Certain activities at the beach seem like staples: swimming, surfing, beach volleyball, sunbathing… But during the Covid-19 outbreak, we’re being encouraged to avoid any activities that could put us in need of help from emergency responders as well as activities that could lead to too many people being too close together.

So, what can you do at the beach during Covid-19?

Before you head to the beach, make sure you know how to safely go outside during the Covid-19 outbreak.

5 things to remember when you go out during the Covid-19 pandemic:

  • Respect beach closures
  • Only go out with those in your household
  • Keep a 6 foot (2 meter) distance from those around you
  • Avoid crowded areas
  • Don’t do anything that may put you in danger
  • Find out which beaches are open in the United States here or visit our U.S. region pages here for updates.

    Find information on Ontario beach closures here.

    Photo by Belinda Fewings

    To avoid having too many people too close together, people are not allowed to lie or sit on the sand or bring items such as coolers, umbrellas, and canopies to the beach. ‘Inactive’ activities, like sunbathing, gatherings, and picnics, are discouraged at beaches.

    ‘Active’ activities at beaches, such as walking, running, swimming, and surfing, are permitted. (Although, if you are swimming or surfing, you should be extra cautious.)

    Beachgoers must wear a facial covering when out of the water and around others.

    Now that you know how to safely visit the beach, it’s time to discover Swim Guide’s 5 fun things to do while social distancing at the beach:

    First thing to do at the beach during the pandemic: Pick up litter

    Okay, so picking up garbage at the beach may not be everyone’s first idea of fun. But with all of the fun that the ocean provides for you, don’t you want to give something back?

    By picking up litter from the beach, you can make sure that it doesn’t end up in the ocean, wrapped around a sea creature’s neck or in a sea creature’s stomach.

    Photo by Sustainable Coastlines

    You can also become a citizen scientist by documenting the pollution you find at your favourite beach. Use our new photo submission tool, Gassy, to send us your photos and help us track things like pollution, sewage spills, how many people are using the water, what kind of animals are present, and more.

    Second thing to do at the beach during the pandemic: Go people (or animal) watching

    Truthfully, this activity can be done nearly anywhere. But it’s the most fun at the beach! Different types of people from all walks of life make their way down to the ocean’s sunny shores.

    Observing people or listening in on snippets of conversation as you walk along the shore can be better entertainment than the most riveting of reality TV shows (and let’s be honest, you probably need a break from TV right about now).

    It’s also fun to watch animals at the beach. It’s fascinating to see an osprey dive down into the surf to catch a fish or watch seagulls fighting over a forgotten french fry. The suspense! The drama! The intrigue!

    Third thing to do at the beach during the pandemic: Do something creative

    Photography is a popular beach activity for a reason. There’s beauty to be found everywhere you look. Experiment with different times of day, different weather, different perspective and vantage points. Let your creative juices flow.

    You can read Swim Guide’s 8 tips for the best beach photography here.

    Photo by Boris Dunand

    Once you get back home with your photos, allow yourself to be inspired by what you’ve captured. You can try your hand at painting, sketching, or writing something based on the photos.

    You may write a short story about someone you noticed while you were people watching or draw a picture of the waves crashing on the rocks. It’s a great way to enjoy the beach from home.

    Fourth thing to do at the beach during the pandemic: Have a scavenger hunt

    A scavenger hunt requires very little preparation.

    All you need to do is make a list of the things you think you might be able to spot by the water: starfish, birds, sea urchins, crabs, shells, seaweed… you get the idea. Then, see how many you can find throughout the day and check them off as you go.

    Photo by Dawn Endico

    You can do this alone or with others, and you can split into teams if you want to give the activity a competitive edge. Playing I Spy is another way to notice and appreciate the small details that make the beach so interesting.

    Fifth thing to do at the beach during the pandemic: Enjoy some stargazing

    Many people enjoy basking in the midday sun, and photographers know sunrise and sunset make for breathtaking shots. Going to the beach at night time, though? Seriously underrated.

    When the sun sinks below the horizon, the beach transforms into something virtually unrecognizable and totally magical. The noise and bustle of the beach during the day is replaced by a tranquil stillness you can only find once the sun goes down.

    Photo by Paulo Carrolo

    Plus, the daytime crowds will be gone, so keeping a safe distance from others will be easy. While swimming isn’t advisable at night, stargazing is the perfect activity after dark past the city lights.

    Share photos of your socially distant beach day with us by tagging us @swimguide

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