Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

What is Your Favorite Beach

Posted September 12, 2005

What’s Your Favorite Beach?

Do you remember the smell of the ocean the first time you saw it? Do you recall the caress of the sea breeze across your face? And the thrill of being tossed around by the waves? I sure do. I was a third grader and the place was Long Beach south of Wilmington. Wow! That first eye-popping experience when you rise over a bridge and look out on this great expanse of water. What an unforgettable experience! I still get excited when I go to the coast. I made weekly trips to the coast for about ten straight years when I was working as WRAL’s environmental reporter. These journeys were more disturbing than thrilling since we were concentrating on pollution problems which still plague our state today. Yet, even while covering a “problem” story I was privileged to watch the Shackleford Bank ponies galloping at sunrise. And an early morning helicopter ride along the Outer Banks gave me a splendid view of our majestic lighthouses.

But back to the question at hand. And yes, I am trying to stir up a controversy here! I want you to disagree with me and try to persuade me why your favorite beach is better. I still think Long Beach is the best. Why? Because it hasn’t changed that much since I first saw it as a kid. Long Beach, which is part of what they now call Oak Island, is very laid-back and family oriented. It lacks the splashy condos, fast food restaurants and gaudy beach palaces of some of the other coastal communities. You can rent a home there for a decent price even though the costs have been soaring in recent years. I just feel at home on Long Beach. I remember the time in the fifth grade when I went out too far and got caught up in a rip tide. A kind soul on the beach jumped in and pulled me to safety. I remember card games on the porch with my cousins. Lemonade on the salty lawn. Laughter in the air. Great memories. A long time ago on Long Beach.

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Bill Leslie