Best car accessories for your beach trip

No driver should be without these essentials on a trip to the beach.

A trip to the beach can be a pleasure all year round. Whether it’s a bracing dip in the sea during the winter or basking on a beach towel in the sunshine, most of us will get to the seaside in our cars. That has its advantages and disadvantages of course. Parking at busy coastal spots can be hard to come by and there are the inevitable piles of sand ending up in the car. But then there’s also the ability to bring absolutely loads of stuff, from piles of snacks to deckchairs to clothing suitable for every occasion and even the family dog. Luckily, there are plenty of car accessories on the market to make trips to the beach that much easier and to help make sure all that sand stays where it belongs.

Traction mat

Sand can be a tough surface on which to drive, and cars getting bogged down at the beach is surprisingly common. If you feel your wheels spinning and you can’t get traction, the best thing to do is stop as you’ll end up digging yourself into a hole. That’s where a traction mat comes in. They’re designed to slide under one or more of your wheels allowing you to regain traction and get on your way, meaning that they can be particularly useful if you get stuck in sand. Traction mats can be helpful in the winter too if you’re experiencing difficulty with snow and ice.


If you’re planning on spending the day at the beach or anywhere else in the outdoors for that matter, it’s essential to bring food and drink. Swimming and sea air tends to work up the appetite, but there’s nothing worse than warm sandwiches and tepid water. A good cooler then is a great thing to have in the car and they come in all shapes and sizes and across all price brackets. For occasional trips to the beach, forget the expensive, plug-in kind and go for a well-insulated hard- or soft-shell model that is more affordable, more likely to fit into an average family car and which won’t run down your battery while trying to keep your snacks and drinks cool.


Ireland, unfortunately, isn’t blessed with an abundance of shady trees near our beaches, meaning that in hot weather returning to the car after a day on the sand can be a sweltering nightmare. Reflective sunshades that stick to the windscreen with suction cups are popular on the continent as they’re a simple, effective and inexpensive way of blocking some of the sunlight entering the car, making sure the interior is much cooler when you return. If you’ve got kids in the back, other sunshades that stick to the rear side windows can also be useful in protecting little ones from the sun’s harmful rays.

Cordless vacuum

Regardless of how well your rinse your feet and shoes or how diligently you pack swimwear away, you will always get sand in your car after a trip to the beach — it’s just a fact of life. With that in mind, it’s handy to keep a handheld cordless vacuum cleaner close by for all occasions, not just trips to the beach, as it allows fastidious car owners to spot clean dirt, sand and dust without the need to drag out the big vacuum cleaner once they get home. Unless your car is absolutely piled full of sand, a small handheld vacuum cleaner should do a decent job in putting the beach back in its place.

Pumice stone

Kids and adults alike love the beach, but so do dogs. One issue with that though, particularly if they’re shedding in the summer, is that dogs can leave a mountain of hair behind in the car. One excellent hack to remove dog hair is to use a pumice stone. Normally used to take dead skin off feet, rubbing a pumice stone on a mat or carpet covered in dog hair is a supremely (and surprisingly) effective way of getting those mats and carpets back in shape once Fido’s had his fun at the beach, so they’re a good thing to keep at home or in the car.

Boot liner

Boot liners can be bought to fit most cars and they provide a protective lining for storing wet, muddy or sandy clothes and shoes. Boot liners are typically made from plastic or rubber and feature a lip running the whole way around to trap any water or debris. On a trip to the beach, the obvious benefit is that they help to trap sand, preventing it from getting on the carpet in the boot, meaning that it’s a good place to leave your sandy flip-flops on the way home. They’re also helpful if you have dripping wetsuits, water shoes or other swimming/surfing gear as they can prevent the interior from getting damp and can be hosed down and dried once you get home.