Roof line of yellow beach hut with yacht and seagull ornaments
Coast & seascapes,  Sunday Stills,  Themed galleries

Gallery: exploring beaches, near and far

In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth.

Rachel Carson

I can’t remember the last time I just sat, or lay, on a beach! For me a beautiful beach is a place to explore, to walk, to photograph. I love to hear the sound of the waves breaking on the shore and to watch their hypnotic rhythm. I like to peer at rock pools to see the mysteries within. And I enjoy the challenges of photographing ancient rocks; or driftwood shaped by water and the weather into sculptural forms.

Or if there are people on the beach I prefer it if they are doing something! I like to watch fishermen hauling up their nets; admire the skills of surfers riding the waves; perhaps buy a cold drink at a beach bar or from a passing vendor.

If the weather is really hot I may sit for a while (in the shade) and go for a swim; but really, I’d much rather visit the beach in the off-season when it’s quiet and I can enjoy my walk, even in poor weather!

My life is like a stroll upon the beach, as near to the ocean’s edge as I can go

Henry David Thoreau

For Terri’s Beautiful Beaches Sunday Stills challenge I’m sharing some shots of beaches close to home in the UK and others I’ve explored on my travels.

Near

Sandy beach with dunes

A beach lined with dunes

Norfolk


Group of seals on a sandbank

A beach with seals

Norfolk again


Shingle beach with small boats and gulls

A beach with boats

Aldeburgh in Suffolk


Line of wooden posts on a shingle beach
Line of wooden posts on a shingle beach

A beach with groynes

Whitstable, Kent


Sandy beach with a stream and distant walkers

A beach with a stream

St Ives, Cornwall


Beach with walkers and low sun

A beach in winter

Druridge Bay, Northumberland


Rock pools on a sandy beach

A beach for rock pooling

Druridge Bay again


Small sandy beach and lighthouse on an island offshore

A beach with a lighthouse

St Mary’s Lighthouse, Whitley Bay


Rocks covered in seaweed

A seaweed-strewn beach

Beadnell Bay, Northumberland

Away

Beach with seaweed and rocks in the mist

A beach in bad weather

Puñihuil Beach on Chiloe Island, Chile


Rock stacks on a beach and offshore

A beach in the mist

Ruby Beach, Olympic Peninsula, Washington State


Looking down at a beach from a grassy cliff

A beach for solitude

Kalaloch Beach, Olympic Peninsula, Washington State


Beach with large weathered tree trunks

A beach with driftwood

Long Beach near Tofino on Vancouver Island


Beach with red cliffs and palm trees

A beach with palm trees

At Ngala Lodge, Gambia


Group of seals on a white sand beach

A beach for wildlife

Española in the Galápagos Islands


Mother and two small boys on a beach by the sea

A beach to enjoy

Kovalam, Kerala


Fishermen with nets and ropes on a beach

A working beach

Kovalam again


Men on a sandy beach with a fishing net

A fishermen’s beach

Salalah, Oman


Man with a bike and souvenirs on a white sand beach

A beach for a quick sale?

Varadero, Cuba

59 Comments

  • Annie Berger

    Loved your photos especially of seals in both Near and Far. Had to look up what a ‘groyne’ was having never heard that word! Fun seeing your photo of Cuba’s Varadero Beach which was very popular for Canadians in the 70s wanting to escape the chilly Great White North!

    After a 9,700 mile drive (with a detour to Newfoundland, etc!) from Denver, Steven and I arrived this afternoon for a two-week stay at our favorite state park beach on the Florida Panhandle. This is for about the 15th year in a row we’ve made the long drive to the part of Florida known as the Emerald Coast. Unlike you and many of your regular readers, we love to plonk ourselves down on the almost deserted beach in our chairs and read for hours on end. For us, it’s the ultimate in relaxation.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      As you know, I’m enjoying following your drive 🙂 And after a journey like that I think even I would appreciate a few days just sitting and reading!

