I’ve never been much of a beach person. This is because I hate sand with the burning fury of a thousand suns. The water is nice, the sunsets are nice—even walking on the shoreline where the water has pummeled the sand into tolerable and compact submission – is fine. But why would anyone want to spend all day covered in finely crushed seashells? How do people manage to put their shoes back on without carrying around a sandy mess? For me, dealing with sand means being in a constant state of anxious unease. Plus, the baby just wanted to eat sand the whole time. I’d envisioned her daintily making sand things by the shore, but instead, we spent much of our first beach visit repeating “No! don’t eat the sand! Over and over, only to have her coyly smile and shove another handful of sand into her mouth. Eventually, we banned her from the sand altogether and confined her to our beach sheet (see #2 below).

I really, really, really wish someone would invent special beaches for sand averse people where the “sand” is made of non-stick sand-substitute particles that roll right off your toes. Then maybe I could learn to love the beach. I mean, I get it. I can see the allure: The sand grasses swaying in the breeze, the relentless yet invigorating squawking of the gulls, the swashing of the waves, the sun glittering on the surface of the water. It’s all so lovely and tidily cliché.

Except for the sand.

Even though beaches really aren’t my thing, I kind of enjoyed our beach time on our recent vacation. A few things made it better than expected:

  • I’m intrigued by the Gulf Coast region of Florida. It’s got a different feel than South Florida. Less populated, a little more midwestern…plus, the water here is a little clearer than other U.S. beaches I’ve visited.
  • We used a queen-size sheet instead of beach towels. So much more comfortable. Why hadn’t we thought of this before?
  • We limited our beach time to after 5 p.m., so we enjoyed a lot of great sunsets and I (mostly) avoided getting burned. Plus, the beach crowds clear out by late afternoon, and you get great golden light in the early evening.
  • We saw three beach weddings. What’s more festive than watching people get married on the beach on vacation???

So, in summary, I learned a few important beach-related things on this trip:

  • No more beach towels. From now on, I’m going to pack a king-size flat sheet whenever we go to the beach.
  • No more daytime beach time. Late afternoon/early evening beach time is so much nicer.
  • I like laid-back, quiet beaches more than crowded party-beaches.
  • Beach-side grills/bars are very enjoyable. One evening, we watched the sunset from a beach-side grill and drank bad margaritas while a sunburned baby boomer belted out old school beach-hits from a concrete podium. It was fantastic. The beachiest of beach moments.
  • I like laid back beach towns. I really enjoyed walking down the main boulevard in Pass-a-Grill; I liked the pastel Spanish-style houses, the palm trees, and the seafood restaurants.
  • My favorite beaches in order: St. Pete’s, Pass-a-Grille, Sand Key, Siesta Key, Madeira.

Categories: Uncategorized

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  1. On Disappearing and Epic Journeys and Running – My (Former) Nomad Life

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