Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I met him at the record store…

Lately, I've been feeling especially nostalgic for my youth, those bygone days when life was easier and I was younger…much younger! I know this has a lot to do with today's economy and the struggles many of us are facing as a result, but right now it probably has more to do with the fact that I am facing one of those milestone birthdays in a few months. Yep folks, the BIG 6-0 is right around the corner.

Sixty, it just rolls off the tongue so easily. Crap! I remember well that when I was young, 60 sounded ancient. Oh wait, it still does! Ha! Time just crept up and I'm not that svelte, young beach girl any more. Oh well, at least the beach is still a HUGE part of my life and for that I am grateful.

Anyway, like I said, I've been reminiscing lately and one of the things that has come to mind is how the way we listen to music has changed over the years (along with my waistline).

I LOVE music and when I was just getting ready to enter my teen years we moved just a block away from a record store. Yeah, that's what we called them then…record stores. Guess what they sold there?

I don't remember the name of the place, we just referred to it as the record store, but it was located at the corner of Balboa and Devonshire Blvds. in Granada Hills, California. The front of the store was full of racks and racks of records from every genre and in the back room they taught guitar, bass and drums. The year was 1964, the summer I turned thirteen and except for spending my weekends in Malibu, there was no place I'd rather be than at the record store. My allowance had gone from being spent on candy and comic books to 45s. For you younguns' out there, a 45 was how we bought the music of our favorite bands in the good ol' days.

There was more to the record store than just being the place to go for your latest tunes though — it was a hangout for teens. My girlfriends and I would be there for hours and hours, looking through the selections of the latest hits and flirting with boys. The malt shop was for the 50s, for me and my friends, the place to "be" in the 60s was the record store or the beach. In those early days I was buying the Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, Dick Dale, the Chantays, the Safaris and anyone else who was recording surf music.

Much more so than in school, I learned how to talk and interact boys while we hung out listening to great music. The conversation was easy, we talked about music and surfing. In our world, nothing else really existed at that point in our lives. Of course, then we went our separate ways and my girlfriends and I giggled over who we thought was CUTE! Where did we do this? Why at pajama parties! Now they call them sleepovers, but back in the day, we all gathered at someone's house to discuss our latest crushes and to, you guessed it, play our records! What did we play them on you ask? Well, who remembers these…

Besides your pajamas and your records, when you went to a pajama party, you also brought your own record player. This was easy to do because they came in a little suitcase all their own…

Once there the first thing you did was look for an outlet to plug in and then the fun would begin. We took turns playing our 45s and much to the chagrin of the host parents, there were moments when several records would be playing at the same time. We didn't care; we laughed, sang along, and shared stories of who liked who. Ah, life was so easy then.

I found the images of this RCA Portable Record Player at the All Unique Etsy Shop. Sadly, it has been sold, but from what I read the owner of this shop finds, repairs and sells them when they're available. I'd love to have one, but except for a few, my 45s have all disappeared over the years. Do any of you still have your collections? My friend Marice, in California told me recently that she still has all of hers.

There was only one thing wrong with a portable record player, while you could take it with you to lots of places, you couldn't take it to the beach. So how did we dance around the sand you ask? Why we had these…

Mine looked something like this 1957 Sony TR-63 Transistor Radio

"A transistor radio is a small portable radio receiver using transistor-based circuitry. Following their development in 1954 they became the most popular electronic communication device in history, with billions manufactured during the 1960s and 1970s. Their pocket size sparked a change in popular music listening habits, for the first time allowing people to listen to music anywhere they went." –Wikipedia

Yeah, I'm feeling nostalgic for the 60s. Since then we've gone through the boom box, 8-track tapes, cassettes, the Walkman, CDs and now we have these…

Images via Apple, Mosaic by Shellbelle

I think iPods are very cool, and being able to download tunes is very easy and convenient, but I feel sorry for the youth of today, who can't hang out at the local record store with their friends and friends-to-be. Most often, I see folks with iPods in their ears, talking or texting on their cell phones and the world around them is just a blur. That interaction with others is slowly disappearing and I just think that's plain sad. Now one good thing has come out of all this, I don't have to ask someone to turn down their music when I'm at the beach! Does that make me a hypocrite? Darn tootin', but hey, when you're old you get a license to be cranky!

