The 3 Types of People Living Near the Beach
There are always the people who live in those tourist trap towns.
Beaches are all different — there are quiet, residential beaches, then there are boisterous boardwalks. But what about the locals? Coastal areas can vary wildly in geography and level of development. You’ll have pleasant, sleepy beaches in primarily residential beach towns, then you’ll have boisterous boardwalks with rides and funnel cake.
Yet there’s one thing that all these different types of coastal areas have in common; they’re more expensive than their inland counterparts.
Subsequently, you usually need some kind of reason to live in these areas. It could be a love of the ocean or it could be an obligation because someone close to you is one of those water people who just can’t get enough of the stuff.
Every tourist trap town has its locals.
It's easy to forget that your beachy vacation destination has people who actually live there year round. After growing up in a coastal town and spending a solid chunk of my adult life in a few different beach towns, I’ve identified the three main types of people who live in such areas.
There is some variation here and there, it’s always hard to group people under specific categorizations. Yet I’d be so bold as to wager that the vast majority of people living within twenty minutes of the beach fall into one of these groups.
1. The Unbridled Beach Lover
I’d place myself in this category, so no judgment from me if you’re obsessed with the water and have a physiological need to be at the beach at least once a weekend. I completely understand being an overzealous beach nut.
If you’re a true beach lover, you hate the idea of living more than a few minutes away from the beach. The beach gives you such a sense of calm and happiness that you just can’t be away for too long. You’ll even go to the beach in the dead of winter to hear the waves crashing.
The unbridled beach lover can also take the form of the eager surfer, the hardcore fisherman, or any other kind of coastal-lover. There are a lot of people who are eager to use the resources of their home area as much as possible. They know the tides, they keep an eye on the weather, they grab every last beach day they possibly can.
Common signs of an unbridled beach lover include a beach tent, a sand cart, and an extensive array of beach chairs. You just don’t buy all of these things unless you’re going to use them often enough to justify the cost.
2. The Casual Beach Visitor
You’ve got your people who are obsessed with the beach, the bay, or the ocean for one reason or another. Then you’ve got the people who enjoy these natural resources.
The casual beach visitor goes once or twice a summer. You might skip a summer because the warm weather goes by so fast, but that’s okay, you’re fine with just saving it for next year.
You might forget your sunblock. You might accidentally be a shoobie one time when you go and not wear appropriate footwear to the beach. In Manahawkin, where I lived in Mud City, we were a short trip over the bridge to Long Beach Island and poof, just like magic, we were at the beach. The drive was less than ten minutes.
Here’s the funny part. People in Manahawkin would heavily judge people who lived in the next town west, Barnegat, as being too far from the beach since they were a solid twenty minutes away.
Considering I now live about an hour away from the beach, I risk getting the tourist classification myself even though I grew up a hop, skip, and a toss away from the ocean.
3. The Hater of Sand and Sea
In every beach town, you get the people who are stuck there but don’t like it at all.
“I hate getting sandy.”
“I hate the smell of low tide.”
“Yeah, I really don’t like the beach, I don’t go.”
These are all comments I’ve heard from people, usually from many different people. Some locals will say that people who hate the beach shouldn’t live in a coastal area at all. While I can see their perspective, there are a lot of people out there who get stuck in a place they don’t like much because of work, family, or some other factor.
I am honestly quite sympathetic toward people in this conundrum. If you love the beach, then putting up with tourist traffic and the slightly higher costs isn’t so bad. But if you don’t enjoy the beach at all, these routine hassles become maddening. It’s tough not to like the place you live in when you’re tied to it, for one reason or another.
But most people who live in tourist areas have one thing in common; they avoid tourists.
Almost everyone I've spoken to who lived in or near a tourist town would agree that they try to go out when tourists aren't around. Even unbridled beach lovers will often say they love September best when most of the tourists have gone home.
There are plenty of other subsets of people who live in coastal areas, but whether you’re the beach lover or the landlubber, I hope you got a chuckle out of this list. It's an odd contrast to see people who live in the spot where others go on vacation. But since it is an odd situation, it's easy to see these main beach-relationships emerge.