I must say that when it comes to going to the beach, I am a creature of habit. I tend to go to the same ones again and again. This is partly due to the fact that the nearest one is one of my favourites - undeveloped with a clean refreshing sea.
In Italy there are basically two different kinds of beach -
- Spiaggia Libera - free beach - no charge and you have to bring your own umbrella, chairs etc. sometimes there are bar shacks that sell ice creams etc, but it's a good idea to bring your own snack and plenty of water.
- Stabilimenti - organised, private beaches where you hire umbrellas and chairs. They often have their own bar and sometimes a restaurant.
I go to the free beach - it's cheaper - obviously - and I like the fact that you can sit where you like. There also are less people - unless it's a weekend in August or Ferragosto (15th August) which is a national holiday and EVERYONE heads to the beach. I steer well clear on Ferragosto - it's a good time to go to cities in a car, there's hardly any traffic or any people except for tourists. A big drawback is that almost everything is shut. A couple of years ago I drove down the Appian Way in a Fiat cinquecento to the centre of a nearly deserted Rome. It was fantastic.
The free beach I go to is at Sabaudia. Well - it's almost free as you do have to pay for parking on the road just near the beach. You pay at the ticket machine - they have lots of them all the way down the road. Don't think you can get away with not paying! Traffic wardens regularly go up and down the road and will charge you if you have not displayed the ticket. It is 1 euro per hour. There are kilometres of beach with wild sand dunes behind. There is very little construction here as it is a protected area - a nature reserve.
When you get to the bridge over Lago Di Paola you have a choice - go left or right. There are beaches in both directions, but I go to the right and drive about 5 km in that direction. It's more remote and access to the beach is easier. There are wooden walk ways that make access to the sea really easy.