When I picture the ultimate escape, I think of water.
I’m a confirmed water baby. Growing up on Cape Breton Island, I spent my childhood summers at the beach, collecting sand dollars and sea glass, jumping off the wharf, eating ice cream, and battling jelly fish (who top the list of my mortal enemies).
I don’t think I’ve ever owned a “cute” swimsuit in my life. With my sensible black Speedo tank suits, I’ve put myself through 6 years of university, teaching swimming lessons and lifeguarding. I’ll join in aquafit class with the Golden Oldies at any YMCA. I’ve been snorkeling in Cape MacClear in Malawi, Hanauma Bay in Oahu, and Molokini Crater in Maui. I’ve never hesitated to dive right into the waves and have a blast!
With my pasty pale skin, I’m usually swaddled in SPF 110 (yes, it exists! Manufactured just for me, I suspect). The layers of sunscreen mean that salt and sand stick to me and I’m constantly grimy. Instead of magazine style beachy waves, my hair is plastered to my head. I’m not entirely sure why people visit the beach to look cute – it’s never worked for me! I’m not good at sunbathing or socializing – I just want to swim!
Even when the water conditions aren’t right, I always enjoy the proverbial long walk on the beach. Being around salt water and sand restores my soul and cures many a woe! I’ve strolled the shorelines of Europe, retracing some famous historical footsteps, and I collected pebbles on the Cornish coast on the favourite beach of my late great grandmother.
Gathering beach glass is a favourite seashore pass time of mine and I have jars of it displayed in my house. And no matter what the weather, a beach bonfire is my idea of a perfect evening!
Of all the beaches I’ve been to, my favorite is MacDonald’s Cove preservation site in Seafoam, Nova Scotia. This tiny community protects an even tinier beach that features a crumbling wharf but otherwise pristine shoreline. MacDonald’s Cove was the first place I ever saw starfish and I think Chester loves it as well – he can spend hours “chasing” the waves that always seem to elude him. I rarely see other people on the beach, giving it a very calming, peaceful feeling.
While MacDonald’s Cove is my favourite beach, my favourite travel memories doesn’t involve the ocean at all, but instead a river! In a rare act of spontaneity for me, I had left an unplanned morning free in our schedule on a recent trip to the American Southwest.
As we drove into Springdale, Utah, to visit Zion National Park, I was intrigued to see so many people walking down the street carrying enormous inner tubes. Local adventure companies had a program where you could rent the tubes; drift, bob, and spin down the Virgin River for a few hours, and get picked up for the trip home.
Why, a huge, bouncy inner tube is just my thing! Fortunately, Ryan agreed and we signed up for the river ride the next morning. Drifting along in the cool, refreshing river and enjoying the beautiful scenery, made for an unforgettable afternoon.
This wasn't my first time enjoying river currents. Years early, as a solo traveler in Europe, I excitedly looked forward to visiting Bern to experience the famous river currant. The premise is a simple one: jump in the water, happily drift downstream until you’d like to get out, at which point you grab onto one of the handles jutting out from the river bank. Hopping out, you then run on the path back downstream, and jump in and do it all over again! Free, easy, and ridiculously fun!
Beaches are an amazing travel value – minimum price, maximum enjoyment, with something for everyone, whether you enjoy swimming, collecting, or relaxing. I hope you get to visit a beautiful beach soon!
It’s not just natural water that tickles my fancy. Despite my legendary chicken-ness (I wimp out at an amusement park), I do have a fondness for water theme parks and waterslides. I don’t need to ride the ultra-steep ones to get my thrills – even the little waterslides in chain hotels are exciting to me! Floating on an inner tube on the lazy river at the Vegas MGM, with a big mug of strawberry daiquiri by my side, was some of my most relaxing fun I’ve ever had – and the runner up would be the waterslide at the Kona Sheraton resort. I can’t believe they let me have MaiTai’s before going on it!
As always, I welcome and encourage your comments. Do you have a favourite beach?
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