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A beach is the area of land at the border of a body of water, where the slope is gentle enough to collect sand, shells, small rocks, shingle, volcanic sand etc.

Many beaches are highly popular as tourist attractions, as the relatively soft sand makes a comfortable spot to sit or lie in the sun, walk around in bare feet, and easily enter or exit the water. The waves present at many open-water beaches add to the bathing fun and make the sport of surfing and related activities possible.

One of the main attractions of a sandy beach, especially for children, is playing with the sand, with more possibilties than a sandbox. One can make a mountain, a pit (encountering the water table), canals, tunnels, bridges, a sand sculpture (representing a person, animal, etc. like a statue, or a scale model of a building), etc. If the beach is at an ocean, or at a sea connected to an ocean then there are tides; the height depends on coastal topography such how wide the connection with the ocean is. These tides add attractive dynamics: at flood-tide the water enters previously dry ditches and pits, and one can try to keep areas dry by dikes, etc.; at ebb-tide one can try to keep water in a canal by deepening it and lenghtening it, keeping it connected to the retracting sea. Dry sand is often loose, wet sand is more solid, except when it is very wet. Sand may dry or get wetter, changing the solidity of structures. "Landslides" are common. If one returns the next day much erosion is apparent, in fact only larger structures can be found again.

The main tools for construction are a shovel (although using the hands only is also common) and a bucket or other container to bring water from the sea to the "construction site". Also pieces of wood etc. can be used to reinforce structures.

A towel has many functions on the beach:

  • to lie on: in the case of a sandy beach to avoid contact with the sand (if that is not desired), in the case of pebbles and rocks, to make the surface softer;
  • drying one's body after being in the water (or, if available, taking a shower[?]);
  • removing sand from the body and from objects;
  • changing from regular clothing to swimwear and back if one chooses, or is required, to avoid being nude even briefly.

For the last function a long T-shirt, dress, coat[?], etc. serves the same purpose; other alternatives are:

  • changing in a changing room or a toilet, if available;
  • going to the beach with swimwear under regular clothes and leaving the beach ditto; the latter has the disadvantage, if one has been in the water, that one wears wet clothes, or has to wait until the swimming wear is dry.

This item is not applicable on a nudist beach.

Some coasts have a row of dunes parallel to them, with the beach between them and the sea. They may or may not be accessible to the public. They can provide privacy and shelter from wind.

Some beaches are artificial; they are either permanent or temporary. They are e.g. in Monaco, Paris and Rotterdam.

See also Dune buggy.

Famous beaches:

Quote: Even a bad day at the beach is still a day at the beach!

There is a 1996 novel by Alex Garland[?] entitled The Beach, and a famous end-of-the-world novel by Nevil Shute entitled "On the Beach" and an album of the same name[?] by Neil Young. Also a movie starring Bette Midler called Beaches[?] and one entitled The Beach.

See also The Beach Boys.

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