And there are beaches… Let me explain. I’ve lived in the United States all of my life – all almost 50 years of it. I grew up in the northern part of California which is a coastal state. Now when people think of California, they think of beaches, but they mostly think of Southern California beaches… mainly Los Angeles or Hollywood beaches. The kind they see in the movies. With bikini-clad starlets and surfers everywhere. So, look at this map to the left. <– Note the legend. One inch = 100 miles. California has over 800 miles of coastline. That’s a lot of beach going on in just California alone. And California is only one of the three states on the West Coast. I haven’t even gotten to the East Coast yet.
Let me tell y’all something you might not know about the Pacific Ocean. It’s freaking cold (link to water temp in the summer). Cold. Now, I have to admit, I’ve never been to the beach in Southern California, so I have no idea what it’s really like. I’m basing my analysis on what I’ve observed, researched, and what people have told me. But, have you ever really watched the movies and/or television shows that take place in Los Angeles and/or Hollywood? They’re only in bikinis when they’re on the beach. Once they get into the water, they wear freaking wet suits because the water is cold. Only in the summer is it anywhere near warm enough to frolic without putting a full body wet suit on. I have been to the beaches in Northern California, and I’m here to tell ya, it’s best to just stay on the beach unless the temperature is above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The beaches I went to in Northern California, were surrounded by huge cliffs, which was pretty awesome, except for getting down to and up from the beach, but once you’re there, it just adds to the overall atmosphere of the place. I always loved it.
As a kid, we were about an hour or two drive from The Beach meaning the shoreline of the Pacific Ocean. My mom, however hated the beach and everything involved with it. She hated the drive, the sand, the wind, the ocean. Everything. Which is weird because my Grandma lived in a community that was a fifteen minute walk from a beach in Oregon. You could hear the waves roaring from her porch. I loved visiting her house, and I loved visiting the beach there. Speaking of which, I also lived in Oregon and Washington as a kid, and (in case you’re unfamiliar with US geography) they also have coasts along the Pacific Ocean with beaches. I absolutely adore the beaches in Oregon and Washington. They are rugged and wild. No boardwalks, not many tourists, and even in the summer the wind is cold and biting. It’s just kind of refreshing to go there. They’re also sometimes surrounded by high cliffs which just add to the atmosphere (I think). Right now, we’re a good three hour’s drive from the nearest beach, but I’d totally make a weekend out of going someday when we have the time and money.
But that’s just the West Coast. I spent a lot of my adult live living in The South, which — if you click the link there, has a lot of coast line. Now, I have never lived in Texas, though I’ve been to Texas. But I have lived in Mississippi, Florida, and Virginia all with their very own beaches. I lived in Virginia Beach which not only has the largest Naval Stations in the United States, but some of the biggest tourist traps in the US too (namely Virginia Beach and Chesapeake Bay and Williamsburg and the attached Busch Gardens Williamsburg — it really was fun living there). But we’re talking about beaches, and the East Coast has beaches aplenty. The first place I lived when moving there was Florida. I hated Florida, and I hated its beaches. Even though the Atlantic Ocean is warmer than the Pacific Ocean, it’s also much tamer. The waves are… tiny. Like… the only waves worth talking about are during hurricanes. Not that I’d know anything about that personally because my happy ass is hiding or gone during a hurricane. I’m not that brave/stupid. That’s not to say that the beaches of the East Coast don’t have their own charm… they do. It’s just different than the beaches of the West Coast.
Contrarily, I never went farther North on the Eastern Coastline than… I think it was Delaware? I did visit some beaches in Long Island when I lived there once, briefly, but they were inland. I dunno if they count. So look at the legend on that map up there… one inch equals 300 miles. If California had 800 miles of coast line, then the East Coast, which is broken up in to many smaller states has at least twice that. Not counting both sides of Florida (let’s stick to the Eastern side). That’s a lot of beach! Though, to be fair, some of that is swamp. And swamps are beautiful in their own way, but we’re talking about beaches… Anyway, I’ve been to beaches in Florida (both sides), North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware. And to be frank, if you’ve seen one beach on the Southern Seaboard, you’ve seen them all. They lack character. They’re all one, big, sandy tourist trap. Though I did visit Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth in my early twenties when I was just driving around the back highways of Florida and happened past it. Betcha didn’t know it was hidden away in Florida, did ya? Now y’all know my secret. ^_^ That was kinda fun. Woulda been more fun if the kids were older and knew the historical significance of where we were, but you can’t have everything, right? If I didn’t really despise Florida with all of my being, I might go back someday. Oh well.
Anyway, what I’m saying is that I’ve been to a lot of beaches, and all without ever having set foot off the soil of my own country. We have two oceans touching our shores (three if you want to get technical about it) and a lot of coastline — thousands of miles of coastline. I haven’t even touched the surface of how many beaches I could visit. I mean, I haven’t even been to Hawaii nor have I been to Alaska. I’m sure that visiting their beaches would be a whole nother experience altogether. I’ve always wanted to see the black sanded beaches in Hawaii. Actually that’s the only real reason why I would visit… too much heat and too much sun for me, but man, to see the black sand, that would be pretty cool. I totally know where it comes from and that sometimes whole villages were destroyed to create the beach… but come on, do you think that the ground you walk on every day isn’t built on the dust of all who walked there before you? Nothing in this world is created without something first being destroyed, that’s just the way life goes. Nothing lasts forever. Beaches kind of remind me of that. I mean, sand didn’t start out as sand you know. And the tiny grains of sand will grind down further and eventually end up as dust. And thus the cycle continues.
Sorry, got a little off on a tangent there (I tend to do that). What I’m saying is, I’m glad that all beaches aren’t the same. I love variety. When I moved from the West Coast to the East Coast, I totally missed watching the sun set over the water — even though it gave me a migraine sometimes if the light was just right I could totally watch the last few moments and it was awesome. Watching the sun rise over the water just wasn’t the same. Not as dramatic I think. But that’s my own personal opinion, and I’m allowed to have it. But the beaches on the East Coast, especially in the winter when they’re not full of tourists, have their own charm… I’ve also been to “beaches” on fresh bodies of water — lakes, rivers, &c… They have as much to offer, I think as those on the ocean. They have their own beauty. Like swamps. I think people don’t give fresh water beaches (and swamps) enough credit. They should visit them more.