Some families have favorite places that they go each year for vacation. I suspect this is still a trend as it was in the 1960s and 70s when my family vacationed almost every summer in Daytona Beach, Florida. It was a magical place with so much to see and do — almost like an extended amusement park with the main attraction being the incredibly popular beach. I learned how to swim in Daytona; how to body surf, throw a Frisbee, play miniature golf, and so much more. Some of the happiest times I remember with my family growing up were spent there.
It’s no surprise that going back as an adult, with my own children, was a completely different experience. The carefree hours on the beach were replaced with keeping constant watch on children to make sure they were still in sight in the breakers or on the sand. Sleeping late was replaced by getting up early enough to watch the sun rise over the ocean horizon — a spiritual and peaceful moment. Begging for money for snacks on the beach gave way to worrying about how I was to pay the inevitable credit card bill that would all-too-quickly follow the one week of family fun.
Now that my sons are adults (or almost), my visits to the beach are different yet again. The commercial overload of the Boardwalk and Highway A1A are not quite as appealing as they once were. My wife and I live farther away from the coast now than I ever have lived before. I need time at the beach occasionally for my sanity, so I get there as often as I can. I am sure that I will get back to Daytona at some point in the near future, and I want to take my wife with me because she has never been. I have to wonder if some small portion of the magic from my childhood will still be there.