If you hate boardwalks, concessions, and noise . . . if you check tide tables and choose your beach time for the best low-tide boogie boarding and sandbar access . . . if you love dolphins, pelicans, coquinas, moon shells, skate and whelk egg cases . . . if you've got a kite (or if not, grab one from the Kite Koop on Main Street) . . . if you fancy the occasional ranger-guided nature talk/walk . . . if you've got a good book (or if not, hit Sundial Books on Main Street on your way): THIS IS THE PLACE. We're not supposed to build on barrier islands, and who knows how long direct beach access will last. If/when they start bussing folks over, that'll be it for us, with regret. But I've been frolicking here for 44 years and each year I am more in love with the place. Leave your drugs at home--there's a drug-sniffing dog, and while ranger Jim is delightful, that dog is fierce. Wish they'd provide receptacles for cigarettes, since smokers don't seem to know how to stash their own trash. When the winds are west, biting flies can be painful, so either stay in the water or stay home. Mornings are best and least crowded. Last week I was treading water out over the sandbar while a dolphin pod played and butted and tussled all of 15 yards away. Then one jumped totally out of the water and landed with a splat on its back. My moment of the year! The guarded beach can get crowded, but since you can't use flotation devices or swim out to the bar there, we go elsewhere. Take a long walk northward--only 30 miles or so to Ocean City, all of it National Seashore and undeveloped. Lovely.
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