Reader Participation Day: Which is Your Favorite National Seashore?

Though Cape Cod National Seashore is considered to be an "urbanized park," there are vestiges of wild dunescapes such as this one near Race Point. NPT file photo by Kurt Repanshek.

Which is your favorite national seashore, and why? Seems like a pretty straightforward question, no?

How tough can it be to answer?

After all, there are just a handful of national seashores: Cape Cod, Cape Hatteras, Cape Lookout, Point Reyes, Assateague Island, Canaveral, Cumberland Island, Fire Island, Gulf Islands, and Padre Island. And they all have a mix of sun, sand, surf and sea.

But don't they all have their own personalities, too? Assateague has its ponies, Cape Hatteras its off-road contingents, Cape Cod its somewhat urbanized setting.

Share your thoughts, which seashore is your favorite?

Comments

Cape Cod. Spent many a summer there. All the surrounding history and it's beauty is enough for me to give it the number one spot!

Cumberland Island! When we visited, we were about the only ones on the island. The beach was pristine. Seeing the wild horses on the beach was just beautiful.

Padre Island was also fantastic. We were foturnate enough to be there during a sea turtle release and it was wonderful watching all those turtles making their way to the ocean.

Unfair question since I've never been to any of them. :-( A planned trip to Cumberland Island a few years ago turned into an extended stay at Cape Romain NWR, Carolina Sandhills NWR, and Congaree NP. So much to see in South Carolina, we never made it to Georgia!

Plotting an impromptu trip to Padre Island in March, perhaps. I have a good friend that's a zoologist with Sea Turtle Inc. down there. March is a bit early to see much nesting, but should see a few turtles and an awful lot of birds.

Even though I grew-up in Massachusetts and spent my youth going to Cape Cod NS, Point Reyes is by from the best in the NPS. I was fortunate to be a camp council at the Environmental Education Center at Point Reyes and went to college in Petaluma so frequent day trips were a must. The lighthouse, the elk, the banana slugs and the amazing forest/ocean connection make for the most diverse seashore in the system!

Point Reyes National Seashore - has all the spiritual amenities to mend the soul.

I'm biased b/c I've only been to 2. I grew up on Long Island so I should say Fire Island, but there really is no competing w/ Cape Hatteras. It's so folksy and charming and despite the fact that everyone and their brother on the east coast goes to the Outer Banks, most of it is uncrowded and undeveloped. Let the tourists have Nags Head and Ocracoke - those in the know stick to Hatteras Island. The lighthouses...the rough surf...the sunrise over the Atlantic and sunset over the Pamlico... Ahh....

The Gulf Islands. I love camping on Perdido Key. I load my kayak with everything I need and paddle up the key till I find a nice spot. There several miles of uninhabited island to choose from. Fort Pickens is a nice day trip from the campsite, which was especially nice when the road to the fort was closed. I think it is open again now.

Cape Cod - years ago I worked for Provincetown Boston Airlines - when they folded, I found myself stranded in Hyannis in the winter & got a job with Harry F Johnson Landscaping, planting beach grass on the dunes in P-Town. February, whiteouts, C-O-L-D!!!!!!! But seeing the results these years later & remembering back at the experience I can't help but have fond memories of it all!!!!!

Point Reyes is great. You can backpack in the wilderness area. You can camp along the coast and gather driftwood for campfires on the beach. There are sea caves to explore at low tide, and a beautiful waterfall that drops onto the beach. The Bishop pine forest on the ridgetop has a rainforest look. The hike to the northern tip of Tomales point is spectacular, and it has a herd of Tule elk. Point Reyes is close to the Bay Area, so you need to plan months in advance to get a camping permit.

Cape Lookout was my favorite National Seashore. It was so remote and absolutely beautiful. It was a challenge finding a ferry boat to take me to the island (at least when I went, nearly 20 years ago) but that added to its charm.

Certainly Point Reyes is special to me. However - "National Seashore" is just a designation. I would note that the coastal section of Olympic National Park has all the qualities that one would want in a "National Seashore".

