Etiquette at the Beach

Wherever you may be in the world summer months typically conjure up thoughts about being at the beach.  To this end, here are a few tips to help you and yours to have a most enjoyable experience at the beach. 

1. Allow a minimum of five feet between groups. Take time to consider where and how you set up your space. Spot your larger groups as far away from other people as possible. When bringing half your house to the beach—from boom-box to boogie boards to beach chairs—make every effort to consolidate your items in a small area that will not take valuable beach real estate from others.

2. Let everyone enjoy the view. Part of the pleasure of going to the beach is relishing the water vista. Be sensitive not to place your umbrella and other high items directly in front of other people’s sight line.

3. Monitor noise levels: Especially in large groups, continually be aware of how loud your party is getting. Many people go to the beach to rest and relax in peace and quiet. While you’ll want to be cordial, give your neighbors their space: some people may not wish to talk to anyone, only enjoying the sun and a good book.

4. Supervise children: While an expanse of beach is an inviting space for free play, both waves and dunes can be dangerous. Unsupervised children can get lost in the crowd or may annoy your beach neighbors by kicking sand or being disruptive. Instead of depending completely on free play, bring plenty for children to do—and join in the fun—building sand castles, creating art from found objects, searching for the most unusual or beautiful seashell, or reading to them the latest children’s best-seller.

5. Play responsibly. Both adults and children need to be careful when playing catch not to toss a ball or a Frisbee into someone else’s area. When setting up for badminton, volleyball, or other games, keep the outer boundaries as far away from other people as possible.

6. Keep it clean. Secure all items from blowing away in the wind. When items do blow away, go after them, otherwise, the item becomes litter and will pollute the beach. Keep all your belongings as close to your blanket as possible.

7. And your language, too. Refrain from using any form of foul language. Conversations should be quiet and controlled. You never know who may find your words offensive.

8. Be mindful of how you behave in the water. Look out for others in the water before you engage in vigorous splashing, dunking, yelling to friends who are several yards away, and other horseplay. Maintain control of boogie boards and other water toys so that everyone has a fun and safe day in the sun.

9. Sunbathe with discretion. Topless and nude sunbathing is not customary in the United States. Instead, there are designated beaches—and areas of beaches—where this is allowed. Otherwise, nudity is not only inappropriate, but may be against the law.

Take only good memories…leave only footprints. Be sure to pick up all of your belongings. When shaking out your blanket and other items, take note of which way the wind is blowing and make every effort to prevent sand from blowing into other people’s eyes and space and leaving them annoyed. Patrol the area all around your beach party scene for litter, lost items, and leftover food.

BONUS: Under no circumstances should you bring glass of any kind to the beach. All items should be plastic or paper so they will not break and cause injuries to anyone.

Question:  What other items do you have to add to this list?  Do let us hear from you by locating this article at  You may also reach us at  If you enjoyed this article and want more, subscribe to our “Etiquette Tip of the Month” newsletter—at no charge—filled with great monthly tips on all sorts of topics from international business and social etiquette and protocol to everyday life subjects.  It will be great to have you as a member of our happy family of subscribers at

Happy practicing at the beach!

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