Mental Vacation and Beach Bums Book Giveaway!


Happy Monday Everyone! Remember those old commercials designed to whisk you away from you current situation into something fabulous, interesting, unique, and fun? Well, on this dog-day-middle-of-summer-Monday, my friends, I have one those for you.

Feeling rundown? Wiped out? Tired of the same… old… grind? Then, you need the Magic Mental Miracle Wand! Wave it and, poof! You’re not stuck in the office or home with a bunch of kids who are bored, bored, bored with summer. One shake of the Miracle Wand, and you’re on the beach, soaking up rays, building sand castles, having adventures, smelling the sat air, and working on a killer tan!

Okay, seriously, I wish I had the Magic Miracle Wand to offer you this Monday (I’d buy one myself) but I do have the next best thing.  Today, porch pals, Colleen Coble and I have teamed up to bring you a Beach Bums Giveaway featuring an adorable Outer Banks Lighthouses tote bag, a $50 coupon sea glass jewelry shop coupon, and autographed books set on the beautiful Outer Banks! The prize winner will receive Colleen’s newest Hope Beach novel, Seagrass Pier, my Hatteras novel, The Prayer Box, and an early copy of my upcoming September book, The Story Keeper.

If you can’t drop what you’re doing right now and take off for the beach, the next best thing is opening a book and taking a little literary day trip. In the meantime, how about a little mental vacation with a few photos from the Outer Banks and some inspiring quotes about the magic of sand and sea?


Pick your nearest large city. This is how far you’ll be traveling to join us on the Outer Banks ;)


Heaven seems a little closer near the ocean
— Anon


Toes in the sand, nose in a book. Don’t worry, Mr. Ghost Crab, we’ll share!


In my dream, I see the sea, the utterly calm sea. — Sven Lindqvist


There was a magic about the sea. People were drawn to it. People wanted to love by it, swim in it, play in it, look at it. It had a playful side too, as it enjoyed the crowd, tossed the children about, knocked lilos over, tipped over windsurfers, occasionally gave sailors helping hands; all done with a secret little chuckle
–Ceclia Ahern, The Gift


Through one lighthouse, You guide many ships.
— Iola Anne Poole, The Prayer Box


Storms bring the detritus of other people’s lives into our own,
a reminder that we are not alone,
and of how truly insignificant we are.
— Karen White, Sea Change


there’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away.
–Sarah Key


Those who live by the sea can hardly form a single thought of which the sea would not be part.
— Hermann Broch


Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson


It’s always helpful to have somebody help buoy you in difficult times and problem-solve with and to share the marvelous moments with as well.
— Jane Poynter


We are tied to the ocean,
and when we go back to the sea,
whether it is to sail or to watch —
we are going back from where we came.
— John F Kennedy


hark, now hear the sailors cry,
smell the sea, and feel the sky
let your soul & spirit fly, into the mystic
— Van Morrison



May your joys be as deep as the ocean.
— Anon

Outer Banks Beach Bums Book Giveaway!

Just for fun and to celebrate Colleen’s new Outer Banks book, Seagrass Pier, we’re giving away a Beach Bums book pack featuring an Outer Banks tote bag, Outer Banks refrigerator magnets, a $50 sea glass shop gift certificate, and best of all THREE SIGNED BOOKS! The winner will receive Seagrass Pier, The Prayer Box, and an early reader’s edition of The Story Keeper (upcoming in September). We’ll leave the giveaway open all week and announce a winner here on BelleView on Sunday, and on our Facebook pages. To enter, answer the !uestion Of the Day in the comments below!

OBX Giveaway Collage

Question of the day: Do you have a favorite memory of a vacation moment? Share it with us and take us on another mental vacation!


The Prayer Box — Selected as One of Booklist’s Top Ten of 2013!



Click for peek at The Tidewater Sisters

 Click for sneak peek at The Story Keeper




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Selected among BOOKLIST'S Top 10 of 2012 and Top 10 of 2013, Lisa Wingate weaves Southern settings with elements of women's fiction, history, and mystery to create stories that Publisher's Weekly calls "Masterful" and Library Journal refers to as "Lyrical and beautiful." She is a seven-time Carol Award nominee, and a two-time Carol Award winner. She once dreamed of making the Olympics and winning the National Finals Rodeo, but was thwarted by an inability to do a back flip on the balance beam and parents who wouldn't finance a rodeo career, so she took her first-grade teacher's advice and became a writer instead ;)

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  1. NanN says

    This last Fall my husband and I hitched our little trailer to the pick-up and headed-off for The Gulf Coast … a much anticipated, first time thing for the both of us.
    Please keep in mind that we are Oregonians … born, raised, and raised our children in the toe-blue-ing waters of our Pacific Ocean. Always the good sport and great DaD, my husband would brave the frigid-foam, at best, to ankle-deep in order to give our two kids a sense of Family Fun in waters that they never seemed to register as “cold”. With brave smile on his face (well, he always said that look to his mouth was a smile!), this dear man would last as long as necessary for his family to splash, squeal and giggle our way into making some fantastic summer memories together.
    Now, with that said, imagine my surprise …. no, shock is a much better word … imagine the look on my face as I straightened-up from stuffing my pockets full of seashells in the Galveston sands to see this same man, almost waist-deep in ocean water, wearing a most delightful smile! In answer to my look, he merely shrugs his shoulders (still smiling) and says, “Well,THIS ocean is warm”.

    • says

      Nan – your story is my own. We lived in Portland and often visited the Oregon Coast (nothing like clamming with layers of coats and your toes freezing inside boots layered with socks!) and like you guys, we were charmed by the warm Gulf water!

    • Lisa Wingate says

      I can relate! We spent many a summer vacation in the chilly waters of Lake Michigan while visiting grandparents. By comparison our balmy summers in Galveston were a steam bath, but the water was warm!

  2. Sandy Guilbeaux says

    A favorite memory on a vacation was when we took our 2 children (ages 12 and 8-then, they are now 38 and 34 ) to Disney in Orlando, Florida from Houston, Texas Florida. We made a stop in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. The water was so blue with white sand on the beach, so relaxing and the water very clear. The days were very warm and so was the water. The children always loved the beach but this was a “special beach” as they called it with the white sand. After an afternoon on the beach the children started to get antsy and ready to continue our journey to Disney. I kept commenting, Oh, I love It here at the beach !! Can we just stay here and not go to Disney, please ?? So my son age 8 years, said, ” I have a great idea everyone…..Dad can go and get Mickey and Minnie Mouse and bring them back here to us on the beach and then we do not have to go to Disney because I saw on the cartoon that Mickey and Minnie Mouse have bathing suits !! ” We were all laughing so hard including our son. The next morning we continued our vacation from Fort Walton beach to Disney and when our son seen Mickey Mouse…he asked him, “Can you go pack clothes and your bathing suit because we are taking you and Minnie Mouse to a beautiful white beach !!!!

  3. Jo-Anne C says

    As a child, we spent two weeks and many weekends at White Horse Beach, Massachusetts. I remember the excitement when we knew we would be making the trip. We got there to find dozens of cousins, aunts, uncles and friends. The children would get up early, eat breakfast and head for the pond ( couldn’t go to the beach unless adults were with us. We would swim, play, catch polywogs, and just relax in the sun. Later in the day we went to the beach (just down the road from the cottage) and there we jumped waves in the cold Atlantic surf while yelling and singing. We had to be told to get out of the water when our lips turned blue. It was the most amazing time of my life and someday soon, I am going back to White Horse.

    • Lisa Wingate says

      That sounds like a beautiful place and such a picture of childhood — long days with plenty of time for adventure.

  4. says

    My husband and I took a trip to Qamea, Fiji. Our flight originated in Anchorage (that’s where we were stationed at the time. We stayed overnight in LA and then boarded our plane for a 10 hour flight to Nada. We arrived exhausted and we still had further to go. From Nada we took a small (very small) plane on a two island hop that landed us in Taveuni. Wait we are not done…from Taveui we took a wooden motorboat to Qamea. But oh was it all worth it…
    On the island of Qamea we were 2 of 8 guests. Our thatched roof bure was an inviting island retreat situated just yards from the shore. The food was exquisite and the island entertainment coordinator took extra care not to overload our schedule. For the first time in my life I tried scuba diving. Fiji is said to have world class diving and I believe their claims. Our Creator God has hidden so much beauty beneath the waves!
    We stayed on the island for 7 days doing various excisions and enjoying the company of one another. It was so nice to unplug from everything. Besides the iPods we had taken with us we were without phones, a computer, or television. That itself is paradise in my mind.
    As our motorboat departed Qamea on the final day we vowed never to return to our island paradise. We would treasure up our memories and hold them in our hearts forever.

  5. Lisa says

    Every year while growing up, my family went to Virginia Beach every summer. In all those years, not one time did I ever see my Daddy in swimming trunks. I never even saw him step onto the sand. He took us because we loved it.
    So, when my son was 9 years old, we took Daddy and Momma to Isle of Palms with us. Daddy would stay close to our house while we played on the beach. Jacob (my son) kept telling Papaw all about his fun on the beach. So, on our third day, we were playing on the beach and Jacob starts pointing toward the house.
    There came my Dad, in blue jeans and tennis shoes, right down on the beach. He said he wanted to see his grandson having a good time. He sat under the umbrella in his jeans and shoes, but had a wonderful time with his grandson.
    Daddy passed away March 3, 2013. Jacob is his only grandchild. One of Jacob’s favorite memories is that day on the beach when Papaw came to see him having fun. It is my favorite too.

