Easy Actions for Beach Lovers
Florida’s 825 miles of sandy beaches draw millions of beach lovers each year. Some folks love to join the crowds at our most popular beaches, while some prefer a beach with campsites nearby, or a little-used beach for yoga stretches or romantic strolls, or a beach where the mullet run and the red drum roll.
Whether you’re a local who gets a daily dose of the coast, a seasonal resident, a weekend sun soaker or a once-a-year reveler, many easy actions you take ensure that your favorite beaches keep the natural characteristics that make them your favorite.
Before You Go
- Pack a waste-free picnic lunch or snack pack.
- Pack your beach towels, sunscreen, lip balm and other beach supplies in reusable bags.
- Locate nearby restroom facilities, especially when your party includes young children. Many beaches also provide showers, so you can keep the sand on the beach and out of your vehicle. Check the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s online beach guide for a list of amenities on public beaches.
- If you’re more into catching fish than catching a tan, find out what kind of license you need and size limits to potential dinner entrees on the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s website. If it’s scallop season, you might want to pack some snorkeling gear. If you need a license, you can get one online.
On The Beach
- Keep litter off the beach. If you brought supplies in plastic bags, be sure to anchor them. Almost 95 thousand plastic bags were removed from Florida’s beaches in 2010. Plastic bags can escape on a breeze and end up in the gulf or Atlantic where sea turtles mistake them for a jellyfish lunch. Keep a bag handy for trash and recyclables.
- Pick up after your pets.
- At the end of your fishing time, don’t forget to reel in and properly dispose of tangled fishing line. Dolphins, pelicans, and other ocean- and shore-dwelling creatures can become entangled in discarded fishing line. Also, pick up broken corks, hooks or other tackle.
- Use pathways and boardwalks when available to protect dunes and native vegetation.
When You Leave
- Dispose of any leftover food properly. Food scraps attract predators that may be detrimental to threatened or endangered species.
- Fill in holes created during your visit. Creating moats and holes with sand shovels is fun, but presents a challenge to hatchling sea turtles after you’re gone.
- Dispose of cigarettes properly. In 2010, the International Coastal Cleanup removed 1,892,526 cigarettes and cigarette filters from beaches around the world. Over 200,000 of these were found on Florida’s beaches.
- Follow a “pack in, pack out” philosophy and take everything you brought to the beach back off the beach and into trash cans or recycle bins.
- Take as many photos and memories as you like.