Beach quotes: We wear them on our T-shirts, we use them to caption our Instagram photos, we recite them over a glass of wine.
And we all have our favorites.
Here are 55 of mine:
The beach is a faithful lover. It will never abandon the sea.
The beach and the sea make a perfect couple, don’t they? They can’t and won’t do without one another. So I love the imagery of this quote.
(BTW: I would imagine that most of you have not heard this quote before. I’ve included several from the poet, Nallén, who is a local to my area beaches. I’m pretty sure that these are the first web mentions of some of this poet’s great beach quotes. Feel free to share them!)
An ocean breeze puts a mind at ease
We’ll feature several quotes like this one, that are great and that most of us have heard before, but that we’re not exactly sure where they came from. Well, whoever first said that an ocean breeze puts a mind at ease was very, very right.
I love the way that the ocean breeze is always blowing inland, jingling the wind chimes on beach houses. Always. So even when you park your car a few blocks from the beach, then start walking toward it, the wonderful smell of ocean air greets you long before you actually get to the ocean.
Which means you find yourself relaxed by the ocean long before you get there. At ease, indeed.
Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
What better life advice could you hear than this beach quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson? It’s some of the best advice I’ve ever heard. Too often we spend too much of our time in front of computers and on couches and in coffee shops.
Not that those are necessarily bad places to be, but you’ve got to admit that swimming in the sea sounds much better.
And I love that last part: “drink the wild air.”
What great imagery.
Of course Emerson was a poet (among a lot of other things).
Joy fills my soul when I walk upon the shore
I’m not sure who said this quote, but I agree wholeheartedly. Tell me, don’t you just feel that way at a shore?
I know that I’ve spent a lot of time at beaches and I am pretty sure that I’m not the only one who feels that sense of joy there.
In fact, a quick look around pretty much any beach reveals a whole lot of smiling faces. A whole lot of joy.
The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever
–Jacques Yves Cousteau
Okay, so first off, for our younger readers who may not know who Jacques Cousteau was, I would recommend googling him soon (actually, here’s a wikipedia link). Cousteau was a true pioneer, the co-inventor of the Aqua-Lung (you may know it as a scuba regulator) which he developed so that he could more freely explore underwater.
And explore he did: his many underwater documentaries (and books and television appearances to support them) opened up this whole new world of undersea life to the general public. If you’ve ever been fascinated by an undersea documentary or gone scuba diving on vacation, thank Jacques.
But back to this quote… it is obvious that the sea cast its spell on Cousteau, and through his films he brought the wonder of the sea to those who had never been anywhere near an ocean.
How inappropriate to call this planet Earth when it is quite clearly Ocean
— Arthur C. Clarke
The fact that 70% of the planet’s surface is water makes this a really great quote. I love this one from Arthur C. Clarke (author of, among many other things 2001: A Space Odyssey).
Clarke was very skilled a taking complex science and science fiction ideas and stating them in a way that was both easy to understand and a joy to read. Here he cleverly points out the obvious, and makes it fun.
Walking through the surf, the sea sneaks up behind me, and shows me its love
Beach Haiku (“haiku” is a form of poetry with 5 syllables, 7 syllables, then 5 syllables again) explaining a very common phenomenon.
There are times when I just watch the people on the beach to see this very thing happen: a person walks far out into the surf because the surf has fooled them into a false sense of security by being shallow, then they make the mistake of turning their back on the water, and the water sneaks up and gets them!
Oh, and look closely at that picture that I found for this beach quote. It’s absolutely perfect!
On the beach, you can live in bliss
— Dennis Wilson
Short and sweet. And if anyone is qualified to make beach quotes it would be a member of the Beach Boys.
Not only a member of the Beach Boys, Dennis was, in fact, the only actual surfer in a musical group known for their surfing songs. It was his dedication to the surfing lifestyle that inspired his brother Brian to write all of those surfing songs in the first place!
