Rules of the Sand: How to Not Piss Off a Bostonian at the Beach

Ah, Summer is upon us. Long walks on the beach, sunkissed skin and warm breezy weather all point to sweeter times after a bitter winter. Us Bostonians, we’ve earned this time. We’ve shoveled our driveways for days, bruised our asses from falling on pesky black ice and trudged through mountains of snow and slush. No one deserves to lay out on the beach motionless and enjoy ourselves more than we do. Yet, every now and then, someone or some people come strolling onto our sand and act like complete b*tches on the beach. Because of those people, we’ve decided to come up with the ultimate rulebook for beach etiquette designed especially for them. Here are a few reminders we came up with to prevent you from getting an ear-full from an angry Bostonian:

1. Don’t Leave Trash Behind

Don't leave trash on the beach

I mean, really?! Photo courtesy of Alexis Cruz

Well, duh. At most public beaches, you’ll find signs that promote the cleanliness of the shores and urge visitors to pick up after themselves. For the sake of the surrounding area, natural environment, marine life, the long-term health of our planet, and for fellow beachgoers, please maintain your space by cleaning your trash and never leaving any belongings behind.

2. Don’t Sit on Top of Other People

People need personal space on the beach

TripAdvisor calculated that on non-crowded beaches, people should sit between 2.1 and 6.1 meters away from their neighbors. Do these two set ups pass the test?

This is the tip I’m most passionate about. You know the type of people I’m talking about. It’s a beautiful day at the beach with wide open sands and plenty of space to spread out, but then they come. Maybe it’s a family or just a couple of unaware friends, but instead of setting up a comfortable amount of space away from you, they plop their stuff down maybe a foot away from your towel. I mean, they’re practically on top of you. Nobody, and I mean nobody, likes people with no sense of personal space, so whatever you do, don’t be them.

3. Don’t Shake Out Your Towel Near Other People

Don't shake your sandy towel out near other people

Photo courtesy of

Another common sense tip: if you don’t like sand blowing in your face, then neither do the people sitting nearby. Before you get up and cause a sandstorm, figure out which way the wind is blowing and plan accordingly. Most importantly, take a few steps away from your neighbors to protect everyone’s eyes.

4. Don’t Feed the Seagulls

Don't feed the pesky seagulls

A group of gulls search for their next victim

Hungry gulls will seize any opportunity for food in flocks. Think the crust of your turkey sandwich sitting in the sand is too small and insignificant for the birds to find? Think again. Also, don’t forget to make sure all snacks are safely packed away and covered when you go down to the water. Coming back up to find your seats taken over by a family feast is always a bummer.

5. No Number Ones or Twos in the Water

Don't make the ocean your toilet

A young child weighs the pros and cons of going in the water or hiking to the toilet

Yes, the world is your oyster, but just because some people prefer warm waters over public toilets a quarter mile away from their towels doesn’t mean you should be one of those people. If you agree that the idea of wading in a stranger’s urine is gross, then practice what you preach. Enjoy the walk to the bathroom, don’t be lazy and please, please explain to your kids that the ocean is not just one, big toilet bowl.

6. Don’t Throw a Concert That No One Asked For

Don't blast your boombox at the beach

Photo courtesy of

Loud, obnoxious boomboxes used to be a big no-no in the old days. Now, it seems like no one can go to the beach without blaring their own personal playlist. Consider listening to the crashing waves as your musical pleasure or bring headphones. Going with a group? Play the music only so loud that just you and your friends can hear it — not so loud that the people relaxing at the other end of the beach can sing along.

7. Don’t Decide to Make it a Nude Beach

Speedo man lets it all hang out at the expense of other beachgoers

Speedo man lets it all hang out at the expense of other beachgoers

If you’re not sure if the beach you’re at is clothes optional or not, it’s not. Trust me, you’ll know. Please abide by every beach’s rules for the sake of the public. This includes bending the rules to argue that your g-string or barely-there speedo qualifies as coverage. We beg you.

8.Don’t Yell “Shark!” if There Isn’t One

Don't yell shark unless there really is a shark spotting at the beach

Photo courtesy of

Ever heard of the boy who cried wolf? Yeah, things didn’t really turn out too well for him. It might seem funny at the time to play a prank on your friends and family, but you never know who might be on the beach with a serious phobia. Plus, the lifeguard on duty will definitely not think you’re funny and they probably won’t save your life if you ever need some serious help.

Share this article for all the people you know who should brush up on their beach etiquette!

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