It’s a word that breathes happiness. It’s an escape – a blissful retreat from the everyday stresses of life. For me, it’s different from travel; vacation lacks exploration and adventure. Vacations are the chance to clear our minds and rejuvenate our bodies. They are islands, coasts, and lake houses. They are filled with endless images of soft, warm beaches and bright blue waters. And the best beach escape of all? Well that’s Ocean City, Maryland.
You probably think I am being sarcastic. The very thought of Ocean City may seem more like chaos and less like paradise at first. You picture the crowded boardwalk littered with greasy food and tacky shops. You see grainy sand and murky water complemented by the unbearable melody of screaming, undisciplined children. It’s a clogged beach city congested by inebriated teenagers and uncultured tourists.
Yet it remains the most pleasing of all beach vacations. Sure, the boardwalk is slightly overcrowded and the Atlantic Ocean isn’t as clear as the Caribbean waters, but with minimal effort Ocean City can be the perfect weekend getaway. First, you’ll want to head toward the higher numbered streets where there are more family-oriented owners and less college-aged partiers. Next, you’ll find that Ocean City’s exquisite bayside offers both fabulous restaurants and picturesque sunsets. Thanks to Fractured Prune doughnuts – an Ocean City staple – breakfast is fast and cheap. But what makes Ocean City more relaxing than other beach vacations? How does it beat Naples, Florida or Laguna Beach, California? What makes it superior to Punta Cana, the Dominican Republic and Paradise Island, the Bahamas?
Spontaneity. Ocean City trips are not planned months in advance. They are not the type of vacations that I mark down on my calendar and create countdowns for. They are impulsive. They are day trips with friends or a weekend with the family. They are the vacations that are truly relaxing – no planning needed, no researching to do, no structured adventures to squeeze in.
Ocean City trips boast simplicity. They are the kind of vacations that surprise you. When your summer job becomes exceptionally draining or you are tired of being around all of the same people in your tiny town for so long, a beach is accessible just an hour and a half away. It may not have starfish and coral reefs, but there is sand, sun, and an endless ocean.
Ocean City trips are what everyone needs. A break when not expected, a vacation when not planned. A chance to sit back and relax while taking in the sweet summer scent of salt, sand, and sunscreen.
Vacations do not have to last an entire week and certainly do not require traveling across the world – or even the country. Vacations can exist just outside of your backyard. For me, it’s Ocean City. For you, it may be a nearby lake or a mountain or a different beach. Either way, take advantage of stress-free trips. Enjoy the simple pleasures of life.
With just a beach chair and a tattered book, paradise awaits.