Summer is here and if you live at the Shore, this is the time you bring in those great seasonal tropical plants, flowers and trees.

But this summer there seems to be a problem. The palm tree and tropical flowers that are usually everywhere are hard to find. Selection is down and so is quantity. So, what is going on?

We asked around to see what the story is, and there is a reason for all the troubles this summer. Of course, the pandemic is a part of it, just like it's a part of everything else. And it makes sense. But it's not just COVID.

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It turns out that that little gas issue that we had in late spring had more to do with the supply problems than you might imagine. It was hard for local farm markets to get the tropicals out of the southern part of the country.

In many cases those trucks were loaded up with the items we want, but couldn't get up north to deliver them, so they sold off the trees, plants and flowers just to cut their losses before they all died.

so, it leaves us in a tough spot around here. When the tropicals do show up, they are in low quantity and go quickly. So, you have to be both quick and lucky to give your Shore home that island feel this summer.

And if you are lucky enough to find any, the price might not be exactly what you're used to spending. It's just another challenge we face, and it's not the biggest one for sure. so, maybe we have to conjure up our inner Key West and imagine a little this time around.

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Every beach town has its share of pluses and minuses, which got us thinking about what makes a beach town the best one to live in. To find out, Stacker consulted data from WalletHub, released June 17, 2020, that compares U.S. beach towns. Ratings are based on six categories: affordability, weather, safety, economy, education and health, and quality of life. The cities ranged in population from 10,000 to 150,000, but they had to have at least one local beach listed on TripAdvisor. Read the full methodology here. From those rankings, we selected the top 50. Readers who live in California and Florida will be unsurprised to learn that many of towns featured here are in one of those two states.

Keep reading to see if your favorite beach town made the cut.

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