Long stretches of golden sand, emerald green waters and sunny skies are all beckoning not only Florida residents but tourists planning a summer vacation to the beach.
From Panama City in the panhandle and the crystal clear waters of Key West to Miami Beach on the east coast and Fort Desoto on the west coast, there are things you need to know before taking your first step onto a Florida beach.
The Sunshine State is just that; the ultraviolet rays can be brutal on the skin and it’s no fun getting a sunburn on the first day of vacation. Veterans of the Florida beaches know the drill when it comes to beach safety but for those venturing to Florida for the first time, here are some tips to consider.
- Wear a high level sunscreen of at least SPF 30
- Reapply sunscreen at least every 2 hours
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes
- Wear a wide brimmed hat or visor to protect your head and face
- Bring a beach umbrella as a source of shade
- It’s a good idea to wear a beach cover-up to give your skin a break from the sun
- Pace your time in the sun. Avoid excessive exposure without protection
- Stay hydrated and drink water, not sodas, throughout the day
It’s great fun strolling barefoot along the shoreline, playing a game of sand volleyball or building sand castles. Just be aware the beautiful sugar white sand may have bits and pieces of broken shells to jab your feet. Also, sometimes folks can’t be bothered with throwing their trash in a receptacle. Just be aware.
Do wear sandals and flip flops to protect feet from super hot sidewalks. Sometimes, the sand itself can get hot and uncomfortable especially when walking across a long expanse from the hotel to the water.
You’ll see plenty of birds such as pelicans, herons and seagulls at the beach. The best advice is to leave them alone. Don’t feed them, especially the seagulls. What will start out as one lone gull will quickly turn into a small army of hungry birds.
The water is inviting but follow safety rules and beach regulations and stay safe.
- Read signs. There may be warnings posted
- Never swim alone
- Be aware of the possibility of rip tides
- Be aware jellyfish and stingrays inhabit the water and you don’t want to come in contact with either one
- If you’re swimming in an area where manatees are present, DO NOT, under any circumstances attempt to interact, touch, entice, pet or ride these protected mammals. It is against the law.
- If a thunderstorm is approaching, leave the beach immediately. Florida has the most lightening strikes and being in or near the water is extremely dangerous.
Florida beaches are some of the most beautiful in the world and the sunsets are stunning. Enjoy your time sunning, swimming and participating in a variety of water activities but be safe and be aware.