Beach vs. Mountain: Which Side are You On?

There’s no wrong way to vacation. As long as you’re having fun and relax, it’s time well spent. But if you were faced with two polar opposite destinations, how would you decide where to go?

A common vacation conundrum: the beach or the mountains. Both have their perks, but depending on the type of traveler you are, one can offer more than the other. So our writers made their case for their favorites:

Team Beach

by Victoria Hoffman

I grew up less than 40 minutes from the southern shoreline in New Jersey yet my parents never took me there. We never packed a picnic and headed “down the shore” or spent a day shopping along the boardwalk. That’s because my parents, natives of the Midwest, simply weren’t “beach people.” In fact, they pretty much hated the notion of spending the day in the sun and sand.

But I always felt a longing to be near the water. Early career aspirations included oceanographer and mermaid. So as soon as I got my learner’s permit, I recruited several friends and illicitly sped off to the beach. As soon as the slightly fishy, salty air and low roar of the surf hit my senses, I was deeply in love.

I find the ocean intoxicating. I love seeing the boat shops, seafood huts, ramshackle boardwalk shops, homes on stilts, and everything else that lets me know I’m nearing the beach. But it’s that smell, and that sound, that get me every time.

From age 17 on, I made going to the shore a regular part of my summer, and even sometimes fall and winter. Whether it was going to party with friends or going alone to walk the beach and work out some problem, the sand and surf will always be my favorite. Here are five reasons why.

Enjoying the sand and surf in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Enjoying the sand and surf in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

The most casual dress code ever.

I love being barefoot. I would like to be barefoot all the time. And when you meander off the beach in search of a burger or ice cream, you can throw on a tank top and cut offs and you’re in perfectly acceptable attire.

The seafood.

Most shore points have shack after shack where you can sit at a table laid with brown paper and enjoy piles of your favorite shellfish or seafood, from fried fish to unlimited crab legs. Much like the barefoot thing, I am a complete savage and prefer eating with my hands. I would abolish silverware forever if only it were acceptable.

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Bibbed and ready to eat a LOT of crab.

The awe.

I don’t know how you can look at the ocean and not feel incredibly small, yet energized by the pure power it holds. To me, it’s the most stunning and mysterious natural wonder on this earth.

The makeover.

This may be a girl thing, but there’s nothing I love more than the feel of sun-kissed skin and tangled hair only a day at the beach can give you. Now that I’m older, I dutifully wear my sunscreen, but I still love the wild feel I have after spending a day in the ocean breeze.

The lull.

Sleeping by the ocean has provided me some of the best night’s rests I’ve ever experienced. The crashing of the waves soothes so deeply, and waking up to the call of seagulls makes me feel like I’ve been completely cleansed and I’m getting a brand new start.

Global Discovery Vacations members have so many vacation options near the beach making a choice could be hard. From Atlantic City to Myrtle Beach, Daytona Beach to Huntington Beach, South Padre Island to Oahu, the Caribbean to Costa Rica… the list goes on and I’m jealous!

Team Mountain

by Corey Thibodeaux

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Taken from atop Torreys peak in Colorado. You have to earn views like this. – Corey T.

I found true serenity once. It was sitting on the side of the mountain.

I travel for peace, which, in many cases, equals pleasure. Peace exists in the whispers of trees, the mile-high breezes and an endless horizon. Void of all unsightly details, mountain views are the best ways to see Earth as it should be.

Any vacation would benefit from a hike in the mountains, whether you climb 1,000 feet or 10,000 feet. Mountains are awesome for countless reasons, but here are five:

The freedom.

I’ve never encountered a mountain with Wi-Fi and that’s fine by me. The mountain lives by its own rules, unaffected by political agendas, style, tabloids and all the weight bogging down our everyday lives. The only communication I need is with the people in my group (always bring a buddy) and with the birds. You are truly one with nature in these moments.

The accessibility.

