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13 Things You Think You Need at the Beach But Don’t

13 Things You Think You Need at the Beach But Don’t

Before you cram everything into your beach tote, let’s take a look at some of the things you think you need but don’t. We all have our beach essentials, but have you ever stopped to consider if they are truly necessary? This list of 13 items explore why you might be better off without them if you care about leaving the beach without trace.

Sunscreen with Harmful Chemicals

Photo credit: Depositphotos.

One of the most overlooked yet significant contributors to marine pollution is sunscreen. While essential for protecting skin from harmful UV rays, many conventional sunscreens contain chemicals like oxybenzone and octinoxate. These substances have been shown to cause coral bleaching and harm marine life.

Sand Toys Made of Plastic

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Plastic sand toys are ubiquitous on beaches but can be problematic. They often get left behind, broken, or swept away by the tide, contributing to plastic pollution. These toys can break down into microplastics, which are nearly impossible to clean up

Single-Use Plastic Water Bottles

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Plastic water bottles are a common sight at the beach, but they contribute significantly to plastic pollution. These bottles often end up in the ocean, where they can take hundreds of years to decompose, releasing harmful chemicals and microplastics.

Magnifying Glass

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While seemingly harmless, in bright sunlight, magnifying glasses can become a fire hazard, focusing sunlight into a potent beam that can burn dry grasses or other flammable materials.

Laser Pointers

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Laser pointers can not only annoy other beachgoers but also disturb and potentially harm marine life, such as sea turtles, which are sensitive to light disturbances.


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Some might consider releasing balloons at the beach for celebrations or memorials. However, balloons can be incredibly harmful to the environment once they land in the ocean or on the beach. Marine creatures might mistake them for food, leading to ingestion that can be fatal. Ribbons and strings pose entanglement risks to wildlife.

Barbecue Grills

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Many beaches do not allow grilling due to fire risks and pollution. Always check the local guidelines before planning a beach BBQ.

Drones (without permission)

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Drones can invade people’s privacy and disturb wildlife, especially birds. Always check local regulations before flying a drone.


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The general rule is that public consumption of alcohol is prohibited in multiple countries. Many beaches explicitly ban alcohol due to its role in disorderly behavior and potential accidents.


Photo credit: Etienne Girardet via Unsplash.

Fireworks can disturb local wildlife and pose a fire hazard in many beach areas, especially during dry seasons.


Photo credit: Brian Yurasits via Unsplash.

They are a significant source of pollution, and their filters are non-biodegradable and toxic to marine animals.

Glass Containers

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These can break and leave dangerous shards in the sand, posing a risk to barefoot beachgoers and animals.

Large Speakers

Photo credit: Ilyuza Mingazova via Unsplash.

While music can enhance the mood, loud music can disturb other beachgoers and wildlife; use headphones instead.

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Emese Maczko is a travel blogger behind Eco Lodges Anywhere. Having explored several destinations around Europe, the US, Indonesia, and Australia, and resided in Germany, the United Kingdom, and Luxembourg, Emese possesses a keen understanding of diverse cultures and an appreciation for the beauty of each destination she visits. She advocates for sustainable travel and ecotourism.

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