You turn the spigot or pull the handle and it douses you, fresh water running down your face and over your whole body. It’s a cleansing, a cooling, and a renewal. Beach showers are about the best feeling short of getting spit out of a draining barrel.
If going into the ocean is already something of a renewal for you – a physical act that rejuvenates your soul – then the shower afterwards is a spiritual B12 shot.
There’s something about any outside shower that we sure do love. Folks who have them at their homes often take more pride in their outside shower than their master bathroom. A hotel or Airbnb with a shower among the flora makes travel that much better (and hot water and good pressure always win extra points).
And then there are public showers, those facilities that give a fresh rinse without having to rent a beach house or stay at the resort. They refresh us for the walk, bike or drive home, or even allow us to rinse off and get dressed without going home before heading out to dinner.
We’ve compiled a list of our favorite public beach showers around the country.
The California drought of 2011-2017 was devastating in many ways. The fact that the state park showers got turned off to conserve water was a minor inconvenience in the big picture, but a bummer nonetheless. And Southern California’s water quality can often be questionable, so most people who go in the ocean like to take a good rinse after they get out.
If ever there was a shower that speaks to local culture, it’s San Onofre (aka San O) – It’s so more than just the rusty pipes, valve and showerhead. This has been an iconic surf spot going back to surfing’s roots … and the showers are part of the ritual.
Today, the shower areas are creatively adorned with homemade benches and board racks, palm palapas and stonework steps (and the showers themselves are surrounded by bamboo). It makes you feel miles (and even decades) from reality. And last year, the drought finally came to an end and the water came back on (and the San O locals are certainly pumped about that).
In case you didn’t know, the absolute best shower scene in a feature film wasn’t Hitchcock’s “Psycho.” And it wasn’t the Lisa bathing scene in “Weird Science” or even Ferris Bueller singing into the showerhead. It was Rick Kane washing out his reef-grated back at the showers at Pipeline in the 1987 cult classic “North Shore.”
You remember: “Scrub it, kook.” Ehukai Beach Park is the official name for the parking lot, picnic area and facilities adjacent to Pipeline, Backdoor and Gums on the North Shore of Oahu. There are several showers at the bath house and you don’t have to be Gerry Lopez or Mason Ho to rinse off after surfing here. These iconic showers get their cred on the status of the breaks alone.
The A Street Beach Access Showers are ideal – especially since it’s that super rare find of both hot and cold public showers at the beach. (This is North Florida, which is more temperate than the rest of the state during the winter.)
Located a bit south of St. Augustine’s more high profile breaks, this spot has great beach access and less crowded waves. The showers are located behind The Pit Surf Shop and across the street from Stir It Up, St. Augustine's smoothie and wrap spot (which has a sandwich called the “Pita Tosh,” no lie.) There’s a huge public bathhouse with plenty of room to change inside and several showers here that range from semi-privacy to showing off your beach bod to the folks driving A1A.
Location, location, location. Like Ehukai, this Asbury Park shower scores its points on where it is. Located right off the side of the boardwalk, you can shower on the beach right in between the Atlantic Ocean and the legendary Stone Pony. The showers get turned on around Memorial Day and get turned off in late September.
The Asbury Park waterfront has enjoyed a massive rebirth in the last 15 years and even as big-money developers start to elbow out the creatives, it’s still about the coolest city by the sea that the East Coast has to offer.
The designated surf beach is actually on Eighth Ave., six blocks down. But before 9 a.m. (or after 5 p.m.), you can surf anywhere. And after you get out of the water, you can rinse off, get dressed and hit the boardwalk for dozens of options for food or drinks. Asbury is also known for its live music venues. The next few weeks alone will see Ziggy Marley, Jawbreaker, Pete Yorn, Modest Mouse, and The Breeders. Get a surf or swim and rinse off before you walk across the street to the show.
Note from the author (who shouldn’t really be giving any advice on showering, anyway): Most outdoor showers do not allow soap. Shower water often runs back into the ground, untreated – and no one wants to stand in a puddle of your fragrant shampoo film. However, there are workarounds, such as Bronner’s Pure Castille Soap. Known for its 18 uses, it’s 100 percent organic, leaving no chemical residue.
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