The National Aquarium and its Animal Care and Rescue Center are temporarily closed in response to COVID-19. Help support us while we are closed by Donating Today.

How to Be an Environmentally Responsible Beach Visitor

Show your appreciation for our coastal areas by being an environmentally responsible beach visitor, this Memorial Day weekend and beyond!

Published May 27, 2017

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial kickoff to summer and beach season, so it’s the perfect time to learn how to protect our beaches and ocean. 

If you love the beach, you can show how much you care by following these tips: 

  • Opt for reusable food items. Considering that there are already an estimated 5 trillion pieces of trash floating in our ocean, it’s always a good idea to choose reusable instead of plastic—but it’s especially important at the beach, where plastic items could directly blow into the water. Instead of plastic bags, use your own reusable containers. Bring silverware instead of plastic utensils, and as always, fill up your reusable water bottle in lieu of plastic water bottles!
  • Take your recyclables home with you. If your beach doesn’t offer public recycling options, don’t be tempted to throw away your recyclables. Bring them home with you to recycle later.sand-dune-warning-sign
  • Leave no trace. Leave the beach as clean as you found it! Bring a reusable bag to stash your belongings, and make sure you’re not leaving anything behind. If you want to take it a step further, go for a clean-up walk on the beach and pick up any trash you find!
  • Protect the local ecosystem. Stay on trails and public footpaths to help protect the local beach ecosystem. On many beaches, paths are in place so that visitors don’t walk over dunes or through grassy areas that are helping to anchor sand and prevent beach erosion.beach-ocean-water-edge
  • Screen your sunscreen! Choose your sunscreen wisely. Many sunscreen products contain oxybenzone, a chemical ingredient that is toxic to the world’s fragile coral reef ecosystems. To help protect coral reefs, look for sunscreen products made from natural minerals, such as zinc oxide. 
  • Walk or bike to the beach. Reduce your carbon footprint while you’re visiting the beach by walking or biking, if possible, from your vacation spot to the beach. You’ll not only help reduce carbon dioxide emissions, you also won’t have to worry about a parking spot!

Want to get more involved with protecting beaches and the ocean? Become a Shore Hero
Previous Post

Featured Stories

Vampire squid Rollin' In The Deep

For generations, humankind has referred to outer space as the final frontier. But what about the unknown depths of our own planet?

Read the full story

octo header No Hands? No Problem: Tool Use Among Aquatic Animals

Aquatic animals are resourceful—just like humans, when they can’t solve a problem, they can look to the world around them ... and fashion tools!  

Read the full story

Related Stories

Building Climate Change-Resilient Seashores

Published November 10, 2016

Living Seashore: One Year Later

Published May 12, 2016