Don’t Be a Beach-hole

beach etiquette
This guy might be a beach-hole. Just look at those sunglasses.

Time to break out the tankinis and White Claws, ladies — summer is upon us! As we all unwind from the flurry of end-of-year class parties and the gauntlet that is planning summer activities, it’s also time to ramp up for beach season. Though we all love a beach day, as moms, we know relaxing by the surf also means sunscreen in eyes, sand in orifices, and turning yourself into a pack mule to carry the plethora of supplies that are required to keep our kids entertained for the day. To keep everyone’s beach days as happy as possible, here are a few ground rules (sandbar rules?) that to me should be common knowledge when it comes to beach etiquette, but undeniably are not.

Learn how to shake it.

You heard me. When you’re in the middle of a crowded, windy beachscape, the proper etiquette is not to rip your towels up and shake them in the air like you’re trying to create your own parasail whilst also sandblasting everyone in a 100-foot radius. No. The courteous thing to do is gingerly fold your towel, walk your sandy butt up to the beach ramp and as far away from other beachgoers as possible and hold it low and give it a little shimmy. Alternatively, you could even bring a trash bag to the beach, throw all the towels in there, and shake it when you get home. No sandblasted eyeballs = happy beach people.

Mid-to-low volume, please.

It always baffles me why some people feel entitled to claim all the airspace at the very public beach with whatever playlist they’re vibing to for the day. Chances are that me — and my 5-year-old — will not be jammin’ to the same beats. Also, she doesn’t need any more encouragement to drop f-bombs (she does that plenty on her own), so keep the volume at a respectable level.

Bait your hooks somewhere else.

This one really chaps my ass. What could be a worse idea than tossing out an invisible tiny guillotine with a hidden serrated hook in the middle of a jam-packed beach? I can’t count the times I’ve walked into a fishing line, seen a seagull get caught up in one, or had to scream at my kids to move out of the water because there is literally no way to tell where that sinking tetanus shot waiting to happen has gone. My dudes, if you’re looking to reel in the next scaly superstar to be showcased in your next dating app profile pic, the family beach isn’t the place to do it.

4WD means 4WD.

For all of the drive-on beaches around here, be aware that the signs that say “Four Wheel Drive Only” are not there for decoration. If your vehicle is not 4WD, you will get stuck. New tires on the minivan aint gonna cut it. Just because you have an SUV does not mean you will make it. The sand is soft, the sand is deep, and it will swallow up your car faster than the quicksand did that horse in The Neverending Story, only it won’t be quite as tragic. You will survive, but likely not without lots of people staring and either a tow truck or a good samaritan with — you guessed it — a 4WD truck and a wench.

For the love of God, don’t feed the seagulls.

Again, I feel like this lesson in beach etiquette should be common knowledge, but in case it isn’t, feeding the seagulls creates a literal shitstorm like you would not believe if you’ve never witnessed it. The literal instant a wayward chip gets tossed toward one lonely seagull, he releases a call that summons every one of his friends within a 27-mile radius. They appear out of nowhere and flock and squawk and fight each other for whatever crumbs you’re tossing out. Then they start pooping, and no one is safe. Keep your crumbs to yourself, and please don’t feed these winged aggressors.

So there you have it beach babes, those are my top five rules to make our shores a more enjoyable, less loud, less bird crap-covered place this summer.

Do you agree with my list of beach etiquette? What did I miss? Happy beachgoing!

Katie Jones
Originally an ATLien, Katie Jones has lived in Jacksonville since 2009. Katie is a momma of two young girls and the Captain of a 31’ Barbie dream camper that she bought for them last year. When Katie is not celebrating her love of sarcasm and humor or writing posts for her design and lifestyle blog, she’s busy with her full-time job as Director of Operations and Design for a custom homebuilder, or working with clients through her design studio, RiverHouse Design Collective. She loves the camaraderie of the Jacksonville Mom team and is thrilled to be part of a community where we can laugh and figure this whole life and motherhood thing out together!


  1. Also, don’t walk on the dunes. Army Corps of Engineers put a lot of work into renourishing the ones on Jax Beach after Matthew and Irma and they are not cute little sand hills for you to walk on. And don’t touch turtles or any other sea creature!


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