WiFi HiFi Holiday Gift Guide 2023: Gifts for Snowbirds and Beach-Bums

Most of Canada will soon be blanketed in snow and those lazy days of summer from July will be a fading memory.  If someone on your holiday gift list is beachbound, these suggestions will surely add to the joy of an endless summer. 

Tommy Bahama Backpack Beach Chair

Life’s a beach especially with the right accessories

Unless you are spending your winters in Costa Rica where beach chairs are virtually non-existent, a comfortable beach chair is a must for any snowbird. If there is any bonus from the typical American’s ever-growing waistline, it’s that Tommy Bahama has had to keep up and build chairs to accommodate.  

Photo: Tommy Bahama

The latest Tommy Bahama Beach Chair is 32” wide with a weight capacity of 300 lbs! Sitting in this chair gives you more real estate than flying in premium economy. Tilt the seat all the way back and you have upgraded yourself to business class. This chair includes a cup holder, wooden arms, a pillow, and a zippered cooler in the back (with a zipper guaranteed to corrode after a season in the sun but that’s part of the charm!!). $110 at tommybahama.ca

The Tommy Bahama backpack chair in lounge mode

Cooler:  Yeti Tundra 35 

Photo: Yeti

Yeti is a cult. OK, I’ve said it and I am a paid-up member! I love Yeti and would be happy receiving anything from this American company that has expanded from their cooler beginnings to a full lifestyle brand featuring totes, cups, dog bowls, apparel, and outdoor living accessories like the Lowlands blanket.

For the snowbird on your list, nothing beats a Tundra 35 cooler. It’s small enough to carry to the beach or boat, and features three inches of insulation for guaranteed all day chill. The base is rubberized so it stays in place in the back of the pickup truck and easily fits a 12-pack and beach snacks that will keep you on the sand until sunset. yeti.ca

Yeti Camino 35 Carryall

Yeti Tundra 35 in it’s natural environment

You didn’t think this list would include only one Yeti suggestion, did you?  Those beach towels don’t walk to the beach on their own, do they?  The Yeti Camino 35 Carryall is as close to perfection that you can get in a tote. The Carryall is made from waterproof, ultra-durable and puncture-resistant nylon. The tote is big enough to carry four beach towels, sunscreen, extra clothes, a Bluetooth speaker, your beach read, and anything else that you need for a day of perfection in the sun. Two zippered pockets keep wallets, smartphones, and any other valuables secure as well. yeti.ca

Sound: JBL Charge 5

Photo: JBL

Playing tunes on a beach is like smoking a cigar; it’s only pleasurable for the person that’s doing it and not for the couple sitting on the blanket just down from you. JBL has a full roster of IP67 waterproof and sand-proof Bluetooth speakers ranging from the largest JBL Extreme 3 to the smallest JBL Go. The sweet spot for respectful beach tunes is the JBL Charge 5.  

JBL carries a full line of Bluetooth speakers in every size.

The “5” features a 20-hour battery life, simultaneous wireless connectivity for two smartphones, and a built-in powerbank that allows you to keep your smart devices charged all day. The Charge 5 is loud enough to crank when you have the beach all to yourself but can equally play softly without losing any clarity or range when you are practicing good neighbourly beach manners. Eriksonconsumer.com

Sound: Urbanista Malibu

Photo: Urbanista

Scandinavian audio brand Urbanista was definitely thinking about the beach when they released the Malibu, a Bluetooth speaker that is fully self-charging using Powerfoyle solar cell technology. The battery has a 20-hour reserve for cloudy days, but when the sun is out, the number of hours the speaker will play is endless. The Urbanista Malibu is fully waterproof and IP67 protected against sand. Urbanista uses recycled plastic to manufacturer the Malibu, so that should make any beach bum feel good knowing that plastics that could end in the ocean have found a new life. The Malibu comes in either Midnight Black or Desert Gray. Eriksonconsumer.com

