You reach Roque Bluffs and get just a glimpse of a tantalizing view from the road.
If you park in the main lots of the state park, then you can reach the beach through these tidy paths between the wild roses that blanket the hill beside the beach, providing a heady fragrance mixed with the salt air that you just won't smell anywhere else.
And then you hit the beach, my favorite beach.
When the tide is out, the beach is huge, stretching in a beautiful curve. And when the tide is out far enough, there are sand bars that let you walk seemingly immense distances out into the water, even though it is still less than knee-deep.
So why is this my favorite beach? Well, I spent many a summer day here when I was a kid. My grandparents, who lived just a few miles away from here, would bring us kids and we would spend the day racing about and searching for whatever washed up on the shore.
One of my fondest memories is of my grandfather, strolling along the beach, looking for rocks. A picture of him doing just that hangs on the wall in my grandmother's house.
Some good-sized waves can come rolling in at Roque Bluffs and the water is generally pretty cool.
Even on a Saturday afternoon when I was here in July, there weren't many folks on the beach. Quite a few were in the parking/picnic area across the road, which has a freshwater pond next to it, but the beach was relatively empty.
There are days when you can arrive and not a soul will be about. Except for a few gulls lounging about.
And then you can sit down and contemplate the world from the Bluffs.
Click here for a Google map. The honor system is in place for paying the state park visitor fee of $3 for adults. There are picnic tables and such, along with changing rooms. As for restrooms, I haven't looked for one in years since I usually come here straight from my grandmother's so I don't know if there are any. If there are, they would be near or with the changing rooms in the parking area.