People usually go to the beach to swim, relax, or sunbathe, which, depending on the company you're with can get pretty boring, pretty quickly. But the beach doesn't only have to be about rest and relaxation. Make your day in the sun and surf an active one with one of these 10 fun activities, ranging from shell-hunting to jogging along the sand.
Build a Sandcastle
Sandcastles and sand sculptures can be simple or elaborate, but all are so much fun to build! No special tools are needed—just sand, water, and your hands will do, although simple cups and pails are helpful tools in carrying sand and water and helping to shape your creation. Build a deep moat around your castle when it's done to protect it from rising tides that will make it melt it away.
Cast a Line
Fishing is one of America's favorite activities and pastimes. While not all beaches allow fishing, many do, and some even have fishing piers that rent gear. If you're a beginner and want to learn, look for a fishing tour that will take you out to a popular fishing spot. They'll also give you pointers on how to fish; it's not as easy as it looks!
You can find shells on just about any beach. While this activity sounds like a no-brainer, there are some things to keep in mind. You will need a container to collect your shells. This can be a pail, cup or bag. Only collect "dead" shells—shells that have no animal inside.
It is illegal on many Florida beaches to collect live shells. Don't forget to clean them after you get back to your hotel. Make shell-collecting more fun by purchasing a book and looking up the names of each shell to see how many you can find!
Enjoy a Picnic
Many beaches have food concessions, but they can be quite expensive and not very satisfying. So why not pack a lovely picnic? Cheese and crackers, sandwiches or fried chicken are favorites, and when paired with a salad or fresh fruit, it is often much healthier and much less expensive.
Beware that many beaches have an ordinance against alcoholic beverages, so leave the beer and wine at home and instead pack plenty of water. Also, don't forget common sense food safety: Keep foods cold in a well-insulated cooler; and, when serving, don't let them set out for an extended length of time.
Play a Game
Whether you are the active type or prefer sitting around, some games can make the day fly by. The possibilities are endless. Bring along a ball and play a game of catch or volleyball. A frisbee can be tossed over the sand or in the water. Bring a hula hoop and see who can keep it going the longest.
Draw lines in the sand for a game of Tic-Tac-Toe, using several of two different kinds of shells for the markers, play hangman in the sand or bring along a deck of cards. Portable games like ladder ball and corn toss are great fun on the beach as well!
Read a Book or Listen to Music
While you're catching those rays, it is also a great time to catch up on your reading. Whether it's the latest magazine or a naughty novel, the beach makes the ideal location for diving into a good book. It's also a good time to chill out and listen to some Spotify playlists.
Just make sure you're lathered up with sunscreen if you're going to be sitting out. If you have sun-sensitive eyes, consider listening to a podcast or streaming the book on your phone, but don't forget your headphones.
Splash and Play in the Surf
How do you cool off? Get in the water! Splash each other, run and play. Let the waves wash over you, but do be careful. Those playful waves can pack quite a punch, especially for toddlers who are already unsure on their feet. Also, rip currents are a real threat and should be taken seriously, so pay attention to the warning signs and lifeguard instructions.
If you're on vacation, of course, you'll want photos of those memory-making moments. After all, you'll have to prove to the clan back home that Johnny really did look like a lobster with that sunburn. But instead of just taking your typical family shots, whip out the artsy Instagram filters and take your picture-snapping skills to the next level.
Capture the beautiful scenery: Glistening sand, rolling white-tipped waves, colorful umbrellas, sunsets, and find some cool subjects from other beachgoers. Creative photos make the best albums, and all your friends will wonder who the photographer was. Meanwhile, it was just you and your iPhone, but no one needs to know that. Enlarge and print the best ones for some wall decor with a personal touch.
Walk, Stroll, or Jog Along the Surf
Whether you take a leisurely stroll or a brisk walk, the sand is great for exercising your feet and legs, while the sound of the surf and the smell of the salt water will clear your mind. If you decide to take a more intense jog, make sure you bring water with you and beware that running on the sand is much harder than running on a paved street.
Watch the Sunset
What a wonderful way to end your day at the beach! Florida's sunsets are spectacular, particularly from the vantage point of any Gulf Coast beach. There are two beach communities that think every sunset is reason enough to celebrate, Clearwater Beach and Key West. Those communities put on a nightly party that includes live entertainment, street performers, and craft vendors.
Best of all: The sunsets and celebrations are free! Of course, if you're not near a Sunset Celebration you can just make your own by enjoying the beautiful evening with family and friends.