Today's Ocean Fact: The Pacific Ocean, the largest ocean on the planet, is bigger than all of Earth’s continents put together.  –Discovery Education Planet Ocean

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day 2011

Don't do this…

or this…

 or this…

Do this…

So that we have this…

and this…

Thank you

More Earth Day posts from some of my friends:

Today's Ocean Fact: Oceans provide us with food, cycle our water, generate most of the oxygen we breathe, balance our climate, supply us with medicines and much more. –Earth Gauge Kids

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hike, Climb, Explore!

Hi — I’m Kim from Snug Harbor Bay. I’d like to thank Shellbelle for asking me to be her first guest blogger. I am fairly new to blogging and she’s helping me to get my feet wet, so this is quite an honor for me.

Shellbelle was intrigued by my favorite past-time, which is geocaching, and she wanted me to share it with you. It’s more of an obsession really. I started 2 years ago and I am hooked!

Did you look for Easter eggs when you were a kid? Can you remember the thrill you felt when you found an egg hidden under the sofa, or behind a chair cushion, or tucked beneath a blanket? Can you close your eyes and conjure up the tingle that spread through your body as you raced around the house searching for those pastel goodies? Well, if you can, then you would probably like geocaching.

Geocaching is a game that is played by millions of people around the globe. Geocaches are hidden everywhere — in parks, in parking lots, under benches, in the woods, in the mountains, in the water, and on every continent. Yes, that even includes Antarctica.

What does a geocache look like, you ask? Well, there are many different kinds and the more you cache, the more you will realize how creative some people can be. The basic ones are: Ammo cans, pill bottles, small square plastic containers, and test tubes. However, I have seen caches made out of ceramic turtles, carved figures, telephones, baseball bats, rocks, logs, and Halloween decorations. It’s basically some type of container with a logbook inside that you sign and then re-hide the cache in the same spot for someone else to find.

The thing I like the best about geocaching (other than indulging my inner child) is the places I have gone to. I have seen historic things that I would never have heard of otherwise. We have gone to National Forests, lakes, nature preserves, hiking in the mountains and canoeing.

Caching is also a fantastic way to spend time with your family. Children love the thrill of the hunt and get quite excited about looking for treasure. I’ve met many new people through caching and if you are so inclined, you can attend picnics, bashes and parties all centered around caching. Young and old alike can partake in this hobby because there are such a wide variety of cache types that can satisfy every fitness level, as well as every intelligence level.

You can do something as simple as find them in parking lots or hidden in a neighborhood park. If you prefer to hike, then look up caches that will take you to the forest preserve or a nature center. Some caches are hidden in trees (my personal favorite because I will never be too old to climb a tree), some are hidden under water and require a snorkel and mask, some are hidden on fence posts or guard rails or under a lamp skirt.

Now you’re probably wondering what the point of this is, since you can’t keep the cache. Well, there are a couple of things. First, some of the caches do have swag in them. Swag is little gift items that people leave for trade. You take something and you leave something. It can be a coin, a small doll, marbles, etc. But the main point is the finding. It’s getting out and exploring and having fun.

Well, I could go on and on, but you get the gist of it. If you’re at all interested, please come over and check out my blog. I love to talk about the places we go and the caches we do. I have a whole section about geocaching that will give you more information and how to go about getting started.

My favorite tag line is: Hike, Climb, Explore! Go ahead, get out of the house, breathe some fresh air and stretch your legs. Go alone or better yet, grab a friend. Re-awaken your inner child and search for that hidden egg. If you find one, please be sure to stop by my blog and let me know.

