By Brian Cullen

Memorial Day is this weekend, meaning that we’re mere hours away from the unofficial kickoff to summer. Of course, depending on where you live in the country, you may have not even had a spring yet. That may just be because New York City is a maniacal machine of infinite possibilities, all designed to push you to the brink of death or insanity.

But I suppose that’s another article altogether, innit?

Summer hearkens the advent of a lot of things: the heartbreaking realization that you’ll be spending the majority of your life indoors under fluorescent lights, the cataclysmic end to a brief summer romance, and of course, the sinking depression that’ll thickly drizzle over your optimism, once you realize that your pasty, aging body will never bounce back from the permanent damage you’ve done to it by drinking beer and eating barbecue.

So, if you can’t beat ‘em, I say join ‘em!

Today we’re going to dive headfirst into how to properly prepare yourself — emotionally or otherwise — for a beach tailgate. Tailgate for what? Who cares! You’re on the beach! Watch some kids go boogie boarding or build a sandcastle. Or, scope out some charming-looking people whilst they engage in a volleyball tourney. The bottom line is, have fun and go for it with all the gusto of a thousand Norm Petersons.

Some of these will be hard and fast rules, and others will be product suggestions or recommendations. No matter what, just remember: I have never been wrong in my entire life.

In no particular order:

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

1. Start drinking

That is, if you’re of age and enjoy the sauce.

Check out the Top 10 Tailgating Cocktails.

It’s summer, and it’s warm, and you’re going to be on a beach. Moreover, the amount of time in your entire life that you’ll be on a sunny beach with nothing to do is way overshadowed by the time you won’t be on a beach. And I can guarantee you that nobody laid on their deathbed thinking “those times on the beach would have been so much better if I was sober.”

Like the meat you’re likely preparing for your tailgating, you will need proper marination. Get after it.

2. Music!

Admittedly, I’m not a huge fan of Jimmy Buffett, but if you’re running a beach tailgate, I think you need a little sampling. However, might I suggest giving a few indie bands a shot? I’ve always been partial to the beach-y feel of a band from Jersey called Real Estate. You would think that the band Beach House would be a beachy band, but they’re not. They’re more sad and harpsichord-y, which is even more confusing since a beach house is a kind of real estate, an-

You know what? Just get something jangly. People will dig it.

That and Best Coast.

Photo Credit: PWS Enterprises

Photo Credit: PWS Enterprises

3. This Tent-Looking Thing!

Look, there’s a decent chance at that least a few of you are like me, which is to say: sad and of Irish-German descent (my mother and aunt have hinted that there’s some Dutch and French-Canadian in there too. I refuse to believe this is true, but from a complexion standpoint, the argument passes muster). And we burn in the sunlight. We burn the way Qdoba burns 15 minutes after lunch. We could have SPF 300 sunscreen (basically, Elmer’s paste) and we’d still come out looking like Hellboy. That’s why you should pick up this handy-looking canopy thing and protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays. All the while enjoy an ice cold beer. But not a Landshark, like this thing advertises. No no. That’d be too boring.

4. Get Some Real Summer Beer

Corona and Landshark are the usual “go-to” adult beverages when you’re beachin’ it up. But I say this is a bunch of malarkey. Not just because Corona is actually higher in calories than Guinness, but because there are some truly remarkable craft beers out there. Since I don’t know where in the nation you’re reading this, thirsty Tailgate Fan reader, it’s tricky to make region-specific recommendations. But what I can say is this: go to your nearest beer store, and ask the guy behind the counter for blonde ales, kolschs, and wheat beers. All refreshing, all delicious, and all authentic.

Check out the Top 10 Tailgating Beers.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

5. Cornhole/Bags/Baggo

First, let’s get this out of the way: I don’t have a particular allegiance to what you want to call this game. It’s the one with the boards and the beanbags and you throw them at the hole. I don’t want to start a whole war over this like the “Beer Pong/Beirut Skirmish of ‘03,” so just know that I mean “that beanbag game.” Now, science has (probably) proven that of all the outdoor leisure games you can play, this one is probably the most enjoyable. I can think of no better way to spend a summer day than tailgating on the beach with these bag boys. Oh ho. I’m sorry. I meant bad boys. Ba-zing!

6. Grills!

The best part about beach grilln’? You’re not in a parking lot surrounded by other cars. Cars with engines. Engines full of flammable gasoline. So, you know, there’s less of a risk of blowing everything up.

That means you can get away with using a grill like this. See, most stadia parking lots only allow propane grills. But many folks (sorry, Hank Hill!) enjoy the extra flavor you get from charcoal or wood. With this grill, you can get that natural wood flavor, if that’s your thing. And even better, once it burns down, the sand will naturally extinguish the flame!

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

7. A Football

Even if you’re not watching a football game, you should probably have a football to toss around.

It’s just common sense.

8. A Whole Pig

That’s right, jerks! If you’re going to have a tailgate on the beach, we may as well kick this one to the extreme. After all, anybody can cook hot dogs and hamburgers on the beach. Or in a parking lot. Or in a field. But it’s only on a sandy shore that you can bury a whole pig in a pit, Hawaiian style!

We’ve got a handy primer here, but remember that we’ve never actually done this ourselves, so BE CAREFUL. But if you’ve got the time and ability, and you’re properly prepared for safety concerns… you should totally go for it.

So there you have it – the perfect way to turn any beach outing into a bona fide BEACH TAILGATE. And remember, like any good tailgate, the clock is ticking. It won’t be long before your ability to tailgate on the beach goes bye bye. So gather ye Bud Lights while ye may, and get to it!

Check out Brian’s Tailgating Top 10s.

Stop in at the Man Cave Daily, where the women are hot and the beer is cold.

Brian Cullen is now dying for a beach getaway — one that he probably won’t get anytime soon in Queens. Follow him on Twitter @bucketcullen.


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