    • Lisa Wingate says

      Sweet! We have a few of those Paw-paws in our family too. Grandkids have amazing power over them!

  6. MJ says

    We took a vacation to OBX with our extended family about 22 years ago. We rented 2 ocean front houses side by side, We were excited because we had never been before! My husband was particularly excited about being so close to the Gulf Stream for fishing! The only tow vehicle for our boat lacked air conditioning. So we packed our 2 sons in a car with one of my sisters so at least they could ride in comfort. After a 10 hour trip in sweltering heat, we arrived only to find that while we were surrounded by water, the closest place to launch the boat the over an hour away!! We still had fun even though hubby never got to fish the Gulf Stream.

    • Lisa Wingate says

      You just reminded me of sitting in the sweltering heat waiting for the Galveston crossing with no air conditioning and hot, sweaty kids. It was all worth it in the end, though!

  7. Tracy Melhinch says

    I went on my first trip to the East Coast, 2 years ago…It was the most magical vacation ever! I went on my first ever whale watch, and that memory will bring me joy for the rest of my life! We toured Boston, Salem, Plymouth, and Cape Cod…It rained most of the time, but It didn’t even bother me, I was having so much fun! I think my favorite part was beach combing on the beaches of Cape Cod…We walked for hours and hours collecting our treasures!

  8. says

    My husband and I went on a vacation with no plans. Just got into the car and started driving. We drove around Lake Superior. Best vacation ever. Copper Harbor, MI is one of the most beautiful places to see, especially in the fall.

    • says

      I adore Lake Superior, Julie! My very popular Rock Harbor series is set up there in that area. I mixed a little bit of Ontonagon, a little bit of Houghton, and a little bit of Copper Harbor to make up my imaginary town of Rock Harbor.

  9. Cindy Goar says

    My husband and I were able to go to the panhandle of Florida one fall. We explored the coast of FL as we drove home. Visited Appalachicola and St. George Island. Found some beautiful and peaceful places that we had not known about in our own state. It was a special time for my husband and myself.

  10. Linda Gerrald says

    I’ve never had a beach vacation (although my girls and I have one planned in September!). However, every year my daughter, her best friend (and my adopted daughter) and her mother and I take a special girl’s trip. One of my favorites was our first…for my 50th birthday. We spent several days in Natchitoches, LA (in July, no less!). We rented a room in the historic downtown district, so we could see all of the downtown sites by foot. We also toured an antebellum plantation, visited an alligator park, and cried while watching “Steel Magnolias” (which was filmed in Natchitoches). Our cottage was part of an historic estate with a wonderful private swimming pool in the backyard, which provided us with some special evening swims and relaxation. The trip was such a success that we decided it would become a yearly tradition. We have traveled to Hot Springs, AR; Ft. Worth, TX; Eureka Springs, AR; Austin, TX; and Jefferson/Marshall, TX. We hope to continue the tradition as our girls become mothers and have their own daughters, who will eventually join in with us.

    • Lisa Wingate says

      What a wonderful yearly tradition. There’s nothing like a girls trip. Enjoy that first beach vacation!

  11. says

    Wonderful post, Lisa! I enjoyed the quotes and pics so much and you two have put together a fabulous vacay for some lucky winner! Best of luck to all of our readers today!

  12. Cheryl Baranski says

    As a teenager we went on a vacation to the mountains to Crabtree Falls.
    It is the last vacation that I can remember that my grandparents went with us.
    I so loved that vacation. I can look back of pictures of it with loving thoughts about it.
    Remember the wonderful times when my grandparents were with us.
    Sweet memories until I see them again in heaven.

    • Lisa Wingate says

      Isn’t that one of the best things about vacations? They leave us with sweet memories we get to keep a lifetime.

  13. Sarah Bolander says

    My favorite vacation was last May. My husband, myself, our daughter (age 4), and our son (age 1 1/2) went to Disneyland, Venice Beach, Huntington Beach, and Knott’s Berry Farm. We had so much fun playing with the baby crabs and looking for seashells at the beach.

    • Lisa Wingate says

      There is nothing, nothing, nothing like taking kids to the beach. So many discoveries and adventures.

  14. says

    My favorite vacation happened when I was a single missionary in S. Korea and had the opportunity to go to Bali with some friends. I spent much of my time by the pool with a book. The most relaxing vacation ever – I can still feel the gentle breezes…

  15. Nancy K says

    It always helps to conjure up thoughts our OBX vacation including stopping in Duck to find a most colorful kite, walking across the marshes to visit the Corolla Lighthouse, and running around ON Jockey’s Ridge. So many other sweet memories of the horses near the Cedar Island ferry, meeting a very interesting man in his 60s who had donated gallons and gallons of blood by giving every chance he could, finding a little cottage named Margaritaville, wading out IN the Atlantic Ocean at the break of dawn. BEAUTIFUL. BEAUTIFUL.

    • Lisa Wingate says

      Yes it is! And you just brought back some great memories for me too. I haven’t climbed jockeys ridge yet. That’s on the agenda for my next trip!

  16. says

    I am fortunate to have many, many wonderful vacation memories, the latest being the opportunity to take our 3 year old granddaughter and her mom to a quiet beach on Lake Superior,

    • Lisa Wingate says

      Trips to the Great Lakes are the stuff of my childhood. So beautiful and peaceful and great weather in the summer.

  17. Colleen says

    Our best vacations have been cabin rentals. Over the years we have stayed at cabins on lakes big and small from Lake Superior to unnamed waters. Privately owned to large resorts welcomed us. We have stayed in summer heat, the splendor of fall and the blanket of winter. Whether it is overnight, a weekend or a whole week, it always brings a relaxation that can’t be found at home. Sunrises, sunsets and other spectacular views, wildlife and nature, hiking, snowshoeing, and beach fun, deck sitting and starry nights build memories with each other, our children, and friends.

    • Lisa Wingate says

      We’ve had many wonderful cabin rentals with our boys over the years. Usually, we do this in the winter for skiing. So many special memories and now that the boys are grown, I wouldn’t trade a single one!

  18. Cindy Gomez says

    My husband and I just returned from a wonderful, mini-vacation together. We celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary with a cruise for two. No kids, dogs, cell phones, or internet. It was wonderful, simply enjoying each other’s company and nice amenities. The trip was very relaxing and a great time to reconnect (and read, of course).

  19. Rikki Andrews says

    The BEST vacation I ever took was about 10 years ago. I had two weeks coming and when everyone asked me where I planned to go I told them I was “thinking” about going to Mexico. The day came for my vacation to begin, but instead of going anywhere I spent the time locked away in my little apartment. For the first couple of days I rested. I remember dragging my Bible around by one corner like a teddy bear from my bed to the couch and back again, I would lay down read a verse or two and go right back to sleep. The best rest I have ever had in my life came during this time. For the following days I spent time reading, going to the library and going on local nature walks – just me and God. When I came back to work I was so rested up, I felt so recharged, refreshed and renewed. When anyone asked where I went – I told them Heaven. :)

  20. Sharon Timmer says

    I would have to say it was when my husband & I went to Alaska in 1997. We were there for 10 days, & we drove from Anchorage to Talkeetna & stayed at a wonderful Bed & Breakfast there, then drove back to Anchorage & flew out to St Paul Island – flew back to Anchorage & took a boat to the Kenai Fjords & stayed on Fox Island then went down to Seward & stayed at a Bed & Breakfast there. It was the most amazing time, & we hope someday we can return.

  21. Tina says

    In 2006, my daughter and I were blessed to go on a Pilgrimage to Italy and Medjugorje! It was so amazing and I fell in love with Assisi, Italy I would love to go back some day.

    Thanks for the giveaway and the chance to win some amazing books!



  22. Pamela Kern says

    My Father every 4th of July would rent out the same old cottage on the beach rd in Nags Head on the outer banks. We would sit on the front porch in rockers and a swing watching cars go by the cottage. No air conditioning. Just sea breezes thru open windows. We would walk the beach at sunrise every day. Our last vacation my father was very sick with cancer. But he managed one last walk on the beach. He died 3 months later. The best bittersweet vacation. Loved my beach vacations with him.

  23. says

    The kids were young, probably 12 & 9. We were on vacation near Pigeon Forge in a cabin in the mountains. We had experienced Dollywood & LOVED it, but this day, this day it was raining, gloomy, wet. My husband & son were downstairs reading & my daughter & I were upstairs in the loft twin beds. We were able to go places we never could’ve that day! Listening to the rain on the tin roof & a good book! Life Is Good! BEST Day EVER!!!

    • Lisa Wingate says

      Isn’t it funny how the days we don’t plan on are sometimes the best days of all? That sounds like a wonderful memory for both of you.

  24. Cathy says

    It’s a “dreary day – rainy/cloudy here in SC – a perfect day for curling up with a book at home, but alas, I have to be at work. Thanks though for giving me a reason to “take a mood-lifting trip” in my mind to two “places” – my childhood and my grandmother’s home in Portland, Maine. As a child, we traveled in the summers from SC to ME to spend time with her and the rest of my mother’s family – her three siblings and a total of their 9 children. It was a blast to do all the fun stuff kids do including going to the coast of Maine just a few miles away. Food, fun, fellowship – with loved ones and not a care in our childish world – what could be better??!! You lifted my spirits already!!!

