Sunshine. Sand time. Both come hand-in-hand when you live by the sea, but neither is out of the question for the landlocked people of North Texas this summer.
Feel like getting beachy soon? Consider a few local places in D-FW. Hit up more than one and you've got yourself a bona fide "staycation."
On the west side of Fort Worth, Burger's Lake offers nice sandy banks to lay out on, and the water is clean and more pristine than you might expect. This freshwater lake is fed by a natural spring but decked out with a few fountains, slides, and a diving board. Admission is $15 for ages 7 and up, $5 for ages 6 and under and good for the entire day. burgerslake.com
Panther Island Pavilion
You won't find waves in D-FW, but you can make your own at Panther Island Pavilion. You might have known that Panther Island rents kayaks and canoes, but this waterfront hot spot has been offering stand-up paddleboard (SUP) rentals and lessons for a while now. You can also try SUP Yoga, a class offered by The Yoga Project of Fort Worth on select days. Check the website for details or walk down to the pavilion to ask in person. To get to the Pavilion, park at the bottom of Taylor St. If your GPS drops you at a large lot off of Purcey St., just park and follow the riverfront to your right until you see the pavilion. pantherislandpavilion.com
For seafood and sips:
Islamorada Fish Company
You can go fishing at plenty of lakes in the metroplex, but for a taste of the Florida Keys you should try Islamorada Fish Company on Lake Ray Hubbard. The concept comes to us from Bass Pro Shops -- which you do walk through to get to the restaurant. A 1940s marina snack shop in a Keys fishing village inspired the concept, but the lofty ceilings and larger-than-life décor give the restaurant a sense of laid-back, low-key indulgence. With a full bar and a full menu of seafood entrees, like Mediterranean shrimp pasta and cajun catfish, you'll be seeing Bass Pro Shops in a new light.
5001 Bass Pro Dr. Garland. restaurants.basspro.com/FishCompany/Garland.com
For serves or spikes:
Sandbar Cantina and Grill
If you're one of those athletically gifted types who can spike hard or deliver a consistently good serve, you need to see Sandbar. For the rest of us who shied away from volleyball play, there is a bar brimming with good cocktails. The Cantina and Grill offers a variety of entrees, like buffalo chicken sandwiches and baja fish tacos, to be ordered and enjoyed on an outdoor deck with a sweeping view of the Dallas skyline at sunset if you time your dining correctly. The view comes to you from the heart of Deep Ellum, believe it or not, which surprises some but has regulars referring to Sandbar as their spot in "Beach Ellum."
317 South 2nd Ave., Dallas. sandbarcantina.com