Beaches on My Mind

I ordered Mexican food for delivery dinner a few nights ago and, as I’m really approaching total stir-crazy mode with the horrid combo of Minnesota winter and pandemic anxiety, I couldn’t help but think of that time that Jason and I flew to Mexico, our room wasn’t quite ready, so — shoot* — we had to have nachos and margaritas overlooking the ocean for a bit.

My first margarita in Mexico, overlooking the ocean.
* I wasn’t mad about this.

Then I started thinking about being on a warm beach yet again. Which led me to a very John Cusack in High Fidelity kind of mood: what are my top 5 best beach experiences?

I don’t know if I could truly pick the “best” experiences, because as Jason and I discussed all of the great beach experiences we’ve had together, we had to also remember some that we’ve each had otherwise.

So here is my wanderlust-ing brain spilling out: just five of my favorite beach experiences so far.

Putting my feet in the Atlantic for the first time

I took a selfie with the Atlantic Ocean behind me. The wind threw my hair over my face for the photo.

This was really my first time seeing any ocean, so of course it’s memorable! My sister, Karyn, and I were visiting our friend, Lynn, in Boston. We took an afternoon to drive up the coast and ended up in York, Maine. It felt like we drove for a really long time, but maybe it was just the anticipation.

Looking towards York over the beach: the tide rolling in and seagulls hanging out.
I wrote my name in the sand.

In any case: I was sold on oceans forever. (Though I’m honestly still a little bit nervous about everything that lurks under the waves…)

I visited York Harbor again with Jason a few years ago. York will always be special in my mind!

Oahu’s Lanikai Beach

For my 28th birthday, I gifted myself a trip to visit my friend, Jen, who had been going to school in Honolulu. We saw a lot of beaches during my visit, and I think this vacation brought my first real experience of actually swimming in the ocean, but Lanikai Beach was definitely a top contender this go ’round.

The view from Lanikai beach looking towards islands Moko Nui and Moko Iki.

(I mean, I’d love to do a best 3-out-of-5 competition — at minimum — with a few more visits, if you know what I mean.)

Jen and I dug our feet into the fine, white sand for a photo with the ocean in the background.

I only wish we could’ve stayed longer than we did. Unfortunately this newbie ocean-swimmer got a little too close to some coral when the tide went out pretty quickly and I kicked it! Did you know coral can cut you? I still have a scar on my foot… I like to affectionately refer to it as my shark bite.

Santa Monica beach in California

As I start to think about the first time I went to Santa Monica beach, I feel a theme starting: never enough time at the beach.

A view over Santa Monica beach from a walking trail, hills and sunset in the background.

I got to this beach completely by accident. This was in the time before reliable GPS on smartphones… and really: just before smartphones in general.

A look down Santa Monica beach with the historic pier in the background.

I parked somewhere without enough money to really spend any quality time in the area and then I walked and walked and walked and walked… and there were no bathrooms to be found anywhere.

A look back at Santa Monica. My shadow is cast long over the sand thanks to sunset.

So I didn’t plan it too well… but it was still amazing regardless. Jason and I actually went for a quick visit again in November 2019. We didn’t have much beach time but we instead explored the pier and enjoyed some of the rides in the amusement park. A roller coaster over the ocean certainly is a different kind of thrill!

Maine’s Old Orchard Beach

This was more of a funny beach experience than an amazing beach experience. Jason and I were in Old Orchard Beach for his sister’s wedding. It was deep fall and pretty chilly… but there were still Mainers sitting on the beach in their bikinis!

Mainers on the beach at Old Orchard Beach's pier.
A look down the beach at Old Orchard Beach with the pier far in the distance.

Of course I didn’t get enough time, but I did get some time at least. I think I might’ve brought a book along to the beach, but since I live in land-locked Minnesota, I find it hard to read when I’m on a coastal beach because the ocean’s waves are so much more interesting.

After I feel like it’s okay to travel by airplane for leisure again, you can probably expect me to be heading somewhere to spend at least two weeks just staring at the ocean… location to be determined, but pretty much anywhere would be a-okay with me.

I was sitting on the sand, so of course I had to take a photo of my feet with the ocean in the background.

Maui’s Black Sand Beach

I haven’t posted about this vacation — my last trip that happened before pandemic times — but Maui offered Jason and me such amazing beaches. I think I could do a list of five just from this vacation alone!

Overlooking Honokalani

I’m picking the black sand beach, Honokalani, as a highlight, though, because it was so unique! I (duh) wish we had arrived earlier to spend more time swimming because the water was so calm and perfect. The beach was a little crowded, but it was also small — sort of intimate. Everyone was extremely chill. It was so wonderful.

The view from Honokalani: some folks swimming and others taking photos.

I’m also picking this beach because one doesn’t have to risk their life just to reach it (though Jason and I did find the infamous red sand beach and I’m sure glad I googled it after our adventure.)

Ahhh… thanks for humoring for a minute. It was nice to travel vicariously through my own memories. I might need to do this a couple more times. I’ve unfortunately learned that the only way to properly enjoy a Minnesota winter is to be able to leave it… only unfortunate since I’m choosing to stay home for now.

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