//Overrated/Underrated: Is the Beach Worthwhile?

Overrated/Underrated: Is the Beach Worthwhile?

Zane Nogueras: The Beach is Overrated

The beach is a staple for family vacations, college spring breaks, and Instagram models. While it is a centerpiece in many people’s lives, if you take a closer look you will find it to be overrated. 

Beaches are social playgrounds, with everyone from different walks of life coming together to enjoy a refreshing dip in the water to cool off on a summer day. It can be fun every once in a while, but after enough trips it can become a chore. 

After fighting for a parking spot, you now need to lug everything from the car: chairs, towels, umbrellas and heavy coolers. 

Upon arriving at the beach—unless you happen to have your own private beach—you will be surrounded by people everywhere you go. Be prepared to have a lack of personal space. 

You will then find that there really is nothing unique about beach activities. Getting a suntan seems to be many people’s goal, but you can tan literally anywhere else under the sun. Even if you’re not looking for a tan, being under the sun for long periods of time increases the risk of getting skin cancer and turns your skin into leather. 

The few beach activities you can do once there, such as volleyball or spike ball, might kill time, but these can be played elsewhere without the hassle of getting to the beach. 

Even swimming in the beach is overrated, as you can do the same at a local pool or lake without worrying about rip currents pulling you away or jellyfish painfully ruining your day. 

After everyone gets their fill of the beach, the worst part begins: the return home. If you took a dip, you will be sticky from the salt water, and if you tanned, the walk home is the time of reflection when you get to assess the damage you have done to your body. Also get ready to feel uncomfortable until you shower and enjoy cleaning all of that sand out of your car.

While going to the beach to hang out with your buddies can be fun, the beach itself is highly overrated and quite boring when you stop and see what you actually do there.

Kayla Mitchell: The Beach is Underrated

With many people I encounter, they either love or hate the beach. I definitely understand why some people scoff at it: it’s hot, it’s sticky, the water’s gross, people are EVERYWHERE, I can’t find a good spot, and now my ice cream cone just dripped onto my bathing suit and ruined my chances of getting a good picture. 

If any of these reasons cause you to drive the other direction when you see a grain of sand, hear me out. The beach isn’t overrated,you’re just doing it wrong

If you’re looking for a relaxing, peaceful or even fun and social beach day, go to Island Beach State Park, not a beach with a boardwalk like Seaside or Point Pleasant. 

At Island Beach State Park, it’s six dollars for a whole car of people if you’re a New Jersey resident ($12 otherwise) as opposed to $10+/person plus parking on top of that anywhere else. Go in the morning though¾the only downside to this beach is that if the parking lot fills up, the park will close until people leave. 

There are two options at Island Beach: go to the area with lifeguards (a safe option), or go to an unguarded beach further down the park (the beach here is nearly 10 miles long). The beach with lifeguards does get crowded, however, it has an assortment of amenities such as bathrooms, showers, a food court and even a restaurant and bar! If you choose to go to an unguarded beach, there are far less people, so you can sprawl out and truly enjoy the atmosphere it encompasses. 

Since it’s a state park, everything is protected and natural. There are sand paths through the foliage that make you feel like you’re walking through a jungle. Feel free to pick some wild beach plums on the way to snack on, or listen to the birds chirp as the trees muffle the sound of passing cars. 

Once the trees clear to reveal the open beach and you walk through the sand (softer than Seaside or Point Pleasant since it’s natural and not artificial sand) and set down your towel by the water, you can often find rare birds, dolphins jumping and sometimes rays surfing the waves. This happens because the water at this beach is cleaner which makes it clearer.  As corny as it may seem, I feel like Moana when I’m diving through the water with rays circling me and surfing the waves.

The beach itself isn’t overrated, it’s just the way some people choose to dothe beach. Trust me, I think the boardwalk beaches are overrated too. If you go to the right beach, the experience is exhilarating yet peaceful, and you leave feeling rejuvenated. There are many beaches like Island Beach State Park on the shore that create the same experience. You might have to dig a little deeper, but it’s worth it for sure. 

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Kayla Mitchell

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