10 Essential Apps To Download Before Heading To The Beach

Illustration by Louisa Cannell
No beach day is complete without a little preparation. Beyond packing your towel, SPF 50, and swimsuit, there's also your phone to think about.
You need tools to stay on top of the weather and ensure the water you're heading toward is clean (not the Hudson River). That's not to mention the music, relaxing games, and light reads for your time in the sand.
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Ahead, check out 10 must-have downloads that will lighten your beach bag's load and keep you entertained and up to date all day long.
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Water-Wise

If you're planning on departing your beach chair and jumping into the water, you want to make sure it's clean. Swim Guide (free, App Store and Google Play) does just that. The app populates a list of all the nearby swimming spots and lets you know if they're safe, when they were last checked for pollution, and other details about what you'll find at each of them. You can also use the app to report pollution.
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Rain Check

Beach days are all sun and fun, until you get hit with a surprise afternoon thunderstorm. Keep better track of the skies throughout the day with Fresh Air (free, App Store). In addition to including an up-to-date NOAA weather radar map, it lets you see when the sun will rise and set, and the chance of rain for your area. You can also integrate the app with your calendar and set weather alerts. That way, you'll know if you should make a plan B ahead of time.
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Read On

Taking magazines to the beach usually ends with wet pages full of sand. Skip the mess and download Texture (free, App Store and Google Play). The app gives you immediate access to the latest issues of over 200 magazines. You get a free weeklong trial. After that, it's $9.99 per month. When you consider that many magazines cost upwards of $7 or $8 these days, that's a steal.
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See The Sights

Unless you frequent the same beach every summer, chances are you haven't done much exploring beyond the outskirts of the parking lot. There's no better time than now, and AroundMe (free, App Store and Google Play) makes it easy. Give the app geolocation access and you'll be able to see everything from nearby bars to hotels. When you need to beat the heat, you can escape to a local movie theater.
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Listen Up

When the sun is too strong to read a book or see your screen — even with a wide-brimmed hat and shades — opt for Audible (free, App Store and Google Play). The Amazon app provides instant access to all types of audiobooks. If you're worried about not having a signal on the beach, you can download a story ahead of time so that all you need to do when there is plug in your headphones. Plus, if you're not in love with a book's narrator, you can return it.
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Relax For Real

The beach is no place for feeling stressed about last night's date or a fraught text exchange with a friend. Find some clarity or focus on something else with the help of Headspace ($12.99/month, App Store and Google Play). The recently redesigned app makes meditating simple and, beyond some basics, includes exercises targeted to whatever you're looking to achieve, whether you need a cure for restlessness or a self-esteem boost.
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Updates Under The Sun

Get your fill of celeb gossip or hard news with Flipboard (free, App Store and Google Play). The app organizes news by category (get everything from design and fashion to food) and pulls in the latest headlines. You can personalize each category with more specific preferences. So, if you want to see street style news within the fashion category, but nothing about work style, you can say that. Just know that reading the news and politics category might disrupt your post-meditation tranquility.
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Sandy Side Plank

If you need to stretch after a long drive to the shore, download Yoga Studio ($1.99/month, available on the App Store and Google Play). The app includes over 50 yoga and meditation videos that walk you through your poses step by step. Do your downward dog, then lay down for the day.
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Game Play

Give yourself a challenge inside the magical world of Monument Valley 2 ($4.99, App Store). The gorgeous game features architectural kingdoms and meditative puzzles that are immersive, yet surprisingly soothing.
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Beach Goin' Up On A Sunday

Spotify comes to the rescue yet again with a slew of beach-ready playlists. Download your preferred jam session ahead of time with the Premium version ($9.99/month, App Store and Google Play) so you don't need to worry about wasting data outdoors. Then, pull out your portable speaker — we prefer the Beoplay P2 — and dance the day away.
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