Hooray! Today is a beach day with my friends that I haven’t seen in forever! We’re meeting for lunch, having some frozen frou frou drinks (I am anyways!), and then chillin’ on the beach. My friend Larissa seems to think there will be swimming taking place. The Gulf of Mexico is currently 72 degrees at Clearwater Beach. Lukewarm water is 80 to 85 degrees. Silly Larissa, 72 degrees is for penguins, not people!
Instead, I’ve come up with a list of 10 things to do at the beach when it’s too cold to go for a swim. Or for those who were permanently scarred as a child by the movies Jaws.
1. Take pictures- Hours of entertainment right here. You can photograph the birds, the surf, sea oats, people, your kids, sand castles, strange sitings, etc.
2. Collect shells- Be selective when collecting though. Honestly, there are only so many things you can do with shells that don’t end up looking tacky or touristy.
3. Build sand castles- Come on, do you really need a kid with you to have an excuse to do this? Stop at the drugstore and grab a $2.00 bucket and shovel set. When you’re done, pass the shovel and bucket on to some kids.
4. Create installation art- If sand castles seem to ‘babyish’ to you, collect shells, driftwood, sand, seaweed, etc. and create some sort of sculptural installation art that will eventually erode with the tide. Don’t forget to take pictures of your beautiful work as a souvenir!
5. Send messages- Grab a stick and etch silly greetings in the sand for friends back home freezing their butts off (“Don’t you wish you were hot like me?”) or cheesy, sentimental thoughts (“My love for you is as eternal as the tide.”) Take pictures and use them as souvenirs or to make postcards to send.
6. Etch a Sketch- Got some drawing skills? Awesome- draw pictures in the sand and take pictures for posterity. Suck at drawing, you say? That’s okay too- if you screw up, just wipe it out and start again! Add shells and seaweed to your drawings to give it a mixed-media effect.
7. Count Random Things- Count the number of men in Speedos (probably European or from Miami), the number of crazy people swimming in the freezing cold water (probably Canadian or from Minnesota), or the number of skinny bitches in teeny bikinis (probably Brazilian or from Hell).
8. Sleep- There’s nothing more relaxing than the sounds of the surf to lull you to Sleepyland. This works better, however, when you don’t have children to watch over and keep safe from being snacks for sharks.
9. Feed the birds- I hesitated to add this one, as many people don’t employ common sense when doing this. So let me break it down for you- DO NOT FEED THE BIRDS WHILE IN A CROWD OF PEOPLE UNLESS YOU WANT 100 BIRDS FLYING OVERHEAD, CRAPPING ON YOUR HEAD AND THE HEADS OF STRANGERS- STRANGERS WHO MAY COME AFTER YOU!! It’s fun to feed the birds, but show some courtesy and common sense by finding a spot where there are no people nearby before tossing your crumbs please! Just don’t. Don’t, don’t, don’t. Please forget I ever mentioned this. The birds at the beach are aggressive bastards and will snatch shit right out of your hand. I apologize to those beach goers present in my early days of being a coastal resident, tossing chips and bits of my food and contributing to the birds’ bad behavior.
10. Clean up- Some people think nothing of littering at the beach. Those people are a-holes. So while you’re strolling the beach with your bucket, searching for shells, take some time to pick up any trash you come across as well. Leave it prettier than you found it!
Any other fun things to do at the beach? Leave me a comment and let me know!
(Photo by Nicole North Rodriguez)