Where are you gonna’ go this year?
For most of the continental USA, the choice between beaches and mountain is always one of relatively equal distances. Most folks can get to the slopes in about as much time as they can to the coast.
Each has undeniable charms – and the choices are subjected to a surprising amount of scientific-survey scrutiny. But in general, the beach leads with about 10 percent more strongly favorable opinions than do any mountains. Here’s five reasons many travelers prefer the beach.
What a terrible word to start with. There are some mountain resorts that are very well developed. But there is no entire mountain range that is developed as well, and as thoroughly, as the nation’s coastal areas. We’ll get to the idea of “roughing it” below, but by and large, without a reasonably well developed tourist and travel infrastructure, you’re going to be roughing it in the mountains. At the beach, on the other hand, you can take your pick, from a rustic beachfront bungalow, to a 5-star resort. And of course, there’s everything in between. In every case, at or near the beach, you’ve got “civilization” backing you up, even when you want to go off the map and into the wild. That can mean a very different thing if you’re heading off to the mountains.
Building on that idea of “Into the Wild,” most folks with kids, or even older adults, don’t want to haul off for the wilderness just to take a break from the 9 to 5 routine. Without the infrastructure, you’re going to be looking after the kids 25 hours a day. There’s no letting even older kids wander off. Not telling who and what is out there. Admittedly, there are some nice places in the mountains, but there are very few places in the forest where you can easily spot the kids at a hundred yards off. It’s simply the nature of the landscape.
3. The Mystery
There’s no question, you can find transcendent experience in the woods. But just as often, you’ll find bugs and trees and more trees. Of course, there are a hundred reasons to seek what you’re after – in the mountains. But at the sea, it’s almost too obvious. The sea opens out before you and floods many visitors’ emotions. You remember it, you look forward to it, and it’s still there. It will still be there in the future. It may be even more un-tamed and less understandable. We’ve got nothing against the forest and the mountains, but it can take a lot more work to find the truly sublime – in the mountains. And the sublime is precisely what draws people to the sea.
4. Roughing It
“Roughing it” is arguably at least some part of every vacation experience. Some travelers will go to extreme lengths to avoid even the slightest rough edge. On the other hand, some young people are perfectly content sleeping in the car!
One reason to read articles such as this one, is to mitigate the “rough” so that you can better choose just how “rough” things are going to get. Just as many travelers will turn up their noses at luxury vacation experiences as will be seduced by them. Renting a house at the beach might seem a little rougher than a sea-side resort with all the extras. Then again, you get a lot more room and you can bring along a lot more loved ones, in-laws, cousins, kids and even pets! It may still be “rougher” than the Bali Beds and Body Rubs resort, but not by much, and for most guest, it’s the perfect combination.
Lastly, “development” on the coast can mean hundreds of half-empty vacation properties, hungry to attract you and your vacation dollar. In the mountains, development might mean a few ski-resorts and their accompanying condominiums, but by and large, these are spaced out over entire regions. Come the low season, you can go, but you’re likely to find out exactly why it’s the low season.
To put it bluntly, the beach and the coast simply have far more infrastructure and thus, far more opportunity for savings. Even high demand seasons can be sensitive to fluctuations in demand that open up rooms unexpectedly and hotels need to fill these to cover their losses. In fact, all the major hotels employee staffs of people dedicated exclusively to monitoring and mitigating fluctuations in demand. For travelers, that just means deals are there for the asking.
Whether you decide on the beach or the mountains, it’s still going to be up to you. Remember, going for well-developed infrastructure doesn’t acres of over-developed coastal strip malls and fast food restaurants. On the contrary, today’s beach front and mountain resort developers have gotten incredibly sensitive to mistakes made since the mid-twentieth century. None of them want to be left holding the bag when the broad consensus turns against a thoughtlessly developed motel lost in acres of concrete.
North Captiva Island is very proud to be among the most sensitively developed coastal islands in Florida. With a mix of natural and modern attractions, guests keep coming back for a vacation experience that’s first rate natural – and with all the modern comforts of home at hand.
This article was written by james t. James is a New Jersey native but currently lives in Mexico City because it’s a tad bit cold in New Jersey at the moment. Still, he is looking forward to the 2014 Super Bowl being held in his freezing home state.
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