Beach etiquette

Wouldn’t you love to be on a beach now …. somewhere in the Caribbean or perhaps the South Pacific. Sunny, warm, just the sound of the waves. Gosh I am almost asleep as I sit here gazing out the window at the snow and slush outside. At least it is not as cold as it was but you know that it is going to be like an ice rink out there tomorrow morning 😦

So let’s get back to the beach. Now try this – sit back, take a deep breath – slowly in, slowly out – now close your eyes and imagine you are sitting on the beach in Bora Bora. Hmm – that’s a nice dream. But where are your manners? Take off your shoes, please. Don’t you know how to behave on the beach? Yes, there is a code of conduct. Also if you are going to the beach you really need to have a swimsuit on – or at the least shorts and t-shirt. If you are walking around the beach in your street clothes (with your shoes on) you could be mistaken for some kind of stalking weirdo.

You know there are things that live in the ocean? Yep. If you are on a very busy beach they will probably keep well away from you but at smaller beaches you may run into the odd creature. I remember being on a beach in Mozambique where the seaweed was growing thick in the water. I was a bit leery about walking through there and when I was halfway out towards the surf I noticed that every time I put my foot down something scuttled away. OMG. I did not like that. Only when I got back to the beach did I realise that there were people out there fishing for crayfish. Yep. I would rather have them grilled with lemon and butter than running over my toes.

And if you have ever been stung by a jelly fish you know all about it. We used to have some mean little jelly fish that came into the shallow waters of the beaches around Cornwall, England. You get one of those suckers bite you, it is really sore. Or even better, try standing on a sea urchin. Apparently the cure for the sting is to pee on it. Try peeing on your own foot when you are hopping up and down on one leg. Yep, not easy.

When you go down to the beach to scope out a good spot try and give others a bit of space. I know some beaches get really crowded but it is no fun for anybody if you are literally on top of each other.

Believe it or not this was taken last July !!! No social distancing here

And here is my pet peeve – if there are beach chairs provided by your hotel don’t go down at 6 am and put your towel on a chair (or chairs – even worse) and then disappear out of sight for hours. Not fair.

I guess if you got a local seal to keep an eye on it that would be OK

And remember when you have had enough beach for the day and you are rounding up your stuff to go home don’t shake out your beach towel covering all and sundry with sand. Rude.

Be careful about taking photos. You don’t want to take someone’s photo without their permission – especially if you happen to be on a nude beach – or a semi nude beach. And if you are the nudie on a nude beach remember to take your towel with you just in case the resort has provided beach loungers for you. In that case you should be sitting on your towel on the lounger. And another tip, even if there are no loungers I recommend you sit on your towel on the beach. Yep – that sand gets everywhere!

By Lesley Keyter

Lesley Keyter is the face of travel in the fast growing city of Calgary. Every week since 1997 she has has featured live on the Morning News Global TV.


  1. Thanks for this Lesley. Something I would add is if you are a smoker, don’t smoke near other people, especially children and for heaven sakes don’t leave your butts in the sand. Bring an ashtray or a pop can or something.


  2. Always love your blogs. I grew up summering on the Bay of Fundy. We also had urchins and jelly fish with clams and oysters thrown in and the same yucky ouchy outcomes. Barnacle covered large boulders hidden by the incoming tide were to be avoided at all cost. My legs sting just thinking of it! Happy dream-beaching to you.


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