Fun in the Sun?

Concrete bench with solar panels for cell phone charging on the beach in Pentwater, Michigan.

This is new.

My first visit to Pentwater was in 1973. While the town is still small, quaint and charming as it was back then, there have been many changes over the years.

Each year, when we arrive, we look to see what has changed. Sometimes places which we had thought would be there forever, such as the Art Mart, Gustafson’s Gifts, and the movie theater, had closed and now exist only as memories in our minds.

Other years, the change was something new and exciting. Like the Hart-Montague Bike Trail or the promenade along the channel and Channel Lane Park. This year, the new thing in Pentwater is shown in the featured photo.

Do you know what it is?

Yes, it is a picnic bench on the beach. It is ADA compliant as there is a level space where a wheelchair can roll up to the table. There is an umbrella for shade.

But wait, there’s more.

On the top of the umbrella are solar panels. At the base of the umbrella is a charging station. There are numerous USB ports as well as two areas to place a cell phone for wireless charging.

I guess the days of going to the beach to unplug are over. Although, for some who grew up with cell phones and all the other computer devices, those days may have never really started.

Would you use it?

Would you charge your cell phone or tablet at the beach?

Now, as much as I love blogging, you won’t see me sitting at this bench with the Chromebook plugged in creating my latest, fascinating post.

Nope, I’ll be with my family. Talking, laughing, playing games and pickleball, competing in putt putt, bike riding, and whatever else comes to be. I’ll blog a bit, but I know you’ll all understand. I dial it back when I’m in Pentwater. I don’t want to miss a moment of real.

There’s one other reason why I wouldn’t use it. Our phones and Chromebook get charged every night in our travel trailer. So for me personally, I don’t need it. But, I am sure others do. How many? It will be interesting to see how much this beach charging station will be used.

Some may see this new addition on the beach and debate whether it’s a step forward or back. What do you think?

In any case, it is here, and you could say a solar charging station at the beach is the wave of things to come.


  1. “I don’t want to miss a moment of real.” Sadly, I’ve done this, Betty. I’m sat in Paradise and looked at my blinking phone! I think the picnic table on the beach with all the charging ports is simply a sign of the times. Almost everyone has a mobile device in their pocket – even on the beach.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh David, I think we’ve all missed a moment of real. And I agree – the charging station is simply a sign of the times. I was just surprised to see one at the beach! The sunsets at this beach are fabulous. And many times, I have taken pictures of the sunset with my phone. The pictures are nice, but nothing beats watching the show live. Thank you for your comment, and I hope you have a great Sunday. I’d write more, but my Chromebook battery is getting low. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a great idea to use solar power for these. I know I’d appreciate more of these mobile charging stations because I use lots of phone battery power through my photography hobby and everything that entails. I have to admit, I’m a bit of a techy geek, even at my age, lol. Great photo an post, Betty!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The solar power is a great idea! It is very sunny there. I doubt I’d use it as our devices are charged each night in our travel trailer. But I can see it would be handy if someone was on a day trip there, had forgotten to charge, or was doing something which used a lot of battery power. It was just the first time I’d seen a charging station on the beach. My guess is there are many on beaches and other outside venues these days. Hope you have a great Sunday!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I like it! I don’t think I need it, but I like that there is a solar panel shaped like an umbrella. That is eco friendly energy in a unobtrusive place—not like taking farmland and turning it to a solar farm. Think of the possibilities. We could turn all umbrellas into solar panels. Then whenever it rains everyone could open their mini solar panels and help save the earth. Hmm…I think there might be something wrong with that plan, but I leave the details to our more brilliant engineers. Enjoy you time at the beach.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you! I do agree that it is in an unobtrusive place. It does not interfere with the view at all. You do have a problem for the engineers to figure out. At least now, they could work on it at the beach! Have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. While my cellphone is always with me, I strictly use it a phone, so I would perhaps charge it, if needed, because I sometimes forget to do so at night, but would not sit on a beach and stare at a phone or any other electronic devise -with a few exceptions. Like when we had a radio with us so we didn’t miss the results of the soccer WM or Wimbledon.

