10 Sustainable Tips for the Beach: Save You Money & the Planet


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Traveling sustainably to the beach is possible, and it can make your trip more memorable and meaningful!

Many people are learning how to travel more sustainably.

We put together a list of our best tips for the beach that will help you reduce your environmental impact, support local communities, and save money on your next beach trip.

So, let’s jump right in!


10 Sustainable Tips for the Beach

La Jolla Cove Cliff in California
View from La Jolla cliff in California.

These are our 10 simple and practical tips that you can follow to reduce your environmental impact, support local businesses, and save money on your next beach trip:

Tip 1: Pack Light and Reusable

people on the beach near Oceanside Pier practicing sustainable tips for the beach
People on the beach near Oceanside Pier.

One of our top tips for the beach is the easiest and most effective way when it comes to making your beach trip more sustainable is to pack light and reusable items.

When you pack like and only bring your essential items you avoid overpacking and bringing unnecessary items that add weight and bulk up your luggage.

This also benefits you in reducing your carbon footprint by lighter loads to your luggage, less fuel, and energy it takes to transport.

In addition, disposable items from plastic water bottles to single-use cutlery, contribute significantly to the ocean’s plastic pollution crisis.

By choosing reusable alternatives, you actively reduce your ecological footprint while saving money in the long run.

Think stainless steel water bottles that keep your drinks cold for hours, durable bamboo utensil sets for beach picnics, and collapsible silicone containers perfect for storing beach snacks.

These minor adjustments not only alleviate the burden on landfills and oceans but also provide a tangible step towards a more sustainable and cost-effective beach adventure.

Tip 2: Embrace the Sunscreen Switch

When it comes to protecting your skin from the sun’s rays, a simple switch in sunscreen can make a significant difference for both you and the environment.

Traditional sunscreens, often containing chemicals like oxybenzone and octinoxate, have been shown to cause damage to coral reefs and marine ecosystems when they wash off into the ocean.

These chemicals can lead to coral bleaching, disrupt marine life’s reproductive systems, and harm underwater ecosystems.

By choosing reef-safe sunscreens, which are formulated to minimize these harmful effects, you’re not only safeguarding your skin but also taking a stand for ocean preservation.

Look for brands that use zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as their active ingredients, as these minerals are less harmful to marine life.

Some affordable reef-safe sunscreen brands to consider include Stream2Sea, Thrive Natural Care, and Love Sun Body.

By making this simple switch, you’re making a direct contribution to the health of our oceans while still ensuring your skin stays protected.

Tip 3: Choose a Greener Ride

One of our top recommended sustainable tips for the beach is choosing a greener ride.

If going with a group of friends or family you can minimize the overall cost.

For example, carpooling with friends or family members allows you to split the costs, from fuel to parking fees, making your beach trip more affordable.

You can split the cost in a fair manner by paying for parking as a whole, rather than per person. 

Additionally, the amount of fuel used will be the same for one person or a group of people in the car.

So, overall considering it’s a win-win situation for you and the environment.

Tip 4: Snack Sustainably

People at Leo Carrillo State Park.

One of our favorite sustainable beach tips that my sister and I follow is packing snacks that are both eco-friendly and sustainable.

For example, opting for locally sourced snacks with minimal packaging not only helps protect the environment but also saves you money in the long run.

Here’s a handy way to buy snacks in bulk from grocery stores:

Choose the Right Store: 

Many grocery stores (Costco for example if you live in the U.S.) offer bulk sections.

For instance, grains, nuts, dried fruits, and snacks can be purchased in larger quantities that often cost less.

In contrast, this can be a great way to save money on groceries while also reducing waste.

Bring Your Own Containers

To reduce waste, bring your own reusable containers or bags. 

You can use glass jars, fabric bags, or even reusable silicone bags for this purpose. 

Make sure to weigh and label your containers before filling them at the store.

Select Your Snacks: 

Explore the bulk section and choose your favorite snacks in the quantities you need. 

This approach not only reduces the packaging waste associated with single-serving snacks but also allows you to customize your snack mix.

If you’re looking for ideas on what snacks to bring to the beach we got you covered.

We put together 20 Best Beach Foods and Snacks to Bring to the Beach when you get Hungry.

Create Your Own Beach Snacks:


Purchase a variety of ingredients from the bulk section to create your beach snacks.

Some popular choices include fruits, granola, pretzels, and chocolate chips. 

You can also pick up fresh fruits like apples or grapes from the produce section.

Mix and Match:

Once you have your ingredients, mix and match them to create your own unique snack blends. 

For example, you can make a trail mix with almonds, dried cranberries, and dark chocolate chips, or create a savory mix with pretzels, cashews, and dried edamame.

Some snacks that you can choose from are:

  • Fresh Fruit Medley
  • Hummus and Veggie Sticks
  • Nutty Trail Mix
  • Cinnamon Popcorn
  • Oatmeal Energy Bites
  • Yogurt Parfait
  • Avocado Rice Cakes
  • Hard-Boiled Egg
  • Homemade Granola Bars
  • Frozen Grapes, etc

Tip 5: DIY Beach Gear

Beach Flags in La Jolla Shores
People kayaking in La Jolla Shores in California.

