Decorative Waves

Where To Find Plus Size Beach Basics

Summer is just around the corner, and there is NO WAY you could pay me to stay off the beach! It's my favorite place to be. There's something about the serenity of crashing waves and cool breezes that sets me at ease. The dream day trip usually involves making my stay as luxurious as possible: a comfortable chair, lots of snacks, and of course my best friends all around me.

But as a plus size lady, I've found some challenges to face down in the beachy industry: why does every folding chair have the most inflexible arms so close together? What if I need back support, but I still want to sit right on the sand?  What do I do about chub rub without messing up my cute swimsuit? Where can I GET a cute swimsuit!? What about the bathroom situation? Well, I've lived close enough to the California coast to figure this out, and I want to help you!

Pre-Arrival

Take it from me: the beach is all fun and games until you come unprepared. Everyone knows the beach is a beautiful place to escape, but few of us think about how exhausting it can be to get to the perfect spot. Walking in sand is not easy! If you or anyone you love needs some extra help getting to the perfect spot near the shore, you might consider...

Mobi-Mat® Recpath rollout ADA Beach Access MatADA Access Routes

Even if you do not use a mobility assistance device like a walker or wheelchair, you are allowed to benefit from ADA access routes! Many beaches across the USA have a long, sturdy roll-out surface for wheeled devices to move along. These are not strictly for disabled use: many people with wagons, carts, and strollers take advantage of mats originally designed to make sandy beaches accessible for all. Look for ADA access routes at your local beach! Brand names for mobility mats include Mobi-Mat, Access Trax, and AccessMat

Sand Cane

A lot of what makes the sand rough terrain is how hard it is to find and keep appropriate stability and balance. Using a cane with a sand tip is a really useful tool, even if you don't use a cane in everyday life normally. They're also nice to lean against if you need to take a breather partway through the long trek to the perfect, isolated spot to get your quiet time. This attachable tip from EZ-Walk is a great option once you have any cane already. If you're in a hurry you can find it on Amazon, too.

Avoid Wheels

If you can't find a mobility mat or access route to get to your ideal beach spot, you should avoid having to drag along wagons or anything with wheels which aren't specifically engineered to handle the sand. Wheels naturally sink into the soft granules and they can even get stuck and clog up the works depending on how complex the system is. Consider making multiple trips using large backpacks or messenger bags instead- since we all know packing light is a little hard to do at the beach!

When looking for wagons and carts that have beach-accessible wheels, the bigger and chunkier, the better. "All terrain" wheels can work in a pinch, but you'll be better off with beach-specific utility carts sporting balloon wheels, such as this cart with pneumatic tires, or this smaller option.

Getting Comfortable

Once you've safely arrived at your ideal spot, it's time to get cozy. Depending on your style of beach-bumming, you might need more or less than the suggested list, but let's try to cover the stuff everyone generally needs as a plus size person at the beach.

Clothing Options

Luckily, we live in a more inclusive and accepting environment than ever before - and while we still have a long way to go, we have some options for swimwear, whether you are looking for modesty, coverage, allure, or just something adorable.

  • Snag Tights is an inclusive and sustainable brand with amazing fit options and a stellar customer support team that I personally adore and endorse! Don't let the name fool you though, they don't just sell tights. I own a wide variety of stuff from Snag and I will sing about them to everyone I know. They have adorable swimwear in tons of sizes! Be warned though: some items come from the UK and may take longer than standard US shipping usually does. Snag has a unique size chart that is loving and accurate, so make sure to check out each as you shop, but their waist measurements run from 23.25 inches at the smallest to 60.25 inches at the largest.
  • The usual plus size stand-by brands in the USA are Lane Bryant and Torrid, and yes, they both have options that are inclusive and fun. But I bet you didn't know their sister store, Hot Topic, carries plus size swimsuits with fun homages to your favorite characters! They use a single number scale and carry plus sizes 0-5.
  • Swimsuits For All is a buzzed-about brand with a size calculator that can translate your size in popular brands to their sizes on the website. There aren't many fluffy or fancy options, but if you're looking for function and a really affordable price, this is a great choice. They do run small, so be aware of the size guide. They carry waist sizes from 27 inches to 69 inches, but many swim garments only run to about 55 inches.
  • If you're more focused on your bust size, Adore Me has a lineup of plus size swimwear which has a cup guide. They also have a dedicated stylist line to get you at your best fit with a live person. Be aware that they do run small, as their largest size (4X) only extends up to 51 inches at the waist.
Chub Rub

