Ten Rules of Beach Etiquette Miami Needs to Start Following

Picture your perfect beach. The one you imagine when you close your eyes and go to your calm place. Where the sky is clear, the vibe is chill, and you can hear the gentle crash of the waves against the shore. It's the type of serene perfection brought to mind by postcards, beer ads, and Jimmy Buffett lyrics.

Then there are the realities of actually going to the beach in Miami. According to a 2011 TripAdvisor survey of regular travelers, the Magic City's sand was home to the worst-behaved beachgoers in the entire United States. It's a place where your idea of Corona Light commercial perfection is shattered by some tourist couple violently yelling at each other two towels down.

And, you know, it's fine. It's really fine. It's still beautiful, and the people watching alone brings its own charms. We can live with it. But if we're being really frank, here are some minor beach etiquette tips we wish more people would follow.

Turn off your damn music: No one has ever packed up the car with a cooler and beach chairs, slathered on sunscreen, and trudged to the beach while thinking, You know, I really hope I hear someone else blaring music today!

In fact, if you look around, most people don't take their own boomboxes to the beach, and there's a reason. They don't wanna be that guy. So when you pull out your Bluetooth speaker and hit play on your carefully curated Spotify "Pool Party House" mix, no one is thinking, Oh, wow, what a good idea! Wish I had brought mine! Everyone thinks, Ugh, we're dealing with one of those dudes.

So if you absolutely must take your tunes to the beach, remember that keeping it at a low volume is really great. Headphones are even better.

Leave at least five feet between you and the next closest group: There are times and places on the beach when it's so crowded it will feel like you're setting your towel in the middle of a Where's Waldo book. That's unavoidable. Yet there are other times when you're lucky enough to scout out a particular stretch of sand that's sparsely populated. It feels almost like a luxury to find a spot where you don't have to hear your next closest beach neighbor's every breath.

That is, until someone who lacks spatial reasoning skills plops himself down oddly close to you. It's a little creepy. If you can leave at least a mattress' worth of space between you and someone else, please do it.

Don't be that awkward, flirtatious guy who can't take a hint: Flirting with people on the beach used to be an entire genre of teen movies in the '50s and '60s. It's a tradition, and if you're smooth, you can pull it off. Yet we've seen too many would-be Romeos who stalk some poor girls sitting on towels and stand there for what seems like an eternity trying to strike up conversation despite the obvious hints they're getting nowhere. At its worst, it can cross over to straight-up harassment.

Don't cross the line into exhibitionism: Yes, it's great that Miami Beach is the exception to so many standard American rules of beach dress code and instead takes a more European and South American view of things. That is, until someone takes advantage of our relatively lax attitude toward topless sunbathing and Brazilian mankinis and decides to get their public freak on. Listen, we once saw a man strip down to a homemade thong that was fashioned out of a scrap of fabric, twine, and Scotch tape. Or at least that's what it looked like at an accidental glance. We tried not to look too long. There's a fine line between being comfortable in your own skin and flaunting it to the point where everyone else is uncomfortable. If you have to cross it, well, literally cross the line to the nude beach in Haulover.

On the flip side, don't gawk: The beach is a vulnerable place. We're all stripped down to little synthetic scraps of fabric roughly the size of our underwear. It's kind of weird, but you gotta do what you gotta do to get that tan. In general, no one goes to the beach to feel like they're either being eye-fucked or overly scrutinized.

Sponsor Content


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >