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We hadn’t planned a beach trip this year because we booked Grand Cayman for March and Banff in August so at most, we thought we might sneak away for a weekend here and there. But then COVID happened…
We escaped to Grand Cayman right before everything shut down but as months passed and we got closer to August, we realized our dream trip to Banff might not happen.
We decided in July that we felt safe going to a cabin in Western NC and we also started looking for a beach rental.
We knew we wanted a house — not hotel or condo — and on a less populated beach so we could still safely distance. We also decided that visiting on weekdays might be better than weekends to give us an even better chance of distancing. We settled on a house at Holden Beach on our anniversary week from Sunday-Friday.
We invited Landon’s parents to join us since we’ve mostly been isolating with them anyway. The house had beach carts (though they were a little rusty so we wished we’d brought one) and chairs and even some shovels & buckets for playing in the sand. We rented bikes for the week for $100 and purchased this tent.
We knew we wouldn’t be eating out, so Landon’s parents provided food for eating at the house or ordering in. And I made a charcuterie board for our anniversary to go with the Prosecco the house owner left us.
A friend asked me what toys/items I recommended bringing for a toddler so I shared these which are some of our faves:
- Toddler chair with umbrella
- Sand buckets
- Sand trucks: excavator | dump truck | bulldozer
- Sunscreen: face/body | hair (great for blondes or kiddos with not a lot of hair)
- Zip up swim shirt
- Powder to get sand off
- ALL THE SNACKS
And I carry everything in my Scout bag because it’s so easy to rinse out/wipe out. No more worries of sand being stuck in bags!
We packed pretty minimally for the trip (tho my dear husband would laugh at that). I took enough clothes for us to not need to wash anything — including extra PJs for the little guy. We did pack special outfits for pictures on the beach with Keepsake Memories Photography. We had pics 2 years ago with Michelle at Pine Knoll Shores and loved them so much.
The house was very well stocked with most things we needed other than our food and clothes. We took a puzzle to work on throughout the week, blocks and trucks for L and books for all of us.
I was able to finish 3 while there and start a fourth. Three were from my Book of the Month subscription (Beach Read, One to Watch and What Happens in Paradise) and the other was the just released Finding Freedom book about Prince Harry & Meghan Markle.
While there, we only ate at the house — no dinners out. But we ordered in and we got fresh seafood from the market to make a steam pot one night.
We ate at:
And while we took some stuff with us, we did a Food Lion grocery delivery on Sunday for things we didn’t want to lug 3 hours in the car. It worked out really well! We also only took a small cooler bag (that we got for our wedding) down to the beach with us instead of carrying the whole cooler. This one is similar but not the exact one we have.
This was the first year that L was interested in going into the ocean — in years past he has screamed at us not to get too close and has literally been terrified — even in Grand Cayman, he had little interest in touching the water.
We had a great week visiting Holden Beach and were able to completely disconnect from work so that we could relax and enjoy the sun and ocean air. While it wasn’t Banff (and thankfully we got refunded for that), it was a solid trip and we’re all glad we decided to go and were able to find a place on relatively short notice.
Do you have a favorite beach vacation spot? Do you feel safe going there during COVID? We have visited several over the years but have not stayed in the same place! We really love Jekyll Island in Georgia and we’ve gone there many times but not since having L — 7 hours is just too much in the car. For now, we’ll stick to NC beaches.
5 comments on “Travel Diaries: Holden Beach”
This looked like you had such a lovely time. It seems to be a nice calm place to be without being worried about crowds.
Yes! We knew it wouldn’t be crowded but were pleasantly surprised with just how much room we had on the beach. A safe vacation for sure!
I love our NC beaches. We may get a beach trip in before the weather breaks for fall. Thanks for sharing your adventure.
This looks so fun! I loved your list of things for your toddler – I can’t wait to go to the beach with our toddler soon 🙂
Looks like you had a great time, and I can tell that you really planned everything out to ensure safety for you and your family.