I grew up about a thousand miles from the ocean, but my mother always heard the siren song of the sea, so we made at least one beach pilgrimage each summer. It turns out that her yearning for the sound of the waves and the smell of salty air was rooted in the family beach vacations of her own childhood.
Often grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins from other states met us there and our family beach vacation became an unofficial family reunion. Some brought loads of ripe red tomatoes; others had baskets of tender peaches and sweet strawberries to share. Oh, the beach picnics we would have! Everyone unpacked their beach chairs and blow up rafts, sand buckets and umbrellas. The cousins squealed in delight at seeing each other. The adults, while less effusive, were equally delighted. The grandparents usually napped after the excitement of arrival.
The years went by and the family beach vacation tradition held. We visited different beaches from the Outer Banks of North Carolina to the family-friendly Florida Gulf Coast, but we had our favorites that we returned to again and again.
Toddlers coated in white sunscreen and wearing cute little hats grew into tan, lanky teens wearing little more than board shorts and bikinis. We challenged the waves, played Frisbee, and flirted in the sun all day until we were exhausted.
When we needed a break from the sun, we did craft projects, played board games, and read for the afternoon. If it rained, we went to a movie or browsed in the beachy shops. The fresh local seafood was always a treat, so we ate often and ate well!
Favorite Activities for a Family Beach Vacation
Go on a Dolphin cruise
Take a family beach photoshoot
Build a sandcastle or sand sculptures
Bury each other in the sand
Dig a huge hole (and fill it back in)
Go crabbing or fishing
Have a beach bonfire (where allowed)
Hunt for the perfect seashell
Climb sand dunes (where allowed)
Go Boogie boarding or body surfing
Learn to surf
Practice yoga on the beach
Play horseshoes, catch, frisbee, or volleyball
Read under an umbrella
Get an ice cream cone
Personalize t-shirts with a vacation theme
Nap in the afternoon
Play board games or cards
Swing or rock on the porch
Take long walks or runs on the beach
Eat succulent seafood
Shop the local seaside shops
Watch the sunset
Stargaze away from city lights
As time marched on, we became young adults starting our own lives and families. Still, each summer I looked forward to the family beach vacation, now with my own kids in tow. Suddenly, my parents were the grandparents who took afternoon naps in the shade and I was the one slathering toddlers and schlepping beach toys like a sherpa. And I cherished every minute of it.
In the blink of an eye, my children grew up and now live far away but we still enjoy family beach vacations. It’s a tradition that sets the stage for reconnecting with those you love in a relaxed and casual setting. This kind of vacation creates precious memories of all the silly moments, fun times, and milestones of a family.
Spending time together as a family is a priceless gift you give each other. A family beach vacation is a huge, bright bow on that gift. Let your Covington vacation advisor help you start or continue this wonderful tradition.