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Posts Tagged ‘family beach activities’

Walking With the Winter Waves at Sylvan Beach

Posted by E.G.D. on December 31, 2014

All the cool birds hang out here.  (photo by E.G.D.)

All the cool birds hang out here. (photo by E.G.D.)

Sylvan Beach in La Porte, TX, always a treat in the warmer months, can be equally awesome in the winter.  The waves crash with a little more violence and froth, the seashells are as abundant as ever, the clean public restrooms are still open, and the birds are a heck of a lot bolder than they are when there are more people around.  The other day, the kids and I literally had a pelican fly right up to us.  I warned the kids “don’t touch it!  It’s a wild animal,” and it was so close that it was actually necessary to say that.  Liam held up his fingers in a square and said “CLICK!” but by the time I went back to the car for a camera, the blue guy who’d nearly landed on our feet was gone.  We saw a yellow one by the bait shop later, though, and I did get a picture of him.  Anyhow, the entire purpose of this article is actually to give the kids a bit of the limelight.  I invited Liam (currently a second grader) to write an article on his winter beach experience, and this is what he wrote:

We had a great time at the beach.  We collected shells and saw two pelicans.  It was cold and windy.  We also saw baby seagulls.  The ocean was trying to catch me, but it couldn’t.  My feet stayed dry.  The end.

Tada! The second pelican (photo by E.G.D.)

Tada! The second pelican (photo by E.G.D.)

Oona can only write her name without a reference, so she is going to dictate a story:

We collected shells.  We picked purple shells, and shells that are cool, and big shells, and clear shells, and it was a windy day.  I found, what is it called again? A sea bean.  I saw pelicans.  And we had a wonderful time.  And we went to the beach to also play in the sand.  At the water, the sand was cold and wet.  We had a nice time there, and I want to go again with Nana.  I hope we can go with Dadu, also.  We are going to do is making crafts out of the shells, like necklaces, and like paper and shells art, and coloring the shells on the paper with the shells.  We hope we have a nice time there again next time we go to the beach with Aunt Elisa.  I love the beach because it has the shells that I want to see.  The end.

Oona's shell collection from our winter day at Sylvan Beach (photo by E.G.D.)

Oona’s shell collection from our winter day at Sylvan Beach (photo by E.G.D.)

OH, THE GRAMMAR!  Oh, to be five again and not to specially care about grammar!  As you probably already surmised, I edited both for spelling, but not for grammar or syntax.  They are totally authentic.  In any case, Happy New Year, everybody!

Gray, but great (photo by E.G.D.)

Gray, but great (photo by E.G.D.)

See you at the beach- E.G.D.

Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Beach Birding, Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Seashells | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Safe, Fun, and Successful Beach Metal Detecting!

Posted by Jody on October 8, 2013

Today’s Featured Guest Writer is Daniel Bernzweig.

Packing List for a Safe, Fun, and Successful Beach Metal Detecting Trip

So you have decided to take a trip to the beach? Whether your next metal detecting trip takes you near or far from home, there are some supplies you simply won’t want to be caught without when beach treasure hunting. I’ve been metal detecting since I was a boy and, as a result, I know a lot about what you’ll need to have on hand to be prepared for anything, as well as what happens when you head out unprepared! Here is a comprehensive packing list that will make any metal detecting beach adventure, fun, safe, and successful.

Metal Detecting on the Beach in Santa Cruz, California

Metal Detecting on the Beach in Santa Cruz, California

First off, of course, is your metal detector. You can’t go metal detecting at the beach without one! But be sure your machine is made to handle the conditions you’ll encounter (e.g. waterproof, right size search coil, ground balance controls, etc.). Otherwise, revise your plans, or you may end up making a costly mistake. The beach is actually one of the first spots that most people envision when they think of metal detecting. And in reality, it is a great place to begin as it is restocked with targets on a daily basis.

You’ll also want to have some quality metal detecting tools along while searching for treasure at the beach. A pinpointer and a digging tool are standard, and many detectorists also take along a metal detecting sifter or shovel. Other metal detecting accessories you may want to have with you include headphones, extra batteries, and/or additional search coils.