    I think is great forward thinking to have an umbrellas with solar panels and USB charging stations, not all on the beach are in vacation, some might be local works, who just go there during lunch break. Policeman, Ambulance drivers, the homeless and houseless. Forward, not backward, even though we the elder, will miss some of the old things, just like all the older generations before us. Often we don’t understand.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It was inevitable, but it could be very useful. Perhaps a battery goes dead as you were napping to music or gets low because you were using your workout app to monitor your beach walk. Last time I was on a beach, I was not walking fast enough to even register a heartbeat!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I am so glad they put the picnic table so someone in a wheelchair can use it. Really a great idea. As far as solar plug ins? Well, we don’t get on our phones at the beach except for taking pictures. 🙂 I love to read and if it is just the two of us, I will take my iPad and read a book for a little while. Like you, we charge our devices in our travel trailer every night. Great thoughts in your blog. Enjoy your time! I think we will have to check out this place. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Charla, I think you would love Pentwater. I haven’t met a person yet who doesn’t. I have several posts about Pentwater. The state park is Charles Mears. I love to read, too, but so far, I still read paper books. I like the ADA accessibility, too. Years ago, they added a wheelchair that could go on sand. When my mom was older, we used that to get her to our spot on the beach. If you have any questions about Pentwater, please ask. If I can answer, I am more than happy to do so. Save travels!


    • Oh yes! Why look at your phone when you can look at the lake? I guess some have to work or have other obligations. When we go play pickleball in our neighborhood, we ride our bikes there. I’ve been leaving my cell phone at home. It feels good to not be attached to it. It’s something I am going to try to do more. Thanks for your comment, and I hope you have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, David. It’s so great to be with our kids. None of whom live in Missouri! This is our chance to spend time together doing whatever! Have a great week ahead!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I think that is so cool. I agree I probably wouldn’t use it for my iPad or computer (not on a beach!), but I could see it for phone charging. My late mother-in-law lived in Ludington, which is nearby to Pentwater. A great area for sure. Enjoy! – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Marty. We are very familiar with Ludington. One year, the big new thing was that they had built an Aldi’s in Ludington. To this day, we are still quite happy about it. A Walmart was built across the street. We go to the local Pentwater Cenzo’s grocery store, but for major stocking up, it’s up to Ludington. Have a great week ahead!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Enjoy that wonderful spot so near to Lake Michigan. The Great Lakes are North American treasures! We just returned to the city after spending a couple of weeks at our cottage at Lake Huron. The water in Lake Huron has warmed enough for us older folks to enjoy a swim. I hope you take time for a dip in Lake Michigan. Enjoy the time with your family!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Yes, we love our time by Lake Michigan. The water here has been between 59 degrees F and 70 F, so on many days, not too bad. Glad you could enjoy time at your cottage. Have a great week!


    • My cell phone camera is the only camera I have, too. So far, I’ve seen people using the bench (to sit or to eat), but I haven’t seen anyone using it as a charging station. However, my sample size is limited. I also think it could be very useful! Have a great week!

      Liked by 1 person

    • You are right, and that’s a thought that hadn’t crossed my mind – important is variable, too! Good point! Thanks for your comment, and have a good week!


  9. I’d use it if my phone battery was low and I wanted more pictures of us at the beach, but I just realized I ‘could’ put a portable charger I my beach bag, so I could recharge where I am. Ha ha. Love the idea of the picnic table with the umbrella. Especially for shade. Hope you have a wonderful time there!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Well, I can’t even find our two portable chargers, so I’m not that organized. Ha. It just reminded me that if I had a portable charger with me, regardless of it was a beach or mountain, I could charge my phone for photos.

        Liked by 1 person

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