Beach Smarts 101

 In Beach Smarts

Make the most of your Outer Banks vacation (and help other people do the same!) with these beach etiquette pro-tips. If you have others, feel free to share in the comments (but be nice!).

1. Shake, shake, shake it out...

With the beach comes sand. It’s sort of a given. But be careful: when you shake your towel out, check which way the wind is blowing. When you’re walking in flip flops, be mindful of all the sand that gets flipped up on the flop. When you’re playing in it, remember this number 1 for beach etiquette! No one wants to get inadvertently sandblasted, especially if they just slathered on the sunscreen! Yuck.

flying sand


 2. Litterbugs = losers.

Did you know that the Outer Banks is considered pristine by most environmentalists? It’s not going to stay that way if we don’t pick up our trash.


 3. Seriously, they’re on a very special diet.

If you feed them, they will come. Nothing ruins a peaceful day at the beach like a flock of angry seagulls fighting you for your potato chips. And did you know that just one apple can make a wild horse sick or even kill them? Please don’t feed the wildlife!



 4. A little to the left. A little more to the left. Keep going.

There are over 100 miles of shoreline on the Outer Banks. Why you gotta set up camp right next to me? If the beach isn’t crowded, spread out!

5. There’s no Kiss Cam here.

That being said, you’re still in public and we can still see you. Our kids can see you. Our poor, innocent dogs can see you. Keep the private stuff private.



 6. It’s too hot for earmuffs.

And while we’re at, just remember that the Outer Banks is a destination for tens of thousands of families every summer. Be respectful of little ears and don’t cuss like a sailor when there are families camped out within hearing distance.

 7. Rated T for Turn That Sh*t Down.

Headphones! Or if you want to play music that everyone in your group can hear, what about making a playlist just for the beach? Popular songs that everyone knows the words to are way more fun than death metal, and probably won’t annoy everyone else around you either.

8. A hole lotta trouble.

Dude, people literally die from digging holes in the sand. It just happened in Florida and it’s incredibly tragic and preventable. Holes left on the beach are also very dangerous to wildlife, especially sea turtles that come to shore at night to lay their eggs.



 9. Don’t leave the canopy. Or anything else.

Everyone is pleasantly broiled and it’s time to wrap things up and go back to the house in search of some aloe and a cold beverage. But first…pick up your stuff! Even if you’ve rented a beachfront house and can see your canopy and chairs from the living room window, it’s important to bring it all in at the end of the day. It’s more than just beach etiquette, as most OBX towns will actually trash stuff that’s left on the beach overnight, and it can be dangerous to wildlife and people who walk at dusk or dawn.


Happy beaching! 

Showing 7 comments
  • Wojo

    Great post, sums up perfectly what everyone should be thinking / doing while at our beaches. Following these common sense rules do not burden anyone and makes the beach enjoyable for everyone. It would be helpful if the towns would be more assertive in enforcement.

  • Jackie Church

    Great info, but please remind guests about cleaning up after their dogs and limiting the time their furry friends are on the beach with them. . . if it’s too hot for you to walk on the sand, it’s too hot for your animals. Leave them home in the cool air conditioning! They’ll be fine and will probably enjoy the quiet.

    • 3dog

      Thanks, Jackie! Always a good reminder, and we actually do have some pet safety and clean-up reminders on our Leash Laws page.

  • Bill

    I would love to see sound devices without earphones banned. I have rare time to visit the beach and I want to hear gulls and the sound of the surf, not somebody’s blaring music, no matter what it is.

  • Barak

    Great advice, as well as a good reminder for most of us who already observe beach etiquette.
    In summary, don’t forget that you are not the only person or family that simply want to enjoy the beach.

  • Barak

    1. When using a public beach access point, please don’t take up 2 car spots when parking your vehicle.
    2. When using a public restroom, shower or changing room: a. please be quick; the line behind you is otherwise getting longer
    b. please try to take up less space with your stuff; we all are carrying heavy beach gear that we’d like to set down somewhere
    3. When leaving the beach at a narrow exit point/boardwalk, please step aside and let others pass by, while you attempt
    to brush off the last grain of sand from off your feet before you slip-on your sandals.
    4. When waiting in any food line, please use that time to make your food choices for yourself and each person in your party.

  • Andrew

    This will be our first time spending our family vacation at Southern Shores and was curious about drinking adult beverages on the beach. Thank you for all of the great tips on this forum.

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