July 13, 2010

Our Day at the Beach

We took a wonderful, spur-of-the-moment trip to a nearby lake.  It is only fifteen minutes from my home but in ten years, I've never been there.  Well, I should say that next time it will take fifteen minutes to drive to the lake. This time it took over an hour to get there.  I was certain I did not need directions because it's so close.  This small, neighboring town is named after the lake. How hard could it be to find a large body of water surrounded by suburban streets?  Oh, pretty hard.  Especially with two restless boys in the backseat and a mom who stubbornly refuses to us Mapquest.

Eventually we found the lake.  I spent another fifteen minutes in a fruitless search for free parking.  As I unloaded the car in the $5 parking lot, my thoughts ran along the lines of "This better be worth it" and "You boys better have a good time 'cause this was a lot of trouble".  We crossed the street, paid our $10 entrance fee and had a great time! 

If we were residents, the cost to enter the beach area would be $1 and include free parking.  I try to offset the cost to us, nonresidents, by bringing all our snacks and avoiding the concession area.  The boys snacked on juice, cheese and potato chips.  I brought iced coffee and a salad.  Next time, I may even bring more snacks.  It just makes sense to come prepared to spend the entire day.

Henry did not want to sit in the sand.  He did not want sand in his shoes or on the towels.  Uh, oh, I thought.  It took him a few minutes to understand that sand everywhere was part of the fun.  (He never did warm up to the idea of sand on his snacks, though.)  

We walked to the water's edge.  Henry was not terribly excited to get wet.  However, once we waded in, I could not get him to come out.  He LOVED it!  The water was warm and shallow.   There were many lifeguards.  That fact made me feel much more comfortable with Henry's surprising independence as he walked (and sat) in the water.

Liam happily clung to me.  He enjoyed getting wet and standing in the water.  I did not bring any floating toys but he "borrowed" a few from neighboring children.  He really enjoyed holding on to objects bobbing on the surface.  Next time I will bring some in our big, beach bag.

I took at least fifty photos.  I arranged them in a online photo scrapbook.  Looking at the pictures makes me realize that we do not need to have an overnight trip to feel like we've been on vacation.  I would very much love to get away for a week this summer.  Away from the chores and worries at home.  Away to a place where I was not responsible for preparing the meals or maintaining our living space.  The unexpected expenses that have arisen this summer mean that a true vacation is out of the question.  This day at the beach is as close as it gets.  And you know what? It was enough.  My children were able to explore something new and truly enjoy the experience.  We will surely go back (we've still need to explore the adjacent playground).


  1. Just goes to show you don't need to spend a lot of money or go far away to have a truly great time. Sounds like a great location for a day with the kids. Will have to join you one of these days!

  2. Fantastic! Great pictures and it sounds like it was a great way to spend the day. Boys and sand. Ahhh, heaven. After Sam's first trip to the beach I realized that NEXT time I have to bring the dumptruck since the beach is really just a giant sandbox with a body of water next to it. :)

  3. What a fun way to spend a day! Henry and Eliza seem to be of one mind when it comes to the beach! Tough to get them to "like" it at first, but then they never want to leave!

  4. that looks like a lot of fun!! :)

    i'm thinking of taking my kiddos to a free soccer game tonight. they are highly ranked, but apparently, when they play at home it's free. it will be HOT out, but oh well! :)

    thanks so much for your encouragement!