Fun & Games

How to Have a Great Day at the Beach (When You Don’t Really Like Beaches or Summer in General)


We’re in those final, golden days of summer–or so I’m told by people who aren’t wishing it were fall. Not being a summer person myself (I moved to Washington State from San Diego, where it’s even summer on Christmas and people think fifty degrees is literally freezing, and I gotta say I’m much happier here) I struggle to see what’s so golden. I’m getting a bit sick of the sun (and sunburns), fun (sunblock, sandy diapers, bugs), and limbo beach parties (a fun name for the inevitable tantrums that come from putting on sunblock and/or getting sunburned, getting sand in your diaper, or being bitten by the terrible bugs).

Not that the other seasons don’t have their pitfalls. But summer–well, I’m ready for it to end.

BUT: My family is not ready. They love the sun. They love the outdoors. Not that they don’t appreciate a good rainy day and a warm mug of cocoa–they just love nature, the weirdos. In the sun or in the mud, really.

I’m convinced the girl is part mermaid. We had to drag her, shivering, out of the ocean. She kept screaming, “I wanna go back to the water!” (Yes, she speaks in full sentences. No, she’s not even two yet. She’s also part robot, or possibly part computer. One hundred percent awesome, that’s for sure.)

Now, I have to take some genetic responsibility here. One of my dad’s favorite things to remind me about from childhood were our trips to the lake when I refused to get out of the water though I was shivering and my lips were blue.

“I’m not c-c-c-cold,” I’d say.


Because the water is so much fun. I can’t deny it. And when we went to the beach this Labor Day, I have to admit I had fun.

So. A few tips on how to enjoy the beach, even if you’d rather it were sweater weather:

Don’t Let a “Beach Day” Be a Whole Day

Two hours, tops. That’s all I’m saying.

Get Behind the Camera

When you’re taking pictures, you automatically seek out the beauty in things. From your son’s smile:


To your kids’ sand toys:


To your very own feet:


And while we’re on the subject of feet…

Give Yourself a Spa Treatment

Seriously, sand is a great exfoliant, so rub down those feet and legs, even your hands and elbows. And then try not to think about how many other people have used this sand for this purpose or the fact that sand is probably thirty percent dead skin cells.

And then, when you’ve taken enough pictures that your husband keeps making jokes about how you’ll use up all the film, hand him the camera and

Get in Front of the Camera, Too.

Because it’s biologically proven that smiling makes people happier and not just the reverse. And when the camera’s pointed at you, you’ll probably smile. And then you’ll keep smiling. And even if you’re thinking about work and all the things you need to get done at home, you’ll start to realize that the beach isn’t such a bad place, and summer is fleeting–the waves, your life, the planet–and it’s pretty cool that you can sit on a piece of driftwood in the sun and watch your kids scooping sand while your husband attempts to build a sandcastle, and that it might make your son laugh if you try to bury him, and that it’s pretty fun to tease your husband about how much sand you’re going to bring into his pristinely kept car.


Now, aren’t you having fun? Aren’t you smiling? Good! High five.


4 thoughts on “How to Have a Great Day at the Beach (When You Don’t Really Like Beaches or Summer in General)”

  1. Enjoying these very hot days recently has been hard, but there is beauty out there yet to be seen. Your pictures capture summer beautifully.


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