Top 7 Critical Beach Etiquette Do’s & Don’ts

Do you know how to behave when visiting the beach? When visiting the shore for your summer vacation, there are a few things to keep in mind in order to make everyone’s experience more enjoyable. Below is a list of do’s and don’ts when it comes to interacting with other people at the beach.

What Is Beach Etiquette?

Beach etiquette refers to the set of social norms and behaviors that are generally expected and respected when visiting a beach. It is about showing respect for others, the environment, and local regulations.

Beach Etiquette Rules

DO Be Aware Of Your Surroundings

Make sure to keep an eye on your belongings and children. Be aware of people walking by, but more importantly, be aware as you walk by other people. Don’t walk through the center of an area where people are clearly set up and be careful not to walk on their towels.

What many people also do not realize is, when you are walking in sand it flies everywhere. It can be quite easy to not even realize you are kicking sand into other people’s faces as you walk by. I have also seen many a child cry when other kids have walked by and destroyed their sandcastles. Don’t let your children destroy other people’s sandcastles – it makes everyone sad.

DON’T Feed The Seagulls

Not only is it illegal in some areas, but it can also be dangerous for the birds. Seagulls also become aggressive when fed too frequently by people. One time, I was at the beach and a seagull came up to my son and snatched a sandwich right out of his hand! It was really scary.

Other times, we have seen the birds pecking at bags, gripping the zippers with their beaks and actually getting the bags open! Not to mention when they get a bead on food they flock and swarm over you (and the people you are sitting near). It can be frightening, and it’s inevitable that someone will get pooped on. That’s never a good time, and yes, its bad beach etiquette.

DON’T let your children run around naked

While it may be more comfortable for them, it’s not proper beach etiquette or polite behavior at the beach. Save the nudity for when you’re at home.

Also, don’t forget to pack swim diapers if you are visiting the beach with a child who is not potty trained yet. If you have dirty diapers while you are there dispose of them immediately in a trash can.

DO be respectful of other people and their space

If someone is trying to relax, don’t set up your chair and umbrella right next to them. And don’t turn on very loud music. In other words, beach etiquette dictates, don’t invade someone’s personal area, and be mindful of your noise level.

DON’T litter

This should go without saying, but please be sure to pack out everything that you bring to the beach, including trash and recyclables.

Litter not only looks terrible on the beach, but it can also be harmful to marine life and the environment. Plastic bags, for example, can look like food to fish and other animals, leading to them ingesting the plastic and potentially dying.

Cigarette butts are also a major source of litter on beaches, and they contain toxins that can leach into the soil and water. The Ocean Conservancy has reported that for 32 years in a row, cigarette butts have been the single most collected piece piece of trash from the world’s beaches. All said and done, it amounts to more than 60 million butts collected over that time. 

Research has also shown that harmful chemicals leak from discarded butts. This include nicotine, arsenic and heavy metals. All of these things are extremely toxic to our friends in the ocean and bird life.

DON’T Smoke (anything) on the beach

I have already mentioned cigarette butts are the most common form of litter on beaches, but more importantly, on many beaches it is illegal. Not to mention, it can be really unpleasant to be around someone who is smoking. Most recently, it has also been challenging as a parent to explain the smell of pot to my kids on the beach. If you need to smoke, please do so away from the beach as is is really not good beach etiquette.

DO fill in any holes you or your kids have dug before you leave

I can attest to the fact that this is an annoying job. And it’s not just kids who do this – adults can be just as guilty of leaving their holes unfilled.

But please, take the time to do it. Not only is it improper beach etiquette but it can be dangerous. It’s not that hard, and it can prevent others from accidentally injuring themselves. And if you see someone else’s hole, please fill it in for them! It’s the polite thing to do.

DO enjoy the beach! It’s a great place to relax and have some fun. Just be sure to follow these simple beach etiquette tips to make sure everyone has a good time. Thanks for reading!