How To Spot Rip Currents In The Ocean From The Beach

Angle Of Waves Hitting The Shore Is A Good Visual Clue

Rip tide conditions
For rip tide conditions, check the angle the waves are hitting the beach.


If you’re at the ocean and worried about rip currents, here’s an easy tip on how to spot them from the beach.

Look at the direction of the waves. If they are coming into shore at a sideways angle, then that’s a rip current.

Do not enter the water in this area. The water will pull you out, you’ll wind up fighting your way to try and get back to shore, will wear yourself out and hopefully will be rescued by a lifeguard.

I know this because it happened to me. I was rescued. He dropped me to the beach where I lay down exhausted for several minutes, and before I had the chance to thank him, sprinted back in the water to save another person.

To say I was – and remain – impressed is an understatement.

Later, I consulted a friend who knows the water the way I know college football, and he told me about the sideways break.

Another visual is to see if there are a bunch of lifeguards are in the water pulling out swimmers. That may seem obvious but it’s easy to convince yourself “it won’t happen to me.”

Well, it happened to me and I am grateful to the lifeguards. So do them a favor and enter the water away from any trouble.

Late July Tropical Storms Could Soak Florida & Southeastern USA Beaches

Georgia, South Carolina & North Carolina Coastlines May Get Heavy Rain

Late July weather map for Florida, Georgia, South Carolina North Carolina
This AccuWeather map shows the potential for rain from North Carolina to Florida.


Hopefully, you are not taking your Florida vacation or going to any beaches in the Southeastern USA the last week of July.

Because you may be in for a wet week.

According to, conditions exist that could bring heavy rain and winds to beaches in those areas.

“We suspect that strong winds aloft over the region on the Atlantic side will diminish next week, which could be enough to spur on development,” said AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski, “Tropical development on the Gulf side could follow if the disruptive winds diminish in that region.”

This could bring not just rain but storms to the coasts of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.

And, of course, Florida.

Now the Sunshine State is no stranger to summer storms. In fact, it rains every afternoon at 3 o’clock, or so it seems. But the lingering conditions could produce more than the usual afternoon shower.

According to AccuWeather, the storms could be very slow-moving and unload enough rain to cause flooding problems, travel delays and disruptions to outdoor activities.

If it happens, that means no goofy golf!

The storms forecast to frequent Florida next week will be the result of the stalled front nearby and a pocket of cool air aloft. The setup will make the atmosphere very unstable over the state.

Should a tropical system or two develop next week, potential impacts could include rough surf and strong rip currents in the coastal areas and large swells and gusty winds offshore.

Southern Californians Not Suited To Handle Florida-Like Heat & Humidity

Tropical Storm Brings Tropics-Like Weather To The Golden State

Southern Californa Rain Hermosa Beach Strand
An unusual summer tropical storm flooded The Strand in Hermosa Beach.


There’s a lot of differences in Southern California and Florida, and one of them is the weather.

In Southern California, there’s heat but no humidity. You don’t step out the door in the summertime and then are in need of an immediate shower.

You don’t walk off the dance floor at a club with your clothes all “clammy.”

Yet that’s what’s been happening as the end of July approaches, as a tropical storm has turned Southern California into the tropics with not just heat, but humidity. And afternoon thunderstorms.

In other words, it’s just like Florida. We even had a Florida-style downpour that drenched the popular Smackfest beach volleyball tournament.

Well, okay, it’s not quite as humid as Florida (or anywhere in the South for that matter and I should know, since I’m from the South). But Southern Californians are ill-equipped for what nature is throwing at us right now.

For starters, we have no air conditioning. I know this sounds incredulous to someone from the South – I could hardly believe it myself when I moved here – but it’s true.

At the beach anyway. Don’t need it 95% of the time.

So we have no relief from the heat and humidity. I went for a bike ride the other day and was dripping wet afterward. The only way to cool off – and get any sleep that night – was to stand under a cold shower.

So we do what we do best, and that’s complain that it’s too hot. It dominates the topic of conversation, it’s all over the news and it’s making us miserable.

Of course, this is a temporary situation. In a few days things will be back to our regular weather, which is about 75 degrees, sunny with no humidity.