Bushnell Marine 7X50 Waterproof Binoculars

Photo: Bushnell

Whether its pelicans and sandpipers or dolphins just past the surf, nothing gets you closer than a great pair of binoculars. We choose Bushnell for its 7X magnification, fold-down rubber eye cups, and the fully waterproof construction. Any sand that shows up on these binoculars can be easily rinsed off at the outdoor shower once you are heading home. Gentec International

Sport-Brella Premier Umbrella

Everything under the sun! A big umbrella is a must for a full day at the beach

The Sport-Brella Premier umbrella is a staple at every surf shack in every beach town and readily available for purchase through all major e-commerce platforms such as Amazon. The umbrella has an 8-foot radius and is made of UFP 50 sun protection nylon. An oversized auger makes planting the centre pole into the sand a breeze. And speaking of breeze, the umbrella comes with four tie-down straps with heavy duty ground spikes, meaning the Sport-Brella will not fly away even in the liveliest wind! At 8lbs., this umbrella is a workout carrying it to the beach. But the sturdy, heavy-duty construction is worth the weight when the wind picks up. Amazon.ca

Kahuna Wagons

Nothing says beach crew like a professional beach buggy

The Big Kahuna wagon and the smaller Bimini Beach wagon should be reserved exclusively for the most loyal beach-bum on your list. These wagons range in price from US$600 to $1,000, but firmly fall in the “you get what you pay for” category. Hand-built in Florida, Kahuna Outfitters uses lightweight aluminium to construct the sturdiest wagons available. They then add what they call low pressure balloon tires that beautifully glide across even the deepest sand. 

Photo: Kahuna Outfitters

The Bimini has a 20” X 36” deck with drain holes that’s capable of carrying a 240 lb. load. So every gift suggestion on this list can be loaded on to this wagon. Nothing says I am dedicated to the beach life better than a Kahuna wagon. Kahunaoutfitters.com

Bocce Bochas Balls

You can’t sit in your big Tommy Bahama chair all day. Getting up and playing beach games is part of a perfect day, and nothing is better than a game of bocce. Don’t be tempted by lightweight plastic bocce sets: go for the classic Made-In-Italy Perfetta Club Pro bocce balls. This is the classic bocce set with boules in green and red (four of each), the same set used at the World Bocce championship for the past 15 years. At 107 mm the boules are the ideal size for most players including teenagers. Toss the included white Pallina 50mm ball somewhere in the sand and whoever throws their boules closest to the white ball is the winner. This is a great way to get some exercise, socialize with your friends while also working on your tan.  playboule.com

Pickleball SLK Paddle

The author getting schooled by his younger and far more fit daughter

Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in North America, and it is estimated that 36.5 million Americans play pickleball. If the snowbird on your list is staying in Florida, Arizona, or California, chances are certain there will be a pickleball court close by with social tournaments being held every day.  

Pickleball is more like ping pong than tennis and is most fun when four players share the court. The game is easy to learn, can be played at any age, and if you gift a paddle to your snowbird, they will become obsessed with the game in no time. SLK by Selkirk is the largest pickleball paddle manufacturer in the world offering paddles for every level of play. Go for the SLK Evo, an intermediate paddle that gives great accuracy and touch at around $100. A Pickleball paddle is a great gift for everyone except tennis players, who view pickleball as the worst thing to ever happen to racquet sports! slkpickleball

Supergoop Sun Protection

One in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime. Wearing sunscreen can substantially reduce the risk. The New York Times voted Supergoop the best sunscreen on the market mainly because Supergoop doesn’t include the 1600 plus chemicals like paraben, octinoxate, or oxybenzone that comprise most off the shelf sunscreens. Holly Thaggard started the company in 2005 releasing the first sunscreen without oxybenzone with the “Play Everyday SPF 50” that is still its number-one selling product close to two decades later. The company offers a full array of SPF products including the Glowscreen for face (females) and come in a stylish white and yellow bottle. Prices range from $12 to $70 depending on product and size. supergroup.com

While it is hard not to feel jealous knowing you have a loved one spending the winter in sandals while you are in Sorels, a great beach-inspired gift might just be the perfect way for you to score an invite down to the beach, preferably sometime in February.

See all our holiday gift guides.