What is a Good Beach? First of all, there are four main types of beaches. Barrier island beaches are beaches that start and end in the water and cover vast portions of our world’s coasts. These shifting shoals of sand are generally migrating towards the mainland around the world, possibly due to sea level rise. Mainland beaches are simply where the land meets the sea and also comprise many of the world’s beaches. Spits are similar to both types of beaches in that they are connected to the mainland at one end, but end in the water at the other end. When a large storm comes and cuts a new inlet in the spit, a new barrier island is formed. A pocket beach is a unique type of beach that is associated with exposed bedrock nestled between rocky coastal outcrops. They are found around the world and in abundance throughout the northern coast of the eastern United States and Canada.
Really these four main types of beaches encompass what a good beach is…everyone has an individual favorite on what they consider to be a good beach. Which one is your favorite? To go even further, beaches may be wave dominated, tide-modified, or tide-dominated. Wave dominated beaches are the ones normally exposed to constant waves, ocean swells, or low tides that are two meters or less in depth. Tide-modified beaches, on the other hand, happen in spots with a high tide range but have lower waves. This commonly occurs when the tide ranges from three to fifteen times the height of the wave, with the wave height being less than 0.3meters. The same thing goes for the tide-dominated beach. The only difference is that they occur when the tide range is between ten to fifteen times the wave height. I can really go to any type of beach. Depends on what you want to do at the beach I guess. For wake boarding or surfing, going to a wave-dominated beach is essential. Families with small children prefer tide-modified or tide-dominated beaches.
Beaches also differ in the material they are composed of. They can be made up of boulders, shells, cobbles, mud, iron sand, or sand. When you think of the beach, you probably imagine long strands of sand flanked by blue ocean water. What many people do not realize, however, is that there are other types of beaches beyond the common sandy beach. Beaches around the world have unique characteristics that make them truly one of a kind, though there are a few ways in which to categorize the most common varieties.
Sand beaches are the most commonly seen beaches in the United States. These beaches are composed of loose sand that meets ocean or gulf waters. Sand beaches may be victim to erosion over time as the tides continually change the face of the beach. These types of beaches may also border large sand dunes, which can be important environments for animals like snakes and birds.
In certain areas of the work, large, heavy rocks prevent a build-up of sediment. This means that the ocean meets these rocks directly. Rock beaches are often difficult to navigate in a vehicle and must be approached on foot, but can make beautiful locations for picnics and other activities. Rock beaches can be comprised of massive, jagged boulders or smaller, more manageable stones.
If you have ever been to Hawaii, you may have visited one of the state’s several black sand beaches. These beaches are not made of actual sand, but are instead composed of hardened lava discarded from the area’s many volcanoes. Over time, these rocks have been broken down into tiny fragments. Black sand beaches are composed of millions of tiny lava particles that were once part of a volcanic eruption.
But what types of beaches do we all like, what qualities are we looking for to make it the best beach for us as an individual? Here are some I thought of. Please feel free to send me what you consider a beach to have to make it the best beach!
Beach Color & Texture: Some tend to think that the “white sandy beach” makes it the best. Some like the black sand. Personally, I go by personality of the beach and what it has to offer. I’m not big on caring what color the sand is or how fine it is. Sure the really fine sand gets into everything, and your car ends up with a bunch of sand in it when you leave. That doesn’t bother me either. Now, the beaches with a lot of crushed seashells can be hard on the feet, but that’s what flip flops are for. In the fine sand, you have to take them off, and on the crushed shell beaches you just leave them on.
Crowded vs. Quiet: Being the beach bum that I am, this doesn’t really matter either. Actually I like to see more of a crowd, because that means there is more going on. More tiki bars to sip margaritas at, more little hole-in-the-wall stops for food, more atmosphere, and to me, more character. Some just want to go to a quiet, peaceful, serene beach. I’ve always liked the action, so I tend to go where the crowds are. Just get there early, claim your piece of sand, and enjoy!
Kid & Family Friendly: When you have a family, going to a kid/family friendly beach is a must. This can mean that they have lifeguards, there are other children for yours to play with, the ocean is more sloping and not steep, the water could be milder, and you might want a beach with some kid-friendly beach activities.
Where the Activities Are: I think this goes hand-in-hand with the more crowded beaches. Typically a crowded beach is that way because of the activities. Lots of people go to the beach to enjoy the sun, sand, and beach….but also for the water sports, volleyball on the beach, equipment rentals, boat rentals, even fishing. I like the water sports, so I enjoy a beach that has water sports. I recently went to South Padre Island in Texas, and granted it was March, but there were NO water sports activities. It’s a nice beach and all, but I will try a different Texas beach next time.
Beaches for Naturalists: OK, some like to bear it all and opt out of the tan lines. There are plenty of these beaches around. Not a beach that I will probably frequent. Not that I am not comfortable in my own skin, but these beaches usually do not have any amenities at all. So that’s out for me!
Ocean Water Temperature: I personally like beaches where the water is warm and not freezing cold. I get cold easy myself and just prefer warmer water. I guess that is why I like the St. Pete area so much. Being on the gulf side, St. Pete area beaches tend to be calmer and a LOT warmer than the Florida beaches on the Atlantic side. Granted, if it’s hot outside, it doesn’t matter all that much really. I’ve went to Cocoa Beach in the middle of summer and the water felt just great, and the waves were kind of awesome!
We all want a clean beach, and probably one we feel safe at. What makes a beach good for you? I’d love to hear from you!