So, he knew a thing or two about the bliss of the beach.
To go out with the setting sun on an empty beach is to truly embrace your solitude
— Jeanne Moreau
If you’re on a West Coast, like I am, you’re treated to amazing sunsets almost daily. We’re very lucky that way.
And it’s actually kind of entertaining to watch the huge flow of people who head out to the beach at about 10 minutes before sunset and then flow back inland about 10 minutes after the sunset.
It’s almost like a tide of its own.
Every time I slip into the ocean, it’s like going home
– Sylvia Earle
Like Jacques Cousteau, Sylvia Earle is a marine biologist (and President of Mission Blue) who also fell under the spell of the sea. I would almost imagine that she’s likely spent more of her 80+ years on or in the sea than she has on land. So the sentiment of this quote makes perfect sense.
It’s also beautiful.
May you always have a shell in your pocket and sand in your shoes
If you know anyone lucky enough to have a home on or near the beach, they’ll tell you that there is constantly sand on their floors no matter how much they sweep or vacuum.
And what a wonderful problem to have.
Spread my ashes on a beach. Let the tide carry me away. I will be at peace then. I will be at peace.
I suppose that as long as the beach was empty so that my ashes wouldn’t bother anyone, I would agree with the sentiment of this quote.
If there’s heaven for me, I’m sure it has a beach attached to it
— Jimmy Buffet
Jimmy Buffet is well-known as a singer of songs about the sea (he calls his style of music “drunken Caribbean rock ‘n’ roll”) and famously a liver of the beach lifestyle.
Oh, and the owner of those Margaritaville restaurants.
He’s a multimillionaire who still wears flip-flops. So, yeah, I think that Jimmy’s heaven probably will include a beach.
Limitless and immortal, the waters are the beginning and end of all things on earth
— Heinrich Zimmer
I love a quote like this that says so much, can mean so many different things and express so many different ideas, in just a few words.
“The beginning and end of all things on earth.”
At the beach nothing matters but the beach
A short beach quote, but one with a sentiment we’ve all had, haven’t we?
When we are there, everything else slides into the background and just doesn’t matter.
Those who live by the sea can hardly form a single thought of which the sea would not be part
If you’ve lived by the sea — even if only for a week or two at a vacation rental — you can identify with this particular beach quote.
You get up in the morning and you smell the ocean air.
You go to the grocery store, you can feel that the shore is nearby.
And you go to the beach as much as you can, because you can.
Seashells wash upon the shore like smiles from the sea
I run a site called Seashell Madness, so, yeah this one really sinks in for me. One of those perfect seashell quotes.
If you could see me when I get the chance to get out on that shore and start collecting seashells. I’m giddy. Like a little girl.
So “seashells wash upon the shore like smiles from the sea” could practically be my mantra. I could do yoga on the beach while chanting that — one of the great quotes about seashells.
She walks along the edge of where the Ocean meets the Land, just like she’s walking on a wire in a circus
— Counting Crows
One of my all-time favorite albums is August and Everything After by Counting Crows. And it is mainly because of the lyrics. I think that the lyrics on that album are pure poetry.
And the imagery of this lyric from the song Round Here found a sticking place in my brain long before I ever made it to a coast.
Even the upper end of the river believes in the ocean
Words of optimism from the great American poet William Stafford. He wrote many lines like this one, both lovely and inspiring.
It fills me with hope.
You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop
The 13th century Persian poet Rumi wrote many very beautiful lines, some of which have been recited for centuries in many languages and in many lands throughout the world.
Like this one: “You are not a drop in the ocean, you are the entire ocean in a drop.”
Beautiful, empowering words (which I’ll bet you’ve heard before but didn’t realize were written 800 years ago!).
And those ancient words also happen to fit in with our theme of beach quotes today — lucky us!
My toes know where they belong. They find the sand.
My toes always seem to find the sand. Always.
We dream in colors borrowed from the sea
Another of those that I don’t know who said it, but I’m glad that they said it.
