Reader Participation Day: Are You An East Coast, West Coast, or Gulf Coast National Seashore Person?

What's it gonna be, warm waters and white sands, boulders and cold spray, or something else? Top photo by NPT file photo, bottom photo NPS.

Quick, pick an ocean setting for next summer's national park vacation. Are you heading to the Northeast, the Northwest, or looking South or somewhere else for your destination?

Although I grew up in New Jersey and spent many summer vacations on Long Beach Island, I'm really not a lie-in-the-sand kinda guy. I'd much rather head to Acadia National Park and scramble amid the boulders that make up the coastline, or pedal down the Carriage Roads with the ocean within easy reach, or hike through the pine and hardwood forests to the top of Cadillac Mountain and enjoy the north-to-south panorama of Frenchman Bay and the Gulf of Maine. And, I must admit, I have a weakness for an occasional fresh lobster dinner.

And yet, roaming the cobbled beaches of Olympic National Park with their sea stacks and powerful Pacific rollers, followed by a dinner that features fresh oysters for an appetizer, well, that's not too shabby either. Nor is snorkeling in the warm waters of Virgin Islands National Park, though those colorful reefs are sadly losing their color.

It has been decades since I was to Cape Hatteras National Seashore, but the memory of sand storms still won't fade away. And the fishing wasn't much good, but then, that was no doubt due to operator error, not the location.

Which brings us to this week's Reader Participation Day: If cost were not an issue, which ocean setting is for you and why?


This weekend I'm heading to the NORTH Coast. Lake Superior that is. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Grand Island National Rec. Area. and Isle Royale National Park. But if money wasn't an issue, I would head for Olympic National Seashore. I have never been past the Rockies and would love to go.

I was about to say what Mike said: I'm a National LAKEshore kind of guy. Pictured Rocks, Sleeping Bear Dunes, and Isle Royale are among my favorite spots on earth.

But if we need to be salty about it, I'll vote for the northeast. Acadia's coast is the most interesting and most scenic to me.

Salty it is, guys. We'll get to the lakeshores in due time, but what's a summer vacation without a salty breeze?

Cumberland Island. It's pristine and when we were there we were about the only people on the beach. Beautiful!

Even though Washington is on the Pacific I will go to the Oregon beaches. They are the VERY best. MB

I'm an east coast kinda gal. I grew up on the Chesapeke Bay and there's something about the eastern shore of Maryland and Virginia that I just love. I love going out to Assateague Island for a day in the sand and then heading to Chincoteague for some fresh oysters and steamed blue crabs! Nothing says summer more than that salty breeze and the sting of Old Bay in the cuts on your fingers.

Ranger Holly

Gotta be the Oregon coast. The idea of spending a day laying around at the beach is torture to me. Crashing waves and great trails at Cape Perpetua, seals at Haymarket Rock, Oregon Dunes and so much more. Not to discount the beauty found elsewhere, but I love the Oregon coast. Also love starting out on the coast, driving along the Umpqua River and ending up at Crater Lake. How awesome is that!

Sounds great to me, Kevin. Would like to add a PS, however, for those unfamiliar with that area: While a drive along the Umpqua will bring you to the Crater Lake vicinity, it won't actually bring you to Crater Lake. The lake is not directly connected to any river or stream.

There's gotta be one vote for Gulf Islands National Seashore, and specifically the Ft. Pickens area of Santa Rosa Island, across from Pensacola Florida. These are beautiful beaches!

There's nothing quite like seeing the sun set over the western horizon. I saw an incredible sunset at the beach next to Kalaoch Campground at Olympic NP. I've also seen a similar sunset at Limantour Beach at Point Reyes NS.

For a full day I think Point Reyes would be my favorite. One could start off at the visitor center, take a hike with sweeping vistas of the Pacific coast, visit the Point Reyes Lighthouse (maybe a little whale watching), and then get a few dozen oysters at Drakes Bay Oyster Farm and polish them off at a picnic table. If it were a multi-day trip, it could be combined with various trips to Tomales Point for some Tule elk viewing, the Marin Headlands (possibly Rodeo Beach), and some urban exploration at Chrissy Field at the Presidio of San Francisco.

I'd choose the Virgin Islands because I've never been there and I prefer to scuba dive in WARM water.

Since I live in V.I. National Park, that's where I'm headed on my next beach day. But, like Kurt, I grew up going to New Jersey's Long Beach Island, so I know you can't beat that salty tang in the air.

Island Paddler, Surf City, or Beach Haven?

Beach Haven. I did spend some of my younger years farther north in Seaside Park because my aunt had a house there, but once I could drive, Beach Haven it was. I'm from Middlesex County. And you?

Heck, we're practically neighbors. I spent my formative years in Somerset County, just north of Princeton.


I know the area well. I lived in East Windsor for a number of years before setting off in a round about way to move here. I used to ride my bike on the towpath up there and spent considerable amount of time in Princeton going to the movies and what not.

It really is a small world and getting smaller thanks to the Internet.

Surf up Dudes!!! Living in the central valley of California, its just a couple of hours to hit all of the beaches up and down the California coast. You've got to love all of the variety that is offered. San Francisco Bays sights, Montereys history and fishing, L.A.'s sunbathers and muscle beach at Malibu and Venice. Did I mention Highway 1 and the 17-mile drive along Pebble Beach, the most scenic drives in the world? Also, we've got the sunsets.....

Bruce, dude, it's gotta be in a national park! Can you zoom in on one?

I'm so sorry man....
I forgot to turn around to look at Yosemite, Kings Canyon, and Sequoia National Parks. All just minutes away. The world never looks better than when your on top of Half Dome.

My vote is Cape Hatteras; especially at night. I don't go for the tan and cheap beer - I go for the wild scenery, critter spotting, and stargazing. You can't beat a Perseid meteor shower viewed from these beaches. And to be among the first to beachcomb just after the tide goes out - I've found some real treasures!

P.S. My captcha for tonight: "12 infrared". Now that's hot!