Beach Vacation Etiquette

Nothing’s better than a beach vacation.  And probably the best version of the sun soaked sand oasis is at an island resort. Private getaways provide opportunity to overlook the ocean blue and bask in the sunshine under cotton candy skies, with no unwanted intrusion.

But what if this picturesque retreat with all inclusive amenities isn’t quite in your budget? Instead, your rest and relaxation will hopefully be achieved on the coastline of a heavily populated shore community. Fancy drinks out of coconut shells, surrounded by palm trees, are replaced by soda cups and wall to wall rainbow umbrellas.

Even still, you’re not at the office or on a sweaty construction site. It’s one week of a much needed and well deserved hiatus. And you’re going to do your damnedest to rejuvenate your mental and physical health, even if it kills you.

So you gather the wife and kids, overpack the gas guzzling suv, and head 70 miles to your curiously smelling rental, five blocks from the overcrowded beach.

And still again, you are optimistic. You are determined to have a great time and create everlasting memories with your family.

But first, there is a looming obstacle, a potential Callemonit situation, that might hinder your plans.

proper beach etiquette

Specifically, what is the protocol for establishing at least some semblance of privacy on a public beach where virtually every square inch of sand is occupied? And, are there any legitimate guarantees of achieving a safe haven?

You and your wife anticipate the mass exodus to the shoreline, and you’ve come up with a resolution.  Everyone will scarf down breakfast, squeeze on the swimsuits, lather up with sunscreen, and hit the beach bright and early.

It’s all been carefully mapped out. You will pick a spot close to the water, but not so close as to possibly get wet by the tide. And your section has to be near enough to the lifeguard stand to have a clear sight of the kids, especially when they get a little overconfident with their swimming ability.  And finally, you’ll have to secure a perfectly unobstructed view of the horizon, rolling waves, and seagulls.

Everything is going as planned, but just to be sure of your claim, you stake your land with a perimeter of beach chairs, umbrellas, towels, floats, toys, and anything else that says, “This is our space…at least for the next six hours.”

after just 30 minutes, Plans are spoiled

With plenty of room behind you, another family decides to set up camp between you and the ocean. It’s a tribe of 12, and they’re practically in the water and on top of you. If they reach back, they could hand you a ham sandwich from your cooler. And they somehow manage to erect a combination canopy/tent that not only blocks your monitoring of the kids, but basically extinguishes the sun.

To make matters worse, the nomads have an old boombox with a hitlist that doesn’t include Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville or something from The Beach Boys. Instead it blares a mix tape of Disco and 80’s boy bands.

And finally in their bag of tricks is a carton of cigarettes and a cooler of beer which are clearly prohibited, and obnoxiously loud conversations about everyone who ventures to cross their sight line. “That bikini is too small.” “He looks like a lobster.” “How old do you think they are?” “Is that a boy or a girl?” And couple the commentary with a very interesting choice of adjectives.

This has all the makings of a Callemonit, not just as a vacationer, but as a husband and a father who cares about what his family is subjected to.

You want to salvage a beach day in which the weather is perfect.  You never know for sure when rain could wash out a vacation.

But there is a caveat before you confront the group.  There isn’t a one of them that’s not tattood, pierced, or under 200 lbs.  (Really confusing is their choice of music.)

Anyway, you are not the type to welcome physical confrontation, and you can imagine being knocked down and having sand kicked in your face while your wife and children stand witness.

If he commits to Callemonit, what should he say or do?  Have you ever wanted to address the behavior of complete strangers while on vacation? Did you Callemonit or find ways to avoid them?

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