Since I only live two hours from the North Carolina coast, my family took my sisters and me on beach vacations a lot when we were kids. I remember really enjoying the beach but I liked the mountains more. Not only does North Carolina have great beaches but we also have beautiful mountainous cities like Asheville and Boone.
When comparing NC beaches to NC mountains, I still think the mountains always come out on top. My love for the beach started when I was 19 years old and it was the first time I experienced the pacific coast beaches in Nicaragua. Nicaragua gained a lot of popularity in the last decade (until recently) due to it's cheap prices, pristine beaches, and because it was still "undiscovered." My parents took me on vacation to Rancho Santana, a resort and residential community with 5 beaches inside the property. Each beach had something completely different to offer. One beach was for surfing, one beach was for eating tacos and drinking beers at the resort's taco shop, one beach was to watch the sand turn pink at sunset. This was definitely the first time I understood the power of spending time at the beach.
Since then, I've been fortunate enough to travel through Central America and the Caribbean, stopping at every beach I possibly could. Is it just me or do you also leave the beach feeling the best you have in a while? I think the beach has a way of reconnecting us with nature, whole foods, physical activity, and vitamin D from the sun.
First, The Sunsets
I live in a culture where success = accomplishing as much as you possibly can in one day. There isn't much time to "stop and smell the roses," so to speak. I make a point to try to never miss a sunset when I'm at the beach. I find that the time I spend sitting in the sand and watching the sun sink down into the big blue ocean is always time I spend giving gratitude. It's hard not to be in complete awe of the beauty of something so natural that we are blessed with every single day. I also find a sunset symbolic. It's the ending of a day, time to reflect on that day and think about what you did well and what you'd like to do better tomorrow.
Second, The Food
The importance of food and diet is something you'll hear me talk a lot about. I really believe that the food we put into our body is so essential not just for our physical health but our mental health too. You feel different when you are eating food that your body both wants and needs. When I'm at the beach, I always find myself making better food choices. I usually eat tons of fresh seafood, fresh fruits and vegetables, and coconut water. Almost always, the food is locally sourced coming straight from the ocean, trees, and local farmers. This does make a difference.
Third, Being More Active
I feel like when I'm at the beach, I always end up being more active even when I'm not trying. There are so many ways you can be active at the beach and usually they are way more enjoyable than running inside on a treadmill at the gym. My boyfriend loves to surf, and I mean loves. If it wasn't for me bitching about it, he would surf for four hours at a time, twice a day. Surfing is a great option, I feel like it's even more physically demanding if you're just starting out because you are constantly getting hit by waves, fun! If that's not your thing, try hiking. I love hiking! Chances are, there are a ton of hiking spots with beautiful views no matter where you are or what beach you're at. For me personally, I need incentive and my favorite hikes are always the ones with the best views at the end!
And Finally, The Beauty!
Really, whats there to not love about the beach? I love the salt water, sand, sound of the ocean. I love the tropical weather, the sunshine, swimming. There is so much to do at the beach that replenish the soul and make us happy. Being at the beach always reconnects me with nature and deepens my value for what the earth offers us. The beach for me is probably the most natural way to enhance your mood and overall well being.