Friday, July 1, 2016

Beach Trip 2016 - Part 3 - The Beach!

While we have taken beach trips in the past, they've all been in the off-season, so going to the beach meant just walking and playing with the sand. The kids had never been in the ocean before. It had been almost 10 years since I had even gotten in. 

Before I start in about their first dip in the "big pool", I should say something about our accommodations. We decided to camp rather than get a hotel in order to save money. We found a campsite (Joe and Kay's Campground) in Kill Devil Hills right behind the Wright Brothers Memorial, less than 2 minutes off the main road through town. While it's primarily an RV park with full-season/year-round rentals, they have a couple of open tent sites that were perfect for our 3-room condo/tent. The usual rate is $25 for 2 people and then $5 per person after that, but they only charged us for one extra person, which was really sweet of them. The place was clean and had a fairly decent bathhouse with showers.

We got into town around 11am, set up the tent and ate lunch. A new addition to our camping gear this time was 2 folding cots for Rebecca and I rather than the inflatable mattress we'd been using for years. We just got tired of waking up with the mattress mostly deflated and us flopping on the ground. It turned out to be a great thing for us to be up off the ground because at night we had some heavy thunderstorms that caused water to pool under the tent right beneath my cot and making some puddles around the feet of it. Had we still been on the mattress, we'd have gotten wet.

So after we got set up, we changed the kids into their swimsuits and headed for the beach.First we stopped and picked up some beach toys since we didn't have any at all. We let the kids also pick out a shell from the bargain bin. Little did we know what Ezra would pick...

 It's a puffer fish... with a hat. I thought at first that it was fake.
But no. It's a real puffer fish that has been stuffed with cotton and they stuck googly eyes on it. It's simultaneously funny and horrifying.

With toys (and creepy, taxidermied fish) in hand, we headed for the beach.

 We made sure they all had floats on because we knew they'd be swamped by the waves.
The older 3 had no problem going right in. The littles got themselves wet, but really preferred to play in the sand. Every so often, Emma would walk to the edge of the waves and get herself wet. We spent the entire afternoon out there in the sand and waves and had a fantastic time. The kids really loved it and were sad to leave for dinner.

The next day, after our adventure at the Memorial and the Sand Dunes, we wanted to find a playground for the kids to blow off some steam before dinner. A quick search on our definitely-not-smart phones came up with Sandy Run Park, which was supposed to be one of the best kept secrets in Kitty Hawk. We managed to find it, but there wasn't a playground anywhere in sight. However, they had a very cool elevated boardwalk loop for nature viewing.
 The girls took off in a race.
 They found a ramp that went down to a platform in the water where you could tie up a canoe. From there, you could also see about a dozen turtles. We got the impression that they were fed often by visitors because they came right up to us to investigate. They looked like large Box or Painted turtles, so I wasn't concerned about Ezra's finger in this picture. I managed to catch one and pull it out of the water, but it scurried off the dock before I could even get the camera up to take a picture. So much for turtles being slow!
 As we walked around the boardwalk, we spotted this sign explaining what kind of turtles we had seen.
 The girls got into a bit of a wrestling match. I have to point out that this is a common occurrence at home when they have nothing else to occupy their time. They just grab hands and push each other until one falls down.
 There were some ripe wild blackberries along the walk.
 At this point the boys got into the race.

When we got back around, I loaded the kids in the car while Rebecca took the time for more yoga. :)
 After a quick dinner, we went out to the beach in Kitty Hawk, about 5 miles up from where we had gone the day before.
 The water was freezing! However, it didn't stop us from going in. 
 Gabe really got into the waves this time.

 Ezra spent more time on the beach experiencing the waves as the washed the sand around him.
 The girls pretty much avoided the water altogether.

 I managed to catch a sand crab for the kids to see. Unfortunately, it was getting dark, so the camera focused on the wrong part of my hand.
 Even though we were looking Northeast, the colors at sunset were really pretty after the storm.

  That night, we had some more storms roll through, though this time, it was primarily wind that was heavy enough to do a little damage to our rainfly, but not enough to cause a leak, thank goodness!

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