Family Vacation at the Beach

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Vacation time. I love summer vacation at the beach relaxing, sleeping late, taking naps, reading books on the beach, swimming in the ocean, having a cocktail mid-afternoon, lunch out on a deck looking at the ocean (cue record scratch). Wait whose vacation is that? Once upon a time in galaxy far away, I remember a vacation that included those things. But now that beach vacation is “family vacation.” Not the same, nope, not at all.

All those relaxing ideas that surround “vacation” disappear when you add family in front of vacation. Vacation now means starting the day early, lots of sunscreen applications on multiple children after going through what all the cousins will or won’t eat for breakfast, packing up the beach cart with tons of sand-sculpting tools, beach umbrella, snacks and drinks for all … well all the children that is. I’ve gotten used to it and love seeing the kids have fun playing together, and am happy just to sit in the sand in the warm sunshine, but what drives me crazy is all that work that leads to only being on the beach for maybe two hours before packing it up because the kids are tired or hungry (because the snacks weren’t enough!).

Family vacation is coming up for us. I keep talking about it fondly with my husband and son, and have all these visions of the kids happily playing while we parents sip a cold beer sitting in the lounge chairs on the deck at the beach house. We’ll cook lots of delicious seafood and everybody, including the kids, will like it, and we’ll all sit together and have a happy meal – just like the ones you see on vacation commercials because that’s real life (insert sarcastic snort). I won’t have to get up five times to refill milk cups or get more napkins or …. or who knows what. Will this be the year that we won’t have to jump baby gates to get up and down steps, or that I have to tell my child 10 times to quit sending that monster truck down the stair rail.

Maybe this is the year that family vacation takes a turn back to vacation. As the kids get bigger, it’s possible. And I know one day that I’ll miss my 4-year-old wanting me to build sand castles, jump waves or swim in the pool with him. I already miss those baby naps. Plus seeing the excitement in his eyes at experiencing new things, and the memories he’s making with all his cousins, makes it all worth it. And besides, any day at the beach beats a day at the office.

If you’re looking for some new places to travel with the family vacation, be sure to check out articles about family vacations by plane, train or automobile, filled with ideas on good getaway destinations and what to do when you get there.

And if you have discovered any great secrets to making it the best family vacation ever, please share!