Best Practices for Beach Visitors

Everyone can help conserve sandy beach ecosystems. Here are a few tips:

Coexist with kelp

Kelp wrack supports a variety of critters, promoting ecosystem health and maintaining the diversity of life on the beach. Support local beaches that avoid destructive grooming practices.

Avoid trampling vegetation and dunes

Stay on designated paths. Trampling vegetation on dunes can change the structure of dunes, alter erosion patterns, and affect the critters that use the dunes as habitat.

Leash your dog

If bringing a canine companion, check beforehand to see if dogs are allowed on that beach. Many beaches do not allow dogs, or allow them only during certain hours when leashed. Unless the beach specifically allows dogs to run free, all dogs should be leashed. Always clean up after your pet. 

Share the beach with the birds

Follow these guidelines:

  • Be alert to the presence of birds like snowy plovers and avoid disturbing them.
  • Walk around flocks of birds to avoid disturbance.
  • Respect signs designating restrictions to sensitive habitat areas.
  • Stay out of fenced areas – the fences are there for a reason
  • Clean up after yourself – pick up and remove trash.
  • Keep children/dogs from chasing the birds and do NOT feed wildlife.
  • Some people find, if they walk slowly and avoid eye contact with shorebirds, the birds won't fly away!

Don’t drive on the beach

Studies have shown that normal beach recreation does not significantly disturb beach life but vehicles do. Conserve beach ecosystems by avoiding driving or off-roading on dunes and other beach habitats. 

Don’t litter

Always leave the beach cleaner than when you arrived. Sandy beaches are facing many pressures including groomingsea level rise, and habitat loss; decreasing pollution can help bolster the ecosystem’s resiliency.

Stay informed

Climate change may impact different sandy beaches in different ways. Find out if there are any efforts to study the impacts of climate change on your local beach and consider supporting that research.

Contact your local government

State and local government planners play a major role in determining where various land uses are allowed. Support and encourage their efforts to conserve sandy beaches. Explore the section below to learn more about the steps planners may take to conserve sandy beaches in the face of climate change.