When I was young I remember a teacher telling us that we dream in black and white.
Which was the first time I remember thinking that a teacher could actually be wrong, because I’ve always sworn that I dream in color.
Turns out I was right. And turns out that those colors I often borrow from the sea.
Why do we love the sea? It is because it has some potent power to make us think things we like to think.
Maybe it’s the relaxing nature of the beach — brought on by the almost hypnotic sound of the continual waves breaking against the shore — that puts my mind in a state where I can think things that I like to think.
It’s not a forced thinking — like the forced and often upleasant thinking we often do for our jobs — it’s more like a meditative state where the good thoughts flow one after another.
So I definitely agree with Robert Henri on this one.
To behold an ocean from the beach is to glimpse eternity
I often think about the fact that waves have been crashing upon shorelines for a lot longer than we have been around those shorelines.
It’s not quite eternity, but in comparing our life spans to that of an ocean’s it might as well be.
My footprints on a shoreline bring peace unto my soul
I love turning around to see my footprints in the sand. And watching them be slowly dissolved as the waves come in is almost hypnotic.
The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul
— Robert Wyland
Robert Wyland is another person who is well-qualified to speak about the ocean. He is an artist, best known for his aquatic-themed paintings, namely his life-size portraits of whales which can be seen in multiple cities throughout the world.
If you ever find yourself in Long Beach, California, for example, you will be unable to not see one of his most famous paintings, The Wyland Whaling Wall: “Planet Ocean” — it formerly held the world record for the world’s largest mural! — and it covers the entire outside of the Long Beach Convention Center.
(A humorous sidenote to that: Long Beach is also known for a world-class aquarium, and because of the giant whales painted on the Convention Center, visitors often mistake that building for the aquarium).
Certainly Wyland’s imagination has been inspired and his heart stirred by the ocean.
Sun + Sky + Water + Sand = Happiness
Is this the formula for happiness?
I think it’s a likely candidate.
One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach. One can collect only a few, and they are more beautiful if they are few.
— Anne Morrow Lindbergh
This is another one that really speaks to me as a perfect seashell quote (I do have the seashell madness after all). I know that I can’t collect all the shells on the beach.
I know I can’t. But I feel this almost irresistable urge to try! (which makes this one of the best quotes about seashells)
But I can usually control that urge by simply remembering this quote from Lindbergh (wife of famous aviator Charles Lindbergh and an accomplished aviator herself), and I only allow myself to pick up the most interesting and unique shells.
So I leave more shells for others to find and to enjoy, and the ones I bring home feel all the more special.
The meanest of worlds is washed pure by a beach
The beach has to be the absolute best place to wash away frustration, stress and anger.
It just does.
Kisses softer than a lover’s touch, the beach bestows on me
We are lucky enough to have two very different beaches nearby. One is Rincon, a world-famous surfing spot where great waves come crashing in on a daily basis. The other is labeled “The World’s Safest Beach” for how gently the waves come in.
The latter comes to mind for this particular quote from a beach poem.
We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch – we are going back from whence we came.
—John F. Kennedy
JFK was well-known as a sailing enthusiast (he was also an officer in the US Navy). And I love the depth and beauty of this quote from a man whose life was cut so tragically short.
A beach is not only a sweep of sand, but shells of sea creatures, the sea glass, the seaweed, the incongruous objects washed up by the ocean.
– Henry Grunwald
One day a few years ago, an event happened which often happens during the migration of jellyfish: hundreds of them washed up on the shore of our local beach. It wasn’t a disaster, it was a normal part of nature.
They were brilliant blue circles, about the size and shape of drink coasters. And they were everywhere.
My husband and I were so entranced by them that it never even dawned on us to get out our phones and take pictures!
And when I read this quote by Henry Grunwald and his mention of “sea creatures” and “incongruous objects washed up by the ocean,” the vision that comes to my mind is those tiny, glowing blue disks covering the shoreline.
