Psychological benefits may be the reason why so many people like to be beside the seaside.
A study has found that a walk on a beach has more impact on emotional well-being than a stroll in the park.
Researchers looked at data from 2,750 participants in a two-year study of people's engagement with the natural environment.
All outdoor locations were associated with positive feelings of enjoyment, calmness and refreshment.
But visits to the coast were the most beneficial, while urban parks had the least effect.
The trend remained after taking account of factors such as age, distance of travel, the presence of others, and type of activity.
Mathew White, from the European Centre for Environment and Human Health in Truro, Cornwall, said: "There is a lot of work on the beneficial effects of visiting natural environments, but our findings suggest it is time to move beyond a simple 'urban versus rural' debate and start looking at the effect that different natural environments have on people's health and well-being."
The research was presented today at the British Psychological Society's annual meeting in London.
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