If you’re a frequent beachgoer, there are several considerations when it comes to beach gear that can enhance your experience while being environmentally conscious.

Benefits of Owning Your Own Beach Gear:

Cost Savings: 

Owning your own beach gear can save you money in the long run, especially if you visit the beach regularly. 

Rather than repeatedly renting equipment, investing in high-quality beach gear can be a budget-friendly choice over time.


Having your own gear means you’re always prepared for spontaneous beach trips. 

In addition, you can pack and go without the hassle of renting or searching for rental shops.

Environmental Impact: 

When you own your gear, you reduce the demand for disposable or short-lived beach equipment, which often ends up as waste. 

This is an eco-friendly choice that aligns with sustainability principles.

Regrettably, it’s a common practice for many visitors to the U.S. to purchase beach gear, only to later discard it when their beach trip concludes. 

This unfortunate trend significantly contributes to avoidable waste and environmental harm. 

In contrast, Renting Beach Gear:

However, if you’re visiting a new beach away from home or prefer not to carry bulky equipment, consider renting beach gear. 

Some beaches offer rental services, allowing you to access chairs, umbrellas, beach tents, and water sports equipment without the commitment of ownership. 

This can be a more practical choice for occasional beachgoers and travelers.

Eco-Friendly Beach Gear:

For those who want to make an eco-conscious choice, consider purchasing beach gear from companies that prioritize sustainability. 

For example, companies like Bluefin SUP and Wappa Paddle Boards are dedicated to reducing their environmental impact:

Bluefin SUP: 

Bluefin SUP partners with Ecologi a non-profit organization that plants trees worldwide.

In all honesty, their objective is to help reduce global CO2 emissions through trees.

Bluefin SUP also strives to use recycled materials in their products, reducing plastic waste and promoting recycling efforts.

Wappa Paddle Boards: 

In addition, Wappa Paddle Boards another company uses bamboo as a material to make lightweight and durable paddleboards. 

In fact, bamboo is a sustainable and fast-growing resource, making it an excellent choice for eco-friendly beach gear.

Tip 6: Go Local for Food

Oceanside-Village-Harbor-restaurant practicing sustainable tips for the beach
Restaurant at Oceanside Village Harbor.

When dining at the beach, opt for local eateries that prioritize sustainable, locally sourced, and organic food. 

Not only does this treat your taste buds to fresh flavors, but it also has positive environmental impacts.

For instance, by choosing local and sustainable options you’re supporting the community’s economy. 

Locally sourced food often requires less energy for transportation and reduces the demand for extensive packaging. 

This choice aligns with a greener lifestyle and aids in preserving the environment for future beachgoers.

Furthermore, you’re helping to indirectly lessen the carbon footprint linked to transporting food over long distances. 

Tip 7: Mindful Water Use

Sunny day at Swami’s Beach.

At the beach, practicing water conservation is essential. 

Moreover, tackle bottled water’s environmental concerns by using a refillable bottle, reducing plastic waste, and saving money. 

Bringing refillable water bottles to the beach can save you money in several ways. 

First, you eliminate the need to purchase costly bottled water, which is often marked up at tourist destinations. 

Instead, you can fill your refillable bottle with tap water before heading to the beach or utilize free water stations available at many beaches. 

This simple switch not only reduces your expenses but also minimizes the environmental impact of single-use plastic bottles. 

Additionally, refillable water bottles are designed for long-term use, so you won’t need to buy new bottles frequently, further contributing to cost savings. 

Walking across Santa Monica Boardwalk.

Here are some famous beaches in the USA with water refill systems:

  • Santa Monica Beach (This famous beach in California has refill stations near the Santa Monica Pier and along the beachfront)
  • Venice Beach (found near the entrances of Venice Beach)
  • Laguna Beach (found along the water entrance)

These actions contribute to a cleaner beach environment, lower plastic pollution, and personal savings while ensuring water availability for generations.

Tip 8: Respect Mother Nature

Jess picking up trash at the beach during sunset.

One of our top sustainable tips for the beach is learning to appreciate and respect it.

The beach is a natural habitat for many species of plants and animals, and it is also a source of food and recreation for humans.

By respecting the beach, we can help preserve its natural beauty and ensure that it remains a safe and healthy environment for all living things.

For instance, a simple yet often forgotten thing we (humans) can do to respect the beach is to pick up our litter and trash. 

Dispose of them in designated trash areas.

It’s a no-brainer why this simple act matters:

Prevents Pollution: 

For instance, discarded trash can harm marine life, create hazards for beachgoers, and degrade the overall beach experience. 

By disposing of your waste correctly, you help prevent pollution, ensuring that the beach remains a safe and enjoyable destination for everyone.

Preserving Natural Habitats: 

Many wildlife species, including birds and marine creatures, call the beach their home or nesting grounds. 

