The Appreciation Factor

All things Appreciation: Things to Appreciate and the Ways we look at, Show and Think about Appreciation.


Beach Etiquette – When close is TOOclose

Oh the joys of summer and crowded beaches.  Before you hit the sand with your cooler, fav beach chair and sunscreen (which should have been listed first!), do you know your beach etiquette?

I’ve ranted about shared my thoughts on this topic before, but in the Triple H (Hazy, Hot and Humid) days of August beach etiquette seems to disappear as space becomes limited, patience runs thin, and dare I say the feeling of entitlement of beach space rises.

For those not in the know:

Beach Etiquette: Allowing the proper amount of space between bathers on a beach. Ideally a minimum of 5 feet on each side.  See photo

Optimal Space


Now I know that in August (or even in July for that matter), space on the beach is at a premium, but I’m amazed as the sheer lack of consideration some families and groups can show when it comes to how close they choose to sit and/or set up their chairs and towels next to other beach-goers – especially singles and couples.
They just don’t seem to have or follow beach etiquette.


On a personal note, I have felt overly afflicted by the lack of  beach etiquette and often find myself crowded by large numbers of people. It’s almost as if as a solo beach-goer there’s a neon arrow above my head saying – “HEY BIG GROUPS GET AS CLOSE AS YOU CAN TO ME. I WON’T MIND BECAUSE I’M ALONE TODAY.”

This is of course not true, but it does seem that I have an above average knack for finding myself in situations where, despite how empty or how much available space is on the beach, that couples, groups and families seem to gravitate to me and put their things down within 2-3 feet of me. (No I’m not exaggerating.)

That said however, I’ve been talking to others who travel to the beach solo and they too have noticed this phenomenon. Solo beach-goers do seem to be encroached upon more often than groups. REALLY!

Do you find yourself “attracted” to the single on the beach and
tend to set up your things by him/her or do you look for a spot that has good clearance?

I think many some do this as they worry less about disrupting or annoying the single person, but would think twice if the group was larger OR, maybe I am over thinking this and in truth, they’ve given it no thought or simply like that spot. Regardless it’s a challenge that I face each summer and it’s seemed even more challenging this one.

Here are some examples I saw just this week. (You be the judge):

I was stunned to see this group set up less than a foot away from complete strangers. (And there was plenty of beach space not too far away.)

I was stunned to see this group set up a foot away from complete strangers. (And there was plenty of beach space not too far away.)


Here a group sat practically on top of a couple! I would have likely said something and/or moved.

*Note while you cannot see it – there was lots and lots of space for people to spread out just a little further to the right and to the left.

Now I know many of you will say, “What’s the big deal?” or even, “Do you own the beach?”  (Hey I’ve even been asked this by these offenders, when I’ve diplomatically asked them if they could move over a bit, or candidly said, “Don’t you think you’re a little close?”)  NO, I don’t own the beach, but I do find this to be a personal space/common courtesy issue, and what I refer to as beach etiquette.

I think it comes down to appreciating the personal space of others. Sure the beach can be crowded and perhaps 5 feet isn’t always available, but sitting on top of someone can’t be fun for you either.


Perhaps it’s also because I’m such a beach person – getting on the beach around 11/11:30am and staying there until 6pm – and I greatly appreciate my time there to disconnect which is why it’s so upsetting.  I’ll have come early to pick out the perfect spot and am happily reading or relaxing in my personal space, only to find myself suddenly in the middle of yelling kids, rowdy adults, and the drama they’re openly sharing.  It’s not fun.

If this doesn’t seem like a big deal to you, another way to look at it is this:  Would you casually sit next to someone at a table without asking if you could sit there or if the seat was taken?  It’s the same courtesy you would show in these instances, just in a beach setting.


