A beach is a shoreline that has sand, often with some rock or vegetation. Beaches are formed by erosion and transport of sand, especially by waves and tides. They are often long and wide. Beaches are also made of a variety of materials, including fine grained sand, coarse grained sand, and cobbles and pebbles.
Most beaches are formed in relatively sheltered environments and have a high percentage of fine sand. They may have dunes, which are large areas of low-lying sand and plant material, or they might be flat. Beaches are shaped by four main processes: attrition, abrasion, hydraulic action, and corrosion.
Waves and the wind are the major forces that shape a beach, but other factors can influence its overall character. These include sand size, composition, and texture; rip currents and their speed, direction, and length; beach slope; and the presence of sea grasses.
The beach is an important habitat for many organisms, both living and dead. It is a place where birds nest, and where seals, crabs, shrimp, oysters, and other animals feed. Sea turtles also lay their eggs on ocean beaches. Beaches are also a source of microfossils, which can be found in layers of sediment.
Beaches are constantly changing, revealing and hiding features beneath the surface. For example, sandbars appear and disappear as the result of interactions between waves breaking over them, sediment accumulation beneath those waves, and the gouging out of a channel by rip currents. Beach widths and slopes also change – for instance, beaches become wider in the summer and narrower in winter.
People visit beaches for recreation, and some have facilities such as lifeguards, changing rooms, toilets, showers, shacks, and bars. Some also have hospitality venues such as resorts, hotels, and camps.
Surfing is a popular activity on many beaches. Some beaches have a reputation for being good for surfing, and have been known to produce some world-class waves. Others are not suitable for surfing, and some have restrictions on the times of day when surfers can use them.
Other watersports that can be enjoyed on a beach include swimming, diving, sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, and canoeing. Beaches are also used for sports such as volleyball and cricket, and as launching sites for boating and fishing.
In a world overflowing with work deadlines, family drama, and technology overwhelm, paddling on the beach is a great way to take a step back and appreciate the simple things in life. It’s a chance to reconnect with nature and the people who mean the most to you. It’s the ultimate escape from everyday worries and stresses.