With temperatures hovering near the triple digits, the only sure way to find outdoor relief is to hit the beach and jump in the water. Whether you're planning a few hours at Yorktown beach or a few days in the Outer Banks, the Virginia Gazette has found some local items that could make your fun day a phenomenal one. Check out this list of beach essentials and where to find them locally.
Nothing ushers in a fun beach day like strumming a ukulele. Shoppers can find this assortment of colorful ukuleles for $32 each at Amory Music on John Tyler Highway. Not a string person? No problem. While you're there, you can also check out their collection of harmonicas and bongos for a musical day in the sun — just be careful not to get them wet!
If you're going to be outside, you need to think about eye protection. Art For Your Face at Richmond and Old Towne roads allows customers to find quality eye protection while shopping from a "born here and went to school here" local business. This store sells brands like Costa Del Mar, Kaenon and Oakley, and their prices start at $50.
Your eyes aren't the only part of your body you should protect from the sun. For a wide selection of men's and women's sunhats, Williamsburg shoppers can turn to the J. Fenton Gallery on South Henry Street. While you're there, check out the store's unique knickknacks and gifts.
A new toy
Although Calendars Games and Toys isn't as local as the rest of these vendors, don't make the mistake of overlooking this toy store in the Williamsburg Premium Outlets before you head to the beach. To feed your competitive side ask for their box set of Indoor Cornhole, $25, and for a new way to play music with your friends, check out their bluetooth-enabled Disc Jock-e flying disc, $27.
A good read
Laying in the sand with a good book is a summer rite of passage. Instead of heading to Barnes and Noble for your page-turner, try rounding the corner onto Prince George's Street and taking the stairs beside Kilwins down to locally owned Mermaid Books. The store sells a combination of new, used and rare books. Owner Hatley Mason said paperback mystery novels are most readers first choice for vacation reading — and most in his selection of mystery novels are available for $4 to $6 in the basement bookstore.
A junior read
Bringing your child with you? If you plan to stretch out and explore the pages of a new book, ask your child if he or she would be interested in bringing one, too, so you can appreciate literature together. Comic Cubicle on Courthouse Street in New Town has hundreds of comic books available for 50 cents to $1. With the new movie "Justice League" on the horizon, a beach trip may be the perfect time to break your child into Aquaman's lore.
A cool drink
You can't drink too much water when you're out in the heat of the day on a salty river or ocean. Make sure you stay hydrated with a cup that keeps your drink cool by shopping at Ocean Palm in Merchant's Square. Available singularly or in packs of two, these $16 to $25 cups are sure to brighten your day with their vibrant colors. Ocean Palm is also an ideal local shop to find beach dresses and sandals.
A unique towel
Williamsburg's BlueGreenAqua boutique was opened by a local couple with a passion for design. The store on Main Street in New Town offers plenty of summer clothes and accessories, but the real beach find in BlueGreenAqua is their selection circular beach towels. Pick up one of these brightly colored throws for $24.
Pets make life better. Don't hesitate to bring your furry best friend to the beach for a dog-gone good time after stopping by The Nautical Dog on Main Street in New Town. This local pet store has floating dog toys, whale-shaped dog biscuits, canine life jackets and easily-portable water containers for all kinds of dogs.
A new hobby
If you're going to the beach for a few days, take the opportunity to learn a new hobby over your vacation. Yarn Matters on Richmond Road between Lightfoot and Toano sells an abundance of yarns and patterns for cathartic knitting and crocheting projects. One shelf of yarn comes from Virginia-grown cotton. Local owner Marina Hayes designs the store's knitting patterns herself, so swing by for a skein, some needles and a beach bag pattern, and pick up a new skill that benefits a local business while you're on vacation this summer.