The sound of waves breaking along the shore. The slight saltiness of the sea air. The cool silkiness of the water. There’s something about the beach that can wash away the stress of everyday life, even if just for a few moments.
As much as I am awestruck by mountains, canyons, and deserts; the beach will always be my happy place. Maybe it’s because I grew up in Florida or because my parents took me on some great trips to the beach when I was younger. Whatever the genesis, my love of sand and waves runs deep.
Thankfully, we only live a few hours from the beach, but the craziness of life means we don’t make it to the coast as often as I’d like. We were scheduled to visit Edisto Beach State Park for our first beach trip of the summer a few weeks ago, but a stomach bug decided we needed to stay home instead. The South Carolina State Park system graciously allowed us to move our reservation to the next available weekend, which happened to be in August.
I knew I couldn’t wait until August for some beach therapy, so I started stalking the park system’s reservation site, and luckily, found a great spot at Myrtle Beach State Park for this past weekend. We packed up our camper and headed east.
When we arrived, we were pleasantly surprised by our campsite. It was huge, shaded, and steps from the bathhouse and the playground. It was also full hook-up, all for $55 a night, which is almost half what the large RV resorts charge this time of year.
We (okay, mostly Steven) made quick work of setting up the camper. Set-up is definitely getting easier and quicker the more we venture out. Then we decided Steven would drop me and the boys off at the beach while he went and picked-up some groceries. The plan was for us to just walk on the beach and play in the sand, but Everett had other ideas. He has definitely inherited my love of the water, and was begging to go play in the waves. I stripped him down to this shorts and let him go at it.
Juggling an enthusiastic toddler and an infant at the beach by myself proved to be a bit stressful. So, when Everett asked to play with some kids nearby who were splashing in a pool that had been dug on the beach, I obliged, relieved to have him a bit more contained. Soon after making our way to the small pool, I realized one of the boys Everett was playing with was actually a friend of his cousin’s, who we’d met a few times before. Small world!
Before long the sun began to set, so I convinced Everett to head back to our campsite (not without some three-year-old angst). Steven grilled up some steak for fajitas, and we enjoyed some quiet time as a family.
We had a bit of a rude awakening the next morning when I realized it was thundering. We rushed to secure our site, then ate breakfast while the storm blew over. This was the first time we’d weathered a storm in the camper, and I was really impressed with how well it did. There was practically no sway or rock from the wind, and with the air conditioning running, you could barely even hear the rain.
Once the rain passed over, we headed back down to the beach. With a return to a one-to-one parent-to-child ratio, it was much more relaxing. Jase dipped his toes in the ocean for the first time and enjoyed a nap in the sand. Everett splashed in the waves with Steven, built some epic sand castles, and hunted for buried pirate treasure.
After a few hours, we reluctantly left the beach to find lunch. We decided to head south toward Murrells Inlet to grab some seafood. We ended up at Graham’s Landing. The food was good, and reasonably priced. But the drinks were another story. When the bill came Steven realized they’d charged us $10 for two sweet teas. I guess we should have checked the drink prices, but we didn’t even think about it. Lesson learned.
Huntington Beach State Park is a few minutes south of Murrells Inlet, so we decided to check it out after lunch. We made a stop at the gift shop to get our park stamp, drove through the campgrounds and took a walk on the board walk over marsh.
Huntington Beach also is home to Atalaya, the Moorish-style winter home of Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington. The home was originally built in 1931, and is now open to the public. After walking the board walk, the boys both fell asleep, so we didn’t walk though Atalaya. However, after we got home we saw a YouTube channel we follow, Less Junk More Journey, had posted a great video featuring the park and Atalaya, if you want to check it out.
Overall, Huntington Beach State Park was beautiful, but with its playgrounds and nature/activity center, I felt like Myrtle Beach State Park was a better fit for young families. Plus, the nightly rates at Myrtle Beach are actually a little bit less than the rates at Huntington Beach. But, you really can’t go wrong with either park!
By the time we made it back to the campground, it was about time for dinner. Steven cooked another great meal, then we enjoyed sitting around the campsite. Everett tested out my new hammock. He seemed to be a fan, so much so, that I can’t give you any feedback on it because he didn’t want to share! Soon the storms threatened a return, so we made our way into the camper for the night. This was the first trip we’ve done where Everett actually fell asleep in the camper both nights without one of us having to go drive him around the campground, so we must have worn him out.
In the morning, it was time to pack up and head home. As we pulled away, I actually got a bit emotional seeing the ocean disappear in our rearview mirror. When I said I didn’t want to leave, Everett echoed my sentiment from the backseat. Two nights just wasn’t enough. We all agreed that we needed to stay at least three nights in the future. We’ve only been back a few days, but the call of the ocean is already getting louder. I have a feeling we’ll be heading back soon!