It’s hard not to love the beach: waves crashing onto the golden sand, the sun’s rays flooding your body with warmth. Perhaps you want to capture a moment of joy, say, so you lift your camera – and then it all goes wrong. Or maybe you’re getting creative in your attempts to forever preserve the fun you’re having. These 40 images definitely fall into one of those two categories. They might not inspire any sense of coastal serenity in you, but we promise they’ll make you laugh.
There’s nothing better than enjoying a beach day with your family. Perhaps you’ve even had the chance to bring your baby to the beach for the first time. For most, it’s a special moment as they watch their little one gaze at the horizon in wonderment. For this mom, though, her child just seems a little bit sea-sick of it all.
39. This shot bites
A pier’s a great spot for a picture – you’ve got the rustic wood decking in the foreground and the bright blue sea in the background. Just beware of photo-bombers, especially the ones with long beaks and swinging gullets. They might peck at you for taking photos on their turf.
38. Not having a ball
For man’s best friend, a beach must seem like one massive, unending park in which to play. This trio of furry friends headed to the shore for what appears to be an intense game of catch. Unfortunately for the pup who went for the glory, she didn’t quite aim properly – and her owner caught it all on film.
37. Friend still loading
A few guys hanging out at the beach pose for a photo and one of the friends decides it’s time for a spot of juggling – what kind of photo fails could such innocence cause? Well, in this case, the ball dangling overhead made one man look as though he was having a software malfunction. A Redditor wrote, “I think he might be frozen because it looks like he has the spinning beach ball of death.”
36. On reflection, don’t bother
According to this Reddit user, a “sweet old man at the beach” offered to take a photo of him with his wife by the sea. A lovely gesture, of course… but one on which the photographer couldn’t actually follow through. He ended up taking a picture of his own face, a different kind of keepsake for the lovebirds post-vacation.
35. Instagram boyfriend beach
Some spots just beg to become Instagram backgrounds, and, if couples visit them together, we all know what happens next. One Redditor didn’t realize he had become like every other modern-day beau until he started snapping pics. He explained, “I stood taking a photo of my girlfriend in the sea, then realized so was every other Instagram boyfriend.”
34. Pier pyre
We all want to take that smoking-hot beach photo… but we don’t really want that vision to be taken literally. This beach bunny definitely got a fiery picture on the coastline, but that was all thanks to the English town of Eastbourne’s pier burning down in the background.
33. I heart you, stranger
What’s sweeter than a family photo on the beach? A family photo on the beach that features heart hands, of course. Unfortunately, this adorable snapshot was kind of ruined by the love symbol dangling in the air. Just as the picture was snapped, a stranger walked into the heart-shaped frame.
32. Splash zone
Laying down your towel carefully, you’ve given due consideration to your chosen spot – close enough to the water so you can go for a dip, but far enough away that it can’t wash up and unexpectedly soak you. It’s a great plan, until you remember that canines can come to the beach too. And a four-legged friend will bring the dreaded splash zone right to your towel.
31. Couch on the coast
The internet has described people with inspired ideas as “living in the year 3020,” while the rest of us are just scraping by in 2020. We’d like to nominate this pair for the former distinction, thanks to their comfy innovation. In 100 years, we bet we’ll all be bringing sofa beds to the beach, too.
30. Dog days of summer
Here’s a wholesome addition to the list: a very cool dog who’s having a great day at the beach. Not only is he wearing a pair of sunglasses, but he’s got the biggest smile on his face. Now we need to get to the coast ASAP so we can get on his level.
29. Don’t filch my flip-flops
One danger of going to the beach is that you’ll have to inevitably leave your valuables unattended – you can’t bring them into the water for a swim. That’s perhaps why one innovative beachgoer did this, although we can’t quite understand why flip-flops would be the possession to get locked up first.
28. Snack snatch snap
A walk along the beach wouldn’t be complete without an ice cream cone – we don’t make the rules. But there’s one danger in picking up a snack for yourself when you’re by the shore. A seagull might try and take a bite, as evidenced by this downright horrifying candid photo.
27. Clinton drops the catch
It’s embarrassing enough to miss a catch when you’re trying to steal in front of its intended recipient. It’s even worse to do so when you’re the President of the United States. The guy who’s getting smashed in the face by a football here is none other than Bill Clinton, the country’s 42nd Commander-in-Chief.
26. Dune-not run
Some lessons just have to be learned the hard way. Take this little girl who’s running down a sand dune. Her father could have told her that she’d probably slip and fall, but would she understand? Probably not – but we imagine that she totally gets it now.
25. Piggyback copycat
The Redditor who shared this side-by-side photo explained the hilarious way it came to be. He wrote, “My lady friend wanted a piggyback picture on the beach.” Then, a stranger approached with a bizarre request for the couple. The poster continued, “A random biker watching the sunset said he wanted one, too.” So cute.
24. Grabbing a bite at the beach
If you run out of things to read on the beach and you’re too tired to go swimming again, have a little fun with your vacation photos. Why pose next to your friend when you can make it look like you’re a giant who’s going to have her for lunch?
23. Announcing a miracle?
Speaking of optical illusions, some beach photos contain accidental eye tricks. At first glance, it appears that this woman’s makeshift stage is actually floating over the sand. As it turns out, though, it’s just the shadow of a flag behind her, and the plank’s securely stationed on the beach.
22. Having foam?
Do you remember your first time visiting the beach? If you were as little as this guy, you probably don’t. But if your parents snapped a photo like this one, you’d never be able to forget what happened on your inaugural trip.
