By Roshan Perera
With the heat rising and the solstice marking the longest day of the year on June 20, there is no doubt that summer is here. And the most quintessential SoCal summertime activity has to be going to the beach.
What better way to wrap up Great Outdoors Month and welcome in summer, than by heading down to the beach? Whether you take a nice stroll on the pier, bike down the boardwalk, stretch out on the sand, or bask by a bonfire, summertime is when we live it up in proper Southern California fashion.
Our last monthly feature for the month of June will breakdown some of the great outdoor activities that can be enjoyed not only this month, but all throughout summer, and the rest of the year too.
As part of part of Great Outdoors Month, this weekend’s special events include the Great American Campout and Get Into Your Sanctuary Days.
The National Wildlife Federation sponsors the Great American Campout on June 25 and encourages everyone to get outside and camp. Whether in your backyard, a local state or national park, in a tent, or in an RV, they encourage everyone to get outside this summer and connect with nature.
Besides enjoying a natural treasure, being in the wilderness and nature has several health benefits for the mind, body, and spirit. For the last two decades, studies by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research have shown that the average amount of time children spend outside has fallen to only 30 minutes a day.
Instead they spend up to seven hours every day looking at an electronic screen, according to researchers from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. And it is fair to extrapolate that children are not the only ones who spend most of their time staring at an electronic screen.
Most adults are also guilty of spending too much time staring at a screen, as well. By getting outdoors, our stress levels drop, as do our levels of anxiety.
There are numerous studies done by groups all across the nation that demonstrate the positive impact that being outdoors and enjoying unstructured time in the outdoor wilderness has on both children and adults.
The other special event that occurs this weekend is Get Into Your Sanctuary Days. This event is unique, in that not everybody in the nation can participate without travelling a great distance.
The Sanctuaries that are part of this event include National Marine Sanctuaries that line parts of the east and west coasts. Channel Islands, Cordell Bank, Greater Farallones, Monterey Bay, and Olympic Coast make up the west coast marine sanctuaries. The closest sanctuary we have access to here in LA, is located in the Channel Islands, a string of eight islands off the coast of California. Of the eight islands, the five most northern ones have been completely set aside as a National Park and Marine Sanctuary.
Access to these islands is limited to concessionaires who ferry people to the islands for day hiking and camping, in addition to whale-watching and sea-bird-spotting cruises around the islands. More information on how to access this spectacular park, visit: http://islandpackers.com.
If you are interested in a more local trip, then Santa Monica should be your destination. With the opening of the new Metro Gold Line Station through to Azusa, as well as the Blue Line expansion to downtown Santa Monica, accessing the beach this summer is going to be easy for everyone.
From the downtown station, it is a short walk to Palisades Park or out to the Santa Monica Pier. If you would like to try your hand at beach camping, head down to Bolsa Chica State Beach. They have family campsites and fire rings as well as RV hookup sites. For more information and directions go to hwww.parks.ca.gov and search for Bolsa Chica.
This summer promises to be another record breaker and the beach is a great way to beat the heat and get outside as well.