Here are 5 tips I’ve come up with to help you follow good beach etiquette:

  1. Be considerate of the single bather.  Perhaps they don’t want to enjoy your vacation, screaming kids, in-laws, crazy drinking buddies or your tales of the “wild night” you had last night.
  2. If asked if you can move over – remember it’s just a request – it’s not an ultimatum, nor an encroachment on your civil liberties.  It’s a question and it gives those you’re putting your stuff “on top of” the option to move if they must. (Personally I can get annoyed if I have to move.  I’ve been there longer and then feel pressured to move simply due to a lack of beach etiquette.)
  3. If there is a lot of space on the beach, kindly do not crowd the single/double beach goers. There’s clearly room for everyone, so why not find a bigger spot where you can spread out?
  4. For the single beach goer – AVOID open spots by the entrances. While tempting, these seem to be a magnet for large families/groups to park their stuff – likely because there’s so much of it and they don’t have to walk any farther.
  5. Also for the single beach goer – Try to spread out your belongs in a long of a line as possible – it gives you room to move if encroached upon. (Note: I have considered one of those fences or cones – don’t laugh! – but that did seem to be going a bit over the top! 😉  )


What do you think?  Do agree with following beach etiquette or are you a park your stuff where you please kind of beach goer?
Have you been the victim of bad 
beach etiquette? (I’m especially curious if you go solo, if you find yourself a victim more often.)


Beach Etiquette – Do you know what it is? Are you following it?

As we approach Labor Day weekend, I am reflecting back on the past three months and how I’ve noticed that common courtesy and etiquette seem to go out the window when some people go on vacation, and especially to the beach.

Case in point… I’m a beach person.  I go often and go early to find a good spot, (I’m usually on the sand by 11am and stay until 6/6:30pm).  As you know, beaches attract locals and vacationers alike.  I’ve found that many beach goers, especially those who are not native or residents of the area seem to throw out good sense and etiquette about personal space when it comes to choosing their spot.  Sometimes it’s almost as if they say, “This is where I want to sit, everyone deal with it or move!”

Several times this summer, I was happily ensconced on the beach with a clear view of the ocean and what I felt was an adequate 5-10 foot perimeter between me and the beach goers around me; when suddenly… duh duh dunnn… along came a large family, or group of rowdy adults (all strangers to me) who unceremoniously dropped their chairs, blankets, coolers within 2-3 feet of my stuff.  Often they even positioned themselves directly in front of me (blocking my ocean view).  Meanwhile, there was still plenty of available beach space a bit further down or closer to the dunes.  I was left with little room to move, I couldn’t see the water, and invariably I got to hear private stories and recounts about a sordid night out or personal health issues. Believe me when I say this, I learned things I prefer not to know!

Now I know many of you will say, “What’s the big deal?” or even, “Do  you own the beach?”  (Hey I’ve even been asked this by these offenders, when I’ve diplomatically asked them if they could move over a bit.)  NO, I don’t own the beach, but I do find this to be a personal space/common courtesy issue, and what I refer to as beach etiquette.

Take for example a situation that isn’t on the beach.  Would you casually sit within 2-3 feet of someone without asking if you could sit there?  Think about a half empty lunch table or counter, wouldn’t you ask if you could share the table or whether the chair was taken if one was open next to another patron?  It’s the same courtesy you would show in these instances, just in a beach setting.

Yes I agree that the beach is a little different in its make-up, and if we were at a sold out concert on the sand, people would be sitting almost on top of each other.  But in most cases, there is plenty of room for everyone; it just might mean taking a few extra steps.  Steps and courtesy that some of these beach goers seem to prefer not to take/show.

Here are some Examples:

Acceptable:  Note: it would have also been OK if this group was even a bit closer.

Not Acceptable: Note this family was within 3ft and it was almost 4pm with plenty of room available. Other families have been even closer, at around 2ft, but I’ve been too intimidated to take their picture after hearing about a delicate operation and a family cheating scandal!

I often wondered if this just happened to me – especially as I’ve been known to go to the beach solo.  But I’ve been seeing this happen more and more often, primarily to small groups of 1-3 people.  My personal experience has also shown that it’s typically the vacationers, tourists or non-residents who ignore beach etiquette.

I wonder why this is.  Is it the “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” mentality where all good sense and common courtesy goes out the window?  Is it that the larger group feels that the individual(s) are insignificant and that the larger group prevails?  Maybe it’s just ignorance.  I’m truly curious. I’d love to know the phenomenon behind why this seems acceptable.

What do you think?  Do agree with this principle?  Has this happened to you? 

Or do you… follow proper beach etiquette?