Five coastal adventures for spring

From beachcombing to seal spotting, our family-friendly ideas will help your crew have fun outdoors. 

With the coronavirus situation changing rapidly, we ask that you check the latest government guidance on Covid-19 in your area before heading out this spring. Please take care by following the official advice, maintaining social distancing and following our water safety tips.

A family build sandcastles on an RNLI lifeguarded beach

Photo: RNLI/Nathan Williams

Hit the beach 

Flip flops. Wellington boots. Sun cream. Raincoat. It’s never too early in the year to head to the beach if you’re prepared for rain or shine. Whether it’s sandcastles or surf you love, there are countless spectacular beaches to visit – but why not visit an RNLI lifeguarded beach for peace of mind? Several popular beaches, such as Fistral Beach in Cornwall, have friendly lifeguards on duty from 2 April. Find your nearest lifeguarded beach.

Try beachcombing 

Beaches are brimming with coastal treasures. Little ones will love searching the shore for unusual-shaped stones, shells, sea-glass and driftwood. Ecologist Dr Anthony Cook says you can make interesting discoveries on most beaches around the coasts of the UK and Ireland. ‘Look out for the mermaid’s glove, a sponge with finger-like branches; the barrel or dustbin-lid jellyfish, the largest jellyfish in British waters that can reach almost a metre in diameter; the remains of sea urchins and starfish,’ he says. ‘Fish can be found either living or washed up too, although the most common fish-related finds are usually mermaid’s purses, the black leathery egg cases of skates and sharks.’ Remember not to disturb wildlife and, while you’re enjoying the beach, why not help keep it clean by collecting any litter?  

Walkers hiking along the Jurassic Coast, Dorset

Photo: RNLI/Nathan Williams

Walkers hiking along the Jurassic Coast, Dorset

Lace up your walking boots 

Ready to shake off the winter? Head out on an invigorating coastal walk to feel the wind in your hair and sea salt on your lips. Hike stunning headlands in Wales, spot seal colonies on Norfolk beaches, or catch the stunning views from the Cliffs of Moher – there are walks around the coasts of the UK and Ireland for everyone.

Before you set out to explore our spectacular coastline, take a moment to consider your safety. Each year our crews rescue around 499 people cut off by tidal changes, so if you’re walking along a beach, check local tide times on Pack a mobile phone, a map, warm clothes, water, snacks and let someone know your planned route. Read more tips on how to stay safe while walking

Spot a lighthouse

Steeped in seafaring history and helping keep sailors safe, lighthouses are located in extreme and spectacular locations. From Godrevy Lighthouse in Cornwall to St Bees Lighthouse in Cumbria, more than 60 lighthouses in the UK are maintained by Trinity House. In Ireland, most lighthouses are maintained by the Commissioners of Irish Lights – there are beautiful views to be found around the Ballycotton and Hook lighthouses. 

You can even holiday in a lighthouse too – there are several on For a lighthouse souvenir, check out RNLI Shop – you’ll find magnets, ornaments and keyrings for under £5.

A spectacular sight: At 54m high, Fastnet Lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse in Ireland

Photo: RNLI/Nigel Millard

A spectacular sight: At 54m high, Fastnet Lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse in Ireland 

Learn to float 

Perhaps you’re already braving the sea. But if it’s too chilly right now, plan ahead for a summer of safe swimming. If you’re stuck inside on a rainy day, you could head to the pool and help your child learn to float. It could save their life. Watch this video on teaching your child to float and get your practise in now, so you’re ready for the sea as soon as the sun shines.

This spring, we hope you’ll create lots of happy memories to treasure for years to come. And we’ll help you stay safe while doing so – you’re a key part of our lifesaving crew. Head to our beach safety page for more tips or get safety advice for water activities