There are many things we discuss in our blog including the incredible things you can do at a Florida beach. We even cover the downside of each beach so you can be prepared as much as possible for your visit. We want you to have fun but stay safe.
There are some things you should NOT do at the beach. You might have heard a few, but wonder why they are not recommended. So here is our list of 7 things you should not do at the beach and why.
1. Do not go into the water if you have an open wound, or are pregnant, or have had a recent surgery.
Why? If you have an open wound, bacteria from the ocean may cause problems. Swelling and pain should be monitored closely after exposure. It is best to avoid this situation by only wading in and not submerging the affected body part. Also, sharks can detect blood in very small quantities and may be attracted to swimmers with cuts or wounds. Don't think if you can't see a shark, it isn't there. They blend in very well with the sandy bottom!
For pregnant women, wading in a shallow area is likely best (if you must go in at all). Flat beaches like Daytona Beach Shores have warm pools of water at low tide. Large waves can knock even the strongest swimmers over. Keep hydrated and stay in the shade since pregnant women have higher body temperatures and more blood volume.
2. Do not swim too far out into the water, especially if the beach warning flag is red.
Every time we visit the beach, we hear lifeguards blowing their whistle at folks who swim out past the sandbar. If the beach warning flag is red, then the rip current danger is high! What is a rip current? A rip current is a strong channel of water that flows near the shoreline, then out to sea. The most important thing to know is if you get caught in a rip current, don't fight to get out of it. Swim sideways or stay calm and signal the lifeguard for help. Still confused? We were too. Watch this awesome short video by NOAA's National Ocean Service: https://youtu.be/pa4k5TcIo_U.
3. Do not feed the seagulls or any other wild birds.
Why? We have all seen and heard what happens when somebody breaks out food at the beach. The food doesn't even have to be thrown to the birds...they just know you have it and gather round! Gathering is probably not the best word to use because this quickly becomes a violent, squawk-fest of noisy birds. The birds get aggressive with humans and each other. Want to get pecked with a sharp beak on the head or hand? These birds eat out of garbage bins and pick at dead animals on the beach. You don't want to mix with them. Even people surf fishing have to watch out. The white egrets are on to them! They stalk the bait bin and try to steal the bait. Feeding seagulls and beach birds is not kind...to them or to you.
4. Do not swim in the ocean after dark!
I think anybody that has seen the movie "Jaws" knows why this is on our list. Not only that, but you can't see anything! One of our rules at the beach is: if we can't see our feet, we don't go in. There's jellyfish, sharks, stingrays, and marine debris. Fishhooks can be buried in the sand. Rip currents will not be visible as well as larger waves. Why not just take a lovely walk along the shore and enjoy the sunset instead.
5. Do not forget to use waterproof sunscreen even if its cloudy at the beach.
This seems like a no-brainer but we have seen it all. Some folks just like to barbeque at the beach - not on a grill, but themselves! Florida visitors are often unaware of the strength of the sun. They will get burned before they can even see it. With no hat or sunscreen, you are a target for sunburn and illness. Even when swimming in the calm waters of Siesta Key or Coquina Beach, you can be affected. The water can magnify the sun. The end of a beach day should be satisfying not painful. Apply a waterproof, broad spectrum sunscreen 20-30 minutes before going outside; we do it before we leave home. We also invested in swim shirts for extra protection. Reapply your sunscreen at least every 2 hours.
6. Don't bring your dog to the beach if it is not allowed, or let him run wild off-leash.
People love to bring their dogs to the beach. And who can blame them? It's so fun to see them splash in the water or play fetch on the sand. However, there are quite a few beaches that don't allow this, or have restricted access like Juno Beach and Neptune Beach. Where we live in Volusia County, there are no dogs allowed on the "people" beaches. However, you can find several dog beaches in the area such as at New Smyrna Beach and Ponce Inlet. It's better to have an enjoyable dog beach day than have to pack everything up and leave because you didn't know the rules. Miss Fancy Pants, our greyhound, loves the dog beach!
7. Think twice about alcohol on the beach.
Although some Florida beaches allow alcohol to be consumed on the beach, such as Madeira Beach, it may be better to pass on this practice...especially if you will be swimming. Why? One in the sun is worth two in the shade - that means you will get drunk faster due to dehydration. Drink lots of water to avoid getting dehydrated and think twice about entering the water. Impaired judgement could put your safety at risk. Although we enjoy "island time" and Margaritaville, we never drink on the beach. We save that pleasure for later when we arrive home or go out to dinner.
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