I’m coming around…

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We're back from the beach, and I have to say it was a great trip. I'm really starting to love the beach.

I'm from Oregon. Not coastal Oregon, but the other side (high plateau desert, cowboys and indians, dust and sagebrush). My memories of the beach are from occasional trips to the coast about four hours away. I remember it as rocky and majestic with huge waves, rocks the size of homes, steep cliffs, relentless wind, and frigid water. The Oregon coast is beautiful, but you don't go there to swim. At least we didn't. We jumped waves or we played on the rocks. I've been comparing beaches to the Oregon coast ever since–and not always favorably. I like the wild element, the steeped in nature feel, that it has. The Maine coast is the only one that has the same feel to me with its rocky coastline and water too cold to swim in most of the year.

And yet I have to say that I'm coming around to the mindset that most of the world seems to have. I'm really starting to enjoy the wide, flat sandy beaches and the calm, warm(ish) water along most of the Atlantic coast. Maybe I'm mellowing with age, or maybe I'm just changing my definition of what an enjoyable beach vacation should be like.

This was the perfect beach trip–to Folly Beach, just south of Charleston, South Carolina. We stayed in a run-down beach house with a wide screened-in front porch. The furniture sagged from years of use and was covered with old sheets and aged slipcovers. Harry talked about all the work it needed, but I thought it was perfect for a beach house. It had character.

The weather was beautiful and we had the beach to ourselves for the most part. We took long walks along the beach (Maia running ahead, splashing gleefully in the shallow water), went swimming (more Harry than me), built sandcastles and moats, read, sewed, cooked, soaked up the sea air and enjoyed the sea breezes.

We were there with Maia's Aunt Jenny and Uncle Teddy (Ted to everyone else) and Jenny's sister Sarah who was visiting from Australia. Maia was in seventh heaven between the time on the beach and the attention of three super fun aunts and uncles (and, I should probably add, the daily ice cream).

I've always said I'm more of a mountain person than a beach person, but I really do enjoy the beach. We're already talking about when we can go back. What is your favorite beach? I need to take notes for our next beach trip… :)

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  1. molly says

    Lake Superior. Amazing. My absolute favorite place on earth. It isn’t the typical “beach trip” though — a bit tricky to get to the UP of Michigan (or Wisconsin or Minnesota if you choose) and once you are there it is very quiet, the beaches are rocky (perfect for agate hunting), and the water is usually freezing. Plus, the water is fresh. Maybe that would be a drawback for some, but growing up on the Great Lakes, I’m not a huge fan of saltwater. Glad you had a nice trip!

  2. Marilyn says

    My favorite beach is Myrtle Beach SC. The beach is wide and beautiful. Sand is soft and not rocky.

  3. Andee says

    We visited the Sarasota, Fl beaches last year; they were nice and had awesome sand. This year we are going to Kure Beach, NC, which I hear is great for families. I want to sew during the trip, but won’t have a machine, so I guess I’ll just do embroidery. What did you sew?

  4. says

    We love Cape Cod. My parents lived there for a couple of years (we’re originally from California) and we visited quite a bit. I love the fact that the beaches are so diverse–rough east-facing Atlantic beaches, calm north-facing bay beaches, nice sand and shells on the south-facing ocean beaches…and lots of sandy-bottomed, warm, freshwater ponds, truly my favorite with children.

  5. says

    Aptos, California. It’s down the way from Santa Cruz. On the 4th of July, every one brings their biggest, I mean biggest fireworks and they shoot them off all night long, right there on the beach. Waters a little cold, but we always rent wet suits. Oh you are making me want to head there right now.

  6. Amy says

    I grew up in western idaho, so I know the high mountain desert you speak of… I’m still a mountain girl too, even though, like you, I can enjoy the beach now. It’s lots easier to enjoy the beach with little ones in tow- the sand in their cracks doesn’t phase them so I try not to let it get to me too. :)
    I’ve liked some overseas beaches pretty well (Hawaii, France, Greece), but I think I still love the wild oregon coast best.

  7. says

    Duxbury Beach. It’s my home- there is nothing quite like it in the world. You take a long wooden bridge to cross the bay over to the sea side. One side is calm bay full of creatures and tide pools, one side is a lively sand and rock shore full of waves and wild children. Heaven.

