Tip #1 Your bag should contain the following:
water and snacks (unless you want to pay the jacked up seaside prices, €2 for a can of coca cola that costs about €.50 in the supermarket)
an umbrella (this might seem outrageous but with the climate change chaos, it is now a necessity)
a form of ID and not too much money
a pareo (beach wrap) or something to lie down on
a hand mirror
bandaids and hair ties
ear plugs or an ipod (if you wish to drown out the sounds of children squealing or the intimate details of two gay guys cruising one another)
Tip #2 For a quiet patch of sand:
If it is some peace and quiet you'd like, it IS hard to come by on BCN's beaches, oftentimes I go outside the city, to places like Ocata for this, but if strapped for time, try Sant Sebastià beach just in front of the swimming club building, where the crowds tend to be slightly sparser, although since it is popular with the gay crowd AND is a nudie beach, prepare to be flanked on either side by gay guys and naturists.
Tip #3 Why you should look in the mirror before departing:
If you choose to wear any kind of makeup, say mascara, always give yourself a quick look in a hand mirror before leaving the beach. I DID NOT do this on Saturday and proceeded to make the trip back home from BCNeta to Poble Sec with a giant black streak on the left side my face. I wondered why everyone that got on the bus I took was staring at me (stupidly I thought they liked my new yellow sundress). It wasn't until I got to my local supermarket, and while in the frozen food section, looked up at one of the randomly placed mirrors (PS-why are those mirrors there?) to see the mascara streak staring back at me. As I held the pack of frozen beef burritos, I licked my fingers and tried to rub it off in the most discreet way possible (don't let this happen to you).
Anything I've forgotten?