Summer Top Ten: The Beach

by arianne

It’s officially the summer, and my body is aching to be out in it and not just observing from the reflection in my computer screen.  Lazy days, late daylight, all of it screams relaxation.

Ashlee has us all writing our top ten things we love about summer, and so I’m joining in.  Today my mind is at the beach, and I wish my body was there too.  Living on the west coast for the last several years before moving to the Midwest, our summers were planned around beach outings and long beach vacations.  My family rents a house on the beach and tons of us and our significant others and our kids and our friends all squeeze into the house, trying to find a bed somewhere (usually on the floor), just so we can hear the ocean while we sleep.  Every single summer, our vacation is at the beach.  Even now that my “beach” is on Lake Michigan, I still can’t get enough.

My top ten things I love about the beach:

1.  The Water–nothing like sitting and looking out over the massiveness of the water.  Ocean or Lake, it’s a sight to behold.  The water seems to know that I love it.  The salty ocean is my favorite, spraying me and hitting me with it’s waves.  The strength is overwhelming.

2.  The Sand–I am continually amazed at the endless amount of things you can do and make with sand.  Laying on it to warm up, digging your feet it, making a pillow, a castle, all of it.  I love how it’s totally acceptable to have sand everywhere when you’re living or staying at the beach.  I love showers with a pile of sand on the bottom, showing the remnants of another fun day.

3.  The Sun–There’s really no escaping the sun when you are at the beach.  It’s warmth seems to pierce you all the way to your brain, relaxing you to the core.  We all wear sunscreen, but getting that golden look and seeing my kids brown up every so slightly is yet another sign that summer is upon us.

4.  Cool nights–As the summer day will go on, eventually you reach into your beach bag and pull out a sweatshirt, a jacket, something to stave off the chill.  But that chill is perfect.  I can’t get enough. Which brings us to…

5.  Bonfires–At least one night of our beach vacation we make sure to snag one of the big fire pits along the beach and we have to sit next to it all day to make sure no one else gets it.  By the time the sun goes down we have the wood and the chairs and the marshmallows and the wine and the beach party continues.

6.  The Boardwalk–Our favorite vaca spot is in San Diego, and the boardwalk is a source of major entertainment.  The people watching is legendary, and certain characters are so well known that we are disappointed if we don’t have at least one sighting during our visit.  On such a person is “Flash”.  A man who is tall and tan and lean and rollerblades in only a thong.  But that’s not all…he paints his tush and sort of dresses up in some theme.  His 4th of July “outfit” is the American flag painted across his cheeks with another flag (with the stick) stuck between them.  The cheeks, that is.  It’s horrifying and hilarious and we always hope to see Flash every year.

7.  The Sunset–Oh man.  The sunsets draw visitors in their own right, and as the sun is making it’s adieu, on-lookers all stop in their tracks.  You look left and right and every single person is stopped and staring.  If you’re lucky, you’ll even see a Green Flash.

8.  The Smells–The salty, sweaty amazing scents of the beach immediately bring back the best of memories.  One whiff of a coconut tanning lotion and I’m 16 again.

9.  The Food–The snow cones that are the best in the world, the grilled food including baked potatoes and corn, the fresh pinneaple, and of course the ice cream.  You are never on a diet at the beach.

10.  The Family–The beach wouldn’t be the same without all of my family coming together.  We play card games, and talk until the wee hours and laugh endlessly.  We also usually have at least one theme party (last year was a Tiki Party theme) and we all dress up and my mom plans at least one craft that we are all forced to do but love it anyway.  All sleeping in the same house reminds us of growing up together, and hanging out all the beach all day long, playing frisbee in the surf, horseshoes in the sand, and napping side by side on our beach towels.  By the end of our vacation we are sad to leave, it hurts our heart even, but we know we will all be back there together again.  And we count the days.

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