Happy caching!

And thanks again to Shellbelle! I hope I did you proud.

Note from Shellbelle: Thanks Kim, you did an awesome job on this post and I am honored to have you here today. To my blogging friends, I hope you'll stop over and welcome Kim to our online community. She's a real sweetheart and writes such interesting posts. For all you gardeners out there, be sure to read her post on an orchid farm she recently visited, it has the most incredible information on how they are grown that I never knew before. AND, you have to see all the sea glass she found while geocaching on Lake Michigan, so cool!

Plus, if you've never "phooned" before you have to check out this post! It's hysterical and I'd love to see some photos of all you phooning!

Anyway, Kim's blog is delightful, entertaining and so interesting, she teaches us how to make hot pepper jelly, takes us to wonderful places and she's just downright NICE. Be sure to visit her at Snug Harbor and tell her I said hello!

Now before I go I have to post today's:

Ocean Fact: Even if you live a long distance from an ocean, chemical fertilizers and pesticides applied to your lawn can wash into your storm drain during the next rainstorm, travel through your watershed and end up in the ocean. These chemicals can harm aquatic life.Earth Gauge

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

April's Pink Moon

This past Sunday was the first full moon of Spring here in the Northern Hemisphere. The full moon occurs when the moon is on the opposite side of Earth from the sun, so that its face is fully illuminated by the sun's light.

I've always loved the full moon, many will tell you that it brings out all the crazies and I know I fit into that category, but soon after I started blogging I met my blogging friend Julie of Being Ruby. Now let me tell you, that Julie loves full moons more than anyone I know and the way she artistically captures them will just take your breath away. I suppose, for me, Julie is a Lunarian. What do you mean you don't know what a Lunarian is! Why, a Lunarian is an inhabitant of the moon  — at least in science fiction. She may not actually live on the moon, but the spirit of the moon lives in her and if you've ever read her full moon posts, you know what I mean.

Last month Julie decided that she would put up a link tool so that those of us who have been inspired by her to wander outside each month, with camera in hand, could fly to the moon with her. I would be one of those so inspired.

Another was my friend Becky of Abbey Style, who in this month's full moon post taught me this:

"April's moon was (and still is) known as the Pink Moon~~
for the herb pink moss or wild ground phlox,
the earliest widespread flower of spring."

The official moment that the moon turned full was at 10:44 p.m. EDT, so that's when you could find me outside, setting up the tripod and being eaten alive by mosquitos.

I spotted the moon over the roof, peeking through the trees…

Not a great photo, especially with the glare of the security light out front.

So, when I woke up around 4:00 am, I again braved those nasty mosquitos and headed outside once again. I hope none of my neighbors saw me out there in my pajamas, cursing at the bugs and trying to get a decent shot. They would have called me Full Moon Crazy for sure.

When I opened my shots in iPhoto, I thought, "These are awful, I'm not posting these."

Then I went to Becky's post and read about the April moon being known as the Pink Moon. I quickly went back to my photo library and looked again. Yep, I was right, there is a pink little glow around that 4am shot. Not in all of them, so don't think I'm trying to tell you that the moon was actually pink, but one of the settings I used produced this shot and I knew I had to post and share it with my Luna friends.

Here it is, not a great shot, but it is…

April's Pink Moon!

In honor of my Pink Moon and with Mother's Day coming up soon,

I decided to offer all of you 15% off in my new Etsy Shop.

The coupon code at checkout is PINKMOON15.

(Feel Free to Tweet or Facebook to your friends using the buttons below! Thanks)

Stop by Julie's for links to more Full Moon posts.

Thanks Julie, this was such fun!

If you missed the invitation to my World Oceans Day Beach Party, you can read all about by clicking here or on the button at the top of my sidebar.

Today's Ocean Fact: There is really only one ocean—the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Southern and Arctic are interconnected, forming one vast world ocean.  –National Geographic The Ocean

Monday, April 18, 2011

I'm having a beach party and you're all invited!