  25. says

    Good Morning,

    I love the beach and have been to the Outer Banks several times. However, my husband just isn’t a big fan of beach vacations. He much prefers the clean air and coolness of the mountains to the sand and humidity of the beach. A few years ago I somehow twisted his arm and talked him into a vacation along Florida’s Gulf coast, mainly Sanibel and Pine Islands. This was a different trip because of the wildlife and seashells that make this area famous. The locals call it the “Sanibel Stoop” when referring to all those human bodies in such funny positions at sunrise while searching for the best shells that wash ashore overnight. There is a wildlife preserve on the island with many beautiful plants and birds. Since my husband has degrees in forestry and wildlife management, this greatly appealed to him. There was a pair of nesting bald eagles on Pine Island, again a draw for any wildlife lover. We also took a wildlife cruise that left from Pine Island and went to a number of small barrier islands in the area that were only accessible by boat. On one island, we went to a eclectic little restaurant and had a very tasty “hamburger in paradise.” It was indeed paradise. Not your Outer Banks, but for a guy in love with wildlife and a gal needing a beach fix, it was a perfect mix. Thank goodness the Lord knows how to mix it up just right!

  26. Anna says

    My favorite vacation moment was 6 years ago when we went to Disney World with our then 3 1/2 year old son. He was SO completely excited! He did not understand going to ‘Disney’, so we told him we were going to Mickey’s House for a visit and all of his friends live there , too….so, the plane ride went great…we had fun and he, of course kept asking when we were going to get to Mickey’s House. We landed in Orlando and he was just beside himself. We get off the plane and approach the end of the tunnel and he starts RUNNING and yelling, “Mickey!!! We’re HERE!!!!!!”

    Well…..of course, Mickey was not there. He keeps running and looking through the crowd…up, down, and around everyone…”Mickey!! Mickey? Mom! Where’s Mickey? I don’t see him!” Well….my heart sunk. We told him we had to drive to his house. He was satisfied and soon we got to Magic Kingdom.

    The big stage show at the castle was just beginning. We settled in to watch. All the while our son is yelling at the stage….”Mickey!!! We’re here!!! MICKEY!!! WE’RE HERE!!” Waving his hands…jumping up and down. FINALLY Mickey looks our way (in the huge audience) and waves. “Mom! He saw us. He knows we’re here!!” Then he settled down and watched the entire show in complete joy.

  27. says

    Last summer, my husband and I took a trip to Montana without our baby girl! We missed her terribly, but it was such a wonderful time to reconnect, and I felt like that simple week and a half of getting to know each other all over again really improved the quality of our marriage.

  28. RHONDA GALVIN says

    My favorite vacations were when my girls were 4 & 6 years old, and my husband and I took them to the beach in Wildwood, New Jersey. We would bring blankets, lunch, shovels, and buckets, and play in the sand and water for hours. It was so much fun.

  29. steph j says

    Going to Mammoth Cave, KY. Went there a few years ago. Such a beautiful place. My child loved the dinosaur world, where he got to see life sized dinosaur statues. He loved digging in the sand and uncovering a fake dinosaur skeleton, also watching dinosaur videos too. We also went on a cave tour in mammoth cave. Halfway down to the cave, you got to stop and eat your lunch in the cave. They actually had a small cafeteria in the cave and you could buy lunch there. Our favorite cave tour.

  30. says

    Favorite vacation moment: I actually can’t remember where we were other than I know we were staying at a Motel 6. Anyway, one morning we were getting up and my Grandma went to the window and threw open the curtains. And there we saw that the field next to us was covered with hundreds of hot air balloons! It was a magnificent sight.

  31. Linda Stuck says

    Hi Lisa, thank you so much for an opportunity to a enjoy a beach getaway. My favorite beach vacation is upcoming in August. My husband and I are escaping to New Smyrna Beach for a time of rejuvenation and celebration. We will be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary…we got started a bit later than most but these 10 years have been a blast. We prefer to stay closer to home than most but have chosen to make Florida our home (we are both West Virginia natives) and no longer feel the need to go great distance to enjoy the beauty of each new day that God has given us to share together.

    Must say that I have thoroughly enjoyed reading ALL the places others have traveled to and will be checking back to read about others.

  32. Patty D says

    When Lisa first started her research for the Prayer Box, I followed her journey longing to be there myself. My family and I use to vacation at the Outer Banks every year when we lived on the East Coast. So in April this year flew into Baltimore airport where my daughter picked me up and we headed south to Nags Head. We only had 3 days to explore and enjoy the beautiful ocean and coastline but we enjoyed every minute of our visit. Wonderful seafood, fun collecting shells, photo journaling and so much more. Now three months later and I want to go back! Take me back to the Outer Banks by picking me for the prize package!!!

  33. Cynthia Avalos says

    My best vacation was visiting my daughter in North Carolina! I flew there to spend a few days with her in the Havelock, New Bern, Beaufort area, and then we took a cross-country road trip to California where she had a new job waiting for her. She has since gone back to Eastern North Carolina for another job, but i would love to go back and visit. I loved it there! The beaches are beautiful!

  34. Kelly says

    My favorite vacation memory is from my husband’s and my first trip to VA Beach three years ago. I had been there several times as a kid, but he had never been to a beach. I scoured the internet for a hotel we could afford and found a cute, tiny place just a block off of the ocean! I packed leftovers into the ice chest that we could reheat in the microwave for dinners to keep our costs down, but we splurged and went out for seafood one night. My husband ordered some kind of sea creature that neither of us knew how to eat… I can’t remember now what they were. The waitress went past and stopped to gently suggest that he try shelling them and discarding the shells into the extra plate before eating them. :)

  35. Terrie Steevens says

    In April 0f 2001, our family of 8 ventured out of the country to Puarto Vallarta.My oldest daughter, then 18, as a show of adulthood, had her tongue and belly button pierced prior to our vacation. On the plane to Mexico, she swallowed the ball on the tongue bar. After checking in at the resort, I went down to the beach to relax. Image my panic when my two youngest daughters ran screaming that my oldest daughter needed me. Dashing to the room, expecting the worse, I find my daughter with a pair of locking pliers hanging from her tongue! She wasn’t particularly comforted when my first comment was “Get the camera!” See, my daughter had the brilliant idea of taking out her belly ring and putting it in her tongue.Using her oldest brother’s “handy dandy fold-up utility tool” she attempted to squeeze the ring closed. The pliers locked, and so we have a wonderful picture of my oldest, her tongue, and a tool!

  36. Deb F says

    I have so many good vacation memories. The most recent is when we took our two oldest Grandkids to South Dakota a couple of years ago to see Mt Rushmore and Crazy Horse. They had never been on a vacation like that. We camped and even though it was the end of May it was in the 40’s and rainy. We still sat around the campfire and roasted marshmallows and made hand pies. We even played miniature golf in the rain. It snowed a little on us when we went to Rushmore and Crazy Horse but they didn’t mind. On way home it warmed up and the last night we could go swimming which they really enjoyed since it was the first time since God brought me out of my wheelchair that I could do this with them. They had such a good time and I will always cherish this trip with them.

  37. Carol Edwards says

    I just remember the chance to try new things on vacation. First time in the water, first time trying seafood. It is always nice to have a chance at firsts.

  38. Gail Hollingsworth says

    After 30 years of marriage I was able to finally talk my husband in taking me on a cruise. It was almost 3 years ago. I was ecstatic! I started having right knee pain soon after we sailed. I walked everywhere on board ship, all ports we shopped at and more. Went to the doctor soon after getting back home. I had a torn cartilage and had to have surgery! Very memorable trip!!

  39. Beverly Gordon says

    I have to say my favorite vacation was one of the last ones I took as a kid with my grams and dad. we all went on a crab boat caught some crab my dad fell in was pretty funny. After that we went to the camp grounds and went camping had a cook out was a huge swing in the tree that i got to swing on. The camp ground was close to the beach so we collected seashells and built sand castles.My dad wore boots every where and he let me fill one boot up with seashells to bring back with us.after that we traveled to Hershey park where my folks left me in the park twice because head counts only work if evil siblings let parents know your missing instead yelled here when they did a roll call was also where i first experienced a roller coaster and figured out I like them and dont like them all at the same time heights not my favorite thing at all.

  40. michelle delp says

    If you ask my children, the memory from vacations past that sticks with them is the “raccoon under the tent”. The boys were 13, 11, and 8, and the little sister was 3 at the time. We took a long anticipated trip to Canada where we spent our first several days in a tidy little cabin. We decided we’d like to spend “just one more night” and ended up breaking out the tent on the campground. Being “newbie campers”, a snack or two may have made it into the tent, because we were awakened in the wee hours of the night by a big blob moving under the tent floor. Being unprepared for raccoon invaders, the boys broke out their little sisters “roaring lion” flashlight (which did, indeed, ROAR) and scared it away. 😀

  41. Monica VanBeekum says

    This year we are going to Kiawah Island, SC near Charleston for the first time since 2004! Our kids were small when we would go every year and it was so magical introducing them to my love of the beach and ocean. When my daughter was 14 months old she would be exhausted from running on the beach and fall asleep in the middle of eating lunch! When my son was two he fell asleep on a huge log when we went to a little island to shell and we took turns carrying him around for the afternoon!
    My son went with his best friend’s family to the Outer Banks last summer. This year they are joining us in Kiawah!

