By Melissa Locker
February 04, 2017
Nine Things Every Beach-Lover Knows
Credit: Getty Images

If you love going to the beach, then you know that the secret to happiness can be found next to the ocean. Beach lovers understand that a long walk on the shore of Martha’s Vineyard or Malibu, skipping rocks or watching white-capped waves crash on the sand, is the easiest way to adopt a sense of calm in tumultuous times.

Sandy shores bring generations of family and friends together for picnicking, family time, or quiet contemplation with a view of the waves. No matter where you are—Con Son, Vietnam, South Carolina’s Kiawah Island, or even Coney Island—a trip to the seashore means finding the perfect combination of peace and playfulness all soundtracked by the meditative rumblings of the ocean.

Whether you’re a die-hard swimmer, a veteran shell collector, a serious sunbather, or simply like to sit under an umbrella and read a book, there’s nothing like a day at the ocean, because true beach lovers know that sand in the shoes (or pants!) is the mark of a day well spent.

Here are nine other things that every beach lover knows to be true:

You can't beat a beach town.

There’s a special beach town feeling that makes them feel like vacation the minute you step foot on their salt-whipped streets. Whether you find yourself in Provincetown, Naples, La Jolla, or Traverse City, America’s favorite beach towns have their own distinct charm. Grab taffy or fudge from the candy store, wander down the boardwalk, or grab an ice cream cone and watch the waves crash on the shore.

Early mornings (and sunset) are always better on the beach.

Whether you’re taking an early morning walk on the shore in Malibu or joining in the nightly sunset celebration in Key West, there’s no better place to watch the sunrise or set than the beach. As beach lovers know, the water’s edge is the frontline to all the sun-meets-shore action.

Sea glass is downright beautiful.

During a walk along the beach, everyone becomes an amateur seashell collector. Beachgoers know, though, that the real prize is sea glass—those wave-and-sand smoothed colorful baubles that show up on the shore on lucky days. In short, sea glass is like the four-leaf clover of shell collecting. It may not bring good luck, but it will definitely brighten your day.

Beach bonfires are life affirming.

There are a few beaches out there that allow visitors build bonfires on the sand. What that means: dinner al fresco. When the sun goes down, grab some hot dogs and marshmallows and enjoy supper under the stars, nestled on a blanket on the beach as the waves crash on the shore.

Keep in mind, though, that many beaches forbid fires for safety reasons or to protect the fragile beach ecosystem. A good beachgoer is always respectful of their surroundings.

The beach looks different every time you visit.

Part of the allure of the beach is that it is never the same place twice. Thanks to the pull of wind, tides, and waves, the coastal landscape is constantly changing. No matter how often you visit it always looks different, which is why walks on the beach rarely feel repetitive.

People who leave trash on the beach are the worst.

It’s distressing to see a duck with a plastic six-pack ring around its neck, a seagull with its foot stuck in a web of fishing line, or to have your beautiful ocean view marred by a pile of trash. When you head to the seaside, pack out what you pack in and try to pick up at least one piece of trash when you go.

Beach hair is the best hair.

There’s some magical elixir in the sun, salt, and wind that makes almost everyone’s hair look better. That’s why there are so many styling products out there that try to replicate the effects of a day on the beach. The best way to get beach hair, though, is to actually spend the day out on the sand.

The beach is the best free entertainment around.

Taking a beach day is almost always going to fall well within your budget—that is, if you bring your own food and don’t have to pay for parking. Build sand castles, splash in the waves, look for animals, collect seashells, or just take in the view. We know, we know: some beaches have park entrance fees, but it’s still cheaper than a trip to an amusement park.

The beach is fun in any weather.

The Caribbean beaches may have crystalline turquoise waters and brilliant white sand, but spending a grey day on the Oregon coast has its own allure. True beach fans who really love to watch waves crash on the sand aren’t picky when it comes to the ocean, so long as they don’t have to go swimming in, say, the waters off the coast of Newfoundland in winter.