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Old 11-23-2019, 03:22 PM   #1
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The Ocean

We want to take our kids and grandkids to see the ocean next year. Any thoughts? We live in Iowa. Don't want to go out of the U.S
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Old 11-23-2019, 04:04 PM   #2
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Lightbulb Left Coast info

Originally Posted by wwgang View Post
We want to take our kids and grandkids to see the ocean next year. Any thoughts? We live in Iowa. Don't want to go out of the U.S
It depends on what you want to see besides seawater.
The West coast has some beautiful beaches and scenery.
Southern California has some very nice spots. San Diego ares, (around Coronado Island) is ritzy and expensive. There could also be issues with border crossers.
Northern San Diego county just south of the Marine base has some nice beaches.
Laguna Niguel north to Long Beach has some nice beaches. I would stay away from Los Angeles.

Northern Cali has some beautiful and rugged beaches. Great scenery, whale watching & sea lions. North of San Francisco and up through Marin county north to Santa Rosa. If you follow the road along the Russian River you will eventually come out near the little town that was the location of Alfred Hitchcock's movie "The Birds". Santa Rosa was the home of cartoonist Charles Schultz of Peanuts fame. Just east of there is the California wine country.

Farther north in California and into Oregon is more rugged ocean scenery with multiple "sea stacks". Lots of wild life not great swimming.

Following north along the coast into Washington State you will eventually end up on the Olympic peninsula. At the farthest norther end is the town of Forks which was the setting of the vampire movies under the Twilight title. Following the road east, away from the coast into the Olympic National Park you are where the movie "Harry and the Hendersons" was located.A side trip to Seattle would be great for the kids and grands.

I'll post regarding the East coast at another time.

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Old 11-24-2019, 12:33 PM   #3
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You should probably do Florida, the Cocoa Beach area for sure.

As well as the Beach areas, you may also want to visit the Kennedy Space Center, and give your Grandchildren a Real Thrill, combined with a Learning Experience. You may get lucky and witness a launch, too. At Jetty Park, you can also see Large Cruise Ships arriving and departing at Port Canavaral, and perhaps have a Bar-B-Que there.

On the other side of Florida, you have the White Sands of the Gulf Coast. Clearwater Beach is a Great Spot.

Best of Luck!

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Old 11-25-2019, 08:24 AM   #4
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For Florida ocean/beaches, for a first time experience, I would go EASTcoast vs WESTcoast...many times in the Gulf, or West Coast of Florida, there are little to no waves...it's about like looking at a giant lake...sand is brilliant white, yes...but kids love waves! So East Coast always has them, Daytona Beach is cool as you can still drive on a small part of it...Cocoa Beach, Ormond Beach, etc...all nice. Further south it gets prettier, Ft. Lauderdale with Palm trees is very nice...then if you are a little adventurous, further south to Miami and South Beach...never one of my favorites, other than some rather astounding "sightseeing" on the beach...I don't care for the difficult parking, crime element, etc of the Miami area...

The California/Oregon ocean/beaches are rather cold...the Pacific Ocean has much colder water than the Atlantic...also, there is the constant annoying fog in the morning...combined with cold temperatures, for kids especially, not near as much fun as Florida beaches. But there are nice drives (BORING for kids) where you can drive for miles looking at the almost inaccessible beaches and oceanside bluffs. Venice Beach and Muscle Beach are kinda interesting for their "regulars"...yea, the bikini clad girls still roller blade along the beach sidewalk and the guys (and some girls) still pump iron beachside at those places, just like you have seen in the movies! Newport Beach is probably my favorite place to hang out if I am in the area...nice boardwalk, good eating places...some surfers, but like most California beaches, very often cold, damp, and foggy...along with difficult parking. There is Laguna Beach, Redondo Beach, Huntington Beach, etc...some people just gotto visit these just so they can say they were "there", it seems.

The Carolina's have some nice beaches...Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Ocean Isle Beach and Carolina Beach, North Carolina would probably be most exciting and interesting for first time kids, as all 3 have decent, sandy beaches with waves, along with food venders and some beach boardwalks/carnival rides.
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Old 11-25-2019, 12:08 PM   #5
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I have visited the beaches on both coast, and in the gulf.

The west coast is beautiful, but we want to play on the sand, and much of it is covered with large rock. Same with the north east coast, BEAUTIFUL, but much of it isn't sandy (and it's cool).

We visit Cocoa beach frequently because it's not far from our kids. The waves are bigger (great if you want to surf) but the drop off is also steep, making it IMO dangerous for little ones. If you go that direction, do make plans to visit NASA, our grand has been able to attend summer camp there for several years, lots to do and see there!

Gulf Shores general area is the favorite for our family. We enjoy the white clean sand, seashells and there are enough fishing/shopping, or sailing excursions to keep everyone busy. Water is shallow for a good ways out, it's possible to float to sand bars and explore, waves are plentiful, but usually not overpowering.

It's also closer to us in Missouri than the other options, which is an added plus if you are driving.
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Old 11-28-2019, 01:13 PM   #6
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The Redneck Riviera for sure. From Gulf Shores Alabama to Panama City Florida.
I really like Navarre Beach Florida. Much more quiet than Pensacola to the West, or Destin to the East. But if you want the hustle and bustle it only a beautiful 15 minute drive along the coast to Pensacola, or a half hour trip to Destin.
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