Sun, Sand and Cash: 20 Brilliant Ways to Make Money at the Beach
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As a security guard for the Pelican Bay Foundation in Naples, Florida, my duties included walking the shoreline to monitor the property. And since I had to take down the flags at dusk, I usually got to watch the sunset over the ocean. I often needed to hang out on the decks and restaurants at the beach for an hour at a time, watching the people — along with the pelicans and occasional dolphins. It was very relaxing.
If spending your work day at the beach sounds good, you'll be happy to know there is probably a beach near you, and a job to go with it. A typical list of the best beaches is dominated by locations in Hawaii and Florida, but you can see beautiful beaches up and down the east and west coasts of the U.S. and Canada. Even if you live far away from the oceans, you can find great beaches, like along the shores of the Great Lakes. A Google search for “Kansas beaches” or “Nebraska beaches” even turns up a few sandy shorelines.
The variety of jobs at the beach might surprise you too. Some certainly pay better than my security position did. Some allow you to spend more time on the sand. Some are full-time positions with benefits, and others are part-time jobs that let you make some extra cash in a beautiful setting.
Want to work at the beach this summer? Here are some jobs to consider.
1. Beach Attendant
As a beach attendant for a resort or hotel, you set up chairs and umbrellas, assist guests in various other ways, monitor tides and keep an eye on everything. The beach attendants at Pelican Bay (mostly college students) tell me they often make hundreds of dollars daily in tips during the season. The “record holder” said on his best day, he earned $900 in tips.
Beach attendant positions are often seasonal jobs, especially in northern areas. They typically pay close to minimum wage, but offer the opportunity to make tips. Searching beach resort jobs on Indeed.com produces listings for several beach attendant positions, and more are likely to pop up as we get closer to summer.
Being a lifeguard can be alternately boring (long hours of watching nothing happen) and briefly terrifying (when people are drowning). But you do get to be at the beach all day long. That makes up for the relatively low pay. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says the median annual wage of “recreational protective service workers” (which includes lifeguards) is just $19,040, and only 10% make it past $29,000 annually.
How do you become a lifeguard? The Red Cross offers lifeguarding classes and certification at locations across the country.
3. Beach Home Caretaking
What could be better than working at the beach all day? How about watching the waves hit the sand from the balcony of a luxurious home, perhaps with a glass of wine in your hand?
I've previously reported on how to make money house-sitting, so all you have to do is apply those lessons and target opportunities to house-sit properties on oceans and lakes. Alas, this is easier said than done, since these plum assignments probably have volunteers lined up and willing to “work” for no more than free lodging.
Every bar at the beach needs bartenders, and bartending even made our list of ways to make a decent income without a college degree. Remember Tom Cruise’s character slinging drinks at the beach bar in the movie Cocktail? That could be you.
Of course, as you apply for jobs, you'll have to decide if you'll only work at a bar that is actually at the beach, or if it's enough to be in a beach town near the water.
5. Beach Patrol
Besides being the title of a television series, this is a real job. Beach patrol officers are responsible for the safety of visitors at the beach, and often have lifeguard duties. But they also get to travel up and down the shoreline on an ATV, which might be more interesting than sitting in one place all day.
Requirements for these positions vary, but usually involve tests of your physical ability. For example, to be part of the Clearwater Beach Patrol in Florida you need the “ability to swim 500 meters and run one mile [in] under 18 minutes combined (the clock does not stop between the swim and run).” You also need to complete a 40-hour lifeguard course and 40-hour first responder's course.
Jobs at Various Beachside Businesses
You’ll find a variety of businesses located at most beaches, and any of these provide the opportunity to work near the sand, if not on it. For example, any of the restaurants that are ocean-side or on a lake give you a view of the water during your workday. And if you wait tables where there is outdoor seating, you get to feel and smell the sea breezes.
You’ll also often find amusement parks at the beach. For example, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, made famous in The Lost Boys and other movies, is an amusement park run by the Santa Cruz Seaside Company. Their job postings at the moment include these positions:
7. Boardwalk operations
8. Ticket sales
9. Arcade operators
10. Maintenance mechanic
11. Art director
Full-time positions offer full benefits (medical, dental, 401(k), etc.). Employees in all positions get free rides and discounts on food — and can hit the beach after work.
Online Jobs and Businesses
Just about any way you can make money online can be done at the beach. Find a seaside restaurant with Wi-Fi and outdoor seating, order a cup of coffee, and get to work while waves crash on the sand in front of you. Or find some secluded cove and work from your cell phone or with a laptop and a USB device that connects you to the internet.
Here are some examples of the location-independent jobs or businesses where you could work from the beach:
12. Freelance writer
13. Ebook author
14. Freelance editor
17. Website tester
18. Stock trader
19. Web or graphic designer
20. Life coach
Finally, although it is not a job or business, you might make some money just looking for things on the beach. For more on that, see this post on beachcombing.
Your Turn: Would you like to spend your workday at the beach? Have you worked any of these beach jobs?
Steve Gillman is the author of, “101 Weird Ways to Make Money” and creator of EveryWayToMakeMoney.com. Of the more than 100 ways he has personally made money, writing is his favorite (so far).