Confessions of a Beach Hermit
Call Me the "Lone Beacher"
Do you love beaches where you are blanket to blanket? If someone walks past, their feet flick sand on you? Their flying misguided Frisbees clunk you while you are resting? The sound of boomboxes blares in your ear as you smell coconut oil from the people who grease up for the ultimate tan.
If that's your beach nirvana, you will probably never run into me. I have developed strategies to avoid everyone else and, save a few other anti-social people, enjoy a nearly empty beach.
I you like to hear only the sound of the waves, walk along the water; read a book; and be in the soft gentle sun; then read on.
You don't have to be rich to afford your own private beach retreat.
With a few simple strategies you can find your own quiet piece of beach paradise to relax on.
Strategy #1 For Avoiding a Crowd
Height of Season - Height of Day, What do I do?
I travel light to the beach. When no one is looking I lock my purse in the trunk of the car and just take pocket money (more on this later).
Take a light weight blanket, sun tan lotion, cell phone, a large water bottle and a book. Good to go. Then walk all the way to either end of the beach where there is no one else. (Great exercise).
Sometimes this means there is no lifeguard on duty at these ends and swimming is prohibited. Good. It means even less people. If I want to go in the water, I can always get up from the blanket to stretch, take a walk and go where there is a lifeguard station. More good exercise.
People tend to congregate near (1) the lifeguards, so they may swim (2) the bathrooms and concessions (especially important for people with children); and (3) young people tend to congregate where there are other young people to socialize with.
Strategy #2 Another Mid-Summer Cure for Crowds - Go Off Peak Time
This strategy was developed by accident. I am really fair and burn easily. A dermatologist, pretty much guaranteed me that if I do sun, I will get skin cancer. That plus the fact that I really don't like super heat. So, I started going to the beach at 3:00 pm. Guess what? Everyone else is leaving at that time.
The sand is still nice and warm under my blanket and against my back. I can sit and read without glare and the sun's rays are gentler after 3:00 pm.
Strategy #3 for "Hermitism" - Go Off Season
I used to plan the most blissful beach vacations to Cape Cod, Massachusetts in the Autumn. If you have ever been to Cape Cod you know there is one main road toward Provincetown and in the summer it is slow going.
When I was working, my strategy was to ask for the week off after Labor Day. It was easy to get as most people didn't want it. Then, I would head to the Cape. I had the whole beautiful, white duned National Seashore to mostly myself.
I would stroll along for miles with a bag, picking up seashells and washed stones -- great exercise. Then when I was tired, I go back to the blanket and nap on the warm, blanket in the warm but not scorching sun.
The ocean holds its heat pretty far into winter making the shorelines even warmer than inland areas.
My other Cape Cod strategy is to go the weekend after Memorial Day. Yes, everyone heads to the beaches Memorial Day, but then come Tuesday, the kids have to go back to school. For this strategy, I bring a blanket to wrap myself as it might be a little chilly on the shore.
Check and see if your favorite retreat area has an off season. You can usually tell by checking the lodging rates, they often drop to half or more of the usual rate. (Another plus).
The only drawback is some of the restaurants and stores might be closed off season.
Strategy #4 For a Quiet Retreat - Go Where There Is No Swimming Allowed
Yes. There are beautiful sandy beaches where there is no swimming allowed. The one in the photo is Harkness Memorial Park, Waterford, CT. It has a beautiful picnic area and lawn for kite flying, and Frisbee throwing and a formal garden to tour. However, the beach area is small. I suspect the State doesn't provide a lifeguard as it's too small to warrant it.
Bingo! I just want a beach for relaxation purposes. Here I will find a few parents with toddlers letting them wade; and I am happy to wade right alongside of them. Then go back to my quiet blanket and read.
A lot of small town beaches fall into this category. Look around and you will find little pocket hole beaches where no swimming means less people.
Okay, so what are the drawbacks?
- At the secluded end of the beach there may be no formal restrooms. Plan ahead. Or plan on taking a long walk to one. Some will have port-a-potties. Bring a small bottle of hand sanitizer.
- I like to walk the beach. This means my stuff is left alone on the blanket with me maybe a mile away. I recommend either locking a purse in your trunk or not bringing one. You could even do it before getting to the beach to make sure no one is watching. I don't carry a beach bag. I just put everything in my blanket and fold it so it holds my stuff. I have a personal beach neck wallet.
- Isolation could be dangerous. Honestly, I am not that scared at beaches, I don't feel they are a place for criminal activity. Even though isolated, they are open. Still, I don't go where there is no one in sight. I can always see someone off in the distance. I feel better when I see more than one person. One person could be an offender, so another person is security. Keep your cell phone with you.
My Safety Method to Protect My Valuables - This is similar to the neck purse I purchased a long time ago
It is extra security to have your cell phone with you, and the last thing you want to do is lose your car keys in the sand.
I also take my neck purse on vacation and wear it in areas other than a beach. I keep one credit card in my purse and one credit card in my neck purse. It's highly unlikely someone will take both my purse and my neck wallet.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2013 Ellen Gregory