We just booked a few nights at a hotel in Seaside. We were thinking that getting away from Portland would be a breath of fresh air. Usually, the minute we check into a hotel room, the kids are already changing into their swimsuits and bugging us to take them to the pool. After a full day of swimming, we usually head out to explore the shops. The night usually ends with us grabbing dinner from somewhere local near our hotel. In the morning, we have our beautiful breakfast at the hotel, and then we do the same day all over again. 

COVID-19 has dramatically changed these plans. We just got an email from the hotel reminding us that the swimming pool is closed due to the pandemic, many shops and attractions are closed, and that their usual continental breakfast is not available (boo-hoo!). We will still have a blast, but we have to rethink our usual hotel daily schedule! How will we ever entertain these babies without the hotel pool, shopping, and getting ice cream? It looks like we will be doing what we should be doing on a beach trip: enjoying the beach!

Our trip will include a lot of time in the sand, many movies/books/games, and plenty of snacks and microwavable meals. We got lucky with the weather this weekend. It looks like it will be around 70 degrees during our stay. Usually, we do a few short walks on the beach and then fly back to our hotel room to go shop or eat somewhere. This time, we will plan to spend several hours down on the beach. 

To do this, I plan on bringing the things we need to keep us comfortable, full, and entertained. This means we will bring our folding chairs, beach towels and blankets, and sweaters for the inevitable unexpected wind gusts. We will bring tons of beach toys, like buckets and shovels, strainers, and kites. We will explore the sand for shells and “treasures.” And we will definitely load up on drinks and snacks. One cooler and a backpack should provide enough room for our family of four’s eats for the day. My hubby and I will bring our books, but probably won’t read them due to the constant fear of the kids running toward the ocean (ha-ha). When we get bored of one spot, we will pick up our stuff and start toward another. 

Once we are finished with our beach day, it will be time to think about dinner and evening entertainment.

The evening will include entrees that I have cooked at home and can be microwaved there. My hubby and I are thinking we will bring my delicious beef enchiladas. My kids (of course) want nothing to do with my enchiladas, so they will probably indulge in “Annie’s Organic Macaroni and Cheese” cups and some fruit. 

Besides those dinners, we will bring sandwich makings, fruits, snacks, and microwavable meals. 

Once we are nice and full, we will head into evening activities. Instead of hitting the boardwalk, the “Seaside Carousel Mall” and downtown like usual, we will watch a movie and play some games. We know our hotel room has a DVD player, so we have formed a plan to hit Redbox before we leave and grab a few new movies. 

To ensure we don’t spend all our hotel time staring at the TV, we are bringing “Uno” and a new horse game we bought from Target called, “Giddy Up!” 

After game time will likely be our “bath/books/bedtime” time. Hopefully, my hubby and I can peacefully catch a TV show or stare at the ocean for a while after the kiddos hit the sack. The next day, we will probably do it all again.

I have learned a lot about our family during this pandemic, but here’s one of the things that stands out the most: We don’t need to consume as much as we do to be happy. 

Before the pandemic, we bought the kids tons of toys, took them to different entertainment places all the time, and ate out several times a week. Since the pandemic, we have scaled back on all those things tremendously. I have been cooking a lot more, we have found activities at home, and we have not bought them anywhere near as many toys or gadgets as we did before. 

Planning this vacation without amenities would have been much more shocking in the beginning of quarantine, but now, I feel pretty optimistic about it. I will be sad not to see them plunging into the hotel pool, but I know we have a lot of good times ahead of us on this trip. Many new memories will be made. My husband just said, “We just have to get back to the basics! No shopping, no eating out, and just enjoy the beach!”

Our trip will be different, but things are different now, and we are learning to just roll with it. We will have masks, we will have gloves and hand sanitizer, but we will also have a lot of fun.

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