People and the Coast

People on a Beach


For much of the nation's history, there was little time or means for people to vacation. By the late 19th and early 20th centuries, however, residents of crowded cities began seeking places to relax, swim, and sunbathe. The sun-drenched beaches of barrier islands on the East Coast provided these recreational opportunities, and soon recreation became a common activity on coastal barriers.

Fenwick Island, the site of Ocean City, Maryland, was developed specifically to be such a vacation destination. Today, recreation remains the most important socioeconomic activity at Ocean City. The town hosts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year who come for the sunbathing and swimming opportunities, and the entire beachfront contains accommodations for tourists.

Recreation is the lifeblood of many areas along the Atlantic coast and elsewhere. It has resulted in many changes to the landscape and efforts to maintain beaches.


Reviewed 27 Sep 2016

Ocean City Maryland

Ocean City, Maryland
Source: National Scenic Byways Program

At the Beach

Changes in the 20th century such as the spread of automobiles and increased leisure time led to the popularity of beach recreation. With beaches being more heavily used and developed, erosion became a problem. The Corps utilizes engineering methods to maintain recreational beaches.