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Mini golf, outlet shopping and shell collecting: Insider tips for maximizing your beach trip

The beach is more than swimming and basking in the sun. There are plenty of other activities to pass your day at the water or on your way to it.

We’ve talked to a number of experts for tips on how to maximize these activities to make the most of your beach-going experience.

Mini golf

With more than a half-century in business, four locations and six courses (two indoor), Old Pro Golf in Ocean City is as much a part of the beach experience as walking along the boardwalk.

Aside from its nostalgic nature, the sport provides entertainment, family camaraderie, a hint of competitiveness and a bit of exercise. It’s the perfect activity, according to Larry Shockley, general manager for the company.

Shockley recommends to never go first.

“I’ll let someone go ahead of me and see what they do,” he said.

Study the course before playing.

“Look at the angles and the concrete barriers,” he said. “Check the carpet out.”

Knowing whether the course is newer or older is also important.

“If it’s newer carpet you have to hit a little harder. It’s not been worn down; the weather hasn’t gotten it yet. If it’s older don’t hit it quite as hard. If you don’t, it will fly like it’s on concrete. I’d rather be a little short of the hole than overshoot it.”

Outlet shopping

There’s Queenstown Premium Outlets on the way to Ocean City. Atlantic City also has great outlet options. (And it’s tax-free there.) And what would Rehoboth be without a trip to Tanger Outlets?

Baltimore-based fashion expert Zoey Washington advises to start early when searching for bargains.

“Don't wait until midday or early afternoon to start your hunt. Go early and save big,” said Washington, who is a celebrity stylist as well as the senior fashion and beauty editor for the San Francisco-based lifestyles and fashion company Brit + Co.

Avoid items that have been altered or are damaged.

“It may seem like an easy fix, but mending tears that aren't on the seam or getting out a discoloration can actually be costly measures,” Washington said. “By time you invest in a dry cleaner or proper tailoring, you will be spending just as much as if you had purchased the item at full retail price.”

Washington advises that you take pictures of your items.

“Don't be afraid to take pics, put the items on hold and then come back later in the day,” she said. “There is nothing worse than blowing your budget too early in the day.”

Washington also advises to shop from the back of the store — which typically houses better deals — and work your way to the front. She also said to avoid overly trendy purchases.

Collecting shells

Author Anna Marlis Burgard estimates that she has been collecting shells and other items on the beach as long as she could walk.

“It’s just a natural activity,” said the Carroll County native. “It calms things. You are walking along and talking and you stop to see something pretty. It’s just fun.”

Her book, “The Beachcomber's Companion: An Illustrated Guide to Collecting and Identifying Beach Treasures,” shares some of her experiences and finds from her years living in the Mid-Atlantic.

“It’s a little bit like treasure hunting,” she said. “It’s fun to imagine life infer the sea based on what we find on the beach.”

While she has amassed plenty of items in her beach travels—she’s a fan of finding odd things like Barbie dolls and flasks with rum still in them—she’s particularly fond of shells.

She recommends bringing a lingerie bag to collect the bigger shells.

“You can rinse them all at once,” she explained.

She also recommends bringing a nail brush to help wash off the shells as well as a Tupperware container for the more fragile shells.

“It’s a lovely visual,” she said. “They feel nice. It’s a nice memory from your trip.”

john-john.williams@baltsun.com

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