The rash commonly found between your thighs after walking around a lot? Yeah, that's chub rub. It can be anywhere friction and sweat are present, and it's nothing to be ashamed of. It's become more widely talked about in the last decade, with new over-the-counter products specifically geared toward solving the problem, but you'll find that they can be pricey- still, if it works, it works.

  • If you cooperate best with powder products, you may find your best bet is simple baby powder. If you're looking for customized solutions that are talc-free, Anti Monkey Butt Body Powder is a hilarious name and very popular for a good reason. They sell powders for a variety of places and people, including babies, so this could even be helpful for your little one!
  • All this powder can make kind of a mess, but Happy Curves has an adorable, large body puff that can help you distribute powder anywhere, and is perfect for big applications.
  • Talc-free powder is what you want, but without the mess? You're in luck! Gold Bond is just one of the many brands anticipating that. This aerosol spray goes on cool for instant relief if you need it and has a fresh scent with some aloe to soothe, but it dries down into a powder within seconds.

  • Monistat now makes a gel which dries down into a powder, though this can take slightly longer depending on how thick you apply it, so try this one if you're a planner.
  • Fresh Body is the brand responsible for turning this concept into a cream, instead, is hypoallergenic and fragrance-free.
  • The "stick" or deodorant-style applications are pretty endless, too, and they don't dry down as fast. Body Glide is one of the most popular brands you'll see on store shelves for anti-chafing solutions, mostly in the sports aisles, since they are commonly sold to athletes. Gold Bond did it too.
  • If you need a stick that's fragrance-free, aluminum-free and paraben-free, you might try Zone Naturals.
Sunscreen Application

We all need sunscreen daily, but at the beach, the sun is a different animal. The wide-open space and light-reflecting water make everything more intense. Applying sunscreen as a plus size person can be rough, especially when it comes to getting those hard-to-reach spots and making 100% sure that every inch of your body is covered and protected, so here are some things to make that process easier.

  • Mess-free way to apply sunscreen? On it. This refillable roll-on sponge sunscreen applicator is a game-changer for anyone who would really like to avoid the greasy grip of post-application fingertips.
  • If you want a gentler touch, these soft brushes come with caps to keep everything in your bag fresh and clean after applying your first coat.
  • This rolling applicator comes with two heads so you can keep things clean between uses, or share with family and friends without using the same roller on all bodies.
  • This is a spatula-like applicator to apply creams with, and the best part is that it extends! It expands up to 27 inches and is fully washable.
Furniture and Towels

Now, you're parked and protected, so let's get into the recommendations for beachy relaxation, starting with chairs! 

  • This is one of those Amazon's Choice picks for a reason. The Overmont Oversized Folding Camping Chair supports up to 400lbs, has a cup holder, an insulated zipper pouch, and a regular zipper pouch on the other side! Best of all, it's extra wide! There are 40 inches from arm to arm, so that means it's probably going to accommodate a wide variety of sizes. It's a tiny bit heavier than your standard plus size camping chair, coming in at 11.9lbs to carry it around when folded.
  • This classic Coleman chair has a cup holder and a nice insulated zipper pouch, too, but it's a bit smaller. It can support up to 325lbs and has a seat width of about 22 inches. It weighs almost 9lbs.
  • A luxe experience is in store for anyone who buys this Timber Ridge chair. It's an investment, but its steel tube frame supports up to 500lbs and has a seat width of about 24 inches. As amazing as this is, it does weigh about 16lbs, so carrying it around may be a struggle if you're lugging a lot of stuff to and from the car.
  • The widest confirmed width seat here is the King Camp chair for sure, clocking in at a 27.5 inch seat width and ready to support up to 360lbs. This one weighs under 9lbs.
  • Now, if you're more focused on padding and comfort than anything else, I've got to give an honorable mention to this Guide Gear chair. I can't confirm the measurements of the seat width, but the chair overall is 37 inches wide, so you might be able to eyeball how much space the arms take up in that measurement. What's impressive about this chair is that while it supports up to 400lbs, it has no bars at the bottom to dig into your butt, and it's ultra padded, making it super cozy. Be warned, though: this mammoth is a 16lb beast, so carrying it across the sand is going to be a little adventure if you have a lot of other equipment.