  • Marsha

    I’ve never been much of a sun bather either. It’s too boring and not comfortable enough to read. Besides that too many people get skin cancer – not that I didn’t have my share of sunburns when I was a kid. You’re pictures are always so unusual. You’ve met beaches I’ll never meet – liked or not liked. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thanks so much for this Marsha and my apologies for the delay in acknowledging and replying. Either I didn’t get the usual email notification or I deleted it unread in error! Glad you enjoyed seeing these photo 🙂

  • Oh, the Places We See

    We cherish our one week a year at Pawleys Island, South Carolina, but love seeing other beaches. Mostly we’re near the Atlantic Ocean when we’re visiting beaches, but we’ve seen other great beaches in numerous places around the world. Never met a beach I didn’t like! Thanks for your beautiful photos and this virtual tour.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      ‘Never met a beach I didn’t like’ – I love that and I agree, although maybe it’s harder to like the ones so covered in sunbathing bodies that you can’t see the sand! Thank you for joining the virtual tour 🙂

  • SoyBend

    The winter beach photo was my favorite, Sarah. A beautiful combination of sand, clouds, and sunlight with two visitors making their own trails.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you Siobhan 🙂 That’s our favourite beach for a New Year’s Day walk. It’s an easy drive from Newcastle, where we usually celebrate New Year’s Eve, and long enough for a decent walk to blow the cobwebs away!

  • wetanddustyroads

    Yes, I like that as well … walking along the beach and just watch the waves coming out and going back in. And no beach looks the same – the proof is in your photo’s! No surprise here … I like them all!

  • restlessjo

    I like that you take so much trouble to showcase your shots, and many of these are wonderful. I’m married to a beach bum so my life has always included time on a beach. Much less now than it was when we were young, but I do love being beside the sea. Mornings are especially beautiful with that gorgeous light on the water. We were there yesterday for a couple of hours. He dozed and I wandered.

  • janet

    OK, let me try this again. You have an enormous gallery of beautiful beaches. I’m with you about when I like to visit places, when others aren’t around. I’m happy that many people enjoy these places but always appreciate when they enjoy them when I’m not there. 🙂

    janet

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you for persisting in commenting Janet 🙂 I have no idea why both your attempts ended up in my spam folder (one as ‘anonymous’, one correctly identified as you!) I only just logged on and saw them there, so I’ve approved this one and deleted the first attempt as it was so similar. I hope this won’t happen again but if one of your comments fails to appear in the future please be patient – I will always approve them as soon as I see them, as I really appreciate your feedback 🙂

  • Rose

    I love quiet beaches when the weather isn’t too hot or too cold. It’s so peaceful to just close my eyes and listen to the sounds – the water, the birds, the wind… There’s something special about being near a large body of water.

  • rkrontheroad

    The misty and winter photos are compelling. The seals in the first photo made me smile. Beaches are a favorite place for walking for me. I don’t get there very often, living in the middle of the country!

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you Ruth, I’m glad you liked those shots as they’re favourites of mine 🙂 And the seals in Norfolk are great, you can get pretty close on boat trips.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you 🙂 The location of that lighthouse is interesting – at high tide it’s on a little rocky island but at low tide you can walk across!

  • Sue

    I’ve never been a beach lounger…like you “I love to hear the sound of the waves breaking on the shore and to watch their hypnotic rhythm. I like to peer at rock pools to see the mysteries within.”

  • margaret21

    Funnily enough the beaches i recognised without looking at the ‘signage’ were Whitstable, Norfolk and Tofino. Well, I wasn’t certain about its actually being Tofino, but that neck of the woods anyway. Strange how very distinctive beaches can be.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      I like swimming in the sea, especially if there are a few waves to make it interesting! Apart from that though I get bored after a couple of hours on a beach. But I do like a sightseeing holiday that has a short spell of beach time at the end to unwind 😀

        • Sarah Wilkie

          That does sound rather pleasant – but only for a day! Then I’d want to be off exploring again 😆 We enjoy days that are half and half – an outing in the morning then some beach or pool time in the afternoon when it gets hotter!

        • Terri Webster Schrandt

          Your beach images are gorgeous, Sarah. I think I’m with you on visiting beaches in the winter as a preference. Sand is not my favorite thing, but I do love the water. I also really like how your theme shows the images with the captions…may I ask which one you use? Or is that using block editor? Looks classy. Great to see your post for Sunday Stills, as always. Have a great rest of your week!

          • Sarah Wilkie

            My theme is Ashe (the pro version) but the photo gallery display is done using block editor. I use the background plug-in to create a black background, add the images one at a time (centred), and write the captions in the next block as a paragraph rather than including them with the image, which I find rather small – these are font size 20. I centre them too and use the separator and spacer blocks to create distance between each image. The narrow white frames around each photo are done in Photoshop Elements before uploading.

Do let me know what you think - I'd love to hear from you

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