10 Ways to Recreate Childhood Beach Memories

April 6, 2022

 The year is 1997, the air is warm and salty, your mom just slathered sunscreen all over you (and didn’t rub it in), and you’re about to run headfirst into the Gulf Coast surf – life is grand. Gone are the days of parents telling kids they better be home before the streetlights turn on and making up games to play outside because being inside is boring. Luckily, if you sit down in your beach chair, close your eyes, and listen to the sound of the waves crashing against the sand, you can almost imagine you’re back on vacation with your family along the Gulf of Mexico, and nostalgia rushes in. Next time you venture down to the sunshine state to spend a week soaking up the rays, try to recreate some of your favorite childhood beach memories and take yourself back to simpler times.

Ditch Your Phone for a Book

The appeal of scrolling endlessly on your phone is not lost on any of us. There’s so much information out there and so many people to keep up with that it almost feels like you’re missing out when you unplug for a bit, but there’s plenty of reason to put the phone down during your next trip. Their names are Nora Roberts, Nicholas Sparks, and Danielle Steel. Okay, maybe those were the novelists your mom loved, and romance isn’t your speed, but winding down on the beach with a good old-fashioned book is sure to jog your memory of past trips.

Build a Sandcastle

Sandcastle building is truly an art that can take a lifetime to master. The water to sand ratio is crucial, and having the perfect sand pail and shovel can make or break your sand palace. See if any of your past sandcastle skills are still intact and build to your heart’s content on your next trip. Bonus points if it has a moat!

Boogie Board the Waves

There’s nothing quite like catching the perfect wave and letting it carry you back to shore. It was a family favorite back in the day and remained one for annual beach trips from the east end of 30A to Destin’s white, sandy beaches. Stop by any surf shop, pick up a retro boogie board, and paddle your way out to freedom.

Pack a Beach Picnic Lunch

Put the sand in sandwich by packing a picnic lunch to enjoy at the beach. Whether your favorite is a classic PB&J or turkey and cheese, it pairs perfectly with a beach-side seat. Snacks are also the ruler of any childhood beach memory, so we recommend packing plenty of fresh fruits, veggies, chips, and maybe a Little Debbie or two. Don’t forget to dispose of any trash properly and leave only footprints when you head back up to your condo or beach house for the night.

Get Adventurous with a Flashlight Ghost Crab Hunt

Hunting for ghost crabs can be a fun and unique experience if you haven’t done it before. Before the age of cell phones, video games, and streaming services, families could be seen just after dark walking the beaches of 30A and Destin with flashlights in tow, trying to spot the elusive creatures. Ghost crabs get their name because their hard shells blend perfectly with the sand. You have to be quick if you want to spot one scuttling along the beach.

Throw the Frisbee

The beach is a great place to test your throwing arm. Grab a frisbee and some friends, and you’ll be entertained for hours tossing it back and forth. On warm days you can stand in the shallow parts of the Gulf to cool down while you throw, but make sure to reapply sunscreen because the one thing we’re not nostalgic for is a nasty sunburn.

Snorkel with the Fish

We’ve all got goofy photos of us at the beach with goggles, a snorkel, and flippers, right? Snorkeling can take you back to childhood in an instant. The flippers make you feel like you’re a mystical mermaid, and you get the best view of the world below the surface. There is plenty of interesting fish and other marine life along the Gulf Coast, such as live sand dollars, dolphins, and the occasional manatee you may encounter.

Search for Shells

Going for a long walk and searching for the perfect seashell is a quintessential beach activity. Pack your beach sifter and head to where the sand meets the shore, and scoop up a hefty amount of sand. Once you let the water wash the sand away, you’ll be left with a treasure trove of goodies. Sometimes, the shells are occupied by hermit crabs or other tiny creatures, so check them for occupants before bringing them home as a souvenir.

Strike a Pose for Family Photos

If you’ve ever been to the beach on a family vacation, there’s a good chance that you have made an appearance in a family group photo with the sunset as your backdrop. Dust off the khaki pants and white button-downs and get the family together to take an updated photo. It will help you remember your trip and may even become a tradition for your annual vacations. Matching outfits are encouraged but not required.

Fly a Kite

One way to relax on the beach that will make you feel like a kid again is flying a kite. Kitty Hawk Kites located at HarborWalk Village offers kites of all shapes and sizes. The kites range from your easy-to-fly kid’s kites to specialty kites, including a 6-foot great white shark. We don’t want to run into one in the water, but it would be incredible to see one drifting through the sky.

While we can’t go back in time to the beach vacations of our youth, it’s simple to relive some of our favorite activities. Kick back, unplug from the hustle and bustle, and let the good times keep rolling on during your next vacay.

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