Chairs not your speed? Here's some alternative beach furniture plus size bodies might find comfy:

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  • How about a "double" camping chair? Two seats connected! Be warned that if you want to take advantage of the extra width, there are support bars between the two 'seats', so it may not be very comfortable for one of your legs. It's also 19lbs when folded, so it's twice the weight of most plus size camping chairs, but it does support up to 600lbs.
  • This is one I personally own, too: the Giantex Adjustable Mesh Floor Sofa Chair. It has a steel frame and all you do is set it on the floor! This way I can be close and cozy with the rest of my friends sitting on the beach towel, while still getting some good back support and having a way to recline without straining my arms. It's very easy to use and super versatile.

As for towels...

  • Did I mention Snag Tights also sells incredible plus-size towels, too?!
  • Towel aimed to solve this problem and did it spectacularly. They fit up to size 7X!
  • Sam's Club actually sells a two-pack of very big beach towels. Most don't go more than 36 inches wide, but this one hits 40!
  • Of course, Amazon is always a treasure trove- this one is highly rated. Oh hey, they even have a 58 inch wide towel!

The Unspeakable

So, listen, if you're having a beach day, you're going to have to go to the bathroom. And we all know beach bathrooms aren't luxurious. One way to make this experience a little easier: not actually using the beach bathroom. I know it's a taboo topic, but let's talk about it! And hey, not all of these solutions need to be used exclusively for dirty business, sometimes you just want a little convenient privacy.

Privacy
  • You can use a special tent specifically for outdoor camping, which have a variety of little nooks and crannies to use, whether you want to take a quick rinse with a portable shower, change clothes, or get some relief. This one from Target is smaller and simpler, but still offers a lot of the same features.
  • If your car is closer than the bathroom, or if you find yourself on the go changing clothes, you can use a magnetic cabana!
  • This portable changing room is just a piece of fabric with an elastic band that goes around your neck, so you can move freely while using it. Keep in mind, it's 3.9ft long, and has no maximum width, which means the wider you are, the higher it could rise on your body. (You might be better off cutting a hole in a bedsheet depending on your size.)
Hygiene
  • This toilet is portable and holds up to 400lbs with a larger circumference than most.
  • This collapsing toilet is sturdy enough to hold up to 300lbs and remain discreet, and comes with its own little privacy tent (although it may not be large enough for plus size bodies, so consider alternative tents.)
  • Waste disposal is probably one of the top concerns you've got when considering this option, but there are a lot of great ways to make it painless. Line your portable toilet with a liner that has built-in drawstrings in advance and use powder packets like these ones which will turn liquid waste into solid so that there are no accidents, while also absorbing odors. With these tools, you won't encounter anything you don't want to! If you want to be EXTRA safe though, you can bring along some disposable gloves.
  • These "flushable" wipes are unscented and individually wrapped so you can toss them into your liner with no issues. These ones are extra large
  • Aside from toilet needs, you might want to rinse off from the ocean, too. Camping showers like this one make rinsing sand and sea salt off in private without walking all the way to the beach shower heads quite a breeze!
  • There are also smaller solutions out there which just attach to any old water bottle if you don't need a full rinse. These say they were intended for dogs, but clearly, can be used for anyone.

Hopefully some of these products make your beach vacation a dream! Let us know about your successes on social media, we'd love to hear what you have to say.

 

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