I still remember a conversation from many years ago when I was a newlywed and didn’t have any kids. One of my coworkers at the time had just taken his family to Florida on vacation and was telling me about it. Their trip had included Walt Disney World and other theme parks, along with a few days at the beach. On the way home, he and his wife asked the kids what their favorite part of the trip was. Their answer was “looking for seashells on the beach.” He was flabbergasted that after all the money he had spent at the theme parks and other expensive attractions that their favorite activity was the one that didn’t cost any money at all.
Fast forwarding several years to when my own children were small, I read somewhere that all you really need to keep kids happy on a vacation is sand and water. That nugget of wisdom has proven itself true over and over through the years. Whether it’s searching for seashells, building a sandcastle, or burying their parents, my kids have not yet outgrown playing in the sand.
Last winter, my in-laws invited us to their winter getaway, a condo in Gulf Shores, Alabama. It’s on a beautiful stretch of sugar white sand beach.
My in-laws prefer Alabama over Florida because they find it to be less crowded. It can be colder than some parts of Florida, and the weather is hit-or-miss in the winter, but we went in February and it was still warm enough to swim in the water.
Perhaps it was because they were just so happy to be away from the winter weather in Ohio, but my kids savored every moment on the beach. Of course, there was a hunt for seashells. (Well, the girls went hunting for seashells. Connor was probably too busy working on a sand construction project.)
And, of course, they built a sandcastle. Over the years the sand castles have gotten more complex. This one had a tunnel built into it.
After the sandcastle was completed, they started to get more creative with their projects. Can you guess what this is?
Here’s what it looked like when it was finished.
My in-laws said this lasted about a week after we left. I’m glad my kids thought ahead and started with the O, instead of the H. Each letter took a while and imagine what it would have looked like if they had started with H and finished everything but the O. :-0
Then it was time for some serious, research-based, architectural projects. Consulting Wikipedia before they started, the kids (and my husband) constructed the Egyptian Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx.
It will be hard to top that. I can’t wait to see what they build during our next beach trip.
No beach plans in your future? Don’t forget about lakes. Did you see my post about Great Lakes beaches? There are lots of lakes all over the country with nice sandy beaches that a lot of people forget about. Remember, all you need is sand and water. And maybe a few seashells.
Looking for more beaches? Check out Michigan – Beaches