If you’re a regular around here, you’ll know that I’m OBSESSED with beaches. I’m a travel writer for Australia and New Zealand magazine, I write travel blog posts on this site, and I love exploring the world around me. The thing that got me started travelling was my (and my husband’s) extreme craving to seek out the best beaches in the world.
Seriously – for me, travel is all about the beaches. Back in 2008, my hubby and I saved like crazy and then went around the world in search of the best tropical beaches we could find. We spent three months island hopping in the South Pacific (that was a hard life!), a month driving around New Zealand (OK, that was partly for the adventure and spectacular scenery rather than the beaches but we still stopped at every beach on the way around), two months driving around in Australia, a month island hopping in Thailand and ended with three weeks in the Maldives.
If you love the sunshine as much as I do, you should read my ultimate guide to choosing the best natural sunscreen in Australia
Did we discover the ultimate beach?
You bet we did! Actually, we discovered MANY ultimate beaches that were incredible in different ways, but if I had to single out one, it would be in Bora Bora where we stayed on a motu facing the main island – the combination of the crystal clear lagoon with the most draw-dropping lush green mountain backdrop is like nothing I’ve seen before or since. Alas Bora Bora isn’t the cheapest location for a family holiday, but one day I really hope we can go back and show it to the kids.
Anyway, back to the point of the post. Who doesn’t love sitting on warm sand, listening to the waves with the feel of salt water slowly drying on your skin in the sun? Add in a gentle breeze and some shade from some swaying palms and you basically have my dream day right there.
Being at the beach has the power to touch your soul. You don’t just need to take my word for it. There have been numerous research projects done about brain activity and well-being and the beach (read these results about the association with beaches and mental health).
My ultimate dream is to live in a beachfront property one day where I can open the door and walk straight out onto sand. I will have a big balcony upstairs with doors that open out to that ridiculously stunning ocean view. And every morning I will walk barefoot onto the sand and dip my toes in the water. Big dreams start with goal setting, and I’m not scared of setting myself some awesome goals because I know that I can achieve anything if I believe in it hard enough and work my socks off to make it happen.
If you’re still looking for an excuse to hit the beach, here are 12 reasons to go to the beach
Find out how to stay cool at the beach with this post about the best beach sunshade
12 reasons why life is better at the beach
When the world is feeling too much, nothing calms you as much as hearing the sound of the ocean. I think it’s the fact that it just keeps on going – it’s a reminder that the world keeps turning, the time keeps ticking and all stressful moments will pass. The sound, smell and fresh air all have profound effects on our bodies – being at the beach just feels good!
I remember as a child growing up in rural Lincolnshire in the UK, the relief and excitement I’d feel as we drove to the coast for our annual holiday – I’d stare hard out of the window waiting for that first glimpse of the water and I’d instantly feel a calmness settle over me when I saw the sliver of blue on the horizon.
Everyone needs time out – a chance to step off the treadmill of life for a short time and be in the present rather than thinking about the million jobs you should be doing. For me, the beach is my ultimate time-out space. OK, since having three kids it’s not quite the relaxing, chilled out place it once was but even while trying to keep my kids alive and stop them from getting lost, I feel like being at the beach gives me the time and space to ground myself again.
Quality time with family
Life gets busy. Between packed lunches, school activities and homework, it can be hard to just hang out and remind ourselves that being together is fun. Being at the beach together costs nothing, but it means everything. That quality time with your kids is priceless.
Our kids have amazing memories of the big sandcastles they’ve built, the holes they’ve dug, the waves that dunked them and the dams they’ve created on their beach days. These days will stay with them forever. It builds their relationships with one another (team work as one digs while the others go to refill the buckets with water), makes them happy and reconnects us all as a family which is very important as my husband works long hours and crazy shifts and isn’t always around to watch them in school assemblies and things.
Your body produces vitamin D when your skin is exposed to UVB rays, and vitamin D is so important for bone development plus vitamin D deficiency is linked to so many diseases and ailments (read this post for more info).
