What A Day At The Beach Looked Like In The Past

Created on Mar 14, 2016 by Kathy Pinna

A day trip at the beach to play in the water and walk on the sands has always been a popular family pastime.

While swimming, BBQing, and bringing toys to the beach largely remains unchanged, bathing suits and what is considered 'proper beach attire' has definitely evolved.

Compare the differences between generations with these photographs taken at the beach.

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Florida bathing beauty, 1948

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What a cute bathing suit!

You gotta have good food

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A beach tailgate in 1950's California.

Like sands through the hourglass . . . so are the days of our lives

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Michigan, 1908.


The line-up

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If you lived in 1920, you probably wore one of these bathing suits to the beach.

Girls wrangling an alligator

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In 1920, the girls were strong!

You got a trophy for being a beauty!

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1920 bathing beauty contest.

Pretty girls always attract men

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1921 costume contest at the beach. Look at those shoes!


Love those bathing caps!

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Photo of Gramps Wilson Gramps Wilson
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shared on 09/26/2013

The kids can't wait

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Opening day at the beach in 1923.

Grandma wasn't a teetotaler!

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Photo of Gail L Gail L
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shared on 11/03/2015

In 1914 San Francisco, anything went at the beach. Grandma drank, Sonny shot a gun . . . bathing suits weren't required!

Girls could be casual - but the boys had to wear suits

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England in the 1930's.

She brought her stuffed monkey

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Photo of Tammy Montgomery Tammy Montgomery
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shared on 11/06/2014

You gotta bring your toys with you to the beach!

A moment of bonding

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Dorothy Danforth
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shared on 10/21/2014

Such a sweet photo of father and children at the beach.


Ms Doubtfire & Mr. Peacock

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Photo of Raelene Wilson Raelene Wilson
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shared on 06/26/2014

Her maiden name was Doubtfire and she married Mr. Peacock - those are just great names! Here they are at Brighton Beach, Australia.

Under the Boardwalk

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In their very proper bathing attire under the boardwalk.

The British are always well dressed

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A suit and tie on the beach in Liverpool, 1916.

A little more skin in the 40's

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Photo of Elizabeth Groux Elizabeth Groux
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shared on 12/04/2013

Bathing suits showed more than in the 1920's but not as much as today! 1949 Atlantic City.

Such a cutie!

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This little girl was having fun at the beach in 1943 France - but by the end of the year, she died in Auschwitz.

Wow! How did she float?

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We can't imagine swimming in this suit - 1920 New Jersey.

Above the boardwalk

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Photo of David Koch David Koch
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shared on 05/29/2013

Above the boardwalk, well-dressed families strolled while bathers had fun below.

Poor thing!

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How can you have fun at the beach in a long dress and a corset? 1890 New Jersey.

Yep, guys show off for the gals

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Circa 1918, showing off at the beach involved a handstand.

10 cents a photo!

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Wonder how much a 1918 tintype would be worth today?

Bathing caps or party hats?

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Unknown User
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shared on 09/28/2012

90 yrs later, it's a little difficult to decipher fashion.

Sometimes it snows at the beach!

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And you gotta bundle up.

An easy chair, a good book . . .

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Our idea of beachside living.

You'd NEVER see this today

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A photo of a photographer taking a photo of a goat cart and a mule (with passengers).

Where's the donkey's umbrella?

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The sign on the donkey says "Could stay in Atlantic City forever" but he doesn't look very happy.

1940's California glamour

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They knew how to take glamour shots - even in Northern California!

"By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea...You and me, you and me, oh how happy we'll be" By The Beautiful Sea from the musical “For Me and My Gal” (1914)

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