Beginner's Guide to Beaches

The Basics

If you’re reading this because you’re really new to visiting a beach then you have been missing out! If you’re just wondering what possible advice I could come up with about the best way to visit a beach, then I will probably disappoint with the obvious and if you’re hoping I will explain about how beaches are formed over eons as the grains of sand smooth out other marine detritus then you will also come away unfulfilled.

Beaches aren’t synonymous with the sea, but most of us imagine a coastal beach when we picture a beach in our heads (many of us also imagine palm trees and quiet, white sand but that isn’t always the case either, some beaches are pretty polluted and crowded with people.). Adding inland possibilities the world seems even more full of beaches so why do they sometimes seem so far away? A left over from travelling as a small child when it took ages to get anywhere - are we there yet? The anticipation of walking bare foot into the waves for the first time making it seem to take an age to arrive?

Once you have finally arrived at the beach depending on how remote it is there may be more on offer than what you have packed. Possible activities include but are not restricted to, swimming, sun bathing, walking, collecting shells, playing ball games or frisbee, joining a beach volley ball tournament, snorkeling, building sand castles, surfing, kite surfing, burying your Dad in sand, flying a kite or the ever popular watching other people do things while not really doing much at all.

Something to be aware of is that some beaches are for posing - some for posing naked, so if you or your company are not into the body beautiful pick a more laid back beach.


Once you have decided which beach you’re heading for you need to pack. Most people pack their beach bag with a towel, flip flops, sun screen, sun glasses, drinks and a snack and wear or pack their swimmers, a hat and something to change into. Other possible items include a book or magazine, ball or bat of your choice, surfboard, inflatable boats or other toys (these all carry their own safety warnings.), a frisbee, your dog, a wetsuit, a jet ski, an umbrella, a bucket and spade, a mask and snorkel, fins or flippers, your kite, a radio and an esky (cooler). Personally I would recommend a spare pair of underwear for the home journey - sand gets everywhere.

Pack as few valuables as you can get away with - while the age old tricks of burying your wallet in the sand or leaving it in your shoe thinking no one will find it may seem like a good idea at the time, both these options are far more risky than not bringing things you aren’t prepared to have stolen (or buried for all eternity on Sydney’s Manly Beach like my Dad’s car keys from 1989).

As obvious as remembering to re-apply your sunscreen (which is a golden rule many of us forget) beach goers need to swim within the flags, pay attention to life guards (if there are any around) and keep an eye on children at all times. Apart from that stay cool, comfortable and hydrated and you’ll have the makings of a great, inexpensive (before you start buying ice creams) outing.

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