Cheap Summer Fun: The Beach

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What sort of person lives an hour away from a beach and only goes to beaches that require a plane flight? Me. Other than my sibling’s high school graduations, my friend’s wedding and The Nutcracker, the last time I went to Galveston was years ago. Like my childhood years ago. Ben had to remind me he took me down there when we were dating. It is that far off my radar. Then two weeks ago, with no preparation other than months of saying, “we should go to the beach one day,” we finally took a family trip to Galveston. When I woke up that morning I searched online for “the best Galveston beach” and “cleanest Galveston beach.” I double-checked dogs were allowed. I packed two coolers with snacks, loaded one backpack with sunscreens and wipes, another with beach toys and yet another bag with beach towels and sand-free clothes for after our sandy fun. And Ben squeezed our mega tent into the back of my Prius. I threw in a beach ball, and Ben remembered to add our Crazy Creek chairs. Once the car was stuffed and we were sufficiently sweaty, well past my dream departure time, we made our way down I-45 South to Galveston Island State Park. By the time we picked up two gallons of water and a bag of ice and survived a minor bottleneck, it was 11am – blazing hot and sunny, not my ideal beach weather.

Ben ran in to buy our permit ($10), and we made our way to the practically empty parking lot. A few cars pulled in about the same time we did. Thirty minutes later we had finally unpacked the car and set up our tent. Leila went right to digging in the sand, and Wrigley settled into a nap.

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I could hardly believe it. It was beautiful. Galveston was beautiful. And it was comfortable. With the shade of our canopy and the sea breeze, it was downright lovely. We munched on guacamole and chips and took turns taking dips in the water. Leila collected seashells and was delighted when I showed her the shell I found. “It’s a listening shell!” she exclaimed as she brought the tiny shell to her ear. By early afternoon Leila said she was ready to go, and the rest of our party was in agreement. We packed everything back up, rinsed off the sand as best one can and enjoyed a traffic-free drive back home.

It was the perfect day at the beach.

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(In the midst of typing this up I decided to upgrade our family’s UPF wardrobe and bought Leila a pair of swim tights. Because in spite of all of our rash guards, sunscreen and shade, her little thighs still turned pink. Now we’re really ready for our next beach trip.)

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