I’ve always defined myself as more of a mountain girl — I was raised many, many miles away from anything resembling a mountain but I’ve always considered the mountains my happy place. I love the forest, the dirt, the rocks, the sunshine, the critters. Mountains are just a stunningly beautiful yet incredibly rugged place.
Basically the exact opposite of a beach. Yet, a few weeks ago I managed to thoroughly enjoy myself on a beach. I was extremely apprehensive when booking my flights but I convinced myself I needed to give the beach a chance to prove itself before I judged it too harshly. It felt like the only fair option.
Turns out I loved it. A lot. As in, I was actually sad to leave, even knowing I was going to a place with mountains I loved even more. For all you beaches lovers out there…you know everything I’m about to say, also, you were right. But anyone who usually finds beach bummin’ to be boring…keep reading, I want to tell you how to fall in love with the beach!
Find a Surf Town
Beaches come in a few varieties — all-inclusive resorts, picturesque calm + surf towns seem to be the most popular when you’re looking for a warm, sandy beach. The first two have their place, I’m sure but they are definitely not my thing. So, I found a surf town. Zero regrets!
Surf towns tend to be really chill + laid back but there are still things going on. You can take surfing lessons, float out to sea on a stand-up paddle board or just lay on the beach watching everyone else crash into the waves. Personally, I prefered the latter because I’m not a fan of salt water up my nose but hey…in a surf town, there are options!
Get Up Early
Crawling out of bed as the sun is rising doesn’t exactly sound like a vacation. Granted, if you’ve found yourself a true “beach town” the dogs + roosters will wake you before the sun even gets a chance. Once your awake just commit to getting up + head down to the beach.
There’s no need to rush as the rest of the tourists are still burying their heads under their pillows so take the time to grab an iced coffee on your way to the sand. Once you’re there…enjoy the quiet! Watch the sea fog roll over the beach, feel the sand warm up as the sun rises, listen to the tide roll out. Enjoy it all as the most peaceful “up at the crack of dawn” mornings you’ll ever get to experience!
Read a Trashy Novel
Oh, don’t hate…just embrace the cliche! No, seriously. Do it. It doesn’t even need to be all that trashy. Just find a book that requires almost zero thinking while you read it. An easy story line, some emotional drama, a bit of mystery…but no thick plots, no re-reading a chapter to figure out what’s going on + NO e-readers! Get yourself a real book! Any “good beach book” will be a cheap, quick read that you can leave behind at the AirBnB or hotel.
Having a book to read on the beach isn’t about expanding your vocabulary or deep thinking, it’s about giving your hands + eyes something to do while you’re listening to the waves crash into the sand as you melt into your hammock. Add a fashionable pair of sunglasses + you’ll be able to do some serious people watching while “reading”. Just remember, it has to be an easy read so you can accidentally skip a paragraph or two + never know.
Leave the Beach
Okay, okay…just leave the uber popular beach. You obviously need to be near a beach to fall in love with it, but you don’t have to be squished between a family of screaming children + the couple who can’t keep their hands off each other. Get away from the crazy of the “main” beach area + find a little bubble of calm to claim as your own. Walk up the beach. Scramble around a rocky cliff [just remember, the tide will come back in…!]. Rent a SUP and float out beyond the waves. Just get off the main, busy beach.
You’ll get a chance to soak it all in — the sun, the salt, the sand, the waves. Of course, none of this is mountain-eske + it’s okay if you miss the challenge + risk of mountain explorations but give yourself a chance to really relax on a beach, caring about nothing but what salsa you’ll put on your next taco.
Eat Local Tacos
Speaking of tacos…eat them. Lots of them. This is assuming you’re going to a beach in a country where tacos are a staple. Wherever you end up — eat a lot of local food! Stop by a different cafe each day. Try something new or ask the locals what they recommend then just go with it. You’ll find some incredibly delicious food + you’ll find lots of excuses to eat about 5 mini meals a day!
Also, if there is street food, try it! You better believe that fresh pressed orange juice is going to be the best thing you drink all day. And those tacos stuffed with pork + pineapple as it’s being cut off a spit? Yea, you truly need that in your life. Seriously, it’s amazing. You’re in a new city + trying out the beach life, just go with the flow of it all!
Ultimately, change your expectations, just a tiny bit! I viewed beaches as either a big party or boringly calm — neither of which are really my jam. I went to Miami over spring break + I kind of hated it. I also got a taste of Cozumel during a cruise, no thank you. I thought I would never love a beach again…then I went out of my way to find a surf town off the beaten path. Turns out, there’s a happy medium for beach life, you just have to look a little to find it.