Is This Your Favorite Family Activity To Do On Summer Vacation, Too?
Twenty-six years ago this summer, Rachael and I made our first family beach trip to Charleston, South Carolina. We had one infant son at the time, and we had no inkling of the long-standing family tradition we were starting. Since then, we’ve skipped the beach just once when we spent our vacation money to attend the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.
We now have over two decades of family beach trips under our belt.
Every year we would venture to a sandy locale in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, or Texas. Each of these scenic destinations has a beauty and peace that calls softly for our return. Some beaches feature white sand that feels just right under our feet. Others offer crystal-clear water that sparkles with a greenish-blue hue.
Our family has collected sand dollars, seashells, and horseshoe crabs as souvenirs. We’ve built sand castles, attempted body surfing, and soaked in the sunshine. We’ve napped under a colorful umbrella, read plenty of good books, and walked hand-in-hand up and down the coastline. We’ve stayed in cheap one-room cabins, camped in tents, stayed in high-rise condos, and rented spacious, well-appointed oceanfront homes.
But there’s one thing about the beach that brings us back year after year: It’s the bike paths. We simply love to take bike rides, especially on the paths that wind through our favorite South Carolina island. I’ll usually take the lead, with seven kids following in line like little ducklings, while Rachael brings up the rear to make sure we don’t lose anyone. It’s so peaceful to quietly coast under a canopy of oak trees covered with Spanish Moss.
A few years back, I invested in some colorful bicycles. They have fenders and rims that are painted the same color as the rest of the bicycle. I purchased a rainbow of red, orange, bright yellow, lime green, powder blue, and hot pink. There is no doubt that we are beach bums and bike riding enthusiasts as we slowly make our way around the paths of our beloved and quiet little island.
Being the sentimental type, for years I imagined what these family bike rides might be like as my children grew older. Now that our kids range in age from thirteen to twenty-seven, our bike excursions have taken on a whole new tone. For starters, our oldest is not with us anymore, as he got married three years ago. And so it begins.
I know that as the years go by, it will be harder to get the whole family together for beach trips, holidays, and other gatherings. But this is good because they’re leaving and cleaving as new family units somewhere else in this world. So I am happy for my oldest son even though it means big changes for me and Rachael.
This year, as in years past, the rest of us plan to ride bikes on our summer vacation. I suspect we’ll be doing the same thing next year. Why? It’s because this tradition has provided us with a long history of good family memories. Rachael loves it. The kids love it. And I find it so relaxing. We always talk about these times with fondness.
It’s unanimous: Riding bicycles is my family’s favorite vacation activity. This may change in years to come, but for now, I’m going to continue to keep the wheels rolling.
So what do you have planned for summer vacation? Is bicycle riding on your list? Do you have a favorite family memory or activity from summers past?
Walking by faith and enjoying the homeschooling adventure of a lifetime!
If you enjoyed this article by Davis Carman, check out his devotional The Glory of God Leads Us to Worship.
Davis is the president of Apologia Educational Ministries, the #1 publisher of Creation-based science and Bible curriculum. He is also the author of four illustrated children’s books designed to help kids learn a biblical worldview. He believes that if there was ever a time to homeschool, it is now! Davis’s four books include: Good Morning, God, based on Deuteronomy 6, A Light for My Path, an ABC book based on Psalm 119, In the Beginning, based on the Creation account in Genesis, and Psalms to Know Early.