That’s our best defense, just waiting until things get back to normal.

5 Reasons Beach Motels Are Better For Vacations Than High-Rise Hotels

Budget Accommodations Have Big Bonuses

Beach motel Sea Sprite Hermosa Beach CA
Beach motels are not as fancy as high-rises but ofter a lot of benefits.


When we were kids, dad would always book us into the more budget-friendly accommodations while vacationing in Clearwater Beach, CA.

The location was not on the beach but on the back bay, although it was only about a minute walk to the beach.

Of course, we initially wanted to stay ON the beach, in one of those high-rises but as it turned out, the ‘ol Islander motel was much better.  I still feel this way today and here’s 5 reasons why those little beach motels are better to stay on vacation than the high-rise hotels:

1.) Motels Are More Intimate Than Hotels

The biggest advantage (besides price) that motels offer over high-rises is the fact that they are smaller and therefore more intimate. You can more easily get to know other vacationers, more quickly get things you need from the maid or the front desk (like extra towels) and more swiftly deal with any issues or inconveniences.

2.) You Get To Know – And Can Become Friends With – Your Fellow Vacationers

We made friends for life from people we met at the Islander. We also formed a great bond with others, so much so that several of us actually made plans to annually meet at the same time of the year. At the same place, too

3.) Parking, the Internet, Pool Towels Are Free & No Resort Fees

The biggest rip-off in the hotel industry right now are the “resort fees” which charge you for things you don’t want or need (a spa, even freakin’ towels at the pool!). Motels don’t have these charges.

In a motel, you can take a towel from your room down to the pool and also you generally get free parking, free Internet and other “perks” that cost a fortune at a high-rise.

4.). You Can Be On The Go Faster In A Motel

In a motel, it’s gather the things and you can be out the door, at the pool, in the car or headed to the beach much more quickly than a big hotel. That’s because you don’t have to walk down a long walkway, wait forever on an elevator and go through a big lobby, past restaurants, etc.

This means that you can often be on the beach faster from a motel across the street than you can from a high-rise that is actually on the beach.

5.) Motels Are A Lot Like Being At Home

The casualness of motels means they are kind of like being at your home. With a maid to pick up everything! Things are more relaxed than at a high rise and and your fellow “motel mates” are like friends in your neighborhood.

There are all things our family got out of staying at the Islander, and probably why I still have a fondness for motels.

Beach Showers Still Running On Many California Beaches

Drought Forces Shutoffs At State Beaches But Not All Beaches

California Beach Showers Hermosa Beach
People wash off in Hermosa Beach the same day the state shut off water on state beaches.

Line break:

In response to the drought, California has shut off the showers at state beaches. But the water is still flowing at other, non-state beaches.

In fact, as I walked out to get a photo of a shower in Hermosa Beach, people were using it to clean off their feet. And also to clear the sand from their bucket.

Hermosa Beach is not a state beach. Just to the north, Dockweiler Beach IS one, and it’s hardly as visited as Hermosa. Santa Monica is a state beach but neighboring Venice is not.

So you see, just because who hear and read about the showers being shut off doesn’t mean all the showers are shut off in California. You could also be on a state beach and in a few feet walk to a non-state beach, as is the case in Huntington.

And the rule also applies only to outdoor showers, not indoor showers at campgrounds and RV parks.

Like at Dockweiler in El Segundo.

The state claims it can save 18 million gallons of water annually, but then as one alternative it suggests people bring gallon jugs of their own water to rise off with, so where is the net savings?

In a related move that can’t be disputed, the state also shut off the water to the outdoor showers at the prisons.

Regardless, if you do use one of the working outdoor beach showers, make it quick. And if it doesn’t shut off when you are finished – not an uncommon occurrence, unfortunately –  then report it to the lifeguard.

Below is a list of the most popular state beaches:
• Cardiff State Beach
• Carlsbad State Beach
• Carpinteria State Beach
• Corona Del Mar State Beach
• Dockweiler State Beach
• Half Moon Bay State Beach
• Huntington State Beach
• Malibu Lagoon State Beach (NOT Malibu Beach)
• San Onofre State Beach
• Santa Monica State Beach
• Torrey Pines State Beach
• Will Rodgers State Beac
• William Randolf Hearst Memorial State Beach

5 Things To Know About Traveling To The Beaches In The Greek Islands

Tips On Accommodations, Transportation & Nude Sunbathers

Paradise Beach Mykonos Greek Islands
Paradise Beach on Mykonos is a top Greek Islands destination.


