Relax on the beach or cocktails by the pool? You’re either one way or the other. So which side are you on?

I’ve never been a beach person. The main reason? Sand. The hundreds and thousands of those little fuckers just ruin my day. I’ve always been firmly on the pool side of the fence, that is, until now. Having spent three years living overseas in a landlocked city nowhere near the ocean, I’ve come to realise how much I actually do miss the beach, and therefore  in fact must like it for some reason or another.

But as with the divisive rivalry between Melbourne and Sydney, or with the northside and southside of the river in Melbourne, everyone is always definitively on one side and there’s no take-backsies.

So what is it for you? Are you a beach bum or a pool paddler? Let’s go through the pros and cons so you can decide for yourself.

Pros of the beach

View of Sydney's Bondi Beach chock-full of people.
  1. Salt water

Salt water can heal your skin thanks to its richness in natural minerals like magnesium, zinc and iron. Not to mention, salt water combined with sand is the perfect exfoliator. Do you ever notice how good your skin feels after a long walk on the beach?

Salt water can also give you the best looking natural hairdo. Fresh from the ocean salty hair can look so flawless without any effort.

  1. Nature

Collecting shells and making pretend wigs with seaweed are a kid’s dream. Spotting fishes and seeing crabs in the rockpools is just as fun. The nature element of being at a beach definitely trumps the pool counterpart.

  1. Sounds

This is probably the biggest one for me and what I miss most about the beach. The sound of the ocean is something from the heavens. It’s even good in winter, unlike the temperature of the water. There’s nothing in the world that’s more soothing than the sounds of crashing waves and tides rolling in and out, I’m sure of it.

  1. Water sports

For those who like to soar the seas with jet skis, boats and other high-action water sports, the beach is the place for you.

  1. Sand

Alright, fine, I guess sand isn’t so bad. You can make cool sandcastles with it and it’s a heck of a lot comfier to lay on than those damn pebbles they have in the UK and in other parts of the world. Sand has its positives after all.

  1. Jetties and piers

There’s nothing I love more than a walk along the pier to wind down a day at the beach. They’re good for the people who like to throw a line in and have a fish as well.

Cons of the beach

  1. Sand

Yep you guessed it, this is absolutely the worst thing about the beach. You spend one hour at the beach and spend the next week trying to get it out of your car, shoes, sunscreen and house. Whether wet or dry it just plain old sucks.

  1. Number 2

Yep, I’m talking about pooping. Unless there’s a public toilet around (which is incredibly rare at so many Australian beaches) there’s nowhere to go and do your business. How can people spend hours on end at the beach and not need to go to the toilet?

  1. People selling stuff

Don’t you just hate those guys who try and sell you knock-off RayBans and don’t take no for an answer? You don’t get these pestering salesmen when you’re poolside, just saying…

  1. Safety

Australian beaches are notorious for strong rips and currents, which can be extremely dangerous for even the most skilled swimmers, let alone children.

  1. Animals

Jellyfish, sharks and sea urchins. Need I say more?

Pros of the pool

dog in glasses in pool
  1. Cocktails and snack bar

Alright I said it, one of the best things about being at a pool is the proximity to an endless supply of cocktails and snacks. You don’t need to go on a 2km trek to the nearest milk bar, the bar is right there for all your indulging needs.

  1. Swimming lanes

Exercising in the form of swimming at the beach just isn’t the same. Pools have lanes with a measured distance, so you can keep track of your progress and learn to swim in a straight line too.

  1. Saunas and spas

Another huge pro about pools: the spas and saunas that come alongside them. They’re good for your muscles and good for your relaxation.

  1. Waterslides and diving boards

Kids just love waterslides, diving boards and fountains. These days many pools have all three, and hey, adults can enjoy them too.

  1. Indoor and outdoor

Inside or outside, take your pick! You don’t have to brave the elements of the weather that day, you can swim happily indoors if you so choose.

  1. Safety

Parents can rest assured knowing their kids are in a water of precisely measured depth that they can handle. There are no rips or knock-over waves, and no bitey animals either.

  1. Privacy

You can even have your own pool, no need to go out into public at all. And in case you forgot and need reminding again, no sand!

Cons of the pool

swimming pool
  1. Germs

Despite the endless amounts of chlorine in pools that kill of germs with the strong chemicals, many people still feel like they’re swimming in a public toilet. Gross.

  1. Chlorine

That chemical stuff can’t be good for your skin. I feel like my hair is going to snap off after an extended period of time covered in chlorine.

  1. Noise

Swimming pools can get loud. So loud. Kids are having the time of their lives yelling and screaming and splashing along, and all you’re thinking about is some earplugs…

  1. Space

With less space than the vast open wideness of the beach, you definitely have less privacy when you’re at a pool. Add to this a limited number of poolside lounges and you’ll soon be fighting over a chair too.

  1. Slipping

I’m clumsy at the best of times, and those areas around the pool can get so wet and slippery. The no running rule is well needed!