Posted on 9/9/2008
Great American Beach Towns
Enough with your fancy remote beaches. The Maldives? St. Tropez? With the economy what it is, we'll be lucky to get to the next state on a $73 tank of gas. We want close. We want old-fashioned. We want a town where we can park the car, drag a beach chair and a book to the sand, and then shuffle down the boardwalk in our flip-flops for fried clams and an icy-cold can of beer: a place with fireworks, friendly locals, and sticky scoop shops. So we dug up 11 great American seaside escapes, from classic fun-in-the-sun California to New England colonial charm. Because when it comes to precious summer weekends in the sun, there's no place like home.No. 2 Beach - Mexico BeachSand: Three miles of confectioners'-sugar sands, you'll see bald eagles, sea turtles, dolphins -- and only a few footprints.Things To See: The 1,200 residents focus is on small-town fun, with gumbo cook-offs, kingfish tournaments, and fireworks fundraisers. You can kill two beach birds with one stone at the souvenirs-and-seafood shop Shell Shack. If you want to get off the beach, take a scuba dive through a sunken oil tanker just offshore.Place To Stay: The Driftwood Inn's rooms have four-poster beds. The back deck has DIY barbecue grills.