Neglected trash poses a threat to their habitats. 

Your efforts to keep the beach clean safeguard these environments and the animals that depend on them.

Setting a Positive Example: 

When others see you responsibly picking up your trash, it sets a positive example for fellow beachgoers. 

Your actions may inspire others to do the same, creating a collective commitment to maintaining the beach’s pristine beauty.

Respecting the Local Community: 

Respecting the local community is an essential aspect of beach sustainability.

Cleaning up after yourself demonstrates respect for the local community and their efforts to maintain the beach.

It fosters goodwill between visitors and residents, creating a harmonious and enjoyable beach environment.

In addition, you can also organize your own beach cleanup to help keep the beach clean and safe for everyone to enjoy.

By taking these small steps, we can help protect the beach and ensure that it remains a beautiful and healthy environment for generations to come.

Tip 9: Organize Beach Games

Planning your own beach games or activities is a favorite sustainable tip for the beach because it allows you to create enjoyable experiences without the need for additional resources or equipment, which can save you money.

Here are a few ideas:

Rock Skipping: This is a classic beach game that involves throwing a flat rock across the water and seeing how many times it can skip before sinking.

Rock Stacking: Stacking rocks on top of each other without them falling over is a challenging game. You can increase the difficulty by using rocks of different sizes and shapes.

Driftwood Tic-Tac-Toe: Similar to tic-tac-toe using a piece of driftwood to draw a tic-tac-toe board in the sand and use sea shells as game pieces.

Driftwood Fort Building: Driftwood can be used to build forts on the beach.

Shell Scavenger Hunt:

Conceal sea shells throughout the beach and challenge players to find them. The player who discovers the most shells is declared the winner.

Shell Toss: Create a target on the beach using driftwood, and challenge players to toss sea shells at it to earn points.

Let your imagination go wild!

Tip 10: Be the Change

Becoming an ambassador of sustainability is a great way to raise awareness about the importance of protecting the environment and preserving natural resources.

This can involve educating others about sustainable practices, organizing beach cleanups, and promoting eco-friendly products and services.

By working together, we can create a more sustainable future for ourselves and the planet.


Oceanside Harbor Beach on a sunny day.

How can we make the beach more sustainable? 

As human beings, we all have an impact on the environment, and by practicing sustainable tips for the beach, we can help protect it.

For instance, packing light, using reusable items, opting for eco-friendly sunscreen, and choosing sustainable transportation are a few ideas that make an impact.

In addition, when visiting the beach respect the natural habitat of plants and animals.

Such as avoiding disturbing wildlife by not removing any rocks, shells, or other natural features from the beach.

This goes a long way in preserving the natural beauty of the beach and ensuring that it remains a safe and healthy environment for all living things.

How can we improve the beach?

There are many ways to improve the beach and make it a more sustainable and enjoyable place for everyone.

Here are a few ideas:

Reduce waste: One of the most important things we can do to improve the beach is to reduce waste. This includes picking up litter and trash, avoiding single-use plastics, and properly disposing of any waste we generate.

Respect wildlife: When visiting the beach, it’s important to respect the natural habitat of plants and animals. Avoid disturbing wildlife by not removing any rocks, shells, or other natural features from the beach.

Use eco-friendly products: Opt for eco-friendly sunscreen, beach toys made from sustainable materials, and reusable water bottles instead of single-use plastic bottles.

Organize beach cleanups: Consider organizing your own beach cleanup or participating in one organized by a local group or organization.

Everyone makes an impact in helping protect the environment we live in, and everyone can make a difference.


sustainable tips for the beach at Leo Carrillo State Park
Overlooking Leo Carrillo State Park.

At the end of the day, it is crucial for us to remember that our actions have an impact on the environment we live in.

By following these simple sustainable tips for the beach we are making a difference.

Let us know in the comments below what are some of your favorite sustainable tips for the beach.

Together, we can inspire and come up with creative ways to enjoy our beaches while respecting and protecting nature.


Jess & Jeanette

Jess and Jeanette, two sisters who founded Unseen Beaches, were inspired by their family’s beach vacations while growing up.

Their passion lies in guiding you toward the most remarkable beach destinations across the U.S., while also protecting and preserving these beautiful coastal treasures! 🌊❤️

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Don’t be caught off-guard like many others. Equip yourself with our Top Favorite 5 Essential Beach Must-Haves and avoid common beach pitfalls! 🏖️🌞🌊

1. YETI Wheeled Cooler: Keep your drinks and snacks chilled under the sun.

2. Kelty Tent: Seek refuge from the sun with a lightweight, easy-to-set-up beach tent.

3. BeachBub Umbrella: Stay cool and protected with a durable, stylish UPF beach umbrella.

4. Trailhead Chair: Sit back and relax with a comfortable and sturdy beach chair.

5. CGear Sand-Free Mat Sand Blanket: Keep the sand at bay and stay comfortable with a sand-resistant blanket.

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