When: June 8th, 2011

Where: Right here at Shellbelle's Tiki Hut

Why: To Celebrate World Ocean's Day 2011!

Why Should We Celebrate World Oceans Day?

The world’s ocean:

  • Generates most of the oxygen we breathe
  • Helps feed us
  • Regulates our climate
  • Cleans the water we drink
  • Offers us a pharmacopoeia of potential medicines
  • Is a source of inspiration, recreation, rejuvenation and discovery

In other words, the ocean is our friend and I love having a party for my friends!

It’s up to each one of us to help ensure that our oceans are protected and conserved for future generations. So…

Let's Party!

Last year there were events held in 45 countries around the world. You can check here to see if an event has already been planned in your area.

Need an idea for your own celebration? Just check out this page and you'll find lots of inspiration.

This year's theme is:

Youth: the Next Wave for Change

This year's theme was designed to focus on getting young people in our communities inspired to conserve our world's oceans, so I'm encouraging you to reach out to the kids in your life and inspire them to respect and love our ocean. This can be as involved as participating in a planned event, writing a special post on a subject/issue you'd like to share or simply going to a local zoo or aquarium (most have celebrations going on for the month of June), reading a book, watching a movie, or going on a beach picnic. Share a personal story, photos of your favorite beach, a poem, a song, a recipe using sustainable seafood, a tablescape with an ocean theme — whatever you'd like. Do this any time between now and June 8th and then come back here and link up your post between June 8th and June 12th.

What's a party without gifts? For all of you who participate, I'll enter your name into a drawing for a special package of goodies from The Hut. AND, two winners will be chosen!!!!! The winners will be announced on Saturday, June 18th, so be sure I have a way to contact you if you're one of the winners.

You can start right now by sharing this button on your sidebar and linking it to this post or by writing a post and inviting your friends — the more the merrier!

Link to: http://www.shellbellestikihut.com/2011/04/im-having-beach-party-and-youre-all.html

You can see a countdown to World Oceans Day at the top of my sidebar and from now until then I'll be placing an ocean fact at the bottom of each post. Each will have a link to a website that you may find interesting and inspiring!

That's it for today folks, I hope to see you all at the party! Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

More than 70 percent of the world’s oxygen supply comes from phytoplankton in the ocean. Every two or three breaths, remember to thank the ocean.  –Earth Gauge Kids

Friday, April 15, 2011

Has anyone seen my grass skirt?

Can you feel the gentle island breeze? Do you hear the distant drum beats? Are you ready to embrace the sun? Then you'll be excited to find out that it's almost that time of year for The Hukilau Tiki Festival in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida!

Here at Shellbelle's Tiki Hut we embrace all things tiki! Thanks to my parents, I grew up in this culture; our garage was converted into a tiki lounge, we held an annual luau in our backyard for family and friends AND you all know I raised an amazing son who carves the most incredible tikis…

So, entice your senses with the alluring vibe of the Polynesian islands and the world of Tikiphiles while sipping potent potions this summer during the 10-year Anniversary of The Hukilau! The East coast’s largest Tiki and Polynesian Pop gathering will also be honoring the 55-year Anniversary of the historic Mai-Kai Restaurant, one of the remaining Polynesian Tiki treasures in North America.

This year's event will be held June 9–12th and it promises to be an exciting year. The Hukilau turns 10, the Mai-Kai celebrates 55 years and Fort Lauderdale is 100 years old!

A Hukilau, which is a traditional Hawaiian festival held in fishing villages of old, features a large net cast into the sea where villagers herd the fish and slowly pull the net to the shore. The feast that follows emphasizes the spirit of family and community or ohana. The Hukilau is our mainland celebration where we bring fans of Tiki, Retro and Pop culture from all over the world for an unforgettable weekend.

