Difference Between Beach and River

Beach and river are two related terms as both have a deep connection with a waterbody. The difference between these two terms arises from the form of relationship they form with waterbodies.


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A river is a waterbody itself and usually originates from a glacier. Beach is a different story as it is a landform that is around big water bodies such as rivers and oceans.

These two terms differ in many ways so we are going to discuss in detail the differences between these two here.

Key Takeaways

  1. Beach is a sandy shore next to an ocean, whereas a river is a flowing body of water.
  2. Beaches are ideal for sunbathing, swimming, and playing in the sand, whereas rivers are suitable for fishing, kayaking, and rafting.
  3. Beaches usually have more commercial establishments like restaurants and hotels, while rivers often have natural surroundings with fewer commercial establishments.

Beach vs River

The difference between beach and river is that a beach is a type of landform around any type of water body, on the other hand, a river is a water body that has usually freshwater flowing in it. The texture of the soil of a beach is loose and grainy and it is formed from actions by weather and the water body on rocks. A river is a water body that flows towards a bigger water body. A river could go towards an ocean, sea, or another river. 

Beach vs River

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A beach is a landform made of different types of rocks. The soil on a beach consists of pebbles, sand, gravel, etc. It can be seen around all kinds of water bodies but it generally is visible around coastal areas such as around a sea or an ocean.

Around the seas or oceans, the waves rework the sediments and give different textures, colors, etc. Sandy beaches are found all around the earth’s geography and form around 33.33% of the total beaches in the world. 

Generally, a fresh waterbody a river usually starts its journey from a glacier and travels towards another water body which could be a river, sea, or ocean. When a river meets another river, it is called a tributary.

A river could be of many types depending on the size and small rivers can be called with various names. Names such as a creek, brook, stream, etc. are given to smaller rivers.

The definition of a river on the basis of size is vague and differs from place to place.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonBeachRiver
DefinitionIt is a type of landmass.It is a waterbody.
CompositionIt is composed of sands and rocks.It is composed of water.
AvailabilityIt is available around water bodies.It is available on landforms.
MobilityIt is a landform so remains static relatively.It is a waterbody so it keeps on moving.
SizeIt is smaller than rivers.It is longer than beaches.

What is Beach?

A beach is formed by the accumulation of sand particles and other types of rocks by wave action. Sand particles can come from coral reefs or erosion of rocks around the waterbody.

The sand particle composition of a beach is solely determined by the speed of water flow that carries the rocks and also it depends on the quality of the sediments.

For example, if the wind is very fast around the coastline, then the beach will only have large rocks and the lighter particles will travel to areas that are calm by the suspension mixture of water and sand. 

The color of the beach will depend on the local mineral and other geological formations. The white sand is made of limestone and quartz and light-colored sand is made of quartz and iron.

The color of the sand depends on the different compositions of the sand particles in it. 

There are various issues that are polluting these areas and hence, some of the coastlines are reserved for purposes that help accelerate natural processes. One example would be coastlines reserved for the turtles to lay eggs. 

Governments and other organizations are making efforts to conserve natural beaches as human activity affects them directly and indirectly.

Causes such as plastic pollution and erosions cause the beaches to disintegrate and have created a lot of environmental issues. 

What is River?

A flowing water body usually having freshwater is called a river. A river flows from a higher point to a lower point and usually merges into a different water body. It could also end up before entering any water body by going underground.

The water bodies that a river can converge to could be an ocean, a sea, or another river. When a river ends up meeting in another river it is called a tributary. 

The rivers form a part of the hydrological cycle as the precipitated water from clods falls into them. Most of the civilizations and many populous cities originate around rivers.

Rivers form an essential part of human civilization as they are the major source of freshwater. Most of the water is used for irrigation purposes. 

Rivers can be used as a means of transport and hence help connect different landforms. In modern days river pollution has become an issue as it impacts a lot of things such as aquatic life and hence it also affects the livelihood of people who are depended on it.

Rivers are called by different names based on the length and period for which they carry water. 

A small river can be called a creek, a brook, etc., depending on the size. A river is called a perennial river if the water in it remains throughout the year and if it remains for a small period, it is called non-perennial. 

Main Differences Between Beach and River

  1. A beach is a landform that stretches around water bodies whereas, a river is a water body.
  2. A beach is made of different rocks and sand particles which are accumulated by weather action whereas, a river only has water in it that flows from one point to another.
  3. A river flows from one point to the other as it is fluid whereas, a beach remains static as it is a landform.
  4. `A river is usually longer in length when compared to beaches whereas, a beach is smaller in length.
  5. Beaches are landforms that are formed due to the actions of water in the water body and winds whereas, a river is a result of the collection of water from precipitation.
Difference Between Beach and River
  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0341816294900019
  2. https://www.jstor.org/stable/27838523
  3. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=9aE0qOyVNC4C&oi=fnd&pg=PR4&dq=beaches&ots=GRHu2sCTgG&sig=i4d80bb2avF00yCK8jSvrZWbNrk
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