This is it, all you need to know about being on the islands and getting to the beaches in the Greek Isles: Mykonos, Santorini, the Cyclades & more.

1.) Stay In The Towns And Travel To The Beaches

All the action – at least at night –and most of the restaurants and shopping are in the towns. So stay there instead of at the beaches. See #2 for getting from the towns to the beaches.

This is especially true in Santorini; stay in Fira or Firastafani instead of any of the beaches, even the black-sand Kamari Beach.

2.) How To Get To The Many Beaches On The Islands

There’s not just one beach, but many, and getting to them is easy.  You can rent a car (but few people do this and it’s not recommended), you can ride a moped or you can take a bus.

The latter is really the best way because the buses are cheap, they run often day and night and they go to all the beaches. Some buses can be squeeze-in crowded – like the one to Paradise Beach on Mykonos in July and August – but deal with it. Or go to other beaches.

You can even arrive by boat to some beaches!

3.) Take Cash

Some bars and restaurants – many of these are just small hut-type places – deal only in cash. Don’t worry about having it on you or leaving it by your towel when you go the toilet or swimming.Your belongings are perfectly safe.

I’ve even left money on the bar to run into the water or to go to the bathroom.

4.) The Water Is Cool

You may THINK the water is warm like the tropics and go charging into it, but the temperature is really only in the low 70sF. So be prepared for an initial chill.

After a few cool moments, it becomes refreshing.

5.) If You’re An American, Don’t Stare At The Naked Women


Tho it’s hard not to, I’ll admit. Actually the women are not naked but many of them are topless. That takes some getting used to if you’re American, especially when they sit up and you’re talking to them.

Eyes up guys! (Actually, the girls find it kind of amusing when you do slip below eye level. But only occasionally!)


Refugio State Beach To Reopen After Santa Barbara-Area Oil Spill

Camping, Fishing & Swimming Deemed Safe By California State Park Officials

Refugio State Beach
Refugio State Beach is open again after the oil spill. Photo: CA Parks & Rec


Here’s some good news – one of the beaches closed because of the burst pipeline near Santa Barbara is reopening in July.

Refugio State Beach is slated to reopen Fri., July 17 at noon, according to California State Parks officials.

“We’re obviously excited to get the park open again,” said California State Park Superintendent Eric Hjelstrom.

California State Parks and members of the Unified Command completed a site assessment and announced it is safe for all recreational activities, including swimming, camping and fishing.

The park is booked the rest of the summer for camping, as is El Cápitan State Beach since it reopened June 26.

Small, less-frequented beaches between Refugio and El Cápitan (Las Flores and Venedito), which are only accessible at low tide, as well as an area north of Refugio, remain closed for final cleanup work.

Only four miles of Santa Barbara County’s more than 100 miles of coastline were affected by the spill, in the Gaviota region, which is some 20 miles north of the city of Santa Barbara.

The spill was suspected of being the culprit in the mysterious oil blobs that started showing up in beaches a lot farther south, from Manhattan Beach to Long Beach

Water and seafood have remained safe throughout the cleanup, according to Dr. Takashi Wada, director of Santa Barbara County’s Public Health Department.

“All open beaches are safe for the public,” he said. “The Public Health Department has received air and water tests results on a regular basis since the initial oil spill incident and a team of public health experts continues to monitor conditions.”

And Santa Barbara is quick to point out that it has remained unscathed.

“We’ve been getting the word out that Santa Barbara beaches are beautiful and safe, and related businesses are open for business,” said Kathy Janega-Dykes, president & CEO of Visit Santa Barbara. “But publicity about the remaining closed beach area some 20 miles north of Santa Barbara has caused misconceptions among some potential visitors.

“We want to remind consumers that the visitor experience in the American Riviera is as fantastic as ever, and they should move forward with any vacation plans.”

Beach Lifestyle: The Ultimate Beach Bum's Blog