The Hukilau's Founder and Producer Christie J. White

“The Hukilau's partnership with the Mai-Kai, the world famous Polynesian-themed restaurant, has definitely been a key to our success and has set us apart from other events,” explains The Hukilau Founder and Producer Christie J. White. “Not only do attendees have the opportunity to enjoy the weekend with other Tiki/mid-century/vintage lovers, they also have the added benefit of a classic experience at this mid-century icon — complete with an amazing floor show, tropical gardens and a vintage drink menu that features hundreds of cocktails from Tiki's history! There’s no other place like it in the world!” 

Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid

The Hukilau 2011 is an extravaganza all
kanes and wahines won’t want to miss!

Be sure to come back to The Hut on Monday for your invitation to a special online World Oceans Day Beach Party I'll be hosting the day before The Hukilau begins!


Monday, April 11, 2011

Open Open Open

When I lived in California we had a chain of stores called Mervyns. After being in business since 1949, they closed their last door on December 31, 2008. What I remember most is a commercial they did sometime in the 90s that showed a woman arriving at one of their stores hours before a big sale was to commence. I'll never forget the end of that commercial when this woman was pressed up against the front window softly chanting, "Open, open, open," as though through sheer willpower, the doors would magically open and she could shop to her heart's content.

I've felt just like that woman in recent weeks about my Etsy Shop. I just wanted it to open, open, open!

This venture is truly a labor of love. I love the beach, I love seashells and I love designing with driftshells. While this is all true, I must tell you that it is also a lot of hard work. I've poured my heart into opening my Esty Shop and my aching back is proof that I've suffered along the way.

I had a LOT of shells to work with, but not nearly enough, so in recent weeks I've made several trips to the beach. I know that sounds like a great place to call work and I have a few photos that prove this. My most recent trip was down to Blind Pass on Manasota Key, off the coast of Englewood, Florida, which just so happens to be where my dear friend Karen of The Essential Beachcomber lives.

I drove over the bridge just as the sun was rising…

and as you can see I stayed there until the sunset…

Well, that's not really the truth. Karen joined me a few hours after I arrived and when we couldn't convince her hubby to bring us something to eat later in the day, we were forced to take a break for a few hours. This break included a slice of Mango Key Lime Pie from Publix and even though I fired Pete as our Cabana Boy, we still let him have a piece. (It was SO delicious!)

Karen's Shadow

Now I know this sounds FABULOUS, but due to our recent storms, the shore was covered with driftshells and I took full advantage of the situation to really stock up on supplies. There is one person who really knows how hard we worked that day and there she is…

Yep, the shadow does know!

Just look at that sunset glinting off the sand!

The thing about collecting shells, is that when you come home the real work begins and each one has to be cleaned. With some kinds of driftshells this begins with picking out each and every piece of broken shell that has become lodged in its crevices…

Then sometimes you pluck out a piece of something and a treasure falls into your lap…

Down in that area, hunting for Shark's Teeth is a passionate past time and you dare not intrude on someone else's territory without fear of retribution. I don't collect Shark's Teeth, but I did get a kick of finding one in the comfort of my home.

I also get a kick out of finding things like this…

Driftshells that have turned into rocks! The one on the left was in the bucket Karen had collected for me before I got down there (thanks!) and the one on the right is one I found that day.

Anyway, between picking, rinsing, washing in a soapy, bleach solution, drying and sorting — the process took three and a half days.

Then the fun begins and I actually get to start designing. The work I do is kind of like putting a jigsaw puzzle together, except that they've taken all the pieces of numerous puzzles and mixed them together. My job is to figure out which pieces go to which puzzle. While time-consuming, it is relaxing to sit and figure out which shell looks good with another one.

I thought I would give you a glimpse into my work area…

Ha! I wish! This is actually the art studio of Christie Brinkley, seems she loves designing with shells also. When I read about this on Maya's blog, Completely Coastal, earlier this year, I was over the moon jealous. Wow, what I would give to have a place like that to work!

