A couple of weeks
ago, my girlfriend and I made a last minute plan to venture out to Paradise
Cove in Malibu for a little R&R.  At
the beach for the first time in about ten years without kids in tow, we simply couldn’t
wait to break into our magazines and soak up the summer sun.  There were no nagging voices begging us to make a
sandcastle or desperate attempts to drag our bodies into the cold ocean to jump the waves, merely
the pure bliss of alone time doing whatever we pleased. Just as we were finally
settling in to our groove, a pack of eight adults decided to plop down right
beside us as if we were completely invisible. 
As sand flung onto our towels, they proceeded to unpack heaps of beach

within inches of our designated space.  Rather
than scold them because they were clearly clueless, we decided to preserve our zen-like mode
by packing up our things and moving further down the beach.   

The 4th of
July marks the height of the beach going season.  After much preparation to clear our schedules
and make ourselves beach worthy with requisite tans and new suits to model, the
last thing we need is to be bothered by annoying adults blasting their bad
music, pesky children (or adults for that matter) kicking sand onto our towels
or thrill-seeking seagulls swooping down on our homemade fried chicken and
expensive imported cheese.  To learn how not to
be offensive to others and to best enjoy the beach experience at holidays
and all year long, h
ere is our top list of proper beach etiquette tips. 

Dress Appropriately
for the Occasion.
 The last time I checked, topless
and nude sunbathing is frowned upon here in America, and in some cases is
considered against the law. Unless you’re on a private yacht in the south
of France or vacationing in Brazil, kindly keep your bathing suit PG-rated. Private
parts should be sufficiently covered. The beach is for families and they
are especially in tow on a big summer holiday.

Come Ready with Your
Own Supplies. 
Everyone has their “must
have” list of necessities for the beach. Most importantly, the list is to
help you be prepared so that you do not have to constantly bother others with
your requests for items you forgot at home. The bare minimum: sunscreen,
hat, bottled water and towel. Kicking it up a notch: beach chair,
umbrella, tunes, books or magazines (old school style), games, a cooler fully
stocked with an incredible feast. Recommended for parents: full day supply
of diapers and wipes, a Pack N’ Play or tent for shade, sand toys (BTW, don’t
forget to write your name on them so you leave the beach with the same toys you
came with), ample sunscreen, snacks and beverages.

The Early Bird Gets
the Worm. 
If you are one of those people who
perpetually arrives fashionably late, don’t expect to have first dibs on prime
real estate at the beach. There is plenty of space and no one is entitled
to a reserved spot, unless of course, you belong to a private beach club and
the attendant has a reserved number of chairs and umbrellas set aside for
members. To ensure you do not encroach on another person’s space, ideally
there should be about 15 feet between distance between you and your neighbor. When
selecting your spot, don’t forget to take into consideration high
tide. Look for a high water mark, consult a tide chart or ask a lifeguard
before settling down for the day.

Setting up Shop. If
possible, organize your items so that you only
have to take one trip on the sand to your spot on the beach. Walking back and
forth is exhausting and will tucker you out before your day even
begins. Before laying your towels down and inserting your umbrella, check
to see which way the wind is blowing so that you don’t blow sand into your
neighbor’s direction or block their view. 
Make every effort to
consolidate your items into a small area that will not take valuable beach
front away from others.

Keep it Down &
Watch Your Language. 
We are well aware that the beach
is outside, but that does not give you cart blanche to blast your latest iTunes
mix on your giant speakers or shout profanities to your buddies when we are
within ear shot trying to enjoy a family day with our kids. On the flip
side, parents need to monitor their children and make sure little Mikey and
Susie aren’t running amok hurling sand toys and fighting over the last Cheeto
while adults are trying to enjoy a little peace and quiet or read the latest
best-seller. Being outside entitles everyone to use their outside voice and
have fun, just be mindful of how loud and crazy you get and keep it all in

Fun in the Sun. Game
playing is great, but keep it away from others. First of all, it is
obnoxious to play ball over others heads while they are trying to relax and
secondly, it can be dangerous, especially if there are little ones
around. This extends to water playing as well. Look out for others in
the water before you engage in spirited splashing, dunking and other horseplay.
Maintain control of boogie boards and other water toys so that everyone has a
safe day in the sun. A special note to parents: keep an eye on your
 Organize plenty of activities like building sand castles,
playing Frisbee or searching for the most unusual sea shell to keep them busy
so that they do not wander off or, more importantly, wander into the water
without your supervision.

Clean Up After
If only there was a “Smoky the Bear”
or that Indian fellow who shed a single tear at the sight of litter being
dropped at his feet to protect our beautiful beaches. Where’s the mascot
to remind us to keep our beaches clean? I remember swimming once at a
beach just north of Santa Monica and seeing plastic bags, soda cans and straw
wrappers in the ocean. It was disgusting! Please take a garbage bag
or paper bag with you to the beach and have the decency to collect all of your
trash (that includes food wrappers, diapers, newspapers and whatever else you
bring) and then deposit it into one of the large trash receptacles located

Don’t Bring the Beach
Home with You.
 Carefully shake all items and
sufficiently clean off anything with sticky sand before leaving the beach.
Watch your neighbors to make sure you are not blowing sand dust in their wind.
There is nothing worse than dust particles of sand found in the car, on the
floor or in your bags when you return home. Shake off towels, clean dirty feet,
wash out bathing suits and dump all bags before settling into your car or
entering the house.

Give it One Last
 Before making your final exit, patrol the
area one all around your beach party scene one last time for any lost items, leftover
food or litter.

Did I forget
anything? Let me know what your beach rituals include? What items do you take?
Have any tips for rude patrons? Share with us. We’d love to hear from you!