  42. Susan Wilson says

    In May of 2001, the family enjoyed a camping trip at Pismo Beach in California. I was 7 and a half months pregnant with a surrogate baby! During our camping trip I got to visit Santa Barbara for a baby shower for the parents of the baby I was carrying. It was such an awesome time for us all.

    Thanks for another great giveaway!!

  43. Christy says

    In 2001 my family went on vacation in Florida. Due to a tropical storm, most of the island we were staying on lost power. Most of the visitors left, but our resort still had power. We stayed and got to enjoy the nearly empty beaches and the large shells that were washed up by the storm! It was a very fun and memorable experience.

  44. Velma Hunsucker says

    One of my favorite vacations of all times was last October. My husband and I went to Savannah, Georgia. Savannah is one of my favorite places to visit. It was just the two of us, but we had so much fun. It was a great way to just enjoy being together without the worries of reality like my dialysis. One of the highlights of the trip was that my husband bought tickets for me to see Nicholas Sparks speak. I got to meet him and have my picture made with him. I was like a giddy schoolgirl, which my husband thought was hilarious. I got an autographed copy of his latest book, which I cherish. By the way, Nicholas Sparks is very tall and handsome, but he can’t compare to my own Prince Charming. ☺

  45. Linda says

    My best vacation memory was when my husband picked me up from work, found out I was off for the rest of the weekend and drove us to Six Flags for the weekend!

  46. says

    I’m not a big traveler, but when I was nine my dad decided to buy a travel trailer…direct from the dealer in Indiana. We lived in California. So we went cross country, and I saw Arizona, Utah (he took me there so I could hunt for Donny Osmond), Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Tennessee, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and about 14 other states on our summer trip.

  47. S Stockton says

    Our family went to Disney World two years ago and had a fabulous time all around. However, there was one moment that made me say, “Awe.” I was in line with my three kiddos to see Mickey Mouse and my little guy (2 at the time) was playing in the dirt while we waited. Somehow, out of the debris, he had constructed a little stick figure that was shaped like a cross. When we got up to see Mickey, he gave it to him. Of course he acted like he liked it. My brother and his kids were behind us so we stepped down the path to wait for them. I watched as Mickey was leaving to go cool down and Mickey went back over to where he laid the “cross” and picked it up and took it with him. I thought it was sweet that he even remembered it was there.

  48. Holly says

    My favorite vacation was just this past April. My cousin and I drove from Tampa, Florida to Baltimore, Maryland. It was a home coming trip to me in way. I moved to Florida in 84 and been here ever since. It was a bitter sweet vacation because i lost both my parents 7yrs ago. So, going back to places where i went with them brought back wonderful memories but painful too. One of the places we went was Ocean City. I just loved sitting on the boardwalk watching the waves and reading a good book. I was blessed to be able too remember the fun times were had as a family there too. So, for amazing memories that’s why my Maryland trip is my favorite vacation because I got to send time with my parents again in my memories and share them with my cousin.

  49. Judy welbaum says

    I love meeting my sister in the Ozarks…there is a lake there that my mom lives on…..we are in the water from sunup to sunset…..sooooo pretty. We just have the best time.

  50. alisha woods says

    Vacation memories. Mine is not one but, a collection of them. I am an Air Force brat and was lucky enough to live in England for 3 years. Every weekend, or holiday we traveled all around the UK and western Europe. It was magical. I was about 10 yrs old and was going to castles and palaces. I got to see where my ancestors were buried. Met life long friends.

  51. Ola Norman says

    Ny favorite vacation was the year we went to Mount Rushmore with my sister and her husband. The weather was perfect and we had so much fun.

  52. Autumn says

    I remember a family trip to the beach camping in 2001. My now husband and I were just dating at that time. We went out to supper and were planning on spending the evening at the beach and boardwalk. On arriving to the restaurant my boyfriend was acting a little strange and had to go out to the car because he “dropped his wallet.” Later walking down the boardwalk I bumped my hand against his pocket and it hit something hard. It was a seashell he “brought from home.” Weird. When we returned to the campground that night we went for a short walk and sat over the lagoon. He ended up proposing to me. Come to find out, he had the ring inside that shell to propose on the beach but it had fallen out at some point and he thought all evening he had lost the engagement ring. He laughs now but didn’t think it was funny that day. A beautiful vacation that promised me a beautiful future!

  53. says

    My 72 year old mother, and my 48 year old self, just returned this weekend from a well-deserved and enjoyed vacation to Cripple-Creek, Colorado! She just got the great news of being cancer-free for 1 year! God has truly been great to both of us! We really needed this alone time to re-connect and just be our carefree selves once again!

    We rode the train, toured the town, and of course ‘fed’ the slots! This will be one of those times that I cherish the most, and remember most fondly!

  54. Miriam Lozano says

    One of my favorite vacations ever was when my husband and I went with a large tour group to Israel. I had longed for many years to visit the land where Jesus walked and see the places mentioned in the Bible. It was a miracle that I was able to go! My employer at the time was from Israel and he was so tickled that I wanted to visit the land that he knew was full of strive and danger that he paid my way when he found out about my plans. It was exciting to walk down the Via Dolorosa where thousands of people from many different nations were packed together, doing business with the merchants, buys vegetables and fruits, and rushing to the Temple Mount. I cried at the Garden Tomb as we sat waiting to see the tomb where Christ was buried. We celebrated communion there, and as we broke out singing Amazing Grace in Spanish we heard other groups singing in their native tongues and it was like experiencing the day of Pentecost, when every one started speaking in different languages. One of the most memorable moments though was when we went to the Dead Sea. Since many of you are speaking about beaches and shorelines and all, I want you to know that the Dead Sea is like no other ocean or lake you will ever experience. The sands are coarse and the shore is rocky. As you stand on the shoreline, you look around and see tall pillars of salt to the right and the mountains of Lebanon in front of you. The waters are dark blue and the sky is bright and clear. You walk into the rejuvenating mineral waters of the Dead Sea and grab a handful of black mud from the bottom of the lake. The mud is soft and oily and you gently smooth it on your skin to create a natural spa mask that dries on your body as the natural buoyancy of the waters allows you to float effortlessly while the sun bakes your skin. The waters are warm and smell of sulfur, but once you come out and rinse the mud off, your body feels alive and refreshed by the natural scrub it just received from the salty sea. It was exhilarating! I will always remember that special day.

  55. Mary Goodwin says

    The Outer Banks is my very favorite place to visit. The first vacation I took with my husband was there. Feel in love with it and have been many times. My husband and I loved it so much that we both wanted our ashes taken there. Unfortunately my beloved husband Jerry died in 2005. And my youngest son and I took his ashes as promised took his ashes to the Outer Banks. We found a beach with no one there and poured his ashes his ashes in the surf. We both got soaked and I know if Jerry was watching from Heaven he was laughing. So many memories.

  56. maryb says

    I have so many great vacation memories since we retired but I think my favorite had to be when we took our daughter and son in law and 2 granddaughters to Disney world last thanksgiving. We had a great time. . One is 15 and the other is 7 . We flew down from ohio.
    Great week and many memories.

  57. Tammi says

    Late April of 2012, my daughter and I, along with 3 other of her law school classmates rented a beach house at the Outerbanks. It was the weekend before their law school graduation and was so much fun.

  58. Doreen Marr says

    One of my favorite vacation memories was actually a “working vacation.” My dad was very mission-minded (giving and praying) and had great desire to goon a missions trip or at least visit missionaries on the field. When he was 86 years young, after hosting missionaries in his home for a meal, he decided he was going to Ecuador and visit them. So, I decided that my vacation would be going with him! He did not know Spanish and tired easily and I certainly did not want him to travel from the state of Maine to Quito, Ecuador alone! We flew from Boston to New York to Miami to Quito and spent 10 days with his missionary friends, helping in whatever ways we could with their ministry. My dad only lived another 4 years, but many, many times he talked about that trip and how it was one of the great highlights of his life! I was so glad that we went!

  59. Barbara Taylor says

    When I was about nine years old, we rented a cabin for a week at Possum Kingdom. To me, there was something very special about that week. The very air felt and smelled different. I went to the little store by myself every day, usually for ice cream. My stepfather went out in a small boat every day to fish, managing to provide most of our meals that week. Mom usually made us come inside before the mosquitoes got bad, but on the last night, mother rubbed us down good with mosquito repellent and let us sit outside and watch the sunset. And as the sun set, magic happened. The myriad colors of the sunset were reflected in the water, the fishermen’s lanterns added a special sparkle, and the fireflies were so thick we almost didn’t need the light shining from inside the cabin. I thought it was the most beautiful sight I would ever see.

