Beach Etiquette

Beach Etiquette
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This is common sense beach etiquette but most people don't know half of the great tips we have in here so brush up by reading on.

• General: Educational

The average person is pretty smart, kind to others, and has an overall sense of right an wrong. Put us into a large group on the beach and we seem to forget our common sense and all become instant annoyances to others who also want to have a good time.

You may know some of these common sense tips already but I bet you didn't know them all so let's get started:

No Smoking

Did you know that it is against the law to smoke on any beach in Hawaii? As of January 2014 laws have kicked in that make it illegal to smoke on any beaches here. This is a good thing and shouldn't have been necessary but many smokers often don't realize how far their scent travels on a beach and why should that stink ruin the fun for others. More importantly, why should it impact their health? Then there is the issue of cigarette butts being tossed in the sand and dirtying up the beach. Take your smokes elsewhere.

Sunscreen Spray

Sunscreen that comes in an aerosol type spray bottle is pretty worthless on anything beyond a super calm day. If the wind is blowing at all you're losing a huge portion of that sun screen in the breeze. What's worse, and annoying for your neighbors, is the indirect spray down they get when they are downwind from you.

It's like second hand smoke and pretty annoying, especially when it hits sunglasses where it smudges into a greasy mess.

Consider a squeeze tube or hand pump spray bottle instead. These work better and give you more bang for your buck. I've watched families empty brand new aerosol bottles in a single use they're so bad. Above all, make sure you use sunscreen to help Protect Yourself From Sunburn & Skin Cancer.

Watch Your Sand Spray

When going to grab your beach towel to dry off or pack up for the day it's natural to want to shake off the sand. But watch your surroundings first, just picking up a sandy towel on a slightly windy day can mean coating your neighbor (or their things) in sand.

Note the direction of the wind and what's around you and shake so that nobody gets sand blasted. If that isn't possible then gently roll up your towel and shake it off in another place.

Personal Space

Avoid setting up shop right next to somebody else on the beach. While this can't be avoided on some beaches because they're so crowded (pronounced: Waikiki), on most beaches you can leave plenty of distance between you and your neighbor.

This is especially important if you have kids since they are less likely to be aware of the personal space bubbles of others.

Watch Your Kids

Sure, you should already to know to watch your kids in the water and around the water but do you really watch them on the beach as well?

Kids often run around and end up running (or walking) very close to others on the beach. When they do that they kick up sand that flies into others. It's really annoying so mind your kids and make sure they don't walk too close to others and, if that can't be helped, make sure they walked slowly when going by others.

Play Ball

Are you the guy that has to bring a Frisbee or football to the beach? Okay, nothing wrong with that in theory but if you're the guy who has to toss the thing over a dozen people who are lounging then we have a problem.

Not all beaches are great for this type of activity so have some respect and shelve the idea or go find an open area to play. Many beach parks have large grassy areas that are perfect for sports, playing catch, flying a kite, or whatever.

And Mr. Football guy, we get it, you've worked hard for that body (beer gut and all) and want to show off your mad football tossing skills playing catch with your 8 year old son while the ladies are in awe of you. The fact is this, the ladies aren't watching you and couldn't care less. You're just annoying those around you and your son is kicking up sand on everyone else.


Look, it's an ocean and we're all here to play, get wet, and cool off. But I like to keep a close eye on my kids to make sure they aren't splashing others. They're kids, they can't help but be annoying when in a body of water but as their parent you can help make sure they don't bother and splash others.


Some beaches allow dogs on them so if you are a dog person and want to bring your dog to the beach then your best bet is to visit a dog friendly beach. For all other beaches, leave the puppy at home.

If you do bring a dog to the beach you must legally keep them on a leash at all times. Dogs are not allowed to run around free on beaches. I don't care how friendly you think your dog is, most others don't want it running around and kicking up sand or plowing their little kid down.

You must also clean up after any mess your dog makes. Seems obvious, yet many don't do this. Remember that beaches get hot so make sure your dog has plenty of water and some shade and don't leave them tied to a lawn chair on a hot beach while you enjoy the snorkeling.

Pack Out What You Packed In

If you bring something to the beach then you need to bring it home. Period.

But we can all do better than that so as you walk to and from the beach look at the ground and pick up some trash along the way. You won't have to look hard, it's everywhere. Maybe just a water bottle cap or a straw or maybe a plastic bottle or plastic bag. Either way grab it and trash it and you just went from bring the problem to the solution. Rinse, repeat.

On that note, avoid bringing plastic bags, napkins, and other such items that easily blow away. Many beaches get breezy at times and once something goes airborne it heads to the ocean where it kills marine life.

Try reusable bags, bring a washcloth instead of a napkin (or use your beach towel), bring real forks instead of plastic disposable forks. Do NOT bring glass containers / items to the beach though.

A Word On Cameras

Beaches are public places and you can take pictures in public places. It's normal, everyone does it. But, if you show up at a beach with a big zoom lens and start taking all sorts of pictures of people then you're going to stand out as a pervert. Avoid this, bring a normal camera and if the person you are shooting isn't your friend or family then don't take the picture.

Sometimes people in pictures can't be avoided and that's fine but avoid them when possible and that's extra important when kids are in the shot.

Everybody Poops

It happens to us all. You get to the beach and need to use the bathroom. Hopefully the beach you picked has a bathroom, if so you need to use it even if we're just talking about a quick pee. There is no reason to pee in the ocean when a bathroom is nearby! For more on this topic, be sure to read Is It Okay To Pee In The Ocean?.

If you need to drop your kids off a the pool then you'll wish you did this before you came to the beach. Nice and clean bathrooms are the exception, not the rule. Most beaches that have actual bathrooms are good enough for a pee but not so great when you have a poker hand full of deuces and see a flush on the way.

Many others just have port-a-potty style bathrooms that are filthy at best and you wouldn't sit in one of those for a luxury suite upgrade at your hotel. Sorry ladies, you're out of luck and only the biggest of emergencies will have you attempting any port-a-potty pit stop.

I'm always amazed at how many people end up at a beach and find they're growing a tail. I get it for kids, but we're talking full grown adults who should know better and have better bodily control (and aim) than that. Seriously people, it's a gross subject but I can't stress this enough: go before leaving home or your hotel. If you can't last several hours without needing to download the brown file then please see a doctor because you are not well.