Depending on which shores you love best, you could define the ultimate Southern beach as wide, flat, and hard enough to bike on, or rolling, tumbling, and soft as sugar; cinnamon or gleaming-white sands; big waves or flat water in shades of turquoise, emerald, blue-grey, and what might best be described as “strong tea.”
We asked our Facebook friends to tell us what defines a true Southern beach experience—bet you could add to the list. Ready? Here we go.
You know you’re on a Southern beach when . . .
1. Your beach umbrella, beach totes, and your toddler’s bathing suit bottoms are all monogrammed.
2. Snowbirds do not have feathers—but they do flock to early bird specials.
3. Beach tents are SEC-themed, bearing the logos and mascots of the Crimson Tide, Tigers, Dawgs, Vols, Gators . . .
4. You just got invited to a mullet toss.
5. Couples spontaneously shag dance whenever “Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch” comes on the radio.
6. Someone opens a cooler for lunch, and the bologna sandwiches come out. Or maybe it’s homemade pimiento cheese. Who wants a Mountain Dew and some cheese puffs?
7. Jimmy Buffett tunes are EVERYWHERE.
8. We’d sooner miss a Nashville marathon than a sunset.
9. Hey, let’s go buy airbrushed T-shirts from Alvin’s Island!
10. We can’t bring ourselves to go inside, so we walk the beach after it’s too dark to spot the jellyfish—and that’s unfortunate.
11. “Daddy, can you blow up my float?”
12. We always run into a bunch of people we know because everybody from our hometown likes the same beach that we do.
13. Hitting the beach means locking down those hubs. (We’re talking to you, Outer Banks.)
14. You see a guy wearing a NASCAR swimsuit, with a brew in one hand and a boogie board in the other, running toward the water and shouting to his friends, “Hey, y’all—watch this!!”
15. Beach attire runs the gamut from the bikini-and-tee crowd to Southern girls in designer swimsuits, full makeup, and serious coifs.
16. The aroma of shrimp, oysters, and gumbo can actually overpower the Hawaiian Tropic.
17. You passed boiled peanut stands on the way down.
18. From your beach-chair view, you realize that the water is the perfect color for that bathroom redo you’re planning back home.
19. Surfers interpret hurricane evacuation orders as, “Let’s catch some waves before the water calms down.”
20. You remember the Miracle Strip Amusement Park.
21. You know where to find a water tower shaped like a beach ball.
22. You never saw a lighthouse you couldn’t climb.
23. Women save their “nice flip flops” for dinner.
24. A guy with a parrot on his shoulder just walked up to you and asked, “Are you Conch?”
25. You know you can set up your beach gear early in the morning, go for a long walk, head to the Donut Hole (or Henry’s or the Funky Pelican) for breakfast, return to the beach, spend the day in the water, clean up, go to dinner, come back to the beach—and all your stuff will still be there. Because Southerners respect the sanctity of the beach chair.
Want to know how truly Southern you are? Well, then “Hey, y’all—watch this!”