  60. Donna EHD says

    Just this past April we went to California to see hubby’s brother & his wife. While there, the four of us drove over to Cambria and stayed in the Cambria Pines Lodge. We had such nice rooms (living area and a large separate bedroom — would have slept 6 with the sleeper sofa and Murphy bed! We had a wonderful seafood meal at a restaurant on the shore, and another wonderful meal at the lodge itself. And we had a lovely walk along the sea shore our first morning there — a wide board walk back from the actual coast so we didn’t have to walk on the rock or in the sand (which is hard for me) and yet there was access to get down to the water’s edge if one wanted. The breeze was blowing just a bit, cool (did need the jacket I was wearing), but sunny and oh so nice. Don’t think I’ve enjoyed such a bit of vacation in a long time.

  61. says

    South Carolina with my whole family… It was beautiful… The beach was amazing and the people in South Carolina are the most hospitable!!! LOVED it there and would return in a heartbeat! :)

  62. Pat Petersen says

    In April 2014, my husband, my daughter and her husband along with my grandson Noah spent a week in Dayton Beach, FL. It was such a relaxing time and so fun to spend that week with Noah playing in the water and on the beach. It was so fun to watch him build sandcastles.

  63. Terri Zinchiak says

    My favorite beach memory comes from a very long time ago when I was 18 years old. I was able to spend two glorious weeks with my boyfriend and his family in a cabin overlooking the Pacific ocean near Ft. Bragg, CA. It was the first time I had been away from home for any length of time alone so I felt incredibly free. We watched the sunset over the ocean from the deck of the boat garage, climbed the dunes and slid down the other side getting to the beach, had a fire on the beach where we roasted hot dogs and marshmallows and made some pretty wonderful memories. Although it seems like a lifetime ago, it is one of the memories I will cherish forever.

  64. Joanne Hios says

    For our 10th anniversary we went to OBX the last week in November. It was raw & cold there then but we did the wild horses jeep tour and had a great time with lots of horse sightings!

  65. says

    One of my favorite vacations was when my husband and I were stranded on Okracoke Island. I know you are surprised but it was pretty cool! The Ferry’s were not running and the only places with power were ones with generators. The reason I loved it so much is because I always travel with a bag of books when I go on vacation so I was all set!

  66. Kay Morrison says

    July 1957
    Our family–Dad, Mom, my two sisters and me–were headed to Shawano, WI, where a cabin on the lake was waiting for us. We left Linton, IN, where our father was the minister of the Christian Church, planning on making the trip without stopping over night. Dad was the only one who could drive. Traveling North, as we neared Joliet, IL, a storm was in full force. Roadways off the highway–no interstates at that time–were flooded and there didn’t appear to be motels along the way. (Haven’t times changed!) The torrential down pour continued. It was finally decided the best thing to do was find some place we could safely pull off the road and wait until morning to assess the possibility of continuing our trip. Up ahead, we spotted other vehicles parked in a place on the left side of the roadway. Dad pulled into a space between two other vehicles and we made the best of an uncomfortable situation. We did manage to sleep–some.
    As morning dawned, we begin to see what was around and ahead of us. We were parked in front of a road-side produce stand and the other vehicles there were not occupied. There were no other buildings nearby.
    We soon realized the choice to stop where we did had prevented us from disaster. We could see the river rising above it banks, tree limbs, hog houses and debris floating down the swiftly moving water.
    The owners of the produce stand arrived and gave us directions for safe route through Joliet and to connect with the highway we needed to continue our trip. However, we were once again stopped due to flooded streets in the city. Nearby, where we were force to stop, was a church building where people were going in and out. Dad went into the building and asked to use their phone for a local call. We knew one man and his family in Joliet, IL. Dad was able to contact him and relief was made possible.
    Our friend was on the other side of the high water, but the Chairman of the Elder’s from his congregation lived a few blocks behind where we were. He was called and Dad got directions to their home. They welcomed us as if we were expected relatives. Fed us. Entertained us. And helped to comfort 5 weary humans.
    When the water subsided and it was safe to proceed, we were given directions for a detour to connect with the highway North to our destination.
    Independent Christian churches have a publication: Directory of the Ministry. After this experience, we were sure to have a copy in the car, as I do to this day, when traveling out of our area.
    One never knows when a crisis may arise and assistance is needed when traveling in unfamiliar parts of this country. Someone who knows someone is a phone call away!

  67. Stefanie Harten says

    My favorite beach memory is the family vacation we took to Aruba. We dug a hole in the sand and made our very own baby seat. My son played and slept for hours while I read a book!!!! it was fantastic!

  68. Edwina says

    My favorite vacation was the week I spent in Hawaii with 5 friends. I loved being a couple of blocks from the beach where we hung out several times. We visited Pearl Harbor, the Honolulu Zoo, and several other points of interest. It was also quite the adventure hiking up Diamond Head. I loved the warm weather, cool breezes and feeling the sand between my toes!

  69. Peggy D says

    I would take my kids to the Outer Banks every year. I would always plan the week when there was a full moon. My cousin lives there and we would get together with her and her kids. I loved staying right on the beach and falling asleep to the sound of the ocean.

  70. Beth Gillihan says

    One of myfavorites is snorkling off of Catalina Island in California. I was born and raised in Washington State where the ocean is cold. Inever new the ocean could be as warm as a hot tub! It was so warm and so much fun to see all the sea creatures up close.

  71. says

    This isn’t a vacation per se, but every summer when I was a kid, Mom’s family all went to the coast of Maine for the day. We’d meet up at Dunkin’ Donuts and drive to Schoodic Point. We stopped at Frazier Point to have a picnic lunch, and then climbed all over the rocks at Schoodic. The photos and memories of all of us cousins having a grand time are still precious to me!

  72. Kristi Martin says

    This is not my favorite beach memory, but certainly the most memorable. :) In Sept. 2003, we went with our best friends to our first ever trip to the beach, destination; The Outer Banks! We were all so excited to be going together but most of all that we were going to the beach. We had a lovely house with a great view of the ocean in Corolla, NC, and were having a wonderful time until we heard the devastating news that Hurricane Isabel was headed our way and in 24 hours we were being mandatorily evacuated. Now our perfect vacation turned into heartbreak but there was a little excitement as well. These Hoosiers had never experienced a hurricane before! So in between packing and preparing the home for the hurricane as the owners requested, we were all glued to the TV watching the weather reports in hopes that Isabel would move out to sea. (The kids were thrilled because one thing we were asked to do was throw all of the plastic pool furniture into the pool… They said that was the safest place for it!) Unfortunately, Isabel continued to barrel down right towards OBX so on our 3rd vacation day we sadly left The Outer Banks instead of heading the visit Cape Hatteras as originally planned. Thankfully, we had purchased hurricane insurance so were able to come back the following spring and continue our previously interrupted OBX vacation. We vacationed in OBX one more time after that and then the next few years decided to explore elsewhere on the east coast, but I am thrilled that in November we will be headed back to OBX once again and Nov. can’t come quick enough. :)

  73. Dianne Henderson says

    My favorite vacation memory would have to be when I got the opportunity to travel to Alaska with my whole family (aunts, uncles, cousin, everyone). We flew from Alabama to Anchorage, Alaska. Once there we got 4 winnebago’s and spent two weeks traveling the Alaska highway. It was the most beautiful place I have ever been in my life. During the day all the cousins got into a 15 passenger van driven by one of my uncles and we would play games, enjoy the scenery, complain about riding so much and all kinds of other things kids do when they get together.
    It was truly a trip of a lifetime and I was so blessed to be able to experience it with my whole family. I tell everyone that if they ever get the chance to go to Alaska take it!! You can see beauty that only the Lord was capable of making and it takes you back to a simpler time where it’s not all about phones and internet and facebook. I would go back in a heartbeat!

  74. Susan Johnson says

    When I was in high school we went to Corpus Christi, Texas. My daddy had always wanted to go deep-sea fishing. There was not enough money for the whole family to go, so my mother stayed with my sisters and I got to go with him. We had a great time even though I got a tad sea sick.

  75. Marguerite B says

    My favorite mind’s eye vacation is sitting on my friend’s deck on Five Islands, Maine enjoying watching the lobster boats go by.

  76. Kristi Morgan says

    I was just on vacation a couple weeks ago and we spent the day in Shipshewana, IN. For those that don’t know this area is Amish country and it just seems so laid back and peaceful there. We love going to the flea market then the Blue Gate restaurant for lunch. We took a carriage ride around the shopping district and it was nice to be out of the car and seeing things at the pace the Amish do. There are quilt gardens to see and the scenery is just so nice there. Wish I could get there more often.

  77. Bonnie Roof says

    My favorite vacations have always included water – I have seen many beaches and bodies of water from Florida to California, Hawaii, Alaska, and the Bahama Islands. Although I’ve been near the Outer Banks, I’ve never actually seen them and they are on my “bucket list” along with others of the Polynesian Islands. I love the Great Lakes also and lived in an apartment overlooking Lake Michigan in St. Joseph, Mi. for a year and have vacationed there numerous times since.

    The funny thing is that I don’t know how to swim (having nearly drowned when I was a teenager at church camp), am not comfortable on small boats (having been in an engine-stalled small boat – belonging to my brother – outside the Charleston Harbor and being surrounded by large ships), and burn easily (without tanning) in the sun. However, the sea has always held a fascination for me and I love walking on the beach in early morning or at sunset, or just sitting on a patio or deck – watching and listening to one of God’s greatest masterpieces: the sea.

    One of my very favorite vacations is my cruise to Alaska. There are no words to describe arising after a night’s sleep, opening the balcony curtain to my room on the ship and seeing the ship surrounded by glaciers – I was absolutely awe-struck!! Truly, another of God’s greatest masterpieces.

