Growing Up Florida: Footprints on Ormond Beach

April 28, 2018

I’ve lived my entire life in Florida, so naturally, I grew up on the beach. And although it may seem redundant to think that every Floridian grows up on the beach, for me, it’s a unique and special time that will always be mine. If you really take advantage of what our beautiful state has to offer, it’s so easy to beach it all summer long.  You can literally reach the beach in only a few minute or hours from any point in Florida. Having such easy access to such beautiful destinations only adds to the special time you spend with your family.




On a personal level, I have often felt that few people get the time to really enjoy the presence of their family the way I have, year after year, in a place where everyone is happy. The beach life is free of the dramas and responsibilities of home. It’s a place to relax and find your inner peace. For most families in the U. S., vacation is away from home, but growing up in Florida, my family and I have discovered the perfect at home get away. There’s this little place in Ormond Beach we call our second home. And for as long as I can remember, we’ve been escaping to The Cove resort every Fourth of July for seven days of pure, blissful beachy fun.



This has always been a larger than life family affair.  Everyone is there. Cousins, aunts, uncles, more cousins, great aunts and uncles, grandparents.  And as time went on, more cousins, nieces and nephews. We would all pile into a few smatterings of hotel rooms down Ormond Beach and claim it as our own.  We took advantage of everything the area had to offer, especially the Daytona Boardwalk, which is only a hop, skip, and a jump away. The flashing lights at night signal when you’re close, and if you watch carefully, you can see the Slingshot shoot into the sky.


With a family of instigators, we could convince anyone to take a ride in it. Waiting in line is the hardest part. With each passing moment you watch the Slingshot send another rider for the stars. Screams echo through the air before they come down laughing and begging to do it all over again. When it’s your turn, butterflies dance in your stomach.  As soon as you get strapped in, your heart wants to spring from your chest. Just before you make your ascent into the sky, your stomach does a few joyful flips. It's such a blast!



But that’s not the only way to enjoy yourself. Even if you can’t be convinced to ride, you can move on down to the Daytona Beach Pier. There, you can find a more casual and calming experience. You can walk amongst and above the jostling waves of the Atlantic. It’s the perfect place to spend time by yourself or with friends.  Watching the ocean while the breeze brushes away any sting sting of the summer sun can make anything melt away.



When you get hungry after a day spent fighting riptides or need a break from tanning your skin into a glorious bronze, IHOP is right across the street and gift shops are found every two steps. I’ve spent many days walking along the stores, searching for the perfect gift to take home or a new beach towel to dry with. When the smell of pancakes and coffee begins to fill your nose, you know you’re almost “home.” My family and I spent so many mornings and evenings in that IHOP. The staff even knew each one of our names. With stomachs full and happy, we would often go out for a long walk at night on the sandy shores of the Atlantic. My childhood and adult summers were spent shooting off fireworks in the sand, watching them explode in the night sky with the ocean singing nearby. To this day it sends a joyful spurt through my heart thinking about my holiday on that beach. We made sure to have the best time, every time.Not only that, we've made lasting friendships with other families that vacationed there each year like we did. We stay in contact with them throughout the year. Few things will ever trump the value we have placed on spending time with our family, and the beach days I’ve had have been the center of many great family memories.




As fun as it was in the sun, there was rarely a more special moment than nightly beach walks. It used to be a game to me and my cousins. We’d take our flashlights and we’d “hunt” crabs on the beach. They only come out at night, when they can easily catch little fish in the ocean’s wake and the seagulls are fast asleep. The same couldn’t be said of us kids, we were awake and we were ready to catch the hard shelled crustaceans that roamed the soft, cool, sand. I still laugh when I think about it. We were nothing more than a bunch of kids giggling up and down the sandy summer surf. Once we spotted a crab with our searchlights, we all gave it a chase, squealing little piglets when we would finally circle one and it would run at our feet. Every now and then a surprise would run across our toes and we’d laugh because it tickled and scream because we were scared it might pinch us. Sometimes, if we were lucky enough, my dad or my older brother would actually catch it for us. They’d pick it up, we’d poke at its little pincers and stare into it's beady eyes before releasing it back into the sand. They taught us how to hold them without getting pinched, with your thumb and forefinger on either side of the shell, right next to the legs. When we would release them, you had to watch fast because they blend perfectly with the sand and could quickly disappear against it or flee into the water.



But even more amazing than the sea crabs, as it went, our summers fell right into the center of the sea turtle egg season. Each year during this time, sea turtles climb onto the beach at night to lay their eggs. On rare occasions, we’ve had the privilege of seeing a female sea turtle venture from the ocean onto the sand to lay her eggs. Our parents would always make sure we didn’t disturb them. It’s moments like this that truly make you appreciate the Florida life, considering most people never get see one except at a zoo. I’ve seen baby sea turtles crawling towards the ocean. I’ve helped to guide them to the ocean with my flashlight. For any nature lover, this is a true experience of wonder and beauty.



All in all, summers spent on the beach as a child were the best days of my life. As an adult, I cherish the memories and I endeavor to make more. The beach is a sacred place to me. It’s where I learned to make sand castles. Where I held hands with a boy for the first time.  It was here that I learned to wrestle riptides and ponder the complexities of life. And now I get to watch my family bring in a new generation to grow and play on that beach. It will forever me be our second home, Ormond Beach, FL.








Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Please reload

Featured Posts

Florida Life: Why So Many are Moving to Live It

February 9, 2018

Please reload

Recent Posts
Please reload

Please reload

Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square