Great American Beach Towns

Quote of the Day     “I know I don’t get there often enough, But God knows I surely try”     –Jimmy Buffett, One Particular Harbor

They say the true measure of another person’s genius is how much they agree with you.  TB stumbled upon an article this week that was obviously written by a scholar and a gentleman, in that of his Great American Beach Towns, four were locales TB has visited and/or endorsed previously on this site. I haven’t been to the other seven yet, but I’m saving them in my “to go” list of places to visit. You folks need to listen to TB, I won’t steer you wrong. Anyway, here’s the list:

  1. Oganquit, Maine–This choice is intriguing because Maine’s a long way off.  And I’m guessing swimming is uncomfortable most of the year.  But it’s probably uncrowded, scenic and a place to have a pretty sweet fresh lobster picnic.  It’s an unconventional selection, and that’s right up TB’s alley.  It’s great fun to go somewhere very few folks that live near you have been, and when you bump in to someone who’s been to the same place as you that’s off the grid, you can immediately identify them as a person of discerning style and sophistication.
  2. Mexico Beach, Florida–I have to admit I don’t know where Mexico Beach is, but if it’s number one in Florida, it must be pretty cool.  Florida is practically in TB’s neighborhood, so I need to hit this town pretty soon.
  3. Newport, Rhode Island–Another representative of the Northeast and in the smallest state to boot. Hitting this beach town would simultaneously knock off one of the more difficult of the 50 states from your list and make the visit a lot more worthwhile than hitting Providence for a quick lunch of spaghetti and gravy.  Trust me.
  4. Folly Beach, South Carolina–I visited Folly in August and posted several times about it.  I do need to make one amendment to a post I made complaining about condos.  Folly is about 6 miles long and the condos only block about a half mile.  It’s a great town.  Fido occasionally checks in here, so maybe he’ll drop a story or two about his tenure as the island’s social mayor. He calls Folly the best beach town on the East Coast.
  5. Saugatuck, Michigan–My only knowledge of Michigan beaches comes from the classic coming of age film, American Pie II.  But I bet you can sit on the beach and knock back a few beers in relative comfort, and I’m sure the northern summer nights are a beauty.  And that cabin from American Pie was awesome.
  6. Coral Bay, USVI–TB went here when I was an idiot teenager with his girlfriend’s family.  It was awesome, though I didn’t appreciate things then as now.  All I really recall is beautiful water, swimming behind a giant sea turtle, and wishing my girlfriend’s kid brother would go to sleep so we could be alone.
  7. Port Aransas, Texas–This is one that I question.  I’ve been here, but it was on a rainy December mid-week day.  I was not impressed.  My experience with Texas is that they have everything–rivers, deserts, mountains, and beaches.  And everything they have is a pale imitation of what a river, desert, mountain, and beach should really be.  Texas sucks.  But since I was in Port Aransas on a day when most any town would look dreary, I’ll give the listmaker the benefit of the doubt.  But this town ain’t on TB’s “to go” list.
  8. Santa Cruz, California–Like Mexico Beach, if Santa Cruz is ranked number one in a state like California, it must be pretty special.  Everything Texas is not, California is.  I love California, particularly the parts that are not Los Angeles. Rivers, deserts, mountains, and beaches–all beautiful in California.  Throw in the food, wine, and Redwoods, and its no wonder how California became our greatest state.  Santa Cruz is on the short list, so I better put some Beach Boys tunes on the Ipod.
  9. Jekyll Island, Georgia–This is another town I visited this summer.  The greatness in Jekyll lies in what’s not there:  no chains.  At all.  No national hotels, fast food, hell even the gas station was an independent.  Sea turtles nest at Jekyll and fishermen rush injured ones to a turtle hospital in town to aid the species.  Bicycles and golf carts are the preferred modes of transport.  And TB loves this–the main attraction of the island is a hotel that was once part of an estate owned by the Rockefellers and Carnegies and Duponts of the world and organized as a club.  It’s still a place for the well heeled, but the grounds are owned by the state of Georgia which operates it as a state park, thus anyone can tramp about the beautiful grounds.  If you’re lucky, you can get one of those privileged types to turn up her nose at your barbaric appearance and lineage.
  10. Cannon Beach, Oregon–Cannon Beach is one of the most beautiful places these eyes have seen.  It is rocky, colorful and has a subdued 1970’s vibe about it’s architecture.  It’s full of great bakeries, great walking trails and great wine.  It’s a place to walk the beach at and after sunset with a glass in one hand and a girl in the other and cool enough to stay real close to either, or both.  I can’t wait to go back.
  11. Haleiwa, Hawaii–Part of the genius of this list is that it numbers eleven.  As to this town, I go back to what I said above about the highest rated towns in Florida and California.  The same applies here, but to an exponential degree.  Hawaii is paradise.  It’s so much more than sand and surf.  I wish it weren’t so far away, but no matter the distance, I plan to go back at least two or three more times in this life.  I’ll have to make an effort to see Haleiwa while I’m there and see if it beats Paia or Hana or Hanalei.
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About travellinbaen

I'm a 40 year old lawyer living in Ridgeland, Mississippi. I'm several years and a couple hundred miles removed from most of my old running buddies so I started the blog to provide an outlet for many of the observations and ideas that used to be the subjects of our late night/happy hour/halftime conversations and arguments.
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9 Responses to Great American Beach Towns

  1. supercynic says:

    Consistent with the observation that a genius is someone who agrees with you, TB is a genius b/c Texas does indeed suck. I’ve said that for 25 years and I’ll say it for another 25 years if I live that long……or until someone from Texas kills me — b/c they’re like that you know.

  2. Yeah, I thought this might draw out some defender of Texan greatness–

    I do have an old pal currently in Houston which is pretty good as big cities go, and I even like Dallas and San Antonio and Austin ok, and they do put out some good music, but other than that, Texas sucks.

  3. Stone says:

    What, no Port Lavaca, TX? Corpus Christi?

    I hate TX more than you.

  4. Looks like I’ll have to devote an entire post to Texas’ suckitude sometime (sorry OB), but doesn’t anyone have anything nice to say about one of these or some other beach town? I always fantasize about moving out to the West Coast and opening some trinket shop or bar and grill and living the beach town life.

  5. Soon to be "Local Man" says:

    They call me Folly Jon there. It is the best beach on the east coast.

  6. smilyj says:

    Are any of these naked beaches?

  7. Jessie Lou says:

    I saw the naked beach in Jamaica and MANY of the sites were not as pretty as you would hope.

  8. Pingback: More Great Places « What We Like

  9. Linda says:

    Folly Beach is incredible. You can leave your car and walk or bicycle around. Really easy to lose track of time.

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