Life’s a beach

Girl riding beach toyWhat a summer we’ve had in eastern Canada—one of the hottest on record. The best way to beat the heat is to hit the beach with your favourite floating toy.

This year on the July long weekend, my brother and his wife brought the kids the latest installment in our collection of exotic beach toys: a big yellow banana. Yes, riding the Big Banana has taken on a whole new meaning in the Swinton household this summer.

There have been epic noodle fights, rodeo rides and spectacular spills on that banana, especially the time Dave tried to ride it. I can’t help but wonder what the cottagers across the lake think when they look across and see The Big Yellow Banana.

Beach toys are a part of summer. We have a raft of old beach toys crumpled up in a deflated pile in our barn. Oh the memories. There was Homer Simpson, who one year we found floating at the other end of the lake in early spring. The Montreal Canadiens life raft—symbolic I think. And too many floating chairs to mention now sunk in the graveyard of water toys in our barn.

This week’s #HappyAct is to keep cool with a cool beach toy–whatever floats your boat. Ours just happens to be a big yellow banana.

Ed. note: As a kid cottaging on Lake Simcoe, I remember we used to dive off huge inner tubes that came from military truck tires. There was a guy in Port Credit who used to sell those inner tubes. They’re fantastic for jumping and diving, and rafting. If anyone knows where you can get inner tubes, post a comment.

Girl on a floating raft

Feel the sand in your toes

man and children playing on beach at sunset
Dave and the girls on beautiful deserted Kure Beach, North Carolina at sunset

Beach season is here. Time to make a beeline out of the city and get bare foot in the sand.

There’s something about a mile-long strip of beach that is irresistible. The sound of the surf thundering onto shore, watching and waiting for the whitecaps to crest the waves, beach combing for the perfect shell, and that wonderful feeling of warm sand between your toes as you walk for miles.

On our final night in Kure Beach, North Carolina in April, the girls and I went for one last walk on the beach. I watched them race along the deserted beach as the moon shimmered on the waves and knew, in that moment, I was completely happy.

This week’s #HappyAct is to feel the sand in your toes and find a stretch of sand to explore. Here is a list of some of our favourite beaches closer to home and further afar and pictures from some of our favourite family beach vacations.

girls standing in water
Grace and Clare at Bruce Peninsula Provincial Park on the famous “moon rock” beach
Girl on beach
Grace at MacGregor Point Provincial Park