I did have the kids wear their swim shirts, but we went to the beach mostly in the morning and stayed until about 11, and then we'd do something in the afternoon and come back to the beach after supper. We are a fair, delicate family (except Sam). (Also, almost all of these pictures are from the same day - I didn't take the camera out a ton.)
On one part of the beach close to us there were a lot of shells. As you can see, we had the beach to ourselves most of the time. I don't know if that's just because of when we were there (not in the middle of the day, during the week) or what, but it was nice. The kids liked playing in the sand and looking for shells as much as swimming.