  8. says

    It’s all a matter of perspective…I grew up frequenting the Jersey shore which is like a city by the sea: jam-packed people on the beach, loud guys walking amongst the crowd hawking ice-cream carried in freezers on their backs, boardwalks with rides, arcades and tacky gift shops…as a kid I thought it was the greatest, although I wouldn’t choose it for a vacation now if you paid me! We have spent the last 7 or 8 years vacationing in the Outer Banks of NC, our favorite destination probably being Corolla. We go in May, BEFORE the “in season”, so it is very quiet, and much more affordable. We pamper ourselves with a beach front house that we could never afford mid-summer, and pretend to live like kings for a week feeling like beach, the house, the hot-tub, is all ours…I personally miss the REALLY warm waters you get in the late summer, but the kids don’t seem to know the difference! Sadly, we had to skip going this year, and we are all suffering withdrawal…but we will be headed to Vero Beach, FL to visit the grandparents soon, which is a new destination for us.

  9. Heather! says

    Maine! Come to Maine! The water is cooold, but my kids never seem to mind. I’m counting the days til our trip in July.

  10. says

    We just returned from Rosemary Beach, FL one of the beaches among the South Walton beaches. It was THE PERFECT beach vacation! ….Beautiful architecture, a lovely beach, a quaint town, family friendly. It was magical!

  11. Sara says

    I’m from the Puget Sound area in Washington St. I don’t think I saw a sandy warm water beach until I was much older. I think the Big Sur coastline in CA is one of my favs. We drove along Hwy 101 about four years ago and it was one of our favorite vacations. We currently live in Charleston, SC and I love Folly Beach. It’s a quaint little beach town. It so laid back. Did you try the Salty Dog Cafe?? So good!

  12. andreamcmann says

    I love York Beach in Maine. So beautiful, and a great town for poking around in the ships. But, like you said…too cold to swim in most of the year.
    Glad you had a nice trip! Did you make the dress you were wearing??

  13. S. Marie says

    Hey Amy, I’m a western Idaho girl too! AND Jean, I also lived in Eastern Oregon, up in the Wallowa Valley with real cowboys. Love the wild Oregon Coast, but living in Hawaii now, I do appreciate long sandy beaches with calm lapping water – especially with a child. The beach conditions here change with the seasons, so it stays interesting. I love a beach where I can do interesting snorkeling. If you plan to come to Hawaii, please do let me know. We are always up for a house swap! Hope to someday move to Portland, OR. With this in mind, we try to get in as much tropical beach time as possible.

  14. Beth says

    Carolina Beach in the Outer Banks and also Holden Beach, a bit more south.
    I just love the beach (it’s magical!) and feel like it’s not summer unless we visit the beach.
    I’m glad you are coming around to enjoying it.

  15. says

    Hey everyone, Thanks for all the comments and beach recommendations! It’s definitely making me want to try some new beaches. And Hawaii house swap offers! Wow. I’ve been to most of the states (mostly on childhood summer-long road trips), but not Hawaii.
    Andee – I did simple embroidery, not sewing machine sewing. And I brought sewing/lacing cards for Maia to sew, which she really likes now.
    Andrea – Yep, I sewed the dress I’m wearing in the pic where we’re running on the beach.

  16. says

    I am also a mountain person, grew up in the black forest region of Germany. I still like the rocky coastlines best. Some of them with beaches nestled between the rocks…
    I like the Cornish coast, with rocks and a few beaches, to cold to swim except for the English…. — I like the Amalfi coast in Italy, the island of Chiloe in Chile. Ah, and for “real” beaches, I like Florianopolis in Brazil. Yes, and I do love the Maine coast.
    Fun comments!

  17. Emily says

    love the Cape (i.e. Cod).
    it was also nice to read about eastern Oregon — I’ve loved the time I’ve spent there, high desert, wonderful sagebrush, horses, all of it…

  18. says

    We love Folly Beach. One of the closest to Asheville. Right beside Charleston, which allows for an occasional dinner out in the city.

  19. MaryAnn F. Kohl, art book author says

    Oregon Coast (Cannon Beach, Arches Beach) — so magnificent you feel like you have floated to heaven.
    The little rocky beaches of the San Juan Islands in Puget Sound, Washington state, all full of sea stars and critters to watch, otters crunching noisily on clams. This is home to me from Bellingham, Washington.
    Actually, I’ve never been to any beach anywhere that I didn’t like. [Well, there was one in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico that was covered in toilet paper from some burst sewage line up the hill, that was not so great for snorkling!] Like Jean, I think I like the beach trip she just had because the kids like it so much. When the kids are happy, then I’m happy, and this is the kind of beach that makes kids happy.

  20. says

    If you avoid the touristy spots in NJ, the real New Jersey shoreline is gorgeous. Places to avoid would be Belmar, Seaside Heights, Wildwood, any place where “The Jersey Shore” show crowd hangs out. Most native New Jerseyans would recommend Long Beach Island, Ocean Grove, Ocean City, Stone Harbor, or Avalon. Lovely, quiet, clean, gorgeous beaches. Lots of fun, family-oriented stuff to do. A far cry from anything seen on television! Highly recommend!