Our 60 miles of shoreline is home to countless memories made over many, many decades. The sound of waves crashing and children playing and the feel of warm sand on our feet and sun on our faces is a wonderful human experience we want to protect for future generations. Part of protecting the beachgoing experience for future generations is protecting the actual beach. From litter prevention to erosion, here are five easy ways you can help keep Myrtle Beach beautiful:

Eliminate the disposable waste you bring to the beach

Reducing your use of plastics is one of the biggest ways you can help keep our beaches healthy and beautiful. Bring along a refillable water bottle instead of plastic water bottles as the small round plastic caps are a frequent litter offender. Consider also packing lunch in reusable containers instead of plastic bags. While the impact one person can make may seem small, a collective shift makes a huge difference in keeping our beaches beautiful and safe for all to enjoy.

Beach and Pier at Garden City Beach

Leave it cleaner than how you found it

Making sure you clean up and throw away any trash you produce should be a no-brainer, but take it a step further and leave the beach a little cleaner than how you found it. Even if that means just picking up one additional piece of trash that isn’t yours, it will make a difference! An easy way to ensure you pick up all of your own trash (as well as some extra) is to bring your own trash bag,
instead of trying to lug all loose garbage at the end of your visit. Lastly, to encourage kid participation in any beach cleanup and make it more fun, try offering a small reward like one Skittle or M&M for each piece of trash they clean up.

Stay off the dunes

If you’ve visited a beach, you’ve likely seen a sign that says ‘Keep Off Dunes.’ This is much more than a suggestion, as walking on dunes can compact the sand and destroy the delicate plants that help hold the dune together. Sand dunes act as a natural barrier against hurricanes and protect against beach erosion. Trampling through dunes can even disturb and harm natural wildlife, like sea turtles. Those who walk through the sand dunes also run the risk of being issued a hefty citation, with fees up to $500, so stick to designated paths or walkways at all beach access points.

Sea Turtle on the beach at Myrtle Beach State Park, Myrtle Beach, SC

Fill in holes before you leave

While building a sandcastle and digging a moat is a lot of fun while you’re visiting the beach, leaving holes behind when you leave creates a sort of obstacle course for the animals that call the beach home. Large holes left behind can be especially dangerous for sea turtles coming ashore at night to nest. Beyond filling in any holes before leaving, also be sure you aren’t leaving behind any equipment–like chairs or umbrellas–that could also entangle and harm seaside wildlife.

Be mindful of your actions at home

Keeping our beaches beautiful while we’re visiting the beach can be pretty straightforward. The challenge comes once we are back home. Remember that all day to day actions, from plastic consumption to harmful stormwater runoff, all impact our oceans and beaches. Try to increase the amount of environmentally-friendly products you use and decrease the amount of single-use plastics you use. Keep in mind that anything you flush down the drain or toilet has the potential to end up in the water. Educate yourself on the impact humans have on our natural environment and make it a point to share your knowledge and ‘ocean advocacy’ with others. Keeping our beaches beautiful for everyone to enjoy for generations to come can be easy, especially when we are working together.