A protective treasure case is another essential you’ll always want to have on your metal detecting trips. Any non trash target you unearth should be put into your case and cleaned when you get home, not on the field. In many instances, like with coins for example, rubbing off the dirt will scratch the item. It’s better to take everything home for proper cleaning and inspection; even though the wait can be a bit difficult, to say the least!

It looks like he found something!


Sunscreen and protective clothing should always be worn when out metal detecting. With an engrossing hobby like this we often forget just how long we’ve been working under the hot sun, and the end result of that is a nasty sunburn; unless you’re properly dressed and sun screened, of course.

Always take enough water with you, plus some extra in case you’re out longer than expected. The same goes for food.

Having a few first aid supplies on hand while out metal detecting has come in handy more times than I can count. A few bandaids, some antibacterial ointment, some first aid tape and gauze pads (additional items if you have more space) are easy to put into a plastic bag and take up very little weight and room in your pack.

Bringing a GPS along with you when you’re out metal detecting is probably one of the only precaution I might describe as optional. That said, having one can be a priceless safety net in certain situations.

If your metal detecting trip will take you in and around water, here are a few more things to add to your packing list. If you plan on doing any shallow water metal detecting a wetsuit or waders may be warranted. Additional equipment is obviously required if you plan on metal detecting while snorkeling scuba diving. When metal detecting in and around water you’ll also need a few special metal detecting accessories, including a sand scoop, a waterproof search coil and a waterproof backpack or other container for your treasures. As long as you have these important items along, your metal detecting trip is sure to be safe, a lot of fun, and most likely more successful, too.

Daniel Bernzweig

Daniel Bernzweig

About the author: Daniel Bernzweig manages in Southborough, MA. He has written on the subject of treasure hunting and metal detecting since the mid 1980’s. He enjoys traveling with his metal detector and helping to educate others in the correct use of metal detectors in their explorations.  You can check out his article “What are the best Metal Detectors for Metal Detecting at the Beach” for some great tips on equipment selection.


A note from our treasure hunters:

We simply love to share when it comes to beaches, treasure hunting, beachcombing crafts, and beachy tips. How about you? Do you have a favorite beach you’d like to share with us? Maybe you have some great tips for beach picnics, seaside safety, or seashore activities. Please check out our Submission Guidelines for info on jumping into the fun at Beach Treasures and Treasure Beaches.  You may be our next Featured Guest Writer!

Posted in Beach Safety Tips, Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Featured Guest Writer, Sand and Shoreline, Tallies & Tips | Tagged: , , , , , | 11 Comments »

The Most Relaxing Morning Ever

Posted by Jody on September 29, 2013

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Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) is something that I’ve wanted to try for many years! SUP is a fun and easy family activity, making this fast-growing sport the perfect opportunity for just about anyone to go out and play on the water.

According to REI: “Paddle boarding offers an amazing full body workout and is becoming a favorite cross-training activity for skiers, snowboarders and other athletes. And since you’re standing at your full height, you’ll enjoy excellent views of everything from sea creatures to what’s on the horizon. It’s almost like walking on water!”

Greg and I recently spent a gorgeous New Mexican September morning paddle boarding on Cochiti Lake. It was our first experience on stand up paddle boards, so we had no idea what to expect. After suiting up with life vests, Gene Scanlon of Sol Board Sports in Albuquerque taught us everything we needed to know, and within a very short amount of time, we were eagerly launching our boards from the beach to enjoy the most relaxing morning ever on placid Cochiti Lake. It really was almost like walking on water. Neither one of us even fell in the lake (and falling off the board was the one thing I really had anticipated)! 🙂

Gene told us that paddle boarders could burn up to 1,100 calories per hour, and after two hours on the lake, we could definitely believe it! Our leg & arm muscles felt like wet noodles. (Note to self: Next time eat a heartier breakfast!) But when we returned to the little sandy beach, Greg and I both felt completely relaxed, refreshed, and rejuvenated. We were hooked after only one time out!

