Beaches vs. Mountains
With whom are you traveling?
Another problem with choosing between a beach or mountain vacation is choosing a location that will please everyone in your group. When traveling alone, or as a couple, the decision is much simpler. But when traveling as a group (whether as an extended family, church outing, co-worker retreat, or friends weekend) it is important to choose a location that will suit everyone's tastes.
Research has shown that older adults and seniors overwhelmingly prefer to vacation at the beach (which would account for the snowbird phenomenon). While younger generations have registered a pretty even split between relaxing on the sandy dunes in the sunshine or enjoying fresh air hiking on mountain trails. Since younger people have also expressed a love of the beach, when traveling with a mixed age group (such as with extended family) the beach definitely wins out.
Parents that have traveled with young children know that choosing a location that offers safety and fun for little ones can be a challenge. Most mountainous locales offer easier hiking trails that cater to slower paced walkers and children can also enjoy the beauty of nature and the opportunity to see a plethora of wildlife that is only available in the mountains. Not to mention that the mountains offer a unique experience that is one of children's favorite activities: camping. Although there is danger present in the mountains - such as dangerous trails, campfires, and unwanted wildlife encounters (lions, tigers and bears - oh my!) - some beforehand research can ensure that parents choose a location that is family friendly. A trip to the beach also has dangers such as rip tides and sun exposure that can be a worry for parents of small children. Although fortunately these threats can be easily avoided by a high SPF sunscreen and a watchful eye. The beach also offers wonderful activities for children such as building sandcastles and collecting sea shells. So for parents of young children needing to make a choice, the main points to consider are the children's temperaments and ability levels. But for another type of parent, the dog parent, the choice is an easy one to make. If you want to include man's best friend on the family vacation, the mountains are the obvious choice. Dogs are usually allowed on hiking trails and rarely allowed at the beach.
For young adults, both locations can be enjoyable. In the mountains, healthy people can enjoy difficult hiking or climbing and physically demanding winter activities such as skiing and snowboarding. Renting a house or tent camping in the solitude of a mountainous terrain can be a bonding experience for a couple or a group of friends. If the group is more focused on socializing or enjoying a night out on the town (which would be of more interest to groups such as gals on a "girls weekend" or bros celebrating a bachelor party), then the beach offers a wider range of opportunities. Touristy beach towns offer a plethora of restaurants, bars, and social events that are not available in the mountains. After going home from a beach vacation, young people will return with fun stories, cherished memories and an envious tan (or a sunburn if they aren't careful with the sunscreen!).