Monday, May 14, 2007

Nose in the Air

I am one of, if not the, world's biggest beach snob(s). Don't get me wrong, I'll never pass up an opportunity to go to the beach, but the whole time I will be silently tallying the pros and cons of each new beach and waiting to complain to my family that a certain beach failed to live up to my standards.

To me, the Atlantic side of Florida (specifically between Jacksonville and Daytona) is the gold standard for beaches. My mom grew up there and our family vacationed there at least once every year for as long as I can remember. The beaches there define the criteria by which I judge all other beaches. These attributes are, from most to least important:

  • Waves. Waves must be at least four feet and catchable. I see no point in going to a beach where the water has all the motion of a swimming pool. If I want to sit in still water I'll take a bath.
  • Beach structure. No rocks or sandbars. The beach must be wide enough that you can still walk along the shore at high tide. Sand should be firm and relatively shell-free.
  • Temperature. I like going to the beach when the air temp is at least 90. The water temperature isn't as important.
  • Crowds. The fewer people the better. That said, I have plowed into my fair share of wading toddlers and old women while riding waves in Florida.

Patricia and I think that it's easy to develop snob tendencies when all you know is the best. We compare our beach snobbery to the way someone from Vail might feel about skiing in North Carolina or the way a German might feel about Bud Light. To me, it's just not the beach if you don't have sand burns on your knees at the end of the day.

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