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Beaches in the Off Season

K.C. Summers

I had to go to Ocean City, Md., for a couple of days on business this week. (Check out their webcam). It was bitterly cold, windy, hardly anything was open ... and I loved it. What is it about a beach town in the off season that's so appealing?

Well, no lines anywhere, for starters. My friend and I were able to waltz into several restaurants and bars where, on an average day in summer, the lines are generally out the door and then some. Service was impeccable: At the Galaxy Grill and Liquid Assets restaurants on the Coastal Highway, the waiters had all the time in the world to walk us through the menus. Even the usually raucous Seacrets nightclub had a sweet, sleepy vibe (and all those dead palm trees didn't detract too much).

But aside from better service, there's just something wonderfully evocative about walking down lonely, deserted streets that are usually bursting with humanity, and stumbling onto a clean, well-lighted place, and being greeted with an actual smile. And on those cold, cold mornings, the flocks of snow geese overhead and the sun glinting off the bay are just as beautiful. I'll be back in summer... but it won't be quite as special.

So what are your nominations for Best Beach Town in the Off Season? I may just make a habit of this, so share some of your own favorite places.

By K.C. Summers |  February 1, 2007; 9:48 AM ET  | Category:  K.C. Summers , Mid-Atlantic Destinations , Winter Activities
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Rehoboth Beach!

With the new downtown and the quaint atmosphere you can not beat Rehoboth - Summer or Winter. There is a reason the locals love the "second season."

Posted by: RIch | February 1, 2007 10:21 AM

I worked one winter near Atlantic City, and lived in a high rise condo in Ocean City, N.J. Loved it. Positively dead area, no booze, no stores, no nothing. Jogged on the boardwalk since the snow blows away quickly there. Condo was empty. Short drive to Somers Point for action. Best winter ever.

Posted by: Robert D. | February 1, 2007 10:33 AM

Provincetown, MA without question. No throngs of tourists, no people gawkers, just a beautiful setting with nature trails and empty beaches for walking. And great restaurants to boot. Not to mention that the nightlife is so colorful, it borders on florescent day-glo.

Posted by: Mikey T | February 1, 2007 10:44 AM

Rialto Beach in Olympic National Park, WA, is hauntingly beautiful in the winter. Contrary to widespread belief, the sun shines quite a bit during January and February; the quality of the light, especially during the morning and late afternoon, is indescribable. You can hike for miles in a sweater alone with the seastacks, surf, and eagles.

Posted by: mike's kid | February 1, 2007 11:10 AM

Was in O.C. this weekend. Very nice though a little rainy. Nice price on oceanfront, ocean view efficiency room on boardwalk.

Went to Avon, NC over Christmas holidays. Very nice and very cheap! Hot tub on the deck was great! The fish companies re-opened just for that week so fresh seafood was available. and No crowds!

Posted by: cyntia | February 1, 2007 11:26 AM

Grand Haven Michigan. The piers are beutiful during the winter when the ice builds up on them from waves crashing into them. No traffice and lots of great conversation at the local restaurants and bars.

Posted by: GW | February 1, 2007 11:33 AM

I was lucky enough to have gone to Ocean City, MD over the MLK Holiday weekend in January, and it was around 60-65 degrees there. You can't really beat walking along the beach in January with that kind of weather. There were also no crowds anywhere, and the room rates were jaw-droppingly low. I couldn't of really asked for anything more from a long weekend away from DC.

Posted by: Courtesy Flush | February 1, 2007 11:41 AM

For the past two New Year's, I've gone to Dewey Beach with a large group. During the day it's gorgeous and peaceful and while at night there are several bars open just for that weekend, it's nowhere near the mob scene Dewey normally is during the summer. I just love it.

Posted by: Dewey Girl | February 1, 2007 1:21 PM

My husband and I rented an oceanfront suite in Myrtle Beach for a week -- cost us $49 a night for a full kitchen, jacuzzi, separate bedroom and a balcony overlooking the beach. The weather didn't matter. We sat on the balcony to read, do puzzles, have our wine, and to listen to the surf and seagulls. We walked a nearly deserted beach. We had free hot breakfasts that included bacon and grits in the resort's cafe. We spent an afternoon in the jacuzzi. We played rummy and word games at night. We ate in. It was exceedingly cheap, very relaxing and totally rejuvenating. We'll make it a winter habit!

Posted by: Sharon | February 1, 2007 3:39 PM

Rehoboth Beach between Christmas and St. Patrick's Day; I was just there with friends last weekend and when we went into the Dogfish Head brewpub for pizza the guy we talked with behind the bar turned out to be the brewer, who gave us an advance taste of a new DFH beer that's coming out later this year. Talk about feeling like an insider!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 3:08 PM

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