To hold hands by the shoreline, to walk through shallow surf, to kiss lips wet by ocean’s waves makes worth our time on earth
I suppose this is another way of saying that the beach is for lovers.
And I am in love with the imagery.
To me, the sea is like a person — like a child that I’ve known a long time. It sounds crazy, I know, but when I swim in the sea I talk to it. I never feel alone when I’m out there.
One of the best-known athletes of the 1920s was a woman named Gertrude Ederle. She won multiple Olympic medals. She set several records.
And, oh yeah, in 1926 she became the first woman to swim the English Channel.
A mere seven years after women won the right to vote in the US, here was a strong female accomplishing something many thought impossible. Only 5 men had succeeded — though many more had tried many times — and there was a common belief that a woman couldn’t possibly make the crossing.
Not only did Gertrude make it to the English shoreline, she did it two hours faster than the fastest of the men!
And that feat puts this quote in context. Fourteen and a half hours straight swimming… talking to the ocean doesn’t sound crazy at all.
The ocean brings beauty, and with that beauty love
My life is like a stroll upon the beach, as near to the ocean’s edge as I can go
– Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau is best known for the book Walden, about his bold experiment to live in solitude in the woods. [note to aspiring authors: it took Thoreau nearly a decade to write and edit Walden, and though it is now a classic which has sold millions, it took 5 years to sell the first 2,000 copies]
So, here was a person who definitely walked to the beat of his own drum. And this quote — “My life is like a stroll upon the beach, as near to the ocean’s edge as I can go” — perfectly encapsulates his personality and serves as a rallying cry for individualists everywhere.
When I walk into the surf I am connected to distant beaches and faraway lands
When I stand on the shore with my feet in the water, I sometimes wonder if directly in front of me, on another beach on the other side of this ocean, there is someone else standing with their feet in the water wondering about me.
I could never stay long enough on the shore; the tang of the untainted, fresh, and free sea air was like a cool, quieting thought.
— Helen Keller
If there is anyone reading this who doesn’t know who Helen Keller was, please stop what you are doing and go learn who Helen Keller was.
Arguably one of the most amazing humans to ever live, she learned to communicate despite being both deaf and blind (her story is recounted in the 1962 film The Miracle Worker, which, if you haven’t seen, you should).
Keller was the first deaf-blind person to earn a bachelor’s degree (1904) and was a widely published author, a popular public speaker and a progressive political activist.
As far as this quote, I love both the idea and the phrasing that the “free sea air was like a cool, quieting thought.”
I said to my love, “meet me at the beach.” And my love did smile wide.
Who doesn’t smile when they are with their love at the beach?
A beach holds the wisdom of the universe and the innocence of a newborn
It’s interesting when you think about it. The beach has existed for a really long time. Those waves have been pounding against the shore for a really long time. It’s a pattern that has been going a really long time.
But each time a wave crashes on a beach, that beach is changed into something new.
That’s kind of a Zen thought, isn’t it?
The heart of man is very much like the sea, it has its storms, it has its tides, and in its depths it has its pearls too
–Vincent Van Gogh
Vincent Van Gogh certainly knew about stormy hearts. The original “starving artist” Van Gogh poured his entire being into his paintings, but was a commercial failure. Well, during his lifetime anyway, nowadays his works are among the most valuable in the world, worth millions each.
But I love this quote’s use of the sea to describe the human heart: both storms and pearls. Perfect.
The beach represents all the children of the world
― Gertrude Ederle
Another quote from the first woman to swim the English Channel, someone well-acquainted with the beach. After leaving the world of competitive swimming she spent years teaching swimming to deaf children.
So she knew a thing or two about beaches and children at beaches and this is a lovely quote.
He asked, “ready to leave the beach?” And. I. Just. Laughed.
Among the most ridiculous questions is “are you ready to go?” when you’re at the beach.
Is anyone ever ready to leave the beach? Don’t think so.