21. Walking himself on the beach
Dogs love going for walks on the beach, but, when you picture it, you’re probably envisioning a pooch trotting along on all fours. This pup had a different idea in mind, though, taking on the coast on two feet and looking oddly human in the process.
20. Cartwheel of misfortune
There’s something about the beach that makes us feel free and whimsical. Perhaps that’s why this Redditor’s friends decided to turn a few cartwheels on the sand. Luckily for the girl to the rear, sand makes for a soft landing. Next time, she’ll think twice about flipping around on the beach, and you’ll probably do the same.
19. Something fishy
Not all beach activities – or hilarious photos – happen on the sand. Take this underwater snap as a prime example. We know that it’s probably just a weird angle and there’s a person swimming behind the gilled guy at the front. But we’d really like to think this picture is of a half-man, half-fish hybrid.
18. Beachy beard flip
The quintessential beach photo for women with long hair goes something like this: lean your head forward, plunging your hair underwater. Then, flip your head back so your wet tresses fly up through the air. Who knew you could make the same stunning display with an extra-long beard? Downside is, you do end up getting a faceful of salty water, mind…
17. Seagulls always show up
There are so many certainties in life beyond the oft-mentioned death and taxes. Yes, if you bring food to a beach with any sort of avian community – and let’s face it, that’s pretty much all of them – then you can expect another one of life’s inevitabilities. Your picnic will be raided by hungry, shameless seagulls, just as this one was.
16. See the beach on horseback
There’s not much more romantic than a gallop down the beach, but you should read the fine print before you agree to such a date. Specifically, make sure that you will be riding an actual horse and not just saddling on the back of a guy who’s wearing an equine mask.
Not all Instagram boyfriends are created equally. We’re sure there are partners out there who are model other halves, considerate to a tee, full of the milk of human kindness. And then, there’s this Redditor’s other half, who “didn’t warn [him] a wave was coming as [he] posed for a beach photo.” Savage.
14. Board of staying dry…
We hope this list of snapshots motivates you to go to the beach and try something new – and maybe this photo will be the impetus? According to the Redditor that shared it, he had gone to the sea to do the same. He wrote, “Tried standing up on my first time paddle-boarding.” Truly inspirational.
13. Baby-man on the beach
Who doesn’t love a beachy optical illusion? In this shot, we see a father carrying his son out into the sea, perhaps for the first time. But the baby looks very much like a grown man, making this shot incredibly strange. Upon closer inspection, though, you’ll see that there are two faces there – an actual baby and an actual adult man.
12. Float-o bomb
Lining up at the coastline, striking the same pose… it’s a classic beach photo. But what you don’t get every time is the perfect photobomb to go with it. If you look between the arms of girls five and six, you’ll see what you’re looking for – a floating man who has his limbs in the air, too.
11. The number two best sunset ever
If you’re on a western-facing beach, you’re in for a real treat at dusk. As colorful pastels splash across the sky, take a mental picture so that you never forget what you’re seeing. And, if a dog just so happens to walk in front and do his business, it’s all the better – you’re sure to remember that for a lifetime, too.
10. Enter Sandmen
Digging holes. Building castles. Burying each other. There are so many classic sand-based activities at the beach. We imagine this incredible photo will inspire a new pastime for many beach-going families in the future. With the right drawings in the sand and shadows cast from overhead, you can turn yourselves into emojis.
9. Snarky shark
No one really wants to see a shark while they’re at the beach, but that’s because, well, they bite. But a small finned fish with a lot of personality might be a much more welcome discovery on the coastline. Take this unenthused-looking guy as an example.
8. Downward dog
At the end of a long day at the beach, you might just want to lay down on your belly next to your dog and put your feet in the air. If you do, though, know your angles – a photo snapped from the side will make you look like a doggie version of a centaur, and no one wants that.
7. Paw-sitively hating it
This list has featured so many happy dogs frolicking on the beach. Meanwhile, we have yet to see one smiling coastal cat – and we’re starting to think we won’t find one. Just look at this feline, whose owner wrote on Reddit that it was the cat’s “first and last trip to the beach.” It is very obvious why that’s the case.
Okay, so maybe not all dogs are thrilled to be by the ocean. This poor pup was startled by an unexpected crustacean that appeared in the sand. As the Redditor who shared the photo described it, “My friend’s dog got a scare from a crab on the beach and hit the eject button!”
5. Bucket? Duck it…
In life, it’s all about perspective – and the same goes for silly beach photos. This optical illusion makes it look as though the photographer is about to capture a mother and child beneath a giant bucket. Now they know how hermit crabs and tiny fish feel.
4. No wine-ing
We’re not saying that you shouldn’t drink on your day at the beach. But we might suggest you stop yourself after a certain number of glasses of wine. If you don’t, you might fall asleep clinging to the bottle – and wake up with the worst of all sunburns.
3. You kite do that here
Imagine you’re walking up to this beach with a kite in hand and you see a sign in front of you beckoning you to go fly your toy in the air. That’s great news… until you read the fine print. “Actually cannot. Sorry. Find something else to do.” Ouch! Talk about a letdown.
2. Ocean spray
Digging and burying someone in a hole is a beachside activity that never gets old… or, so we thought. Now that we’ve seen this photo featuring a child dug into sand that a dog has made into its hydrant, we’re starting to change our tune.
A sweet family photo taken while you all gallivant across the beach – that’s what you had in mind, wasn’t it? Well, that’s not what happened for the family pictured here, who clearly didn’t plan their pose ahead of their sandy shoot. We have to trust that baby landed upright after his few seconds in midair.