If you’re a fan of the sand, sea and sunsets at Sea Shells Beach Club, chances are you’re a beach person, but there’s something to be said for the peace and majesty that comes with spending time in the mountains, too.
Not sure which type of vacation to take next? Our travel bloggers Victoria (Team Beach) and Corey (Team Mountain) sound off on their preferred vacation types to help with this conundrum.
by Victoria Hoffman
I grew up less than 40 minutes from the southern shoreline in New Jersey yet my parents never took me there. We never packed a picnic and headed “down the shore” or spent a day shopping along the boardwalk. That’s because my parents, natives of the Midwest, simply weren’t “beach people.” In fact, they pretty much hated the notion of spending the day in the sun and sand.
But I always felt a longing to be near the water. Early career aspirations included oceanographer and mermaid. So as soon as I got my learner’s permit, I recruited several friends and illicitly sped off to the beach. As soon as the slightly fishy, salty air and low roar of the surf hit my senses, I was deeply in love.
I find the ocean intoxicating. I love seeing the boat shops, seafood huts, ramshackle boardwalk shops, homes on stilts, and everything else that lets me know I’m nearing the beach. But it’s that smell, and that sound, that get me every time.
From age 17 on, I made going to the shore a regular part of my summer, and even sometimes fall and winter. Whether it was going to party with friends or going alone to walk the beach and work out some problem, the sand and surf will always be my favorite. Here are five reasons why.
The most casual dress code ever.
I love being barefoot. I would like to be barefoot all the time. And when you meander off the beach in search of a burger or ice cream, you can throw on a tank top and cut offs and you’re in perfectly acceptable attire.
Most shore points have shack after shack where you can sit at a table laid with brown paper and enjoy piles of your favorite shellfish or seafood, from fried fish to unlimited crab legs. Much like the barefoot thing, I am a complete savage and prefer eating with my hands. I would abolish silverware forever if only it were acceptable.
I don’t know how you can look at the ocean and not feel incredibly small, yet energized by the pure power it holds. To me, it’s the most stunning and mysterious natural wonder on this earth.
This may be a girl thing, but there’s nothing I love more than the feel of sun-kissed skin and tangled hair only a day at the beach can give you. Now that I’m older, I dutifully wear my sunscreen, but I still love the wild feel I have after spending a day in the ocean breeze.
Sleeping by the ocean has provided me some of the best night’s rests I’ve ever experienced. The crashing of the waves soothes so deeply, and waking up to the call of seagulls makes me feel like I’ve been completely cleansed and I’m getting a brand new start.
by Corey Thibodeaux
I found true serenity once. It was sitting on the side of the mountain.
I travel for peace, which, in many cases, equals pleasure. Peace exists in the whispers of trees, the mile-high breezes and an endless horizon. Void of all unsightly details, mountain views are the best ways to see Earth as it should be.
Any vacation would benefit from a hike in the mountains, whether you climb 1,000 feet or 10,000 feet. Mountains are awesome for countless reasons, but here are five:
I’ve never encountered a mountain with Wi-Fi and that’s fine by me. The mountain lives by its own rules, unaffected by the pettiness of political agendas, style, tabloids and all the weight bogging down our everyday lives. The only communication I need is with the people in my group (always bring a buddy) and with the birds. You are truly one with nature in these moments.
Except in Kansas, which is why I visit Colorado every summer. There is a finite amount of accessible shoreline around the country, but you can find ample areas to hike up mountains. Even the most well-known mountains have trails people don’t regularly explore, so there’s no reason to get stuck in a crowd.
On top of the sightseeing, you get beastly calf muscles and a healthy heart. What a nice parting gift! The quickest way to get your heart rate up during traditional walking or running is to go uphill. You can burn a lot of calories hiking. I envy those lean Colorado natives.
The views are earned.
You have to cook to eat a good meal. You have to spend money to make money. The mountains are an investment, too: the higher the climb, the more rewarding the view. But even the smallest investments – a 15- or 30-minute walk – are more valuable than most experiences you can find otherwise. The challenges and rewards are the best part.
When you feel close enough to touch the stars, you start to comprehend how small you truly are in the universe. Some people might find that depressing, but I think it’s wonderful that we can be at once everything and nothing.
Corey makes some good points. All you beach bums might want to change things up with a rustic cabin at Gatlinburg’s White Oak Lodge and Resort in the Great Smoky Mountains. You might even consider renting the luxurious Grande Suite for a special occasion at Lodge by The Blue in Breckenridge, where hiking and skiing on the neighboring 14er Mt. Quandary are calling.
Which one are you? Team Beach, Team Mountain or some other team? Tell us your favorite destination for finding your inner happy place and why you love it so much.