When I was a kid my parents barely took us to the beach, even though we lived 15-20 minutes away from it. When we did go there, it was to quickly dip our toes in the water right around sunset before it closed. That was when they would know for sure the majority of the people had gone and we would have it to ourselves.
My husband, on the other hand, went to plenty of water parks, beaches, and lakes as a kid. After learning how to swim, his mom was very proactive to find ways for him and his sisters to enjoy the very places my parents felt were inappropriate for Muslim families. After we got married, he showed me how we can go to all these places, have fun, and not worry about seeing things we shouldn’t be seeing.
Here are some tips for taking advantage of the beach and other summer water activities.
- Timing. The time of day you go can make a huge difference. I usually check the schedule to see what the opening and closing hours are. You are most likely to have the beach or a section of it to yourself right at opening time (which for beaches is sunrise usually) and you can stay until 10-11 a.m. I have also found in some cases that an hour or two before the beach closes is pretty good. Most people tend to be heading out for dinner or the drive home while you are heading in.
- Modest Swimwear. It’s truly amazing to see how far we have come as Muslims. We have options now for fitness clothing for the Muslim woman, sport hijabs, and even swimwear. Take advantage of it. I know it can be a tad bit intimidating and can leave some staring but wear it with confidence and pride. Most of the time, it’s all in your head. There are plenty of choices. Try out different brands and styles until you find one that suits you. One of my favorites has been Ahiida Burqini. If you would like a detailed review on some of the modest swimwear I have tried, please comment below and I will do a future post.
- Avoid Popular/Crowded Places. Growing up, we lived near a very popular beach that was close to the city and packed during the day. But if you drove an extra 20-30 minutes, you would get to beaches that are pretty private and less visited (and most of the time cleaner!). Yes, it is a little more inconvenient in terms of time, but it will be worth it! Also, if you’re planning a getaway, there are options for islands and resorts that offer private/semi-private beach access for a reasonable cost. With a little research and planning ahead, you can most definitely find a good option.
- Season. DH and I discovered that if you plan trips far in advance and choose the right season you can enjoy vacations to tropical areas with white sands and clear waters. We look up the start and end of the peak and off peak seasons for the places we want to visit. We also look up weather patterns. And then we book our trips for either the very beginning of the recommended dates to visit or the very end. We do our best to avoid going when we know everyone else is on holiday. So far we have been able to go to many places and enjoy water activities without being in too many awkward situations.
Comment below if you have any other recommendations!