Perhaps my viewpoint comes from spending so much time in those years gone by at Old Nags Head when beaches were really family towns as opposed to resorts. The ocean could be seen riding down beach roads, not blocked by huge resorts and hotels and access was easy just about anywhere along the way. Beach living back them was roughing it, with no air conditioning, limited phone connections, most didn't have TV and transistor radios were in vogue. There were a limited number of hotels and motels and, of course, food markets and souvenir shops as well. Rather than tourists, the predominant group visiting the beach were beach cottage owners or their friends who would come, spend most of their time on the sand and in the water, with all other things of much less significance. Yes, there were a number of local restaurants serving seafood in the local fashion for the community and the food was good, plentiful and served to packed houses on weekends. On weekdays, however, there was usually not a big line and the old timers and locals were seen there on those days. And as far as night life, outside of the Casino, Ras Wescott's dance hall by Jockey's Ridge and the Recreation Center where teens would hang out, there wasn't much, not even a movie theater unless traveling to Manteo. Small gatherings of neighbors, however, were conducted in cottages or on breezy porches with board games and cards the order of the evening. Maybe it was also a night fishing experience on the beach, replete with bonfire and lanterns, with everyone gathering around the fire after fishing was done. Or perhaps a romantic stroll in the moonlight did the trick. It didn't matter, for a busy day of sun and surf tired everyone out and they turned in at a reasonable hour for many never missed the continuing thrill of a glorious sunrise which was always a wonder.
Now I'm not trying to say in this new and fast-paced age of today that we should try and go back to the past for that is not even possible. But I think it might be a good idea during a beach visit that some time be put aside to experience some of those joys that were simple but so meaningful. Like experiencing the sunrise from the beach on a beautiful morning or even on a stormy one. Or taking an afternoon walk after the heat of the day and watching the elements of nature in action. Don't forget to look for seashells along the way as the sandfiddler crabs stir about doing their beach cleaner duty. Pay attention to the seagulls and the pelicans on their daily struggle for survival in their search for food. Or watch for a shark coming into the shallows to feed on a passing school of fish or the dolphin stalking him and planning his attack to kill his hated enemy. It will become obvious after seeing the chase begin as it ends with a huge geyser display out of the sea that the fatal blow has been dealt and within a day the lifeless corpse of the shark will wash ashore. In the evening, a walk under the rising moon is as romantic as it gets and a good game of cards or a family table game is always a good way to bring lasting family memories on a rainy beach night. Good conversation around the table is a great way to bond after the hectic schedule from back home made it so difficult. And watch how the little ones when playing on the beach in the wet sand give up the fancy toys and turn a simple shingle found on the beach into a highway construction grader or a drip castle becomes Disney World. It's surprising the fun and joy that can come from the simpler pleasures along the shore and they bring some of the best memories. So, for a day or two, put away the smart phone and turn off the television and rough it like the good old days. The peace, simple fun and togetherness it can bring is awesome and you might just find you want to try it again and often.
So, have fun at the beach but never forget that the real joy of the beach is its beauty and simplicity and the way it can take all of those stressful issues and kinks in the body and melt them away. Nature as provided by God can always do that for us, we just have to open ourselves to it. I hope you'll give it a try.