My Favorite Time on the Beach

It is official! The best time on the beach is a universal phenomenon. I am happy to report my instincts are international … and fabulous, because of where I am. We are spending a few weeks in Italy with the kids, and we spent the day at a great beach town, Castiglione della Pescaia. Our last family trip was to Anguilla where the sands are as white as my babies’ bottoms. Here, the sand is dark and therefore, really hot, but the water is blue, the breeze is warm and people try to sell you crazy, useless stuff you don’t need. The more things change …

Growing up, going to Rockaway Beach with my mother who was a beach bum at heart, we would arrive early, full throttle to the ocean. My mom would lay out a blanket … God bless her, the woman never needed a chair, sunscreen or a magazine. My sisters and I would play, play and play until … du, du, dunnn, we got bored. This would usually happen at about 3pm when the midday heat would start to go to our brains. After about an hour of sulking and sweating and pouting, POOF!, like magic, we would regain our mojo, my mom would open one, well-hidden fruity wine cooler, and the world was once again our personal oyster shell. “Ahhhh,” she would exhale, “This is my favorite time on the beach.” A couple hours later, we would find ourselves in the surf, pretending we couldn’t hear her pleas of, “C’mon girls, it’s time to go.” The 3pm lull was long gone and forgotten. Years later, when I would sit side by side with her, in chairs because of my aching back, we would split a bottle of wine together as the sun started its descent, and she would say, “Ahhhh, this is my favorite time on the beach.”

There are many things I learned from my mother, almost all of which were absorbed and not instructed, as she was never one to impart her views on anyone else. My love of the beach certainly comes from her. My love of wine on the beach certainly comes from her. And, my favorite time on the beach will always be 4 pm.


The sun, still warm and glowing, is less harsh and glaring, giving the world a more filtered and beautiful version of herself — like a mirror with really good lighting.

The water is warmer because of its relationship with the air.

It is happy hour.

And, most importantly, it is the time when even the most difficult of kids starts to make his or her own fun.

At about 2:30 today (her timing being slightly off because of jet lag), my Serena started to complain. “When are we leaving? I’m really hungry. Isn’t anyone else bored?!?” My husband made a move as if to start gathering our things, until he got my, don’t you dare succumb to her pleas and ruin my day look. Yes, I have this look. We all settled back down, and an hour later, almost right on cue, I was distracted from my book, by Serena, who was the one laughing the loudest in the game she and her siblings contrived.

I have seen too many newbie parents ruin a perfectly good beach day (or any day for that matter) because of a whiny, bored kid. My advice is this. Give it some time. Ignore them. The beach is the perfect place to be bored and boredom is an art. I promise, this being a vow I am very comfortable with as I have never seen it fail, they will come around. The best time on the beach will win over even the most stubborn of party poopers. After all, as I learned today, it is a universal rule.

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Author: Karen Latimer

Karen is a Family Doctor, mom of five and founder of Tips From Town.


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