It’s June, which means hordes of sun-starved Northerners will soon be making a beeline for the water. But following a less-than-stellar spring, which is the optimal choice for reveling in the summer heat? The local pool? Or the local beach?
PREVALENCE IN MASSACHUSETTS
Pools: 46 public pools throughout the state
Beaches: 60 public saltwater ocean beaches and freshwater inland beaches
WORST THING YOU MIGHT INGEST
Pools: A little urine, which never hurt anybody
Beaches: A little dirty saltwater, which never hurt anybody
BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW . . .
Pools: Before entering one of the state’s public pools, visitors are required to take a “cleansing shower.”
Beaches: Between Labor Day and Memorial Day, the state Department of Conservation and Recreation doesn’t conduct regular water quality tests.
THE NATIONAL INTEREST
Pools: Since the country’s first public pool — the Cabot Street Bath — opened in Boston in 1868, proponents of the swimming pool have raved about its health and social benefits.
Beaches: By one estimate, US beaches add more than $320 billion annually to the economy — more than 25 times the contribution of national parks.
DANGEROUS NATIVE WILDLIFE
Pools: Small children with floaties and Kool-Aid mustaches, hopped up on Hoodsie Cups and gummy bears, tearing around the pool deck like little windup toys
Beaches: Sharks, duh. Between June and October 2016, researchers identified 147 great whites loitering around the coast of Cape Cod.
Pools: Snack bar: chips, maybe a burger, no glass bottles on the pool deck
Beaches: Beachfront bar: shrimp cocktail, salted nuts, umbrella overhead and
in your drink
Pools: The smell of chlorine you’ll spend the next two days trying to rinse from your hair
Beaches: The grains of sand you’ll spend the next two weeks trying to extract from your shoes, bag, clothes, house, car, and person
Pools: “You can always tell a hotel has an indoor pool because their lobby will smell like a bucket of bleach. ‘Do you guys have an indoor pool, or did someone just clean up a murder scene? Because my eyes are bleeding.’ ” — Jim Gaffigan
Beaches: “I don’t really get this fascination that people have with the ocean. I dunno. I mean, I stare at it for 10 minutes and I go, ‘OK, I get it.’ ” — Larry David
AT THE MOVIES
Pools:Swimming Pool, 2003. IMDB says, “A British mystery author visits her publisher’s home in the South of France, where her interaction with his unusual daughter sets off some touchy dynamics.” Rotten Tomatoes critics’ rating: 84% fresh.
Beaches:Beaches, the 1988 Bette Midler tour de force. IMDB says, “A privileged rich debutante and a cynical struggling entertainer share a turbulent, but strong childhood friendship over the years.” Rotten Tomatoes critics’ rating: 29% fresh.
The pool is a refreshing place to while away a summer Saturday, certainly. But . . . Beaches! . . . This is New England, pal. Do you realize how lucky you are to live this close to the ocean?
Sources: mass.gov; American Shore and Beach Preservation Association; Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs; imdb.com; Shore & Beach Magazine; Atlantic White Shark Conservancy; Rotten TomatoesSend comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter @BostonGlobeMag.