I have been vacationing at Sunset Beach, NC, since I was 12-years-old. It started with long weekends with my parents that stretched into an annual week in our favorite rental house, and now weeks with my own family and children. We’ve always had a good time, but for some reason this trip was special. We actually thought of trying a new beach this year, but our favorite spots and familiarity with the area lured us back.
After three and half hours of “are we there yet’s”, we arrived at our beach house rental. The kids, hubby and I excitedly got out of the car. The aggravation of the car ride seemed to blow away as I inhaled the salty air. It was as if the sea was welcoming me back. We hurried up the stairs and opened the door to be greeted by green and blue walls that reminded us of the water nearby. The boys picked their bedroom with the blue and white striped walls, and the room adjacent to the boys’ made a perfect master retreat with a brightly colored comforter and curtains. I put our bags down. I was ready to relax.
Sunny days, warm nights and an occasional thunder storm, we were grateful for the amazing weather. Our days started with leisurely breakfasts followed by making sandwiches, applying sunblock and heading down to the beach. A tranquil walk to the beach filled with beautiful sites. Sunset Beach prides itself on it’s protection of sea life and dunes. We walked over a wooden bridge surrounded by trees and flowering green plants. We walked through a mini jungle until the trees parted and the dunes emerged leaving us standing on the white sandy beach. It was an “awe moment” as we stared across the surf and off into the horizon where the sea meets the sky.
Nearly every day we experienced the sand between our toes as we built sandcastles and jumped waves. After longs days on the beach, we refueled and dined at our favorite North Carolina seafood restaurant, Dockside. It is a short drive to the small town of Calabash which is nationally known for its seafood restaurants. Broiled or fried; it’s served fresh with complimentary hush puppies. We enjoyed our traditional walk on the dock outside the restaurant and looked at the shrimping boats. A nice reminder of our freshly prepared dinner as we caught the scent of fish and salt water.
No beach vacation is complete without gift shopping for t-shirts, shells and fudge, and once again Calabash is home to Callahan’s Nautical Gifts. The store stretches over a block with a Christmas shop on one side to kitchen accessories on the other with all the trinkets you expect to find at the beach in middle.
Diets tend to take a vacation, and so instead of my regular Greek yogart stand-by, I splurged and enjoyed ice cream and a little candy. Sunset Beach offers two fun spots. A newer place, Candy Island, that my son refers to as the bubble store because it’s magical bubble blower fills the parking lot with bubbles and all around the brightly colored candy store. Candy Island is filled with an assortment of candy plus Sunset Slush classic Italian ice. How Sweet It Is , another family favorite, is a delightful ice cream shop. It is located next to the “old bridge”, a fun place to explore with an ice cream cone in hand.
It was a wonderful trip, and I savored each moment whether playing on the beach, eating ice cream or just having a quiet moment. I feel like I left a piece of my heart on that sandy beach, and I can’t wait to go back and watch the sun set again.