For now, I set up my space each morning in my daughter's living room

and this is where I do what I do…

I cover up the coach to protect the fabric and cover it and the coffee table with bins and bins of driftshells. Then I set up my little worktable right between them.

Surrounded by shells is a nice way to spend my days, but if Christie offered me the use of her studio, I would SO be there in an instant! Anyone know her personally?

Oh, and I have one other little thing I have to deal with while I'm working. This is my great-granddog, Aysha Ann. Turns out she's a little shell thief and if I don't keep an eye on her, I find shells hidden all over the house.

I'm still learning and if any of you out there have Etsy Shops, I welcome any and all advice. My biggest hurdle was figuring out shipping prices. Etsy does not make this easy. You get to list ONE price and with items like I have, that isn't easy. I really wanted YOU to be able to choose from the many services USPS has — Ground or Priority? Flat Rate or by shipping weight? Zip Code to Zip Code, not one rate fits all. I finally went with Flat Rate boxes, BUT in my shipping policies I state that I am HAPPY to figure out what is the best rate for you. SO, if by chance you see something you'd like, just contact me through Etsy or my blog (email on sidebar) and we'll figure it out together. There really is a substantial difference in many cases. Let me know and I'll set up a private listing for you with the shipping you've chosen.

Despite all the things I had to learn about Etsy and PayPal, I finally managed to upload photos to my Etsy Shop in the last week and I am now officially…

Open Open Open!

Click here or in my sidebar to visit my Etsy Shop

I'd love it if you could stop by when you get a chance and give me any feedback on what you think.

For now, I'm off to do some much needed catching up with everyone. I need a break!

Thanks, you're the BEST!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Top 25 Beaches in the United States — Travelers' Choice Award

Are you planning your summer vacation? Is the beach your destination? Here's the newest list  of The Top 25 Beaches in the United States from Tripadvisor, as rated by their members.

