We’re in the middle of summer now, and that means one thing: It’s time to head to the beach and have some fun. But before you go, make sure you’ve downloaded the apps you need to make your day at the beach the best it can be.
$4 on iPad and Android tablets
The weather, of course, plays a major role. WeatherPro, $4 for iPads and Android tablets, is great at telling you what to expect before you leave home. The app is crammed with detailed weather information, yet it displays the data so clearly that a mere glance at the app can convey how sunny or windy it is at your favorite beach spot. Just type in your location, and the app shows a weather summary at the top of the screen. More detailed forecasts for the week ahead, such as those including wind speeds, appear below the summary as easy-to-read graphics.
WeatherPro is useful whether you are planning to chill out by the sea or try something more sporty like windsurfing. Best of all, it indicates the UV index for your location, which can help you limit your skin’s exposure to damaging ultraviolet rays. The app is also available in a slightly simpler format at $3 for Windows Phone, iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android phones.
Free on iOS, Android. and Windows Phone
If your idea of a great beach day is more about surfboards, winds, and tides, then you will probably prefer an app like Magicseaweed’s Surf Forecast (free on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone).
In addition to detailed surf reports, the app includes eyewitness data to show up-to-the-minute information on the surf conditions at a particular break.
You can even file your own report if you find some great conditions at a spot that is not well reported.
Surf Forecast is fussier than its peers, and the crowdsourced nature of the data means the reports can be of varying quality, but its personal touch may appeal to your inner hippie.
Free on iOS
For a less traditional surf report app that has an element of crowdsourced reporting, check out Oakley’s Surf Report, free on iOS. The app provides the day’s swell, wind conditions and tide times for your location, as well as a basic weather report. All the information is displayed through clear graphics and simple statistics. You can even share the reports via Twitter or by e-mail if you’re trying to entice friends to surf with you.Kit Eaton writes on technology for The New York Times.