By Susan Baldani
With the warm weather coming, many of us will soon be heading to the beach. Soaking up the sun, splashing in the waves, and reading a book are great ways to spend a summer day. But, look around, and you will see there are many other things to do to have a great time while there, which allows you to support local businesses at the same time.
Many shore communities have small, often family-owned shops filled with unique and high-quality items that you may not be able to find closer to home. Candle stores, yarn shops, baby boutiques, and stationery stores are usually steps away from the sand and surf. Take some time to visit, say hello to the proprietors, and pick up some items to treat yourself, or to give as special presents for someone’s birthday or anniversary.
Sand, saltwater, and sun can also wreak havoc on your nails and skin. Stop in a local salon or spa and let yourself be pampered with a mani-pedi and facial. You will come back from the beach not only with a tan, but with lovely nails and glowing, vibrant skin as well.
Looking for something with a little more action? How about a game of mini golf or getting soaked at a water park? What kid (or adult) doesn’t enjoy getting a hole in one or gliding down a slide on an inner tube? Much more exciting than just lying on the beach.
Craving a bite to eat? Instead of bringing your own food in a cooler each time, check out what the local delis and mom-and-pop restaurants have to offer. Some of the best food can be found at the shore. Tear into a lamb or chicken gyro or indulge in a creamy seafood pasta dish. And whatever you do, don’t forget dessert. Enjoy a delicious ice cream cone with sprinkles, funnel cake with powdered sugar, or a generous slice of home-made apple pie with a fresh dollop of whipped cream.
Quite a few of these treasured establishments rely on summer visitors to get through the entire year. Many of these places have been around for years and are considered the backbones of their shore communities.
Be sure to patronize these local shops and take advantage of all they have to offer so they can continue to flourish for many more years to come. And then, head back to your towel on the beach and take a long nap under the umbrella. Happy summer!
Written for the Country Register, published across the U.S. and Canada.