I see many, many more stand up paddling days in our future!

Do you have a favorite beach sport? Do tell! We’d love to hear about it.

This week’s Travel Theme is “Relaxing.”

Helpful links:

REI / Stand Up Paddleboarding

Cochiti Lake, New Mexico

American Canoe Association


Posted in Inland Shores | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments »

10 Classic Summer Beach Games to Play With the Kids

Posted by Jody on June 25, 2013

Today’s Featured Guest Writer is Emma Roberts of Summer Nanny:

A trip to the beach might be all about the sun and surf in theory, but that’s just not always the case when there are little ones in tow. Kids’ shorter attention spans make diversions necessary, even when they’re surrounded by the wonder of the crashing waves and acres of pristine sand. Instead of tossing out a pail and shovel for everyone to squabble over while you read a book, why not indulge in these 10 classic beach games for a bit of quality time with your brood over summer vacation?

Let's Play!

Let’s Play!

  • Volleyball – When the question of playing games on the beach is posed, volleyball is the first that comes to mind for many people. Many beaches even have nets already set up that are municipally maintained, so all you’ll have to bring is a ball. Be prepared, however, for a long wait for a turn at the nets if you’ve chosen a particularly popular destination.
  • Miniature Golf – Along the boardwalks and seaside amusement parks that dot the coast, one of the most common sights are miniature golf courses. While you certainly can shell out admission for each member of your party to play putt-putt, you can also foster creativity and save a few bucks by building your own mini golf course. Dig holes, mold obstacles out of damp sand and invest in a few cheap plastic golf sets. Before you know it, you’ll be playing a rousing game of golf for a fraction of the cost at a shore course.
  • Frisbee – If you really want to get the whole family involved in a beach game, this is one that allows you to even get Rover in on the fun. It’s wise to invest in a handful of Frisbees, rather than just packing one because they’re easily lost or blown away. Being able to pull another out of your bag will keep the fun rolling, even if one goes missing on a crowded beach.
  • Cornhole – A classic at backyard barbecues and tailgating parties, whether you call it “cornhole” or “beanbags,” this game is an ideal way to pass time at the beach. Try to arrive before peak times or select a spot that’s a bit farther from the shoreline to ensure that you have enough room.
  • Sharks and Minnows – While this adults-versus-kids version of Hide and Seek typically requires the adults to be blindfolded, you may want to skip the scarves in favor of simply closing your eyes while you’re wading through shallow waters at low tide for safety’s sake.
  • Bocce Ball – Beloved by many beachgoers, Bocce ball is such a classic beach game that it’s often referred to as “beach bowling.” Sets range from relatively cheap to quite expensive, and many municipally maintained beaches have Bocce ball courts to accommodate players.
  • Tag – When the beach is crowded with other people, sending your kids weaving in and out of other groups as you chase after them might not be your idea of a good time. In the earlier morning hours or past peak times, however, it’s a great way to get in a workout while keeping your little ones giggling.
  • Kickball – A sort of hybrid between baseball and soccer, kickball is a playground classic beloved by generations of kids. Bring this traditional game to the beach by substituting an inflatable beach ball for the harder kick ball that’s typically used. As an added bonus, the soft beach ball makes the game more suitable for smaller kids.
  • Relay Races – Whether you’re filling buckets or passing batons, there’s nothing quite like a good relay race to foster a sense of healthy competition while keeping everyone in the family active. Take turns acting as referee so that everyone has the chance to rest and get hydrated between rounds.
  • Tug-of-War – Adults will probably have to throw the game a bit by not exerting all of their strength, unless the sides are unevenly matched in kids’ favor. Still, all you need is a rope and a sense of adventure to create hours of fun in the sun and spray.

As with any beach games, it’s important to keep safety first. Games that require kids to hide or sprint across a crowded beach may not be ideal choices during peak time, as the last thing you’ll want is to lose track of a little one. Take the time of day and beach conditions under consideration, then have a ball!

