The last thing I want to do is be the fun police, but there are certain rules – some official and some unspoken – that should be followed at the beach. To ensure maximum enjoyment for you and your fellow beach goers, be a good citizen with these things you should and shouldn’t do while soaking up the sun.

This first one is already prohibited here in Vancouver, but while away don’t smoke on the beaches. Not only can warm summer breezes blow secondhand smoke into the faces—and lungs—of your fellow beachgoers, but cigarette butts are harmful to the environment.

Don’t shake out your towel or blanket around others. What you are shaking off will likely fly into someone else’s face or onto their blanket.

Don’t feed the birds. Not only is trying to eat your beach snacks around relentless seagulls annoying, it’s not good for their health. Handouts of bread, fast food, and so forth can make them sick and lead to overcrowding in places that humans frequent, like beaches.

And this brings me to my next point, which really should be a given but don’t leave trash behind. Not all beaches come equipped with trash cans, so pack a plastic bag in your tote to dispose of trash and take it with you.

Now I’m sure you have a really amazing beach playlist, but unfortunately, you are not the beach’s DJ. So, put your speakers away and pull out your headphones. That way, everyone can enjoy their own tunes, beach reads, or just the gentle sound of crashing waves.

Don’t ignore local customs. As always when traveling, be respectful and observe local customs, including manners of dress and public behavior. Teeny bikinis and public displays of affection may be OK at home, but in some countries, it’s frowned upon.

Finally, don’t ignore warnings. Those signs warning of riptides, strong currents, and jellyfish are there for a reason…to keep you and your fellow beachgoers safe.

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