app purchases)
Remember to pack the necessities for your beach trip with PackPoint (Android, iOS). This travel packing wizard helps users by providing a checklist of travel essentials, depending on the nature of the trip. Users simply create a trip profile, with their destination, length of stay and purpose of travel. PackPoint then creates a customized packing and luggage checklist that takes into account whether you're traveling for business or pleasure, the type and amount of clothing to pack based on the weather forecast and other factors. The app also comes with a variety of premium features, such as TripIt integration for automatic packing list creation.
Elk (iOS: $3.99) or XE Currency (Android, iOS: Free)
For overseas beach trips, you'll want a handy currency converter app to get a good feel for the prices of beach side food joints or gear rentals for things like diving and water sports. Elk (iOS) pulls location data from your phone to automatically suggest currencies for conversion, displaying a handy conversion table with a range of values; it also features a convenient Apple Watch app. Another good choice is XE Currency, available on Android and iOS devices.