Monday, May 14, 2012

DIY: Beach Like a Local

Look, I'm building credibility.

It's beach season and I'm pretty much a beach professional. My entire life, I have lived a short drive from beaches you have probably heard of. The amount of time I have spent covered in white sand and salty water would add up to an impressive percentage. So I know for a fact that if you haven't been to the Gulf of Mexico, you owe yourself a trip. And I feel it is my duty to help you be the best tourist you can be.

Living in paradise is tough. But someone has to do it.

Beach locals scoff at tourists. We pretend not to like you. We laugh at how you are clueless on a Tai Frasier level. We can't wait to see your sunburn. But here's a secret: we are so glad you came. You boost our economy and we need you.

Here's how to beach like a local:
  1. Pack light. All you need is a towel, sunscreen, and a bottle of water. If you're fancy, add a snack, a book and a beach chair (an actual beach chair, not a camp chair). If you need a contraption with wheels to carry your belongings, you are bringing too much.
  2. No zany zinc colors. It's not 1992 anymore.
  3. No radios. You are at the beach. Listen to the beach. Plus no one else around you likes the 80s hair band you like. No one.
  4. Look for shells, but act like you really don't care about them.
  5. Say things like "remember how we used to just park along the dunes and walk through?" a little too loudly.
  6. The sugar white sand "sings" because it's made of quartz and all the grains are of the same size and composition. This is actually really cool. Pretend not to notice. (Hurricanes have whipped out a lot of the shoreline in recent years. Dredging has replaced some of it with crushed shells, making for less musical sand. This allows locals to say things like "remember when the sand was pure?". See number 5.) 
  7. If there's a pier, go to the side with the fewest people. The people are never evenly distributed. Ever. (Do the here's the church, here's the steeple, open the doors and see all the people hand thing. Except make one hand a nub. That's how it goes near a pier.)
  8. Find the main parking lot and then drive away from it. You'll likely find a smaller lot down the road.
  9. Try your best to never enter a beach bathroom. Public restrooms are usually disgusting anyway. Add a bunch of people dripping sand and what you hope is just water. (You absolutely do not want to change here - wear your suit under your clothes.)
  10. It is highly unlikely that you will be attacked by a shark. Jellyfish stings, on the other hand, are extremely common. Please do not pee on someone with a sting. (If you are attacked by a shark, do whatever you want. In fact, pee on everyone around you.) That whole pee thing is a myth. White vinegar will help - bring some with you if you're skerd. Locals just tough it out. "What, this silly little jellyfish sting? Pft. I rubbed a jellyfish on my eyeballs before I got here." We cry in the car on the way home.
Tell me what makes your town trip worthy and how I can blend in. I have a hankering for a road trip.


  1. Hey Jen, thanks for telling me the pee thing is just a myth. I won't let my sista do that anymore! She has lied to me long enough.


  2. haha I love this! I'm from Indiana so we're pretty darn land-locked and I haven't been to the beach very often. I'm going to NC this summer though to visit some friends and spend some time on the beach, so I'll have to keep these tips in mind! haha

  3. Super funny your advices on how to beach like a local! Really made me laugh out loud :-) Thanks