Amusing Monday: Virtual trips to the beachJuly 30th, 2012 by cdunagan
Only a few us have traveled to London to see the Olympics, and I am not among them. But we can still enjoy our favorite sports by way of television and some incredible technology. In the same way, we can take a virtual tour of London with Google’s Street View.
I know it’s not the same thing, but I remain fascinated by the imaginary sight-seeing trips anyone can take by computer to many places throughout the world.
In a moment, I’ll tell you about a virtual trip you can take to the Washington and Oregon coasts along with some great scenic tours of Hawaii.
First, a website called “British Beaches” will transport you to the vicinity of nearly any beach you want to see in Great Britain. There are so many beaches on the list that I didn’t even try to count them all. Some of the Street View locations are closer than others.
The Street View image on this page shows police officers taking a break at a beach in Moughna, County Claire, Ireland. View larger map
To travel by Street View, first click on the site “British Beaches,” then choose an area: Channel Islands, England, Ireland, Isle of Man, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales. After picking a county or region, you can choose a beach. Or you can do what I do: just randomly jump around.
Once you click on the name of a beach, you’ll get basic information about the beach — including environmental features, activities and transportation. But the fun part is exploring by clicking on “Google Map/Street View.” From the map, choose a location, drag the little man over to any spot in blue and then drop him into place. Suddenly, you are there.
If you are not familiar with Street View, you need to know that you can turn in any direction by using the little wheel in the corner. You can virtually “drive” down the roads shown in blue as you look for something interesting. To get back to the map, click the “X” in the upper right corner.
Google, which celebrated five years of Street View in May, has set up a series of slide shows with Street View showing different places in the world. Check out “Scenic Hawaii,” which includes many wonderful beaches.
Street View also has taken pictures of many communities along the Washington and Oregon coasts. But if you want to be there NOW in real time, check out the website by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which shows you live pictures of several beaches along with the local weather forecast. It’s a great way to get an idea of what you might run into before you go — though we all know the weather can change rapidly.