Growing up on the Jersey Shore kind of makes you addicted to the beach.
For most the year, my hometown of Wildwood, NJ is desolate. The ocean is cold, beaches empty, and blinking yellow traffic lights line the streets. But every year, Memorial Day Weekend brings warmer weather and sends an explosion throughout the town- mom-and-pop businesses reopen, No Vacancy signs at motels reappear, and summer friends and neighbors move back into their shore houses.
I’ve found that this transition is a strange phenomenon, unique to only small, coastal towns that run on seasonal tourism, and since I’ve moved away for school, I’ve realized how experiencing the change first-hand makes you really appreciate the simplicity of the town. While the rest of the world is talking politics, most people in Wildwood only care about high tides, sunsets, and tan lines. Even though it’s filled with vacationers from all over, the vibe of the town helps them take a step back and just makes everything so much simpler.
This mentality made the beach my third place. It was somewhere I looked forward to spending my day after morning shifts at a restaurant, and it’s still the place I feel most content today. So, whenever I’m on a beach or even just in the sun, it’s nostalgic and immediately helps me see the simplicity in things around me.
I’ve definitely taken growing up across the street from the beach for granted, but I’ll be graduating college in six weeks and moving to California, and would love to explore new beaches on the west coast, and elsewhere around the world. If anyone has any stories/recommendations for coastal towns or cool beaches please let me know!