Salty sea air. The melody of gulls. And sun kissed everything.
The beach is a popular hotspot for vacation during the summer and any beach will work. To the ones littering the Gulf of Mexico to those giving end to the state of California, any beach can satisfy the endless summer fun. Even the rocky British shores! Spending either a week or weekend at the beach can rejuvenate a person's happiness because of the beautiful sights and the wonderful nights.
Currently, I am on a family trip at Orange Beach in Gulf Shores, Alabama. We are here for a week residing in a condo on the white sandy dunes and these are our 11 favorite things to do on the beach.
Roll your eyes if you want, but exercising on or at the beach is a thousand times better than doing it at home. Running or walking on the sand can make you forget that you are in fact exercising because you become lost in the beauty all around you. Even lifting weights or running on the treadmill inside can offer a grand view of the ocean splayed before you. And what's a better looking sight?
If you wake up early enough, you might even be able to see the dolphins jumping in the waves while you work out!
2. Building stuff in the sand
Add some salt water to the sand and you have all that you need to build anything at the beach. Albeit, you can add some buckets, shovels, and even some plastic knives (they are handy I swear).
As kids, we used to love building elaborate castles in attempts to see whose kingdom was better than the other's. There were turrets and towers, spires and columns, etc. Sometimes, there were even moats and drawbridges. But that was only if you really wanted to outshine the others.
Now, I will usually try and construct a mermaid that has been "washed up" on the shoreline and call her Ariel.
If you've never looked at an ocean and had the sudden desire to swim in it or just put your feet in, then you must be lying because I can't see how anyone would not want to jump right into the waves.
Except maybe if there were jellyfish everywhere, to which the purple flag will warn for.
Anyways, the water at the beach can be the most refreshing thing after a long day out in the sun. In my opinion, the best thing to do in the water, if you have a pair of goggles, is to submerge yourself in the wake and explore the underwater kingdom around you. You never know what you'll find either because the ocean is so different anywhere you go in it.
You could find little fishes harboring close to the sandy ground, you could find harmless jellyfish letting the waves push them, you could find stingrays darting in and out of coral reefs. You could even find a little baby shark swiftly swimming through the waters.
4. Getting tan
For my mom and cousin Cambry, their favorite thing to do at the beach (and on any vacation where it is sunny) is tan. And this is because their skin never seems to burn, but rather become naturally bronzed after only an hour under the sun.
I like tanning, too, but seeing as how I do it every time I go into work, I cannot really say it is what I look forward to at the beach because unlike them, I need to reapply at least three times to avoid getting severely burned by the sun. I can thank my dad for that skin trait of mine.
But laying out at the beach can be so relaxing as you nap away the hours of the day with the sun's rays acting as your blanket.
5. Trying new, local restaurants
Instead of going to the same chain restaurants of the United States every time we go on vacation, my family likes to try the local restaurants of the area that we are in. In Destin, we like to go to Fudpucker's. In Galveston, we like to go to Fish Tales.
In Gulf Shores, we have been to the Shrimp Basket, to Doc's Seafood, to Lilian's Pizza, to Papa Rocco's, to Lambert's Cafe, and to many more. And we have loved every local restaurant that we have stepped into for their food and their spirit.
At Lambert's you face the risk of being pelted in the face with a flying roll (yes, a flying roll). At Lillian's Pizza, their amazing food comes in hand with cool merchandise. And at Doc's Seafood, their Bushwackers are to die for.
Even if you are allergic to seafood (like I am) or don't like it, there are plenty of food options available at the beach!
The best thing to pair with a day in the sand and sun is your favorite cocktail or other alcoholic beverage. Our favorite beach cocktails to have are Piña Coladas, Daquiris, Mudslides, and Bushwackers. You're probably wondering what a Bushwhacker is at this point and let me tell about this amazing delicacy:
A Bushwacker is a frozen cocktail made from 6 different types of alcohol (Bacardi Rum, Dark Rum, Bailey's Irish Creme, Kahlúa, Vodka, and Dark Cremé de Cacao) blended with milk, ice, cream of coconut, and amaretto. It sounds like a lot, but it actually tastes like the best chocolate milk shake that you will ever drink.
And it tastes even better under the sun.
So, if you see yourself heading to the beach, pack your coolers tight with your favorite beverages. And pack your wallets even tighter with cash because you do not want to miss out on these amazing drinks!
7. Playing games
For rainy days and long nights (because it is dangerous to swim in the ocean at night), the old board games we played as kids can often be the best cure for boredom. Especially games like SORRY!, Trouble, and Jenga! Jenga can be the most fun because it is the easiest to set up and the hardest to play when the entire tower is dependent on the beams at the bottom.
During the day, playing corn hole and throwing the football down at the waterfront can be exceptionally fun as well! Water can make anything fun.
8. Ghost crab hunting
When the lights go down and the moon rises above the ocean, the little ghost crabs that hide underneath the sand all day come out to scurry. And following behind them are the beach bums with their flash lights trying to catch them. A lot like fishing, ghost crab hunting is just to catch and release the critters once they have been caught.
At night, on the balcony, we can usually count on seeing almost a hundred frantic lights running up and down the shorelines chasing after the ghost crabs. The shouts of joy and groans of "I ALMOST HAD IT" are carried to us by the wind.
9. Sand dollar searching
Everyone knows that sand dollars are some of the most beautiful things to come from the ocean--especially if they remain intact and unbroken!
One year, almost a million sand dollars became washed up into the shallow areas of the beach and so I and a ton of others enjoyed ourselves trying to find not only the prettiest sand dollars, but also the biggest ones. And when I say a ton, I do mean a ton. From our balcony on the twentieth floor, we were able to see piles of them beneath the water.
10. Watching the sun set
What is more beautiful than watching the waves crash on the shore, what is more beautiful than hearing the song of the birds that circle over the sand, what is more beautiful than drinking that first sip of your cocktail is watching the sun set beneath the ocean.
The fiery oranges and the soft yellows and reds that clash against the pockmarked blue of the ocean creates a vibrant pink hue that shatters the sky. Gone is the soft blue of before with white splotches, and in appears the coral array that enraptures itself within a cacophony of gold.
A shadowed orb glistens above the water, turning the water to molten gold, and winks its final goodbye before making its final descent.
Some people swear that a flash of green happens every time the sun is about to finally disappear beneath the waves, but I have yet to see it. I'm still looking, though.
This is my absolute favorite thing to do at the beach hands down!
At the beach, I can get through at least 5 books on a good vacation and this time will hopefully be no different. Sitting on the sand or on the balcony, having the waves acting as a sort of background noise, reading a book can sometimes be more relaxing than just laying out because of the entertainment value that can be derived from it.
With so much paradise and peace, it can become so easy to escape into another world entirely while still enjoying the grandeur around you. So sit down, lay back, and crack open that bestseller you've been meaning to finish.
Meanwhile, I am going to go and finish rereading Harry Potter like I promised myself I would.