I would note that the coastal section of Olympic National Park has all the qualities that one would want in a "National Seashore".

As does Acadia.

And, as usual, Kurt's showing a prejudice against hyposaline waters by not including the National Lakeshores!

And finally, I find it important to note that my CAPTCHA is "cubic dungs". That's great.

Hey, no prejudice Kirby. I'm just working my way through the countless NPS designations! The possibilities for reader surveys are endless when you break down the system that way;-)

Cape hatteras. It's one of the few places left where i can drive my Ford F-250 down the beach and crack open a few brewskis while I'm surfcasting.

You can legally drink a brewski or two on the beach at Cape Hatteras, but visitors need to be aware of the various regs pertaining to alcoholic beverages at this seashore. Having open containers of beer or wine in your vehicle, even on the beach, is strictly forbidden. North Carolina laws also forbid the consumption of distilled liquors (whiskey, vodka, fortified wine, etc.) anywhere in public. The legal blood alcohol limit is .08, and the legal drinking age is 21.

There are two places for me. On the East coast it's Cape Hatteras just an beautiful great place to be. If I'm on the West coast Point Reyes for the mountains and sites. You can hike for days and not see everything it has to offer.

Mine is the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Miles of open beaches and the peacefulness unmatched anywhere else. The number of different types of water fowl and animals make this a truly unique experience.

-- Dan Spaventa

I would note that the coastal section of Olympic National Park has all the qualities that one would want in a "National Seashore".

As does Acadia.

I'm not sure it does. I thought that one of the hallmarks of a "National Seashore" is sandy beaches. What I've read of Acadia NP and seen in pictures claims that there aren't too many sandy beaches there, and the shore tends to be rocky. By the same token, Everglades NP meets both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, but there aren't really too many sandy beaches.

ypw--

I suspect that you've never been to the west side of Everglades NP. Many of the little islands such as Tiger Key, Picnic Key, and Rabbit Key have wonderful sandy beaches, with the advantage of privacy, as its an hour or 2 of easy paddling and NPS limits the number of permits for camping along the wilderness waterway. I've been the only party at Rabbit Key on a late October weekend, although I believe that there are 2 campsites there.

But your broader point is certainly correct: Everglades isn't the kind of seashore with big beaches and thousands of folks at the beach on a nice weekend. And I'd rather be on the beach at Olympic than at Everglades.

tomp:
ypw--

I suspect that you've never been to the west side of Everglades NP. Many of the little islands such as Tiger Key, Picnic Key, and Rabbit Key have wonderful sandy beaches, with the advantage of privacy, as its an hour or 2 of easy paddling and NPS limits the number of permits for camping along the wilderness waterway. I've been the only party at Rabbit Key on a late October weekend, although I believe that there are 2 campsites there.

But your broader point is certainly correct: Everglades isn't the kind of seashore with big beaches and thousands of folks at the beach on a nice weekend. And I'd rather be on the beach at Olympic than at Everglades.


I suppose I missed those parts when I visited. I remember years ago my parents got me a National Geographic hardcover book on National Park Service sites. I remember seeing some photo of an Everglades NP beach area, although it wasn't terribly sandy and was covered with seashells from expired mollusks - especially scallops. I visited the Flamingo area and inquired about whether there were any beaches, and I was told nothing where one would lay down a picnic blanket or walk in bare feet. What I remember was that the land/water areas were primarily covered with mangroves. I saw birds on a sandbar on the Gulf Coast boat tour, but I'm thinking that would have been a lousy place to have a picnic or even try to walk. Not to mention that would mean harassing the birds.

I loved Olympic NP. There seemed to be driftwood (big 'ol logs especially) everywhere with miles and miles of beaches.

I've certainly had interesting days at Point Reyes too. I thought we would have a leisurely hour or so at Limantour Beach. However - it was really, really windy with sand blowing everywhere. We took a cue from a mom telling her son to walk backwards on the way to the parking lot, since the sand would have blown right into their faces if they walked forwards.