I️ feel very fortunate compared to the stories I️’ve heard from some families who planned trips and weren’t able to go this summer – and they didn’t get refunds. Yikes. My family lives on the Outer Banks, so we have a permanent summer vacation spot that doesn’t require us to book a beach house and make plans a year in advance.
This post contains affiliate links
At the beginning of the year (before the pandemic struck), I️ signed us up for a beach photo session with our favorite photographer, Amanda Hedgepeth and we planned our vacation around that. To be honest, as the date got closer, we weren’t sure if we were going to be able to go or not – but since the state opened back up and travel restrictions were lifted, we decided to head to the beach after all. I️ felt comfortable because we were staying at my parents’ house (vs. a rental where anyone could have been sick during their stay) and ultimately, we didn’t need to do all the extras we usually do, like putt-putt and shopping. This time around, we had a very simple vacation of going to the beach and coming back and making dinner at home – and maybe saved a couple of dollars because of it!
At the beginning of our summer vacation, the ocean was a little chilly, but it quickly warmed up and turned the prettiest blue-green color for the majority of our stay. With three young kids, going to the beach requires a lot more STUFF and it was super hot, so we opted to go to the beach in the afternoons when the sun was a little less intense. A few times, Michael and I️ snuck away for a mid-day beach date and it made me glad we didn’t bring the girls at that time of day – I️ could feel myself getting sunburnt as soon as we got out there!
We had a hard time deciding whether or not to attempt a real date night, given that we’ve been strictly staying in for the past few months. We decided to give it a try and went out to a real restaurant (one of our faves, The Black Pelican) one night. I️ was impressed overall by how they were managing the 50% capacity, enforcing masks, etc. We ended up sitting on the outdoor deck and had a nice view of the ocean during dinner. Even thought it was a little strange compared to a normal date night, it was nice to finally have some time alone after being home with the kids 24/7 for the past 4+ months straight!
We vacationed over the 4th of July holiday, so it was a bit more crowded than I️ anticipated on the Outer Banks. Most of the towns had canceled fireworks, but we lucked out and people all around us were lighting off their own fireworks on the 4th. We sat on the porch and watched for over an hour – it was pretty neat!
We originally planned to stay just a week, but as the end of summer vacation neared, we decided to stay another week. Even though Michael is working from home (and my freelance work can be done anywhere), his work computer has so many connection issues and he likes to be close to the office in case he needs to switch it out for a new laptop. He was able to login and work from the beach house, so we decided to take the risk and hope it worked for the additional week we stayed. Luckily, it did!
Summer Vacation Travel During a Pandemic
One of the biggest unknowns I️ had before we left for the beach was the travel situation. I️ know that some stores and restaurants haven’t fully opened and was a little nervous about the bathroom break situation, especially with two young kids who would need to go from time to time. We lucked out and actually made it 3.5 hours without having to stop at all, which is basically unheard of. We finally stopped at a Starbucks and I️ was worried they wouldn’t have the bathrooms opened up (some Starbucks around our house only had curbside pickup available), but this one was completely open, thankfully. On the way back, we had to stop at a Sheetz for gas and the restrooms there were open as well. I️’m never a fan of public restrooms, but especially not during a pandemic when everything around you seems to have germs. Ha! We masked up, tried not to touch anything and then washed our hands followed by hand sanitizer in the car afterward. Overall, it wasn’t so bad and I️ wouldn’t let it keep me from traveling.
We did grab Chick-Fil-A on our way out of town, but other than that, we brought our snacks and water, which meant minimal stopping during our trip. You can read about my favorite road trip snacks here.
I️ know there are so many pros and cons of traveling right now with everything going on in the world, but for us, it was worth it and a nice break from the quarantine life we’ve been living for over 4 months. My oldest daughter will be starting Kindergarten in a month (with a combination of in-class and virtual learning….), so it was nice to sneak away for some R&R before life gets crazy!
Welcome to the Wednesday Link Party! Meet your hosts:
Jaclyn from Coffee, Pancakes, and Dreams
Brittany from Dreams and Coffee
Mary Leigh from Live Well Play Together
Tiffany from Lake Life State of Mind
Lindsay from Lindsay’s Sweet World
Keri from Cultivate an Intentional Life
Holly from Simply Holley Marie