Myrtle Beach Pictures
This photo of Myrtle Beach is courtesy of TripAdvisor

  1. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina – "Myrtle Beach boasts some of the best beaches on America's East Coast, which are distinguished by panoramic views of the Atlantic, calm waters and soft white sand."          
  2. Cape May, New Jersey  – "Yes, Cape May is, technically, on the Jersey Shore. But it’s the antithesis of the Jersey Shore you’ll see on TV—instead of nightclubs and tanning parlors, you’ll find Victorian mansions and a famous lighthouse."
  3. Panama City Beach, Florida  – "With more than 27 miles of white, sandy beaches, Panama City Beach describes itself as "The Beach Lovers Beach." Swim, snorkel, dolphin watch, jet ski, or parasail the emerald green waters of the Gulf of Mexico, or sunbathe on the award-winning beaches."
  4. Miami Beach, Florida – "At the shore in Miami Beach, visitors can swim, surf and jet ski in the warm and crystal-clear Atlantic waters. You can also nap on the white sands, work on a tan or simply watch the beautiful people, especially at South Beach, a favorite of models and celebrities."
  5. Sanibel Island, Florida – "Saunter on the shell-speckled sands of tropical barrier island, Sanibel, on Florida's Gulf coast. Quiet, secluded White Beach, with its scurrying sandpipers, offers a respite from the holidaymaking hordes elsewhere, while Turner Beach lures those with their sights on shells or the day’s catch."
  6. Clearwater, Florida – "Swimming in the warm blue waters on Clearwater's Gulf Coast is a refreshing pleasure for kids and grown-ups, and the wide shores here provide ample room for playing on the beach, too. Volleyball, parasailing and waterskiing are all great, but relaxing on the sand and sunbathing aren't bad either."
  7. Honolulu, Hawaii – "Honolulu is a legendary surfing destination. But even if you don’t know a boogie board from a surfboard, you’ll find a beach here that appeals to you (and, if you want to learn the difference, you can find a great instructor to teach you). Swimming, kayaking, snorkeling, outrigger canoeing or just sunbathing… it’s all available in Honolulu."
  8. Captiva Island, Florida – "A bit of the Caribbean in Florida, this beautiful island is connected to Sanibel by bridge and offers a more remote tropical island feel. It's so close you can head over to check out the beach or for a meal at any of the island's fabulous restaurants."
  9. Poipu, Hawaii – "Kauai’s South Shore is home to some of the country’s best beaches—for swimming, diving and all sorts of water sports. If sunbathing on a gorgeous beach isn’t relaxing enough, try a spa (where many treatments incorporate local ingredients). And if you’re in Poipu for a romantic escape, splurge on an oceanview room—the sunsets are spectacular."
  10. Siesta Key, Florida – "Looking for world class powdery white quartz sand beaches, 100 golf courses within driving distance, and an endless selection of cultural and family activities? Siesta Key is the laid-back beach town that goes above and beyond. Right nearby in Sarasota, you'll find museums, art, wildlife, circuses, opera, ballet, symphonies, theater, film festivals, botanical gardens, baseball spring training... the list goes on."
  11. San Diego, California – "Beaches and bays dot the coast of California's second-largest city. Top-rated, family-friendly Coronado Beach is set among turn-of-the-century mansions. Other gorgeous sandy spots include Blacks Beach, where sunbathers go au naturel, and La Jolla Shores, popular for snorkeling and kayaking."
  12. Wildwood Crest, New Jersey – "Wildwood Crest’s sandy beaches, clean boardwalk and low-key, old-fashioned atmosphere are a hit with families. And rest assured—Snooki wouldn’t be caught dead here."
  13. Naples, Florida – "Sunny Naples is a popular, sophisticated and charming beach destination on the Gulf of Mexico. It boasts many world-class hotels and resorts along miles of white sand beaches. The ocean surf is gentle and the people are friendly. Shoppers delight in searching for antiques, home furnishings, clothes and jewelry. With its beautiful neighborhoods and grand architecture, the atmosphere is elegant, yet relaxing. Even though it is a busy and cosmopolitan city, Naples offers easy access to secluded islands and the wilderness of the Everglades."
  14. Virginia Beach, Virginia – "Virginia Beach has all the elements of a classic seaside resort: gorgeous beaches, a lively boardwalk, plenty of restaurants and nightspots, and amusement rides sure to appeal to kids. Sports enthusiasts will find celebrated golf courses in Virginia Beach and the surrounding area, as well as sea kayaking and miles of hiking trails. Many believe Virginia Beach is at its best in the off-season, when the town is less crowded but the weather is still mild."
  15. Ogunquit, Maine – "Ogunquit's three-mile stretch of beach is one of the longest in Maine, and also one of the least rocky. The water may never warm up, but it's pristine, and this quaint New England town's attractions make it a perfect, picturesque seaside destination."
