There’s nothing more soothing than the sound of waves crashing along the shore line as I breathe in the salty air. Sitting on a woven blanket, soaking up rays and rubbing coconut-scented sunscreen onto my skin: this is where I find my clearest state of mind. Maybe it’s the familiarity of the beach towns I have explored ever since I was a little kid or maybe it’s the great expanse of the body of water before me – something about just being and existing near the shore fills me with happiness and a sense of serenity.
They say that living near the beach can improve your focus and concentration – I strongly believe in this philosophy. There’s something about the sandy, natural environment that allows you to feel as though you are one with the sun, with the earth and with the air. Life can be chaotic, always running from place to place, trying to check something off of an extensive to-do list. I personally take comfort in the laidback, carefree atmosphere that every beach town provides. Sometimes I just need to take a deep breath, to slow down and to appreciate my surroundings. When I’m at the beach, I feel like time stops passing by quite so quickly. I feel like I can stop and think, if only for a moment. I feel safe, at home. I feel at peace with the world.
Everything about the beach is Instagram-worthy, but no one picture can ever truly capture the beauty of the sun rising and setting over the ocean. For those of us who are privileged enough to live near the beach, we never have to leave behind the calming aesthetic of the shore. Footprints etched into the sand, glistening oyster shells scattered amongst the fresh seaweed and rocks that have washed up on shore-- at the beach, there is no denying that nature is its own work of art.
I love watching tourists pick through the remnants that the ocean has left behind to find that perfect seashell, the one with deep grooves and smooth edges. Sometimes the perfect shell will be lying on the sand, just waiting to be found. Other times, it will be washed up on shore for mere moments before the tides grabs it and pulls it back under the water. If you are lucky, you can spot the little gem as it’s tumbling back into the sea and snatch it up for safe keeping. Even locals get excited when they uncover a shiny piece of sea glass or the perfect piece of driftwood to adorn their homes with. If you look hard enough, you can always find a treasure or two at the shore.
Beach towns are perhaps some of the most inviting and friendly places to be: whether you are a tourist or a local. As long as you are willing to embrace the carefree lifestyle of seaside living, you will be welcomed into the community with open hearts and open arms. People gravitate towards the beach to relax, to release tensions and to relieve stress. We natives hope that every visitor leaves ocean with sandy toes, salty hair and a big smile on their face.
Every local knows that life at the shore is like a lifelong vacation, with beautiful scenery and new adventures galore. Where else can you try out parasailing, surfing, paddle boarding, kayaking and beach yoga all in the same place? Not every beach is a tropical oasis, but that doesn’t mean that there is ever a shortage of mangos, pineapples and coconuts to be enjoyed. Along the Jersey Shore boardwalk, there are dozens of delicious ice cream shops, old-fashioned bakeries, and eclectic restaurants to try out (all of which likely serve some sort of yummy tropical treat). One of my favorite things to do near the beach is to appreciate all of the beautiful, historic architecture of the buildings and homes that hug the coast. It amazes me to think that hundreds of people from around the world have stood where I stood, just to catch a glimpse of the intricate, pastel colored homes that line the streets of Ocean Avenue.
Back in the 18th century, doctors would prescribe trips to the shore or visits to the “bathing hospitals”, which were special clinics that offered seawater bath treatments. At the time, it was believed that sea bathing could cure a multitude of diseases and ailments in humans. While it has since be discovered that ocean water cannot cure a disease all on its own, there is no denying that the atmosphere of life by the sea has great restorative and rehabilitative qualities.
There is a certain essence of the sea that is captivating and mesmerizing. It begs you to relax, kick up your feet and stay for a while, but at the same time, it pushes you to be curious and to explore the unknown. Just like the ocean, life can be grand and seemingly infinite. There is great depth to life, so much more than what we can see by examining its surface. Just remember to live by the sea and love by the sea and in the end, it will set you free.