Here are my tips:
* Be not afraid of wetness:
Obviously, as soon as you get to the beach, you dump your things, strip off and race into the waves. But once you're starting to feel a little cooler, and you head out of the waves, make sure you dry your hands. The warm summer sun should evaporate most of the water off of you quite quickly.
Certainly I think that the biggest obstacle to reading at the beach is not the water, but rather the sand. It gets everywhere. On your feet, on your food, in your mouth.
But sand will not damage your book so never fear. One of the nicest things is opening a favourite book the next year and having previous summer's sand piles fall out.
* The Bare Necessities
For goodness sake, wear sunscreen. If you're like me, and notoriously pale, this is very very important. The sun WANTS to burn you. And bugs want to bite you, so bring RID or similar if you'll be there after dark. In hindsite, I wish I'd taken Paraderm for the sand-rash.
Sunglasses will stop you squinting at the page.
A towel will both dry you and stop you having to lie in the sand, which WANTS to get into your bathers.
* Relaxation Station
A picnic with friends is a great way to relax on the beach, and its always safer to swim in a group. Melons and grapes make fantastic snacks, so long as the sand stays out of the tupperware. Remember to drink plenty of water, preferably out of a bottle and not out of the sea. Just don't feed the seagulls!
* Get Comfy
|E.M. Forster's Room with a View|
Love or hate the sand, you have to admit that it does a fabulous job of moulding to your body if you lie in it for long enough. Make a sand mound under your towel for a pillow, dig a divot for your bum or hips, make a crater to cuddle you, whatever you like. If you head out around four, you'll catch the last of the warmth of the day, and the last of the families swimming. The beach will be nice and quiet and you can tire yourself out, then just settle back and get lost in the book.