    My brother, nephew, niece and I are the travel “junkies” in my family – it’s hard to understand my other family members who don’t have a desire to travel. God created a beautiful world for our enjoyment and I feel He wants us to enjoy as much of it as possible and enjoys showing the miracles of His creation to us as often as possible!!

    Thanks for the opportunity to win such a wonderful prize package, Lisa and Colleen!!

    • Lisa Wingate says

      Alaska cruise is on my bucket list. I want to see those glaciers. Thank you for describing them for me Bonnie!

  78. LeAnn Mooneyham says

    We used to live on the East Coast of Flordia. Now we have traded that for the mountains of Western North Carolina. I love the mountains.

  79. Quintaleta Whitfield says

    My favorite summer vacation usually involved a lightning-fast trek across the sizzling, sugar-white sands of Panama City Beach. The heat and the burden of carrying our seaside picnic were soon forgotten as we plunged into the shock-you-out-of your-stupor, frigid waves.
    My sister and I would frolic in the water, as our mom set up the grill and began preparing our feast. If we stayed close to the shore, the scrumptious aroma of burgers and hotdogs would lure us to the picnic table. But we were too adventurous for that. We would go out as far as we could, until the undulating surface of the water just barely stayed below our chins.

  80. Barbara Russell says

    Going to Grandmas house in New Orleans on New Years Eve .ball my cousins would come . The ones old enough would drive down with friends . We would have thirty or forty teenagers sleep in her house
    Neighbor would take pity and let grandparents sleep there
    Everybody on street would cook something then you would go door to door and visit
    When visiting was done we would get in middle of street and play football
    I also loved riding street car and going to the stores to watch them make fudge or pralines
    Then down to riverfront to watch paddle steamers
    There was always a guy down there playing a saxophone or trumpet
    Don’t know if grandma liked it as I enjoyed it so much I moved in with her when I was 18

    • Lisa Wingate says

      What rich and wonderful traditions. You are so fortunate to have that memory of grandma’s house. Obviously it was popular with all the other teenagers too :-)

  81. says

    Mine would be from this past June. It was my husbands and mine 20th anniversary and we went away for a few days, just ourselves. Stayed in Salt Lake City, enjoyed the town and each other. It was one of the best vacations I’ve had.

  82. Phyllis says

    We have spent one week for the past 33 summers on Kiawah Island off the coast of Charleston. When we first started going, my parents lived in Summerville SC so we would go for day trips and come back to their house. Those first years the boys would find beautiful conch shells. They would bring them back to Summerville and line them up very carefully on the picnic table in the back yard. Well one morning all the shells were scattered all over the back yard – we didn’t know the conch’s were still in them! Now 33 years later we are there with our grandkids too and they love finding the beautiful shells – but yes – we do leave them if there is a conch still there!

    • Lisa Wingate says

      I love the story of the walking shells! That is too funny. Kiawah Island sounds like a place I would like to visit.

  83. Pen M says

    As a teen we took a family trip across country in an RV. All kinds of things stand out. The Grand Canyon, Disneyland, and eating so many hotdogs that umptilly million years later, I still can’t stand them 😀

  84. Sonnetta Jones says

    My favorite vacation moment happened 2 weeks ago. My mom, 2 sisters and myself went to see my sister and her children in Trinidad. We have not be together in over a decade. It was great because we realized that the bond among never was severed and that it never will. Our relationship with each was observed by so many people that God was glorified. My sister’s boyfriend had tears in his eyes as he related how much he misses the closeness of families. His family has not been closed to each other in years, Sometimes we take for granted what others pray they have. Glad that God provided the means for us to have this vacation moment.

    • Lisa Wingate says

      I’ll completely wonderful that you were able to reunite! Thank you for sharing that story. I can almost feel the joy of that moment :-)

  85. says

    Never been to the beach or seen the ocean but traveled cross country to Atlanta with hubby one time for anniversary, thanks to his boss, definitely a wonderful memory.

  86. Lynn says

    One of our all=time favorite family vacations was the year we drove across country from Georgia to California. Our kids, 12 and 14 at the time loved seeing the beauty of our country and we have revisited that trip in our conversations many times. We spent part of the time camping and part of the time in hotels. We visited New Orleans, the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert, the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, San Francisco, LA, and Yosemite to name a few. The cold water of the Pacific was a shock to us since my husband and I grew up in Florida and were used to the warm water of the Pacific. It was a wonderful trip.

  87. Patty LeBlanc says

    My favorite vacation memory is going to Victoria, Canada with my husband without our kids. It was just fun spending time together alone and having fun enjoying each other’s company.

  88. Jordan Sims says

    I prefer sightseeing vacations to relaxing ones for many reasons. My life is pretty slow paced as it is, so I like to go to a new town and do as much as possible. Also, I have a physical disability, so the beach is difficult to maneuver for me – but I sure do love visiting the beach (especially the Outer Banks, which I grew up visiting) in a great book!

    My favorite vacation of all time was actually a fulfillment of my Make-A-Wish wish – a trip to New York City. My family and I went the week before Christmas 2011 and it was spectacular! Every sight, every moment, every memory made was a dream come true. I remember just standing in the middle of Times Square, walking through Central Park, seeing The Lion King on Broadway, thinking that it felt too good to be true and trying to memorize every second of it. I can’t wait for the chance to go back!

  89. Susan Fletcher says

    Favorite vacation memory – White Lake, North Carolina. (created by meteorite/founded in 1901)

    My parents raised 5 children – a girl (me), and 4 brothers. My Mom was a stay-at-home Mama and Dad was the manager of Sears. The workaholic that he was to provide for us, he only took 1 week’s vacation a year. It was always to the same place, same room, same week every year! But what fun because most of the other families who came returned each year too. We always had the most fun each year in our own state, only 2 1/2 hours from home. I still treasure those memories! Fast forward to today – I have just gotten back from my 51st time to White Lake, NC – same week, most of the same families. (Some are no longer with us, but we share memories of them each year.)

  90. Jacqueline neat says

    One year my parents and I left on a spur of the moment vacation with no itinerary. When we would come to a major intersection, we took turns saying which direction to go. We ended up in extreme Northern Canada and had a ball. My parents are gone now but good memories remain.

  91. Lisa Taylor says

    One of my favorite memories of a family vacation was a trip we enjoyed to Virginia Beach, Virginia, in 1967. My brother was five years old, and I was seven. I’ll always remember the teachable moment mother made as she held our hands at the water’s edge. With the tide coming in and out, and the sand being washed from beneath our feet, mom explained about the Sunday School story of the wise man who built his house upon the rock (Matthew 7:24-27), not the shifting sand. She made a game of running toward the waves and back to shore as she explained the importance of building a firm foundation. I’m 54 years old now, and Mother has gone to be with the Lord, but I’ll never forget the life lesson (and the fun) from that day.

  92. says

    Our favorite vacation was when our older boys where looking at college’s and we drove across Pennsylvania to Erie to look at a college there. We saw Lake Erie, an island with a lighthouse on it, we walked through Watkins Glen, boys went to a race track there with their dad. Then we drove to Canada and saw the falls. Back down and visited Zippo Lighter factory, 1st oil well in PA Museum and a little wild animal park. It was a great trip and the boys still talk about it. They still want to go back and explore Watkins Glen again. We also took our family Christmas Card in Watkins Glen that year. A real treasure!

  93. Deanna S says

    When I was 16 my family took a road trip from Nebraska to California – Disneyland- and back. 5 of us (both siblings younger) in a car for hours… The most memorable moment was when I rode on the Pirate, spooky house, roller coaster ride with my father. I had never seen him laugh so much. It was so fun we had to do it again! That was 45 years ago, my father is no longer with us, but I can still see the delight on his face :)

    • Lisa Wingate says

      LOL! You make me remember taking my dad on Mr. toads wild ride at Disney World when I was six years old. He was laughing all the way!

  94. says

    My most cherished vacation is when I took my mother, father , and daughter to Savannah Georgia and Charleston South Carolina. We had the most delicious food and seen some of the most beautiful homes . When we returned my father passed away two weeks later and I felt comforted because we share such a special time before he passed on.

  95. Donna says

    We did not go on vacations when I was a child, but we did go to the beqch club, everyday was like a vacation, out all day beach, pool, in and out of everyone’s cabana’s. it was awesome. I actually did the same with my daughter. We rarley left the state for a vacation. Now my bags are always packed!!

  96. Teresa Collett says

    Digging through memories.. one of my favorites is a visit to my aunt and uncle who lived near Cocoa Beach in Florida. It was my first experience with the sand of the beach and the salt water of the ocean. I loved finding shells, running into the waves and watching the sea gulls. I also remember tasting the real taste of a fresh orange for the first time, trying orange candy, and eating orange marmalade on toast. From then on when “vacation” was mentioned, that’s what I thought it should be.

    • Lisa Wingate says

      I grew up in Florida. Always loved those roadside stands that served fresh orange juice. There’s nothing like it!

