I am not ashamed to say that my beach experiences as a little kid were primarily from Ocean City, MD. If you've ever been there, you know it's a horribly (delightfully?) kitschy place. Complete with pink sand sculpture lighthouses, puppies crafted from small shells, and so on.
Because of think, I consider a beach trip successful when a certain amount of ridiculousness has been acquired. So, behold:A partial assemblage of what I consider beach essentials.
1) Transfer t-shirt with some hilarious graphic. I opted for for a rainbow colored pegasus leaping through the clouds. Please, note it has GLITTERY HAIR. Also acceptable choices - unicorns, horses running through water, etc.
2) Seashells. Lots of Seashells. These may only be acquired by hand via strolls on the beach. I've got quite a few more than pictured, but these are some of my favorites.
3) Mood Ring. This is actually a double-whammy on my part since this mood ring is also glow-in-the-dark. It is required that a beach trip includes the acquisition of a mood ring and/or a glowing items (glow stick bracelet, etc). Mood rings help you monitor how the trip is going (and feel free to update your vacation mates hourly on what color your mood ring is, and what that means).
4) Shell bracelet. I got one that's a million little pieces of shell all piled next to eachother. Another acceptable variation - something with shark teeth, or those white circular shell things.
One thing missing that is essential - hermit crabs. More on that later!