Enjoy the Beach Like a Sir With Our Beachside Etiquette Guide

BeachEtiquette

When it comes to places to practice proper etiquette, the beach isn’t exactly high tea. But as long as you’re going to catch some rays, catch ‘em like a gentleman with our beachside manners guide—which we’ve pulled and expanded from June’s Bathroom Minutes magazine to include everything from snagging prime real estate to drinking booze on the down low…

Find Your Spot
It can be difficult to nab quality beach-towel real estate on a hot, summer day, but that’s no excuse to muscle in on someone. “One rule of thumb is, if you can smell their suntan lotion, you’re too close,” says etiquette expert Jacqueline Whitmore of The Protocol School of Palm Beach.

Keep the Noise Down
Unfortunately, not everyone’s going to like your Kenny G. playlist. “Music is like smoke—it goes everywhere it’s not wanted,” says Marley Majcher, party planner at thepartygoddess.com. “If you can’t turn it down completely, try to keep it no louder than a regular speaking voice.”

Sip on the Low
Despite what’s hidden away in your alcoholic uncle Joe’s cooler, the beach isn’t a total free-for-all when it comes to booze. In fact, most beaches prohibit alcohol all together. Still, “most lifeguards don’t care about people drinking on the beach as long as they’re sly about it and it’s in a red cup,” says lifeguard Connor Wudrick. “But if I see you stumbling towards the water like a total drunkard, I’ll have to call you out.

When Nature Calls…
…use nature judiciously and privately. “If you need to tinkle, take a waist-high dip in the ocean if it’s not too cold,” Wudrick says. “Or, dig a hole in the sand then lay over it. If you can manage to not flash your bum, it’ll look like you’re tanning your back.”

Toss the Ol’ Pigskin
It can be tempting to play sports near your spot on the beach, but you’ll ruin someone’s day if they end up catching a football with their teeth. “To find the space you’ll need to throw a ball around, add two car lengths beyond your hardest toss in any direction,” Majcher says.

Shake it Off
De-sand your towel too hard and you could end up dusting someone’s potato salad. Instead: “​When you’re ready to leave, stand up, slowly pull your towel to your chest and do a shimmy with it,” Majcher explains. “Never wave it like you’re a bullfighter, even if you’re aiming upwind—there might be people behind you.”

Cut Out the PDA
The sand might be hot, but things between you and your partner shouldn’t be—at least not at the beach. “Holding hands? Cool. A quick smooch? Nice. Anything more than that and you’re going to make a whole bunch of people very, very uncomfortable,” says Stacie Krajchir, certified beach bum and wife to surfboard collector @thevintagesurfboard. “The beach isn’t your bedroom.”