  97. Selena says

    This past October I finally made it to Hawaii! Something I’ve dreamed of for years, but never really thought would happen. There are so many great memories- the beautiful scenery, the friendly people, the great food, the relaxing music. It was all wonderful. One of my favorite things was the ride we took on Atlantis Submarines in Lahaina. It’s also the location of possibly my favorite picture of the trip. The captain of the shuttle out to the sub jumped in the picture with me at the last minute and we are both smiling and laughing. It makes me smile every time I see it. I can’t wait to go back!

  98. Angela says

    My favorite memories are beach vacations we took during my childhood. My father and grandfather have both passed on, so I look back fondly of times we were all together.

    • Lisa Wingate says

      My grandparents took us to the Great Lakes. The great thing about grandparents is they always seem to have the time.

  99. Heather Schoenherr says

    I love that my children play on the same beach my great-grandmother did. My family has had a lake cottage in southwestern Michigan since 1923. Although we have taken many other vacations to some terrific places, heading to the lake is like coming home. Now that I’m an adult, I look forward to getting together with my sisters and all their children for a few days each summer. Knowing there is so much history there brings a smile to my heart!

    • Lisa Wingate says

      Awww… we had family places like that before the hurricane in Galveston. Those were special times

  100. says

    One summer, we went to a nice out of the way place called Shady Lake Camp Grounds in southwest Arkansas. It’s in the edge of the Quachita Mountains. A close friend of mine and her family had gone there and loved it, so here we were. We drove into this very woodsy camp grounds looking for the designated camp area she recommended. As we sat up our tent and camp, we could hardly wait ti explore, but all agreed that a swim in the lake was in order first. The water was cool, and so clear I could see my toes even in the chin deep water; not like the cow pond I swam in when growing up. After filling ferocious appetites with fried chicken and the fixin’s, I hung up wet towels. As I turned, I saw two pointy ears and shining beady eyes just above the picnic table top. I got the family to notice the show just as a little dark paw with five distinct “fingers” raked the chicken scraps off the table and bumped his way into the twilight with his treasure of the night. He would be back, but the “treasure” would be under lock and key before then.The next couple of days we explored some trails right around the camp site. We found a place of interesting rock formations and cliffs so fascinating we didn’t make it past there. Another night we had a visitor in a striped suit. My daughter and I stayed sitting on top of the table for this visitor. He made his wobbly way around the perimeter of camp, found his supper there, then thankfully took his cologne with him without sharing with us. We also found another place called Cossatot Falls where the boulders looked prehistoric in their shape from the deep rushing water in spring. Since the water was lower in late summer, we could see most of the secrets of this rushing sculpting water. We said sad goodbyes to that camping trip, with plans to go there again.

    • Lisa Wingate says

      That sounds like a beautiful place. I love Arkansas. We’ve had those visitors in striped suits at our campgrounds a time or two as well.

  101. denise says

    for three straight years, we took our boys to the beach for a week–those were the best vacations. peace and relaxation. I miss those days.

  102. Dalene Wilkinson says

    Every winter, my husband, Mike and I escape the deep snow of Michigan and spend the winter in Orange Beach, AL. For us, this is paradise on earth. We spend 2 and a half months living on the beach and seeing the ocean change every single day. Michigan has lovely beaches on four of the Great Lakes but during the winter those beaches take on the icy beauty of winter. We prefer the ever changing ocean of the Gulf of Mexico at that time of year. :) We feel very Blessed to be able to go south for this period of time. Our favorite things to do are walk on the beach, dig for shells, and eat in all the wonderful seafood restaurants in the area. The southern AL people are so welcoming and wonderful. We can’t imagine ever wanting to go any other place. Some days are cooler and we have to wear a sweatshirt but most days the sun is shining and the weather is warm. And best of all there is no snow!!! :)

    • Lisa Wingate says

      I was just looking at cabins around there and thinking of winter writers retreat. I think you talked me into it!

  103. Melanie Backus says

    Getting away and being able to enjoy a change of scenery with no pressures from the outside world and no schedules to keep is fabulous in my book. I have been blessed to see beautiful parts of the world and every place I go, I thoroughly enjoy it. From the mountains to the oceans, from the deserts to the canyons, wonderful sights from wonderful places.

    • Lisa Wingate says

      To be happy where one is definitely qualifies as a gift. Melanie, you have the gift of appreciation :-)

  104. Kaylee says

    I was on my way to Disney World, solo, and decided to detour to the beach since I had never seen the ocean. I stopped the car at a sandy, windy, little beach, and was immediately smitten. The thrill and immensity of the sea has remained with me all the years since.

  105. Kris Johnson says

    For our honeymoon my husband and I went to Lopez in the San Jaun islands. We found a cute cottage just outside the city. We parked then had to walk down a path to get to the cottage. Nature all around, deer outside, no loud noises, it was perfect. We spent an afternoon kayaking in the bay, enjoying the peaceful water and the view. The downtown had an all natural shop with fresh cheese that tasted great! (I’m allergic to aged cheese, so this was a big deal for me). There was an old fashion soda shop, ice cream and candle shop, the perfect place to get away and enjoy nature. When my husband and I think back on our honeymoon, this is the place we want to return to. We both fell in love with the island. The laid back, easy feel, a place tourists feel at home.

  106. says

    Fun, thanks for the chance! My favorite was also one of the hardest things we’ve done (with 3 kids in tow). We climbed up to 10,000 on Mount Rainier. It was a HARD hike, 4 miles up hill and back down, but amazing. BUT we found out at the bottom that my husband’s keys had fallen out of his pocket… on the TOP! They were sliding down a glacier! So back up we went. Excruciating, but still one of our favorite memories. And yes, we found them! Right where they were sliding. They, because no way was I sliding. :)

  107. Florence Mims says

    I have not vacationed in a long time, but I did go to Hilton Head Island the last time I took a trip. The smell of the water and the beauty of the seagulls was so nice. The sand was soft and I went walking along the water, almost all the way around the island. It made my feet soft to walk along the wet sand. I picked up some lovely sand dollars and got to see a nice sunset. It was a very beautiful trip.

  108. says

    We did not really get to take vacations growing up. But I spent two weeks every summer with my grandparents. With one grandpa I got to to go to Lake Shetec in Minnesota which was fun and with the other set of grandparents I got to help with the chickens. We took on “real” vacation when I was 16. My parents took us to Michigan to visit my uncle – it was fun. I remember us kids were watching the Chucky movie in the dark and my uncle snuck out one door and came in the other and grabbed out feet scaring us. It was funny when you look back on it. Thank you for the chance to win.

  109. Janet says

    I love to travel and have been blessed to visit several different countries. To me, one of the best parts or memory of each trip is the people we meet. Most love to share their customs and heritage. They will most often suggest places to visit that are not the normal tourist areas. And these turn out to usually be the most beautiful and breathtaking places.

  110. Terry C says

    My favorite vacation was probably about 9 years ago. Our whole family went to Mexico. It was the only and last vacation that we all spent together. The vacation was after my dad passed away, and it was before my niece passed away. I’ve never been anywhere, it was so magical. That we were all able to be together for this one last time and on a vacation in such a beautiful place. So many memories were made, great pictures. The best of all was the memories we have of my niece. She swam with the dolphins, shopping, laying on the beach, dinners. We often go back to that time for the good memories we had. We were blessed to be all together and share a happy memory before her untimely death. Thank you :)

    • Lisa Wingate says

      You make such a good point that the time to do these things is now, while we can. I’m so glad you have those memories to bring joy amid grief

  111. Gayle says

    Our vacation plans 27 years ago were interrupted by a phone call telling us that a baby boy was available to us for adoption! We allowed our 4 year old to go on to the beach with his grandparents while my husband and I waited for the baby to be discharged from the hospital. He was born on a Wednesday and the following Monday finally came (they kept him in the hospital for a few extra days because his birth mom had received no prenatal care) when we were allowed to take him home from the hospital….and straight to the beach for our first family of four vacation! My father-in-law, who has since passed away, said “He will never remember this, but this is a vacation we will NEVER forget! And there will never be another one to compare!” How true!

    • Lisa Wingate says

      Hi Gail! What an incredibly special vacation. And what a great way to greet the newest member of the family.

  112. Jane says

    Having grown up in South Carolina, the beach has always been a part of my life…there’s no better feeling thn dipping your toes in that first spring trip to the ocean! Although we have lived in several states during our 50 + years of marriage, my fondest memory is meetng my future husband the summer of 1962 in Myrtle Beach, SC!! We both worked as camp counselors near there (different camps) during our college years. One summer later, in 1963, we were married after spending our last summer at camp once again.

  113. Janet Estridge says

    My first memory of a vacation was with my parents and sisters. We spent a week at the beach which is only a 2 hour drive away from my house.
    Unfortunately, life steps in and I don’t get to go as much as I would like too.
    Thanks for entering me in your giveaway.

  114. Linna Sommers says

    Last year we spent some time in St. Petersburg, Florida. My two girls (ages 8 & 4 at that point in time) had no idea what we had planned. We let them know one day at a time, which included flying on an airplane, going to the Florida Aquarium in Tampa, seeing Winter the Dolphin, and of course, spending a few days with the big mouse in Orlando. Lots of fun. Seeing their reactions when they realized what we were doing was SO MUCH FUN.

