Myrtle Beach Tent Ban Takes Effect in May

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Imagine heading out for a day at the beach — toys, towels and totes cradled under your arms. You excitedly approach the shore and catch the first whiff of the salty sea spray, and then … stumble upon a beach jammed with huge tents and not a spot to spare for you and your stuff.

Bummer, right? Well, it won’t be any longer.

In late March, the Myrtle Beach City Council banned the use of canopy-style tents on municipality beaches from Memorial Day to Labor Day (North Myrtle Beach enacted the same ban, and votes are pending to extend it year-round), according to the Sun News. This means any shading device, other than your standard beach umbrella, is not allowed. The council may amend the ruling to allow small, pop-up baby beach tents, however.

The ordinance means more room to roam, play and watch the waters for all beach-goers without the risk of having your only available spot be in between or behind giant tents. More importantly, tents obstructed views of the beach for lifeguards and law enforcement, and made it difficult for them to quickly get to the water in an emergency. While this is largely a great move for folks heading to the shore, it does mean making some adjustments for those accustomed to setting up camp under a large swath of shade.

1) Get an umbrella: Replace the tent with one or more easy-to-tote beach umbrellas no more than 7’6” in diameter (9’ for North Myrtle Beach). Consider multiples if your group includes kids or fair-skinned folks.

2) Get serious about SPF: For those fans of the tan, perhaps a tent falsely permitted a little sun protection wiggle room. A lower SPF plus the occasional reprieve out of the sun meant a nice little glow, right? Wrong. Shade or no shade, slather on the highest broad spectrum SPF sunblock you can get your mitts on, and do it often. We love water- and sweat-proof sprays.

3) Hats: That little brim can make a big difference. Wearing a large, floppy beach hat not only keeps your face cool, it protects your skin. And for the fashion conscious, they happen to be very “in” right now.

4) The ocean: Take advantage of Mother Nature’s best air conditioner and take a dip in the water when you start to feel overheated. Mind alerts for rip currents, though.

5) Guzzle water: The sun and surf can sap us of moisture, so replenish often. Sugary juices and sodas don’t cut it, and neither does alcohol, which is strictly prohibited on the beach anyway.

6) Time it: Head to the beach earlier in the morning or later in the day, avoiding peak hours when the sun is strongest. For shell-lovers, that morning visit is a primo time for collecting.

7) Take a break: For those prone to heat sensitivity, chances are a full day spent in the bright sun was not in the cards to begin with. Nevertheless, use caution. After a couple hours, cool off in your hotel room, with an ice cream cone at one of the piers, or sipping an iced tea over lunch at River City Cafe. You can always head back — the ocean isn’t going anywhere!

How about you? How will you stay cool without a tent this summer?

(posted 4/18/14)