America’s Love Affair with the Beach

Chances are, if I ask you to picture the word “vacation,” your thoughts are going to drift to the beach. It’s not because you’re unoriginal; for generations, Americans have been packing up their families for a leisurely stay in coastal regions near and far. It’s a truly iconic American vacation. Our love affair with the beach has influenced our migratory habits, our entertainment, and has even shaped our cultural identity.

Every year, there are 90,957,172 visitors to America’s beaches. The average American shells out over $1,000 in travel spending per year, and the average family of four spends $4,580. Collectively, that adds up to a bunch of money – and states on the West Coast lead the pack with an average annual spend of over $44 million, more than twice as much as East Coast states.

So just what is it about the beach that has us so transfixed? Our fascination with the coast goes way back; even in the first century, A.D. the wealthy and important were building summer homes on the Gulf of Naples in Italy. In more recent times, the construction of the first roller coaster in the United States on Coney Island established beaches as popular vacation destinations. The popularization of form-fitting swimwear in the 1920’s and the bikini in the 1940’s sent shockwaves through fashion and pop culture.

Some of our fascination has to do with proximity. Beachfront counties make up 10% of the total landmass of the United States, and 39% of the population lives in these counties. In fact, over the past 20 years, coastal states in particular have seen massive increases in population as people gravitate towards the shore.

Vacationing at the beach is part of living the American dream, and enjoying the beach comes with a number of benefits to your health. Even in December, there are many events you can enjoy at your local beach – and it’s the perfect time to start planning and booking your dream summer vacation for next year.

Check out our infographic about America’s love affair with the beach below, and don’t forget to share it with your friends and family!

change in population since 1993

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