  115. says

    A vacation moment that I will always hold dear to my heart would have to be the one I had a few weeks ago. For the first time i was able to be a counselor for a youth group as they went to Student Life. This years destination was Orange Beach, AL. As I watched these 16 young youths worship with their hands held high to God and tears in their eyes as they called to him in song, my heart leaped with joy. How precious was the sight of these young people worshiping God. At that moment they had no cell phones, no video games, no computers. It was them and God. The beauty of the beach was amazing. We enjoyed riding the waves to the sandy shore, and collecting seashells to place in a bottle so we could always have a piece of this beach. Children with their parents and couples hand-in-hand walked the water’s edge, enjoying a moment of freedom and relaxation. With the hustle and bustle of everyday life it’s easy to miss and forget the beauty of God’s creation. This one week at Student Life helped me remember to stop and take a moment to enjoy what God has given me. To be still for a moment and know he is God. My heart will always remember the joy and peace I felt this one week, and I long to be able to do it again!

  116. Heidi Christensen says

    Hello:) I have many vacation memories. One of the most interesting one to date happened last year. We were in Myrtle Beach, SC, my son lost his glasses in the ocean!! We live in Indiana so we were far from home. He has to have his glasses to see anything unless it’s up close. We had to go to an eyeglass place and have new glasses rushed to us. At the time, it was not funny but now that it has been a year it’s funny. Always an adventure :) God bless!

  117. JC says

    After my Dad passed away, my Mom did some traveling and kept telling me “I wish we could take a trip together”. My children were still in school and still needed Mom to be around when they got home. Several years later, I was going through a divorce and no one at home. Perfect time for some Mommy and me time I thought. Not so my Mom’s health started failing and was literally housebound. I spent lots of time with her, she was in FL and I lived in upstate NY. So yes I traveled every couple of weeks to see her. After she passed away I decided to spend some of my of the money that was left to me on a trip. I went to Australia and New Zealand. Have so many wonderful memories of that trip and know that my Mom was with me in spirit. Found people with my family name there only wish I could have spent more time with the people.

  118. says

    We usually vacation at the Outer Banks – one of my favorite places. However, due to a daughter getting married this year, we were unable to. Reading about the Outer Banks is the next best thing. I think my favorite thing about vacation is just relaxing and spending time with my family. We all seem so busy, going in opposite directions all the time. Here’s to next year!

  119. candice says

    Growing up the opportunity to go on vacation, rarely arose. The first time going to the beach was magical…..I must have been 5 or 6, and I still remember the squishy sand between my toes, the water creeping up my ankles the closer I got, the salty smell, not to mention the nasty salt taste as I learned quick to keep my mouth shut. I remember looking for the most beautiful seashells I could find and running to my mother every time I found a new one. Experiencing this day with my family was so magical to me that anytime I see a picture from that day, I am in this state of complete and utter happiness. I forget my worries. It is one of my best memories.

  120. Patty says

    Hilton Head is a favorite beach vacation spot for me! Haven’t been this year, but did just get back from Panama City Beach, FL. Unfortunantly the weather didn’t really cooperate this time, but the company was great=)
    I love to just relax and often do lots of reading on vacation…

  121. Beckie says

    Hatteras Island has been our ‘go to’ vacation dream land for years. We started camping in Rodanthe and have kept moving south until several times a year we travel to Hatteras Village and Ocracoke. Just when I think it can’t get better the beautiful island reveals something new. Whether it be watching dolphins play, meeting locals and hearing their stories or combing miles and miles of beaches for that perfect shell, starfish or landfills that has washed ashore. While visiting Ocracoke during off season I found my breath literally taken away as I stood on the beach looking for miles and miles of water, land and sky, I didn’t take a lot of pictures that trip as none of them did justice to what the good Lord above was revealing. What I have learned over the years, as much as Hatteras Island and Ocracoke appear to stay the same year after, there is no end to the ability these humble islands have to know exactly what and who one needs to see to heal, refresh and make new the spirit mind and body. I have not had the same experience twice on our visits and for that I am thankful!

  122. says

    My favorite vacation was the summer after I graduated high school when my family and I went down to the gulf coast to a town named Fulton, TX. We had so much fun! My grandparents went with us and we went up to Corpus Christi. We had fresh seafood. My grandfather and father went fishing and my grandfather caught a stingray! It was a good trip filled with good memories!

  123. Susan Roberts says

    Thanks for the mini mental beach trip. I am all relaxed after reading your article and looking at the pictures. I grew up in Detroit so most of our vacations were in the lower peninsula of Michigan. I remember one year that our family went to the Upper Peninsula. The Mackinaw Bridge wasn’t built yet (yes, I am showing my age), so we had to take the car ferry across. Once we got there, we went to Lake Superior and my parents rented a cabin. It was chilly and the lake was really chilly (its a cold lake even in the middle of the summer) but it was a fantastic trip. We cooked all of our meals outside and even made a quick dash into the lake. Even though that trip was more than 50 years ago, my brothers and sisters and I still talk about it — it made a lasting impression on all of us!

  124. Aletta Cherry says

    My favorite vacation memory happened a month after our daughter was called Home to Jesus’ arms. We had scheduled a trip to Disney World, but when she passed away decided to go to Gulf Shores instead. This was my first trip to the ocean, and I was blown away by God’s strength and power! One night, we were sitting on the balcony and the clouds made a visual stairway up to Heaven. I knew then that I was in the presence of the Master and that He had my back forever. What a healing that took place that week!

    • Lisa Wingate says

      What a beautiful story of the power of God’s creation to heal us, affirm us, and bring peace. Thank you for sharing that.

      • Sara Mccarley says

        My favorite vacation memory would have to be when my dad and brothers baseball team played in the world series in mulberry Florida back in 2011. Thwe drove 14 hours with my parents and 5 siblings to Tampa and they played their hearts out! Came in 4th and after we went to PCB and drove up the coast and it was beautiful! We finally made ut that night. We got to stay for almost two weeks. The weather was perfect t and it was so nice after a stressful year and baseball season. We stayed on the 13th floor and it was so peaceful! My favorite part was just being there and seeing the sunsets! I mean wow God paints amazong sunsets for us!:)

  125. Janice Burzlaff says

    A favorite vacation memory is of my most recent vacation, the one I returned from eight days ago. June 13 our second grandchild, sweet Athena Mae, was born to our daughter Ruth and her husband Alan in Germany where Alan is stationed with the Army (although he is currently deployed to Turkey) – so of course Grandma and Grandpa had to hop on a plane and travel over the ocean to see her. We had a wonderful two weeks there. We couldn’t get enough of holding that precious baby and spending time with the new mama – and enjoyed long walks with their four legged member of the family. (Alan had to return to Turkey when Athena was only 12 days old). Some days were nice relaxed days staying at home and others we were out and about. Some of my favorite outings were just going to downtown Kaiserslautern doing a little shopping, stopping for coffee and pastries or eis (amazing ice cream creations!)
    But one of my very favorite excursions was just a couple of days before we left Germany when we spent several hours exploring the castle above the hospital where Athena and also two of my children were born, Burg Nanstein, built in 1162. Much of it is in ruins but there was still plenty of it intact. We roamed about, up stairs over here, down stairs over there, into a turret, down a hallway, out onto a balcony. We had an enjoyable afternoon exploring this piece of history – and taking pictures. Steve and I and our older children visited Burg Nanstein in 1982 or 1983 when I might have had half a role of film to try to capture our time there. How I loved having a digital camera this trip, taking pictures of my loved ones of course but also interesting stone walls, beautiful archways, flowers growing in crevices of the castle. I took hundreds of photos! I smile now as I look at these and other photos from our trip – they bring back such precious memories.

    • Lisa Wingate says

      Awww… I was born in Germany while my dad was working for the army, and we have some wonderful family stories of relatives who flew over to visit 😉

  126. leslie says

    My favorite vacation has to be several years ago when my sister and I took my mother to Florida for the first time. We spent some time that January at the beach and to be able to walk next to her on the beach was amazing to me. She is 80 now and probably wint be able to make it nack, but I cherish that moment with her. As the youngest of 7 kids…her traveling was done by the time I came around so to be able to take her tto the beach was a memory I will cherish forever….that and taking her to Walt Disney World for the first time!

    • Lisa Wingate says

      What a sweet memory to have with your mom. There’s something about walking the beach together that makes special memories.

  127. Kelly says

    One of my favorite memories is the time my husband ended up being scheduled for an out-of-state work meeting — and it happened to be scheduled for an office in downtown Charleston, SC!! Not a problem! We had a fun little getaway the week before Christmas and enjoyed beautiful 70 degree weather as we took a carriage ride and saw all the beautiful homes!

  128. says

    My favorite vacation was in Zion National Park. We were climbing and the view was amazing. It was our last vacation before children, and our last vacation. :-)
    Very fun contest.

  129. Patricia says

    My favorite memory is shortly before my grandmother died…we were at the creek, near their home. Grandma “hosted” lots of grandkids, in the summer, and we ran “wild” outdoors (swimming, exploring the woods, etc.). On this day, I took a picture of my Grandma, sitting on the creekbank, wet washcloth on her head! (My grandmother had long hair, she braided and used combs to pin on top of her head. She, also, NEVER wore pants…always a dress and apron…a small woman, with a big heart.) I still see that image, many years later, and smile. She’s watching over me, now, as she did then.

    • Lisa Wingate says

      What a treasure. I had a grandma like that, too. When all the grandkids would come, she’d arrange all sorts of card games and fun for us. Those were such great times!

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