  16. Provincetown, Massachusetts – "Visit Provincetown and have a blast enjoying some of Cape Cod’s best beaches (Race Point Beach and Herring Cove Beach are favorites of TripAdvisor travelers). Plenty of cool boutiques, restaurants and art galleries give this town a fun and funky vibe. It’s an exceptionally LGBT-friendly destination as well. One tip: if it’s high season, take the ferry or a quick flight from Boston (unless you enjoy spending hours sitting in traffic)."
  17. Hilton Head, South Carolina – "With more than 12 miles of white sand and sparkling waters you can explore by boat, canoe or kayak, Hilton Head Island offers a plethora of options for beach lovers. Pitch your umbrella, go bird-watching or fishing or play any kind of water sport along the shores."
  18. Laguna Beach, California – "The quaint oceanfront town of Laguna Beach prides itself on its laid-back attitude and artistic sentiment. Seals, sea lions, dolphins and people are all attracted to isolated coves along the town's six miles of coastline, and strict prohibitions keep watercraft far from the beaches."
  19. Rehoboth Beach, Delaware – "Enjoy an old-fashioned beach vacation, complete with a boardwalk, at one of Delaware's most popular resort towns. Long a traditional summer getaway for families, Rehoboth Beach is now also a favorite of gay and lesbian travelers. Along with enjoying the famous beach and strolling the boardwalk, there's also a nearby amusement park called Funland to check out."
  20. Kamuela, Hawaii – "The Kamuela area of the Big Island has been inhabited for tens of thousands of years. Now known for opulent resorts, luxurious spas, dramatic golf courses, historic former cattle farms and breathtaking nature reserves, Kamuela is a largely unspoiled gem. Mauna Kea Resort Golf Course is the top choice for going green. Other relaxing activities include checking into Spa Without Walls and Mauna Lani Spa, or stretching out on Hapuna Beach. A rental car is the best way to explore Kamuela's many attractions."
  21. South Padre Island, Texas – "Although South Padre Island is considered the Spring Break Capital of the Southwest, if you avoid those times you'll find plenty to do on 113 miles of beaches, dunes and tidal flats. Treasure hunters thrill at the history buried here, the fishing is great and you can get a great view of it all from Port Isabel Lighthouse."
  22. Nantucket, Massachusetts – "Windswept beaches, sand dunes, blinking lighthouses and a charming pace of life await on this 50-square mile island. The world's former top whaling port is now designated a National Historic District. Leave the car and take the shuttle or bike around. Seaside cottages, old whaling captains' mansions and historic harbors contain quaint inns, boutique stores, chowder shacks and upscale dining delights. Swim, surf or load up the tackle for Nantucket's excellent striper, bluefish and bonito fishing."
  23. Nags Head, North Carolina – "With eleven miles of sand, it's no surprise the beach is everyone's favorite attraction in Nags Head. This Outer Banks town just south of Kitty Hawk offers ocean fans every sort of shoreline sport, from sailing and kayaking to snorkeling past shipwrecks or hang-gliding over the sand dunes of Jockey's Ridge State Park. Step into the past with a walk through the historic district and enjoy the area’s distinct architecture."
  24. Chatham, Massachusetts – "This pleasant, walkable town right at the elbow of Cape Cod is a classic New England vacation spot. Bringing kids? Check out calm beaches like Cockle Cove Beach and Harding’s Beach. If you’re looking for stunning scenery, however, try Chatham Lighthouse Beach. Its tides can be strong (heed the posted warnings), but it’s one of the most beautiful beaches on the Cape."
  25. Santa Barbara, California – "Santa Barbara's beaches have palm trees, wide shores, world-class surfing and annual beach volleyball tournaments--what's not to love? Families should fire up a grill at Leadbetter Beach, swimmers should take a dip in East Beach's calm waters and couples should share a view of the sunset at Butterfly Beach."

While I'm not affiliated with Tripadvisor, it is my "go to" place when I'm planning a vacation and I've written several reviews on the site of places I've visited. I like Tripadvisor because I can read "real people" reviews on locations, hotels, B&Bs, restaurants and attractions. Click on any of links above to learn more about each of the Top 25 Beaches in the United States. You can also find similar lists for other countries around the globe.

Still working on setting up my new little business, but when I got an email this morning from Tripadvisor, I thought it was a perfect time to take a little break and share it with you. Are you planning your summer vacation? Where are you going? Are any of these places your destination?

Note that of the 25 beach destinations listed, 7 of them are right here in Florida!

Come on down!!!!!!

Thought you might like to see me hard at work…

I know, it's a dirty job, but someones got to do it!

I love the beach and everything that goes with it! I love the waves lapping at my feet. I love the feel of the sand between my toes. I love the roar of the Pacific and the gentle waves of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. Let's talk about beaches around the world, bonfires, building sandcastles, swaying palm trees, flamingos, clambakes, sunrises and sunsets. If it's tropical, it fits this blog!


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