Don’t be fooled. The beach is closer to Winston-Salem than you think.

Having once again made the top 10 in Southern Business & Development’s list of best pro-business communities without a beach, one thing strikes us as somewhat peculiar. It’s the “without a beach” thing.

Yes, Winston-Salem is not a coastal community. There’s no arguing with SB&D’s logic. However, it cannot be denied that one of the things that gives Winston-Salem such a wonderful quality of life (aside from being a great city) is its relative closeness to beautiful North Carolina beaches.

Hop in the car after lunch on a Friday and head east, and you can dip your toes into the Atlantic by late afternoon on your choice of either quiet, relatively deserted beach towns or lively, activity filled resorts.

In fact, quick, summer beach trips are part of Winston-Salem culture — a summer rite of passage — with favorite destinations varying from Nag’s Head to Ocracoke to Atlantic Beach to Emerald Isle to Topsail and Surf City to Wrightsville and Carolina Beach. There’s a familiarity and connectedness that Winston-Salem folks have with certain beach towns. Everyone has a favorite, and it varies depending on who you ask and what they like to do.

One thing you’ll find that most of the destinations have in common, though, is that they are remarkably affordable. If you try hard, there are plenty of ways to spend money. But for most people, the beach and water are the biggest amenities.

Plus, when the weekend is done, they have Winston-Salem to come home to, which could be the best part of all.