Reprinted with permission from Summer Nanny.


Posted in Featured Guest Writer, Tallies & Tips | Tagged: , , | 18 Comments »

Sand and Spokes: May is National Bike Month!

Posted by Jody on May 17, 2013

San Francisco Aquatic Park Pathway

Cycling at San Francisco’s Aquatic Park Beach

Joy Riding on Bryan Beach, Texas Gulf Coast

Joy Riding on Bryan Beach, Texas Gulf Coast

A Ride to the Beach!

A Ride to the Beach!

Bike Rack at Manhattan Beach, California

Free Parking: Wavy Bike Rack at Manhattan Beach, California

Why not ride a bicycle to the beach during National Bike Month? 

Bicycle riding is fun & healthy, and the parking is free!


Helpful links:

Posted in Today's Special | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

Beach Activities for Everyone ~ Even Non-Beach-Lovers (Seriously?!)

Posted by E.G.D. on April 25, 2013

Today’s Featured Guest Post Writer is Erica Kritt from The Cruise Web:

The ever-popular Seawall Beach at Galveston Island, Texas

The ever-popular Seawall Beach at Galveston Island, Texas

I confess, I used to hate the beach. I hated the sand getting in everything, I thought it was boring, and on top of that I don’t like my beach bod. However, now I love the beach. Working at a travel agency, destinations that are rich in beaches come up a lot, so I have a lot of knowledge about what to do on a beach. I’d like to share how the beach can be a fun place for everyone from grandpa to baby with a few activities that will be fun for all. Believe me, if I could get over my dislike of the beach, then you or your family members can too.

Looking to Relax
If you can find a quiet beach, you are set, and even if you are at a popular spot, put on your shades and some soothing music and focus in on the waves coming in and out. Lounging on the beach is a great chance to get out in nature, but you can surround yourself with creature comforts, like a pillow, your e-reader and some tropical smoothies.

Most relaxing activity: Many cruise lines have private islands in the Caribbean and the Bahamas, where you can even experience a massage in a cabana right on the beach.

Shelling with Family

Shelling with Family

Looking to Explore
A beach has a lot to offer for both kids and adults looking to discover creatures they’ve never seen, or to find those special shell treasures. In fact, finding a good beach could be an expedition in itself.

Best Exploration: Snorkeling excursions are a chance to see the creatures that lurk just underneath the water. In the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean, you’ll have a chance to see beautifully colored fish and interesting coral formations.

Looking to Play
Sand castles aren’t just for kids, on the shore you can try your hand at making sand sculptures. The beach is fun, but things can get really fun in the water. At many beaches you can rent wave runners, or fly high while parasailing over the ocean. Some cruise lines even offer passengers the chance to take a horse ride on the beach and even in the surf.

The Most Fun of All
Anytime you can learn a new skill, it makes your experience that much more rich. Beaches in Hawaii and other tropical destinations offer surf lessons where you can test your balance in the ocean.

As you can see, there really is an activity on the beach for everyone. All you have to do is make sure you visit a beach that offers what you are looking for, read reviews, speak with a travel agent, and get ready for some fun in the sun.

About the Author: Erica Kritt works at The Cruise Web, a travel agency that specializes in cruising. Her favorite beach has to be the one on Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian Cruise Line’s private island in the Bahamas.

Posted in Featured Guest Writer, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , | 7 Comments »

From our Rivers to the Oceans

Posted by Jody on January 3, 2013

Albuquerque Bio Park, Albuquerque Aquarium

Albuquerque Bio Park, Albuquerque Aquarium

Even on a cold winter’s day in the American Southwest, there’s plenty to learn about our world’s rivers, lakes, oceans, rugged shorelines, and sandy beaches. In Albuquerque, New Mexico, we have a wonderful BioPark which includes the Albuquerque Aquarium. As you enter the aquarium building, the first exhibit relates to our own Rio Grande, the river that flows from southwestern Colorado to the Gulf of Mexico.

