Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Today I’m going to talk to you about a beach community that I love: Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, USA.

My husband and his family have been visiting this beach for decades; so, naturally, it’s one that I have frequented myself over the past few years. It’s a wonderful beach community that is a popular tourist location without being super built up. There aren’t dozens of mini-golf places and hotels to clog up the beach front. In fact, you can walk to the beach from almost anywhere within the town proper.

All of the more common tourist attractions like chain restaurants, outlet malls, mini-golf, and amusement parks are built away from the town, to help keep the beach area less cluttered. The local businesses and family restaurants are located within the town. I really enjoy this set up because you can easily pick a place to stay within the town, rent a house or condo or a hotel room, and you don’t have to use your car for the entire visit. You can walk anywhere within the town, which has 99% of what you may need during your visit.

Now that I’m done advertising the town, let me talk about the beach!

Rehoboth Beach is a strip of sand that stretches for about a mile, its waters coming from the Atlantic Ocean. Spanning the backside of the beach, toward the town, are fenced-off areas called dunes. A dune is a stretch of land where sand or sediment accumulates and is held in place by vegetation, like dune grass. Not every beach has dunes, and they can be delicate habitats that are important to various species. The dunes on Rehoboth Beach are fenced off to keep people from disturbing them.

There’s nothing particularly unique about the beach itself. The beach isn’t full of broken species of coral or tiny sea shells that have replaced the sand. It’s not a special breeding ground for any particular species. In fact, Delaware Bay gets a lot of horseshoe crabs during May and June for massive breeding parties, but Rehoboth Beach isn’t part of that action.

However, it’s still a great beach to visit with a wonderful community attached to it. It’s a very clean beach, and the locals are trying to keep it safe for native species and visitors alike.

I really enjoy this beach because of all the cool critters that I have found here. This beach has semi-diurnal tides, meaning that it has two equal high tides and two equal low tides every lunar day, or 24 hours and 50 minutes. After high tide, I enjoy going onto the beach to see what the water has washed up.

I’ve seen blue swimmer crabs trying to make it back to the water. I’ve seen deflated jellyfish that died after it had been beached. I’ve found broken pieces of horseshoe crabs and entire whelk egg cases, which look like alien spinal cords. And I’ve found sea glass on occasion, not to mention the countless number of shells that were mostly intact.

Rehoboth Beach may not be a place to put on your bucket list, but it’s a cool place to visit at least once. If you go, I recommend walking along the beach just after high tide—that’s the best time to see what the waves have left behind! Just please be careful as you walk the beach; some of the critters may still be alive.


Chesapeake Bay, United States

So far, I have talked about places that I want to see for myself in the future, and I’ve yet to talk about anything that is a bit closer to home for me. It’s not that I don’t like the places closer to home, but I think sometimes I forget that what is normal for me may considered extraordinary to other people. Today, we will be talking about the Chesapeake Bay, which plays a role in my life every day.

The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States and is the third largest in the world. A quick-and-dirty definition of an estuary is it’s an aquatic area in which rivers meet the sea, where freshwater and saltwater mix.

Now, the Chesapeake Bay is fed by over 150 rivers and streams, but its main source comes from the Susquehanna River. The total area of the bay is about 3200 square miles. For those that need help visualizing how big the bay is, it’s about three times as large as Rhode Island, and it is also bigger than the state of Delaware—that’s a lot of area! And it’s not just water; this even covers all the various salt marshes and sub-estuaries around it as well.

Surrounding the bay are coastlines that belong to both Maryland and Eastern Virginia, but the watershed that it belongs to includes four other states! Even though the productivity of the bay has decreased drastically over the years, it still provides more fish and shellfish than any other estuary in the United States and provides over 500 million pounds of seafood a year, so if you like eating oysters or crabs, they probably came from the Chesapeake Bay.

The bay is very important because it supports more than 3600 plant and animal species; it also supports more than 17 million people who live, work, and play in and around the bay. If you’ve never visited the area, I highly recommend spending time somewhere along the bay. There are many beautiful camp grounds you can stay at. There are boating and fishing opportunities, and all sorts of trails and parks around the bay that will give you a beautiful scenic, and informative look at the life of an estuary and its salt marshes.

There are even places where you can sign up to help clean up the trash and pollution from surrounding areas that get washed up. It’ll definitely take more than a single trip to see even half of what there is to offer, but visiting the Chesapeake Bay will be totally worth it in the end—especially if you have great weather to experience it in!

The Chesapeake Bay is very important to me because I have always been one of those 17 million people that it has helped to support. I have been to camp grounds around the bay and have sailed it a few times. It is a beautiful place to lose and find yourself, and I believe it is an environment worth saving and preserving for many generations to come!

So, please, if you have the time, come and see this place for yourself; it truly is a national treasure! And who knows, you may see dolphins or a humpback whale or two.

Sources and cool links:
Ocean: The Definitive Visual Guide made by the American Museum of Natural History

Georgia Aquarium

Today I want to tell you about one of the aquariums I’ve visited. When I was in college, my scuba club, the shark club, and the sea turtle club pooled money and sent a bunch of us to the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Georgia. Yesterday, I mentioned that aquarium while discussing whale sharks and I thought I’d take the time to talk about it some more.

I always love talking to people about aquariums. Aquariums provide a lot of information about species and environments that most of their visitors may never learn in school—often in creatively entertaining ways—and it’s how a lot of people begin to get interested in the ocean.

I highly recommend the Georgia Aquarium if you are looking for something fun to do while in Atlanta. It’s situated amid a variety of restaurants and other museums if you don’t want to spend the whole day in the aquarium—it’s okay, I won’t hold it against you! But I do implore that you spend a decent amount of time there because of all the wonderful animals you can see!

There’s the large tank with the whale sharks and manta rays, including some steps to sit on if you want to lose yourself while watching them. They have beluga whales that were fairly active when I saw them. They also have live coral in some of their exhibits that the aquarium staff grew themselves; they have their own coral growth program that they fund. During my last visit, they were still setting up a sea lion exhibit, which I believe is operational now.

The Georgia Aquarium offers backstage tours where you can learn about the programs that go on behind the scenes and how the aquarium operates. The best sleepover ever is their Sleeping with the Sharks program where they give educational tours and then allow you to sleep under or next to the various shark tanks. Best part: you can pay to snorkel or scuba dive with the whale sharks and manta rays, which I regret missing out on. Note to self: BRING ENOUGH MONEY NEXT TIME!! They also offer a lot of educational programs for kids and adults, so if you want to plan a school event they can totally do it!

The Georgia Aquarium is a great place to go no matter your age, especially when it comes to sleeping with the sharks. Let me tell you, we squealed like five-year-olds when we were told we got to sleep in the room with the whale sharks. This aquarium has diverse exhibits full of creatures that you may not have seen elsewhere. I saw my only flamboyant cuttlefish there which led to a fantastic conversation with a little boy and his sister—and their dad was so relieved that someone could actually answer their questions.

Again, I highly recommend adding this aquarium to your list of places to visit, and please do find the time to make a day of it! They also offer volunteer opportunities that allow you to help out with conservation efforts around the Atlanta area.