The Cosmos is rich beyond measure: the total number of stars in the universe is greater than all the grains of sand on all the beaches of planet earth
— Carl Sagan
Carl Sagan was an astronomer and a science popularizer whose book Cosmos became the best-selling science book ever. The accompanying PBS miniseries for Cosmos brought Sagan’s sense of wonder and fascination into the living rooms of millions in the 1980s and inspired a generation to seek careers in science.
One of Sagan’s gifts was to be able to make his audience feel his fascination with science, like it was contagious or something. Quotes like the above — where he points out the mind-boggling fact that there are more stars in the universe than grains of sand on beaches on Earth — and especially delivered with Sagan’s trademark enthusiasm, just makes you go, “Wow…”
The churning, churning, churning of the waves against the shore revives me, makes me whole
I love how the words “churning, churning, churning” make you physically feel that very thing. Which happens over and over again for as long as there have been oceans (and for as long as oceans exist).
Without water, our planet would be one of the billions of lifeless rocks floating endlessly in the vastness of the inky-black void
— Fabien Cousteau
Fabien Cousteau is the grandson of Jacques Cousteau. Having grown up with that legacy (he learned how to scuba dive on his 4th birthday) it is no surprise that he grew to be a well-known oceanographer himself. Maybe it’s in his blood.
So as a Cousteau, Fabien knows quite a lot about the water on this planet. And I love how this quote points out that it is water that makes our planet earth different from any other that we have so far seen.
I also like that this quote has that same feel as the science enthusiasm of Carl Sagan. Poetic and informative!
I will never lose my faith that the beach can restore my soul
It’s not at all uncommon to see someone meditating at the beach. When I see that, I try not to get too close, I try not to disturb them because sitting on the sand in front of the ocean waves strikes me as the best place for such a thing.
And that’s what this quote reminds me of: someone “restoring their soul” with meditation at the beach.
There’s no question dolphins are smarter than humans as they play more
— Albert Einstein
Now, when the person who many call “the smartest person to ever live” says that dolphins are smarter than people… well, you maybe take notice.
You can’t argue with a beach. It bends you to its will.
I can’t argue with this one.
The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea
— Isak Dinesen
I love the direct simplicity of this quote from Danish author Isak Dinesen (pen name for Baroness Karen Christenze von Blixen-Finecke — you can understand why she used a pen name!): “The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea.”
Could anything be more true?
When I can, I opt for the cure of the sea, instead of those other two.
I might also add “red wine” to that list…
Happiness is a day at the beach
Another that I don’t know who said it, but it is a great one. There is a reason that you see this slogan on T-shirts and mugs and beach bags and basically anything else that it is possible to put a slogan on: it is so true!
I mean, how could you put it more simply and more accurately than that? “Happiness is a day at the beach.”
In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth
– Rachel Carson
Rachel Carson was a marine biologist and nature writer whose books about a love for nature became best-sellers in her day.
One of those books was the landmark book Silent Spring (published in 1962, only a few years before her death). This best-seller is credited by many as being the real starting point of the modern environmental movement.
As a marine biologist, she knew a lot about coastlines and beaches, and as a writer she gave us this great quote about them.
The sun set upon the ocean as I stood upon the beach. Orange, purple filled the sky. My heart sailed out of reach.
I mentioned earlier that the West Coast of California offers some of the best sunsets. The “orange, purple” of this quote perfectly describes that, and it has the same effect on my heart.
I pass my time in the open air on the beach when it is really heavy weather or when the boats go out fishing
Claude Monet was a French Impressionist painter, but maybe he should have been a poet. I love the quiet simplicity of the scene he describes. And it makes me envision Claude heading out to the seaside with a palette and brushes.
I know happiness when I know the beach. I know calm when I know the beach. I know love when I know the beach.
I’m ending with this one because it perfectly states how I feel about the beach. This could be my beach quote. The quote for my own seashell madness.
Please share these great beach quotes!