Written By Shelly Horn

Soon many Carroll residents will pack their suitcases and head to the beach. But will they have the latest innovations and styles in beach gear?

Carroll Magazine readers will. From the beach chair that has a swivel base and rotates a full 360 degrees for the perfect tan, to flip flops that are actually a work of art, these items will inspire you to mark the calendar for the summer escape – or at least to shop for the right gear.

For the newest styles in swimwear, a trip to Westminster Town Mall will be fruitful. Boscov’s carries Mad Iguana and Tommy Hilfiger swimwear for men ($15-$60) as well as a colorful selection of tankinis and skirtinis in warm floral prints and flashy pastels for women ($15-$75). One and two-piece suits with a matching skirt or sarong are also available.

For Carroll surfers, Shenk & Tittle carries swim trunks and board shorts in the latest styles from Quiksilver, O’Neill, and Bilabong. PacSun has a festive selection of beach clothing and swimsuits for young men and junior girls.

If your son or daughter is eager to leap into the next game of Marco Polo or Sharks and Minnows, but are so young they’d probably sink before they compete, WalMart carries the Floaty Suit (pictured), a swimsuit with float devices built in ($18.36-$29.97). The outfits run in sizes from newborn to age 8, or 65 lbs. Kohl’s also has a great variety of swimsuits for all ages and sizes, too.

To capture baby’s first “dip” or those crazy summer underwater water moments, Ingear.com offers all-weather, disposable, waterproof cameras ($9.99-$19.99) as well as the Photosport Underwater digital camera ($54.95). For one-time use, WalMart offers a disposable underwater camera (pictured) for only $4.17.

For those who didn’t keep their New Year’s resolution to get in shape but would like to fool the eye, Padreislandershops.com has the “Perfect Bod” Bikini cover-up ($24.99).

Many stores in the area carry sandals, flip flops, and water socks. But The Carroll Arts Center sells flip flops that are unique works of art.

Susan Williamson, the center’s visual arts coordinator, makes “Fun Flair Flip Flops” by hand. They’re handmade with three strands of different yarn crocheted around the thong of the shoe. Each pair is a unique work of art and they come in all colors, combinations, and sizes from children’s up to size 12. The FFFFs are $20-$25 a pair.

Right foot, yellow. Left foot, green: Twister, the popular floor game from your youth, is now available for today’s youths in beach towel form (pictured) for $9.99 at Bed Bath & Beyond. The spinner is tucked in a mesh pouch for easy retrieval. Popular games like Chutes and Ladders ($9.99) and Candy Land ($9.99) are also available in towel form.

Tired of lying on a blanket or towel in the sand? Most discount stores in the area carry affordable folding chairs, some with a convenient shoulder strap.

For those still looking for fun ways to pamper themselves with that tax refund, the Lafuma folding chair ($180) is a big seller across the nation and is known for its sleek style, durability, and resistance to the elements.

Locally, it can be found at Baumgardner’s in Westminster.

Baumgardner’s Assistant Manager Brigitte Moore testifies to the chair’s comfort. “The Lafuma chair is so comfortable that I have one at home,” says Brigitte. “I use it as a TV or game chair.”

Tired of having to pick up your chair every hour to face the sun? No problem. The Suntracker, ($74.99) labeled the “ultimate sun-lover’s chair,” is built on a swivel base and rotates 360 degrees. It’s lightweight, completely collapsible, and adjusts to three comfortable seating positions.

If you don’t swim or are just too comfortable to get up and cool off in the water, ShadeUSA.com also carries the MistyMate personal mister.Simply fill with water, pump, and mist yourself for up to two hours of intermittent use – no batteries required.

Sun-sensitive? T.J. Maxx carries The Pocket Shelter by ABO Gear (pictured) for $14.99. The compact half-tent opens to 5 feet wide by 3.5 feet high and packs into a bag that’s under a foot long. The whole thing weighs only 2 pounds.

For those who camp expansively at the beach, Sunny’s Outdoor Store n Westminster carries the Explorer Camp Chef (pictured). It’s cast iron, has two burners, operates on propane, and costs $119.95.

Whether you want to recline above the sand or settle into it – swim in a suit that shows off your winter workout routine, or elegantly disguise the fact that the workouts haven’t happened yet – innovative gear and flattering styles for the ideal summer vacation are here and available.