Every day of the year, millions of people around the world seek out the beach.  Right here on Cocoa Beach on Florida’s Space Coast we get millions of tourists and locals alike who seek out the serenity and refuge of the beach and ocean.  With so many people seeking out the beach, and many of these people at the same time as one another, it is good to know some of the “no-no’s” for a happy and successful beach outing. Fortunately, we were raised and grew up just minutes away from the beach, and while, most of our knowledge was passed down to us from our parents, we have had to learn a few of these the hard way.

  1.  There are miles and miles of beach, you do not have to park your stuff right on top of me!
    Being a local has it’s many advantages!  One of the biggest advantages, is know what beach to go to that isn’t going to be over crowded by obnoxious beach goers.  My wife and I have a few “local” spots we like to go to, because they are typically quiet with very few beach goers around us.  We like our space, what can we say?  If you do find yourself walking down the boardwalk onto the beach and there are others who have already started to enjoy the serenity of the beach and ocean, by all means, give them some space!  Most people go to the beach to relax, recharge and just get away from “life”.  Spread out, there is plenty of beach for everyone!

2. Do not leave your kids unsupervised!
Don’t get me wrong or misunderstand me here.  Kids and the beach are like a dog and a ball, they just go together!  Love watching kids play and build their sand castles on the beach near by.  However, one thing that stresses responsible adults, is a toddler wobbling by in front of you with no parent anywhere in site.  Another stressful thing is seeing some kids floating away in the current farther and farther away from the “adults” perched in their beach chairs clueless as to where their children are in the water.

3. You are not Tom Brady or Pele’, stop trying to act like it.
I’m probably guilty of this at one time or another in my youth.  There is no better place to throw a football, kick a soccer ball or ever throw a baseball than on the beach with your friends.  With that in mind however, please, for the sake of your own safety and pride, as well as the safety of others around you, play within your skill set!  No one wants to be hit upside the head by a football or soccer ball.  Be considerate of others and play within your safe abilities.

4. Everyone doesn’t want to hear your music!
One of life’s greatest and most relaxing joys is sitting in our chairs, drinking a cool beverage, looking out over the crashing waves to the horizon of blue ocean water and listening to some Jimmy Buffett, Marley, U2 or various 80’s hits.  That being said, the person within reasonable hearing distance (if you haven’t followed Rule #1 I shared with you above) may not be as enthusiastic about “Margaritaville” or “Three Little Birds”.  Again, be considerate of others around you and enjoy your music by yourself.

5. Speedo’s are not an acceptable form of beach ware!
Oh my!  I recall as a teenager chilling out on Cocoa Beach, (probably acting like Tom Brady throwing the football) and seeing the occasional gent in a speedo walking or even worse, jogging by.   I am not one to judge, typically, but there are just some things that can not be unseen.  To step outside of my comfort zone for a moment, if you will, but if you have got the body to flaunt it, by all means, flaunt away.  I remember when I was in my late teens and twenties, I wanted everyone to notice me a my 8-pack as well, but my “bits and kibbles” were modestly excluded from the fashion show.  We used to call them, “banana hammocks”, “weenie bikinis” or “ewww”.  Seriously, no one wants to look at “junk” while trying to relax and chilling on the beach.  (well, most of us anyway)

6. Really, you are going to destroy a child’s sand castle?
I mean, c’mon!  I have seen it time and time again.  People walking up or down the beach and just as if they were Godzilla or a slumbering brontosaurus, they clump and clop right through some kids awesome sand castle fort they had worked on for hours!  Even if the kids have already packed up with their parents and left to go home, there is just something sacred about a kid’s sand castle that is worthy of allowing mother nature to dissolve it back into the beach on it’s own.  

If you are the person reading this and are either feeling convicted or even worse, offended that I am about to say what I am about to say, then good….you need to keep reading!  I was the kid who grew up inhaling second hand smoke from my momma’s Kool 100s and my dad’s Winston Salems.  I chose not to be a smoker.  For several reasons…gross, smells nasty, will kill you and possibly others around you and well.  Now, because I choose not to smoke the cancerous chemical sticks into my lungs, I genuinely appreciate those who choose to, that refrain from doing so around me.  All too often, I am leaning back in my chair, feeling the sun basking and cool ocean breeze on my face and skin, smelling the salty air and hearing the mesmeric rhythm of the waves crashing on the shore, only to be jolted back to reality by the smell of a cigarette wafting by.
Please considerate to others when tempted to light up on the beach and don’t!

8. If you are going to surf around kids, control your board!
There are somethings that just make you feel like King of the World!  One of those things is catching a wave, popping up on your stick and riding a wave!  I went through my surfing stage at a young age.  If my joints could handle it, I would have taking it back up years ago.  In fact, one of my favorite pastimes on the beach is watching the surfers.  One thing that is very dangerous to the surfer and those around him or her however, is surfing where there are kids swimming.  The use of common sense should always prevail, but unfortunately, not every one has the acceptable level of common sense.
Keep in mind, this goes both ways.  Parents, if you see surfers in the water when you arrive, either keep close supervision of your kids, or move on to a different beach if you or your children are inclined to go out into the water.

9. Stop staring at the girls walking by like a Chester the Molester!
So I am going there…  You have all seen it before, and likely have either been a “victim” of or the perpetrator.  You see an attractive female walking by in her itty bitty teensie weenie yellow polka dot bikini and your eyes are glued to her as she walks from your left, to right in front of you and then off again to your right.  In fact, you don’t stop staring until you can barely make out the color of the bikini she has walked so far away now.  Ladies, this goes for you as well, though, most ladies are a little more discreet and inconspicuous as they stare down their eye candy.  You see, the thing is here, it is hard to tell the age of some of these females…so, that is just “ewww” on that regard alone.  Secondly, if you are with your wife, girlfriend or family then it is just very low class to do something like that in front of your significant other and children.  No one wants to be married to or have a “perv” for a dad.  So, “class-up” and keep your eyes on the water.  Worse come to worse, at least put on some sunglasses and try not to make it so obvious!

If you do not remember or pay attention to any other tip I have told you here, please, for the love of King Neptune, please pay attention to this one!  There are the obvious reasons that I will discuss next, but first and foremost, feeding seagulls is very dangerous and unhealthy for our feathered friends!  The processed foods we take to the beach is bad enough for our bodies, but to feed this mess to these 1-2 pound birds can wreak havoc on their health!  Of course, if you are eating grapes, cherries or something of that nature, it may not particularly be harmful to our little feathered buddies, but……it may create a swarm of birds that would make Alfred Hitchcock cower under his umbrella and towel.

Picture this:  A family with small children or even a small group of people, that you can tell from their cut-off blue-jean shorts, pale, almost glowing white skin, that they are not regular and frequent beach goers are tossing potato chips, crackers or some other similar sized food from the bag or cooler in to the air.  Imagine 50 – 60 seagulls flying very low all around you them, and of course you, because, again, they failed to observe Rule #1 above.  Now, a quick ornithology lesson.  You understand that birds do not possess the ability to control their bowels….they pretty much poop anywhere, everywhere and without knowledge or warning…
Alright, that being known now, go back to the story and imagine 50 – 60 seagulls (birds – with no ability or control over their “poop machines”) flying all around you.  They are above you…..flying….with no control over their bowels….
I trust you get the point here.

All in all, just like going anywhere in public when and where we are all forced to interact with other human beings, the key to a successful, happy and safe outing is to use common sense and some consideration to others.  The 10 Tips for a Happy Day at the Beach here is not a very stringent or unreasonable list of thoughts.  Just be happy, enjoy and allow others to enjoy as well!

Beach Day Every Day!