High Air, Water Quality Are Key to a More-Pleasant Beach Vacation

People head to the beach to escape the stress of everyday life, but a new study out of the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis finds that there are peak times to reap the restorative benefit.

“Mild temperature days and low tides offer the most restorative environments when visiting the beach,” says J. Aaron Hipp, environmental health expert and assistant professor at the Brown School.

“Beachgoers visiting on a day nearly 3 degrees warmer than average were 30 percent less likely to perceive the beach or coastal park as restorative, compared to those visiting on average or cooler than average days,” Hipp says.

Hipp’s study is published in the current issue of the Journal of Environmental Psychology.

Findings also reveal that beachgoers found the beach less restorative if they perceived the air or water quality to be at- or below-average.

“Studies have shown that natural environments like beaches and waterfront parks offer more restorative benefits to people than gyms, entertainment venues and the built urban environment,” Hipp says.

“Natural environments are vulnerable to global climate changes, including changes in air quality, water quality, increases in temperature, extreme weather events and sea level rise.

“Few urban parks have planned for vulnerabilities to potential climate change on existing parks, much less the associated health effects to visitors.”

Hipp says that parks can add shaded areas and improved access to water fountains for warm weather days.

“The challenge in urban coastal areas is the parks cannot migrate inland,” he says.

“Public health and recreation departments must work together to ensure residents have safe, healthy alternatives for psychological restoration and physical activity on days with dangerous levels of air and water quality and when the tidal level is not conducive to play and relaxation on the sand.”

Hipp and study co-author Oladele A. Ogunseitan, PhD, professor of social ecology at the University of California, Irvine, surveyed 1,153 visitors to the beaches in the California State Parks system. They selected that system in part because the beaches are located in a densely populated urban region.

Download Center

  • Monitoring and Reporting on Air Emissions for Regulators and the Real World

    When it comes to managing compliance and regulatory issues surrounding air emissions, there are no easy jobs. With interviews from practitioners from American Electric Power, Red Cedar Gathering, Trinity Consultants, and Cority, this eBook provides practical advice to advance your air emissions monitoring and reporting programs.

  • What Every EHS Professional Should Know About ESG

    Join experts from Arcadis and Cority on April 27th to learn the most common ESG reporting frameworks and how technology can help you improve reporting efficiency, identify areas for improvement, and create defensible audit trails.

  • Green Quadrant EHS Software 2021

    Read the new report by independent analyst firm, Verdantix, to get an unbiased comparison of the 22 most prominent EHS software vendors in the industry.

  • RFP Template for Waste Management Software

    Learn the essential questions to ask when evaluating waste management software solutions with this free, ready-to-use RFP template

  • 5 Keys to Best-in-Class Chemical Management

    Running a safe chemical program is challenging and complex: from knowing what's on-site to proper handling and disposal - all while navigating regulatory changes. Learn the best ways to mitigate chemical risk, get the most value out of your data, and gain buy-in for a chemical management solution.

Featured Webinar