*suddenly realizes that Sam spent 3+ years going to school in California and per 10x18 never went to a beach*
I mean, if we take that at face value and assume that Sam isn’t lying* or forgetting or that the writers didn’t just forget (leap of faith, but why not) then it says a lot about his social isolation at Stanford.
(I have a theory that Sam had friends at Stanford, but not really close friends. Even Jess barely knew anything about his family.)
California is big and my familiarity with its geography is vague, so I double checked and there are in fact nearby beaches. The closest one is even accessible by public transit. (It’d be over an hour and intermodal, but it could be done. This was probably also true 10 years ago but I haven’t verified this.)
So .. it’s very sad to think of Sam not going to a beach because no one asked him, or because he was too busy studying and working, or because he couldn’t justify buying swimwear, or whatever.
*The only reason I could think of for him to lie would be that he didn’t want to bring up the Stanford era to Dean. And this seems like a bit of a stretch but I wouldn’t rule it out. Because Dean holds grudges and Sam sees him as extra touchy because of the Mark, etc.