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Vacation, All I Never Wanted: Why Beach Trips Are Overrated

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Confession: I don’t love the beach.

Don’t get me wrong. Once in a while, chilling out with an alcoholic beverage, a magazine, and a developing sunburn is a great way to unwind. That said, I’ve never been able to understand people who get excited over the prospect of spending an entire vacation at the beach. They seem to talk about lying in the sun and doing nothing for days on end as if this is somehow a good thing.

Quite honestly, I don’t get it. I’m one of those people who thinks that beach vacations are terribly overrated. And that’s because. . .

You Don’t Do Much

I understand that the beach is not utterly devoid of opportunities for fun. You can play volleyball, learn to surf, get eaten by a shark. . .there are many ways in which to get your thrills.

That said, it doesn’t seem as though most people who enjoy beach vacations participate in these types of activities. As far as they are concerned, aside from a few minutes spent in the water, most of the time is dedicated to sitting in the sun and, well, that’s about it.

A vacation should be an opportunity to, for a few days out of the year, do something that isn’t related to your job. Relaxing isn’t doing something. I can relax just fine in my own bed, because I’m old enough to purchase wine and smart enough to drink it often.

When I go on vacation, I want to go to a museum, or climb a mountain, or pay too much money for wine at a bar that sounded nice in the travel guide. The point is, I don’t want to waste my time. I want to make the most of it. I find that hard to do at the beach.

In fact. . .

The Beach Is Kind Of Annoying

For all the talk about the beach being the epitome of a stress-free environment, I’ve never found that to be the case. Simply setting up for the day is a trial. You have to apply sunblock, pack up your belongings, scout out an open space, pitch your tent, lay your towels down, and try not to get sand in, just, everything.

You will fail. That sand will ruin your life. It will not bow down to your will. You will have spent an hour trying to set up a nice spot in which to relax, knowing that your efforts are in vain.

Quite simply, the beach may be regarded as a relaxing place, but I find it to be the exact opposite. It’s uncomfortable, it’s stressful, and at best, it’s boring. I don’t want to waste my hard-earned vacation days on the privilege of sitting in a giant sandbox.

It’s Unoriginal

No one is surprised when someone announces that they spent their vacation at the beach. That’s like admitting that you put a tree in your house around Christmas. It’s inconvenient, unnecessary, and not all that enjoyable, but everyone does it.

Your vacation is a chance to indulge yourself in a way that you don’t get to throughout the year. Most days, you get a few brief moments to yourself, small glimpses of a chance to reconnect with your soul before another Excel sheet swallows it whole again.

Why take the easy route and go to the beach, when that’s what everyone else will be doing? Why not figure out what’s truly important to you? A music festival. Hiking the Appalachian Trail. Visiting wine country (followed by Hangover City, naturally).

Or, yes, fine, going to the beach, if that’s really, truly your thing. I suppose.

It’s Repetitive

Again, I should stress that when you’re at the beach, you do indeed have the chance to learn new skills. You can take up surfing, scuba diving, or shark-hunting.

(I watched Jaws way too often as a child.)

That said, if you’re going to abstain from these activities – and, it seems that most people do – you’re going to be left with a very, very boring day. There’s only so much you can do at the beach, and maybe it’s the ADD in me talking, but I’ve always felt that a vacation should be as packed full of fun as possible. It may not be as relaxing as you’d like, but time spent trying to eat new foods and find cool bars and see interesting art exhibits and hike beautiful trails and visit stimulating museums and enjoy entertaining performances. . .well, that time is more rewarding than simply chilling by the ocean.

Obviously, this is all just a personal preference. If you enjoy the beach, good for you. Go have fun. However, do not, I repeat, DO NOT go in the water.

I think there are sharks there.


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