Summer is a time that millions of people jump in their vehicle and they take a vacation. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there are around 657 million long distance trips planned each summer, with the average distance being around 284 miles one way. Many of these people will head for a beach destination, such as Daytona Beach.
What many of these people do not realize is that there is etiquette that goes along with being on the beach. Yes, beach etiquette may not be something people talk about much, but it's alive and well, and those of us who live near the beach love it when people are aware of it. We frown when they are not. This is all the more reason those traveling to Daytona Beach this summer, or anytime, will want to get familiar with a few of the do's and don'ts.
Here are a few beach etiquette tips when visiting Daytona Beach:
- Don't set up your things right next to someone else. Let's face it, most people go to the beach to relax and get away. The last thing they want is for you to set up camp right next to them. Even if the beach is busy, try to give people a little space in between where everyone is set up. It's just common courtesy. Also, don't set up right in front of someone else unless they are a ways away from the beach. Otherwise you are just blocking their view.
- If you are a smoker, take an ashtray with you. Although the beach sand seems like a decent place to stuff your cigarette butts, it's really not. It's actually quite disgusting. The beach is not an ashtray, and there are people who put in time trying to pick them up at beach clean-ups (such as my family). Cigarette butts are the most common item picked up during beach cleanups. It's a huge environmental issue to have all of those decomposing butts on the beach, releasing a plethora of chemicals as they break down. Plus, it makes our beautiful beaches look dirty. Do the right thing and dispose of butts properly.
- Watch your children. This should go without saying, but for some reason it doesn't. Yes, it's easy to get to the beach and close your eyes to relax and totally forget you have munchkins running around. But you can't do it. You have to watch them. Pay attention to where they are playing, when they are in the water, and what they are up to.
- Pick up your trash when you leave the beach. Our county has done a wonderful job of making sure there are plenty of trash and recycling bins all down the beach. It takes seconds to grab your trash and dispose of it properly, yet people leave lots of garbage behind, which ends up out in the ocean.
- If you are in an area of the beach where you are not alone, avoid playing your music loudly. While you may like it, that doesn't mean those around you do, and again, people go to the beach to relax. Keep the volume at a level to where you hear it (or take headphones), but that it's not annoying your beach neighbors.
- There are sections of the beach that are no-drive and sections where cars can drive during the daytime. If you are in a section where cars can drive, always pay attention to where you are setting your things up and when you are crossing the driving lane. Adults often set up their chairs in the car driving lane and/or walk right across the lane without ever looking to see if there are vehicles coming.
- Many people like to play games at the beach, such as Frisbee or catch. That's great! But if you are going to do that, you really should not do it around and in between others who are trying to enjoy the beach. It's kind of unsettling to have things whizzing over and past you as you are trying to relax.
- Feeding the birds is something a lot of people like to do. If you are going to do that, always walk away from where the people are. If you feed them around the masses there will suddenly be a lot of birds around the people, and you will have made a lot of people unhappy.
- Dogs are not allowed on most of the beaches in the Daytona Beach area. There are some areas where dogs are allowed on the beach. Before taking your dog on the beach, be sure of whether or not it's allowed in the area you are in.
- If you are going to fish while you are visiting the area, be sure to dispose of fishing line properly. It takes around 600 years for it to break down in the environment, and it is a problem in that it dangers wildlife. And speaking of wildlife, avoid chasing the birds. It makes our nesting and migratory birds have to expend energy they need to survive and migrate.
- Once in a while you may see a gopher tortoise up near the dunes area (plant area) of the beach. Whatever you do, please do not do them a "favor" and put them back in the ocean. They do not belong in the ocean. Please read this article to learn more. Also, steer clear of sea turtle egg areas, which are usually marked off with stakes and yellow tape.
- It's fine to dig holes on the beach, but before you leave be sure to fill them in. If you don't, they can become a danger to nesting sea turtles, as well as people walking or biking on the beach.
This list is certainly not to take the fun out of going to the beach. Really! But if you keep these beach etiquette tips in mind when you visit Daytona Beach you will help make a better beach experience for everyone. The beaches can get busy in the summer time. The more we can follow beach etiquette, the better off everyone will be and our beaches will stay looking beautiful!