Mountains are all over the place, except in Kansas, which is why I visit Colorado every summer. There is a finite amount of accessible shoreline around the country, but you can find ample areas to hike. At some resorts, you just have to step outside. Even the most well-known mountains have trails people don’t regularly explore, so there’s no reason to get stuck in a crowd.

The workout.

On top of the sightseeing, you get beastly calf muscles and a healthy heart. What a nice parting gift! The quickest way to get your heart rate up during traditional walking or running is to go uphill. You can burn a ton of calories hiking. I envy those lean Colorado natives.

The views are earned.

You have to cook to eat a good meal. You have to spend money to make money. The mountains are an investment, too: the higher the climb, the more rewarding the view. But even the smallest investments – a 15- or 30-minute walk – are more valuable than most experiences you can find otherwise. The challenges and rewards are the best part.

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You can make some really cool friends.

The revelation.

When you feel close enough to touch the stars, you start to comprehend how small you truly are in the universe. Some people might find that overwhelming, but I think it’s wonderful that we can be at once everything and nothing.

From Mount Hood in Oregon to the Great Smoky Mountains to the vast Rockies and beyond, there are quite a bit of alpine adventures to be had on your next trip with Global Discovery Vacations.

Which one are you? Team Beach, Team Mountain or some other team? Tell us your favorite destination for finding your inner happy place and why you love it so much.

Corey is a writer from Overland Park, KS, and has been with Global Discovery Vacations since September 2013. Once a sportswriter, he traveled the country and became proficient in airport security line etiquette and leaving items in hotel rooms.

15 thoughts on “Beach vs. Mountain: Which Side are You On?

    • I grew up in WVa and came to Merritt Island, Fl. At 17 yrs of age then I got the pleasure of seeing all the Space and Rocket go up from the Atlantic Ocean. To me this is heaven on the beach and having the breeze and waves on your face. I did not like the snow and highways in WVa. The fall leaves were great but other then that nothing else. I love the sound of the ocean water. Thank you. I take the Ocean any day. Dottie Brown

  1. Love the mountains. We have had a cabin in the family at north Lake Tahoe since 1947. Loved it so much we bought our own by the same builder.

  2. I may prefer the mountains but as a whole family it is both so. We try to alternate from beach to mountains and with Global Vacations you can do that if you plan ahead !

  3. I liked the Olympic peninsula in Washington state. It had both mountains and ocean at the same time. Global has several places near there. The scenery is incredible, hiking is ideal. Plan ahead and book early. it’s well worth a trip.

  4. I absolutely love them both! We live in Colorado and regularly recharge with hikes in the mountains–they’re glorious! And my husband and I thoroughly enjoy visiting other mountainous spots as well. On the other hand, I spent part of my youth in Hawaii, and I love to be by the ocean, so my recipe for the perfect vacation is “white sand, blue water, and a few palm trees.” It’s all good!

  5. Team mountain. Unless it’s February and we need to see the sun. But truly, Team Mountain.
    We have enjoyed the units in TN and NC and near Lake Tahoe. We REALLY enjoyed the Habitat 2000 units in Ketchum ID – what a fabulous town. We are a bit disappointed that GDV is now only offering a unit in Elkhorn – just a bit outside the town of Ketchum but you really feel more disconnected from this fabulous town then when staying in Ketchum at the Habitat 2000.

  6. While I love the beauty of the mountains in the autumn, I am definitely a beach person. Global Vacations has given us the opportunity to explore some of Florida’s locations (that were absolutely fantastic), and we look forward to expanding our horizons in the very near future with Global.

  7. I grew up near the Sierras, Loved it. Then lived in southern Calif. Loved the beaches as well. Both are great for their own reasons.

  8. The sound of the waves, salty breeze, ocean smells, bonfires. The laid back easiness of beachwear, shorts flip flops, tank tops. Barefoot baroness & sand between the toes Not to mention all the found sea treasures. The greatness of the ocean, makes all my troubles disappear. I’m a native Californian girl (at 59!)

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