Look beyond your familiar setting when you take your vacation this summer.

It is nearly time for you to take your annual excursion to the beach. Perhaps you plan to rent a home for a week or to score a hotel room overlooking the sea. Some folk manage to find camping close to the water, allowing them to fish and swim near their stay. This summer, make it a memorable one by adding on a few special side outings to enhance your stay.

1. Lighthouse Climb

You have wanted to climb Old Barney since you first visited New Jersey’s Long Beach Island, but you have yet to do so. New Jersey is home to 11 public-accessible lighthouses and Barnegat Lighthouse is one of the most famous of them all. While there, you can take in the Barnegat Lighthouse Museum where the lighthouse’s original fresnel lens is stored.

Lighthouses can be found up and down America’s Pacific and Atlantic coasts, along the Gulf coast and around the Great Lakes. The oldest actively working lighthouse is the Sandy Hook Lighthouse in Gateway National Park in NJ. Active lighthouses can also be found in Erie, Pennsylvania, in Buffalo, New York, Yaquina Head in Oregon, and the Gasparilla Island Lights in Boca Grande, Florida.

2. Deep-Sea Fishing

You have done fly fishing, pier fishing and have even taken a boat out about a mile from the shoreline. Even just off shore the water was still fairly shallow and the fish population not as diverse as you had wanted. That is where deep-sea fishing comes in.

Deep-sea fishing will take you much further out even so far that land is not visible in any direction. To qualify as deep-sea fishing, the water must be at least 30 meters deep. Charter operators typically take people out early in the morning, find several spots to fish while at sea and return in the late afternoon. Pursue this fishing option if you have wanted big game fish such as marlin, swordfish, shark and tuna. If you are prone to motion sickness there are medications that can help, but likely won’t completely alleviate your symptoms.

3. Historical Hunt

Your favorite beach location didn’t suddenly appear one day now, did it? Likely, there is much history to where you are staying, but unless you’re familiar with the many museums, historical homes and local artifacts, that information may be unknown to you.

Make a point to learn much more about where you are staying. For instance, if your favorite haunt is Emerald Isle in North Carolina, you can find out about its pirate history. Nearby Beaufort is home to the North Carolina Maritime Museum, featuring natural and interpretive history. It also includes artifacts from Queen Anne’s Revenge, the pirate ship operated by Blackbeard himself.

4. Trail Navigating

Within just miles of America’s coast line are thousands of miles of trails, parks, and grounds that are tied in with the shore itself. Most occasional visitors miss these sites and, therefore, only get a small glimpse of the beauties found nearby.

Trails abound in the southwest corner of Washington state with approximately one dozen state parks in that area. Cape Disappointment State Park features two lighthouses, campgrounds, and trails including a 3.6-mile roundtrip trail that goes from MacKenzie Head to the North Head Lighthouse before winding back. Find lots of rocks and caves under the lighthouse itself.

Summer Fun

Of course, bring with you a camera to take in the many sites and sounds you will be finding. Go it alone, bring a friend or your spouse, and fun adventures that the entire family will enjoy.

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