The Australian sun is fierce, so wearing a great sunscreen, being covered in UV swimwear and having a great sunshade are so important here, but being at the beach to get some vitamin D is so good for you providing you do it sensibly.
Read this article which explains that using sunscreen won’t stop your production of vitamin D despite what some people might tell you. Getting your vitamin D AND keeping your skin safe is the priority here as not using sunscreen can cause you so much damage. If you want to learn more about the weather in Australia, you can read this post.
Walking or running on the beach burns off far more energy than walking or running on solid ground, not to mention body boarding, surfing, stand up paddle boarding or swimming! The beach is the perfect place to get some exercise as you already feel great just from being there and this gives you more confidence and energy. Even a beach walk to collect some shells will do you the world of good.
Collect your thoughts & come up with new ideas
Being at the beach helps you think clearly.
Some of the biggest decisions of my life have been made at the beach. From deciding major career moves to deciding to move from Sheffield down to Hampshire, and then deciding to migrate to Australia – the beach played an important part in all of these decisions.
When life-changing things happen, the beach is where I go to unravel my thoughts and form a plan of action. It’s also where I feel most inspired, so you’ll often find me doing my business planning at my favourite beach cafe.
Looking for a beach wagon to cart your beach gear to the sand? Read my ultimate guide to the best beach wagon with big wheels!
Saltwater is packed with health benefits. It cleanses, cleans and detoxifies the skin, it can relieve sore muscles, it exfoliates and reduces inflammation amongst many other health benefits. Beach waves also make your hair look awesome (I use salt spray on my hair most days in lieu of the fact that I don’t live in that beachfront house just yet!)!
We’re all guilty of spending too much time on our phones, laptops and iPads sometimes. I know I spend most of my day engrossed in technology given that I work online and run a busy Facebook group. Being online is amazing and I love that we can use our phones for everything. But I also know that sometimes I need to just get away from it and be in the real world with my family.
With two boys who are obsessed with Minecraft and Mario Kart, getting them to unplug can be a battle (yes, even moving to the other side of the world where the sun shines and we have a swimming pool doesn’t stop that behaviour!). I still have to make a big effort to get them to unplug too. They won’t remember a weekend spent gaming, but they will remember that we ate fish and chips on the sand while watching the sun going down. Getting away from the tech is so important for all of us.
A feast for the senses
Being at the beach activates all of your senses. There’s the scent of salty air, the feel of the breeze, the warmth of the sun, the texture of the warm sand between your toes – it heightens all of your senses. It reminds you why it’s good to be alive!
Reconnect with nature
Being outdoors in nature reconnects you to the world around you. It’s a chance to stop rushing around and enjoy your surroundings. A chance to feel part of something deep and powerful. Being outside in the natural environment just feels good. Feeling your feet in the sand or dipping your toes into the water reconnect you to the Earth.
There is something incredible about being outside in nature that opens you up to new possibilities and refreshes your mind. Apparently, our love for the wild outdoors goes back to ancient times when people would crave resource-rich environments where there was optimal food, shelter and comfort. More recent research shows that being in nature has a positive influence on our brains. Whatever the reason – being outside in nature makes us feel amazing.
Fill your lungs with fresh air
Fresh air helps your immune system to fight off diseases, boosts your energy, eases your stresses and helps cleanse your lungs. It helps your digestive system, sharpens your mind and improves your blood pressure too. So being at the beach is medically good for you!
Being at the beach reduces your stress and anxiety, and this combined with the fact you’re out in the fresh air and maybe even getting exercise (even if that is just carrying your gear from the car park to the sand and back again!) means you will sleep more soundly.
Now, I’m not somebody that needs to sleep more soundly – I fall asleep the second my head hits the pillow every night. But my KIDS… now they can always benefit from sleeping more soundly!
Do you think life is better at the beach?
If so, please share this post with another beach lover in your life!