|Title||Being beside the seaside: Beach use and preferences among coastal residents of south-eastern Australia|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2011|
|Authors||Maguire G.S., Miller KK, Weston MA, Young K|
|Journal||Ocean and Coastal Management|
|Keywords||coastal usage, coastal values, recreation, residents, south-east Queensland|
Beaches are the most popular recreational destinations in Australia yet how they are visited and valued by Australians is poorly known. We surveyed 385 people (13.8% of 2800 coastal residents) from south-eastern Australia to examine their use of beaches and the features that are important in their choice and enjoyment of a beach destination. Most respondents (90.3%) nominated beaches as one of their top three most valued natural recreational environments. Thirty-four recreational activities occurred at the beach (8.6 ± 0.3 [mean ± SE] activities per respondent), mostly walking (91.4%) and swimming (78.9%). Factor analyses revealed respondents valued clean, uncrowded beaches with opportunities to view wildlife (n = 338) but also desired facilities (e.g. toilets, shade, life savers, food outlets; n = 331). Difficult access and intrusive recreation activities (e.g. vehicles on beaches) detracted from people′s enjoyment. We describe a distinct dichotomy in use of ‘local’ versus ‘non-local’ beaches, where local beaches are visited more frequently, throughout more of the year, outside working hours and by smaller groups of people, compared with ‘non-local’ beaches. Coastal planners and managers not only face the challenge of increasing visitation to beaches but also the need to manage for somewhat conflicting values among beach-goers.