With the holiday and “last” summer weekend upon us the beach has been on my mind. There will be many people heading to some sort of body of water this weekend (myself included) whether it be the ocean, a pool, lake, or pond. Unless you have the luxury of your own private sanctuary you aren’t going to be alone. There will be many other families, friends, and lovers trying to enjoy their long weekend too. I know, the last thing we want to do it worry about other people on our time off but we can’t escape the reality. Wherever you may find yourself this weekend, there will be other people around you and it’s only right to respect their time and space as well. With a few small tips it’s actually pretty easy and it will make yourself look pretty good (and who doesn’t like that?) because unfortunately there are many selfish and oblivious people out there that have no respect whatsoever for others. I put together a quick list of a few guidelines that I try to follow when I’m at the beach, collected after experiencing many annoying and joyless beach trips. Hopefully this will help you vacation with more ease and confidence this weekend and many more weekends to come.
1. Before you stake your spot pay attention to your surroundings. First, try to leave a considerable amount a room between the other people on all sides of you. I understand that some beaches have limited room and even more so on busy weekends but try to make an effort to spread out. There are very few people who like being in arms lengths of people they don’t know, especially for long periods of time. I’m sure you don’t like it either, so why make everyone’s day miserable? People like to feel like they have a space that is all theirs. Have a particular spot that you like? Make sure to get there early to claim your spot instead of trying to squeeze in later. Being closer to the water, bathrooms, or snack bar is not worth the hassle of the huffs and puffs of other people around you. You should also pay attention to the wind and tide. You don’t want to sit too close to the water if the tide is due to come in soon. You can potentially lose your spot and may not find another one, or may need to squeeze somewhere else you really shouldn’t be. The wind direction is very important for those with umbrellas. As you can imagine, its not fun to get smashed in the face with a beach umbrella during a nice afternoon nap, especially if that beach umbrella is not yours. Just be aware and you will be fine.
2. Be cautious. If you are wearing flip flops or any type of sandal/shoe that isn’t secured tightly to your foot you should remove them as soon as you step onto the sand. Most sandals kick up a lot of sand as you walk and no one likes a whole pile of sand to the face- yuck! It’s also important to be cautious when shaking out your towel whether you are packing up or just re-adjusting. You make not realize it yourself but a lot of sand sticks to your towel and will get carried in the wind to the people next to you and maybe even beyond that. Take your towel to an open space and then shake it out.
3. There is no reason to yell- unless there is an emergency of course. Your voice carries on the shore so even if you think you are talking in a normal voice everyone around you can hear what you are saying. I don’t know about you but I really don’t care which muscles are sore, what you ate last night, or how horrible your job is. I go to the beach to relax, not listen to other people’s gossip.
4. If you are using a radio or speakers keep the volume low, just loud enough so the people you are with can hear it. Honestly, the best solution is an iPod and headphones but I realize that for larger groups people want to be able to socialize and hear each other without earphones getting in the way. So, if you do have a radio going just be mindful that other people may not want to hear your music. Also keep in mind what type of music you are playing, especially if you are in a heavy family populated area with children around.
5. Don’t smoke at your towel. The wind carries the smoke and you are in very close proximity to other people. Some people have allergies, asthma, and others just simply don’t like smoke blowing in their face- understandable. If you need to smoke find an empty spot on the beach, go for a walk, or head out to the parking lot.
6. If you want to get some exercise in with a football or frisbee pick your spot wisely. I hate having to constantly pay attention to those playing around me to ensure I don’t get slammed in the face. I want to close my eyes and relax or read a book. I don’t want to go home with a bruised eye or broken nose and I doubt you want to cause that to happen to someone else. Getting some exercise while at the beach is great, just pay attention to where you choose to do it.
7. If you are at a beach where dogs are allowed, keep your dog leashed. Not everyone thinks your dog is cute as you do. Also, don’t feed other animals. This includes other people’s dogs and the seagulls- ESPECIALLY the seagulls!!! If you like getting swarmed by seagulls then good for you but I can promise you that very few other people share that joy.
8. Lastly, clean-up. Before you leave your spot at the end of the day make sure all your trash is picked up and disposed of in the proper place. Beaches are beautiful, wonderful places but they won’t be for long if we don’t take care of them.
See, I told you (women love being right). These are all very simple things that only require minimal common sense. You can still enjoy your vacation the way you want to while respecting other fellow vacationers at the same time.
Enjoy your long weekend, get some sun, and relax. I will see you all next week!
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