Sign at the entrance of the Albuquerque Aquarium

Sign at the entrance of the Albuquerque Aquarium

As romantic as it might sound to say that a person could send a message in a bottle down a river in New Mexico to be found by someone on an ocean beach, that really is the case, and that is not actually a good thing if one stops to think of that bottle as a piece of trash.  We desert dwellers might not think about the ocean on a daily basis (well, perhaps in our daydreams), but our behaviors upstream do have an impact on the ecosystem of the Gulf of Mexico and beyond. Taking the kiddos to this aquarium is a great way to teach them (and ourselves) about the importance of keeping our waters clean. As we say in The Land of Enchantment, “Toss no mas!”

Rio Grande Exhibit, Albuquerque Aquarium

Rio Grande Exhibit, Albuquerque Aquarium

"Oh the Mighty Rio Grande, Flowing to the Gulf."  - Gulf of Mexico Beach, Texas

“Oh the Mighty Rio Grande, Flowing to the Gulf.” – Gulf of Mexico Beach, Texas

You never know!  Maybe that piece of beach glass you found on a beach in Alabama found its way there from farther inland than you imagined.  In the end, there is no way to know, but it is interesting to think about, and the more people we can educate about keeping trash out of our waterways, the better, even if trash can be turned into a beachcomber’s treasure.

So, happy beach combing, everyone!  Do you think that those of us who like to collect beach glass, driftwood, and beach pottery pieces are really clearing upstream litter off the beach?  Wouldn’t that be a nice and unexpected perk!


Posted in Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Inland Shores | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Travel Theme: Circles

Posted by Jody on December 9, 2012

What a great idea for this week’s Travel Theme!

It’s easy to turn this one into a family friendly beach scavenger hunt! Simply pick a geometric shape for the day and head out to the seashore with the whole clan. The kids won’t even suspect that they’re actually doing math! How cool is that?

Today’s beachy shape is the circle. On our past beach trips we’ve spotted circles on everything from safety signs to rescue vehicles and sand dollars to sea anemones.  How about you?

This week’s Travel Theme is “Circles.”


Posted in Today's Special | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Travel Theme: Bright

Posted by Jody on November 5, 2012


“Play is the highest form of research.”

~ Albert Einstein

Here’s a bright and easy family fun beach idea. While you’re packing up the car with beach towels, sunblock and sand toys, toss in a couple of child-safe magnifying glasses.  We found ours at the local Learning is Fun! Just think of all the possibilities!

Have a wonderful day at the beach!

This week’s Travel Theme is “Bright.”


Posted in Monday Miscellaneous, Today's Special | Tagged: , , , , , | 18 Comments »

Celebrating World Oceans Day

Posted by Jody on June 8, 2012

Today is World Oceans Day!  Unofficially celebrated every June 8th since it was proposed by the Canadian government in 1992, World Oceans Day was officially recognized by the United Nations in 2008. According to the World Oceans Day website, “On World Oceans Day people around the planet celebrate and honor the body of water which links us all, for what it provides humans and what it represents.”

This year’s theme is Youth: the Next Wave for Change.

“Youth: the Next Wave for Change”

Learning about the ocean is nothing but fun! It doesn’t have to be a preachy-teachy experience.  Just have a good time while getting the kids pondering about what the world’s oceans mean to all of us.

Here are some simple ideas:

  • Take a walk on the beach.
  • Read a book with the little ones. My choices for beginning readers? One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss, Albert the Albatross by Syd Hoff, and Sailing off to Sleep by Linda Ashman. So many books are available to get even the  littlest ones thinking about life in the sea. The Beach Chair Scientist has a great list of ocean themed children’s books to help get started!
  • Visit the aquarium.
  • Watch an ocean themed documentary. Netflix has several to choose from. OK, so it’s not a documentary, but Finding Nemo is a favorite with children of all ages.

“This one has a little star. This one has a little car. Say! what a lot of fish there are!” ~Dr. Suess

Happy World Oceans Day!

Posted in Friday Finds | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

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