Family Beach Vacation | Stephanie Simmons Photography | Akron Canton Northeast Ohio Family Photographer

Do you have one of those places that just gets into your soul? For me, that has always been the beach.  But more specifically, the past couple of years it has become Charleston.  I just love that city.  You can head out to any of the islands and get the laid back, relaxed beach experience or you can head into downtown and get the city life.  The history, Rainbow Row, the brick roads, the restaurants – it is gorgeous.  We took a family trip down to Myrtle Beach last year and made a day trip to Charleston, but by the time we got there, the kids were tired and cranky and with the heat we just couldn’t enjoy it.  This year we decided to just plan the whole vacation there so we could really see and experience it.

Waterfront Park-Mount Pleasant-South Carolina-Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge

We went back and forth about whether we wanted to stay in downtown Charleston or head out to one of the islands and stay on the beach.  Of course, the beach won out. There is just something about the beach – the sun, the sand, the ocean, the breeze blowing off the water.  It just instantly calms me and puts everything into perspective.  All those little things that were frustrating me suddenly seem so insignificant, and all the big things like God, family, contentment, and peace seem so big.  Things have been so chaotic lately, we really just needed to unwind, reset, and refocus together as a family.

outdoor portrait-beach-toddler-isle of palms-south carolina

We rented a condo out on Isle of Palms. It was the perfect location.  Gorgeous and quiet, definitely not crowded and touristy.  Everyone there seemed pretty quiet and relaxed and because it wasn’t overcrowded, it was pretty common to find starfish and sand dollars washed up on the sand.  Our condo was on the ground floor and not even a hundred feet off the beach, so we’d head out in the mornings to relax and play on the beach.  The kids would play in the sand or splash around in the water, and we’d swim, read, and relax (at least as much as you can with two energetic, crazy toddlers!).

toddler playing in sand-beach-isle of palms-south carolina

During the afternoons the kids would sleep.  The sun, the heat, and playing on the beach just took it out of them. I can’t tell you how many times we’d have to wake them up because they’d been sleeping for hours.  Then we’d make dinner in our condo and head out.  Some nights we took walks on the beach enjoying the sunset, some nights we hit up the playground, and some nights we went into Charleston.

children photography beach photography charleston south carolina

One of the nights we headed into downtown Charleston. We took one of the horse drawn carriage tours from Palmetto Carriages, I would highly recommend it! The tour guides are so funny and the history is so amazing.  Then we let the kids run and splash around in the fountain at Waterfront Park before heading to dinner.

waterfront park-charleston south carolina-fountain

waterfront park-charleston south carolina-fountain

waterfront park-charleston south carolina-fountain

We also visited Patriots Point where the USS Yorktown, among other World War II Naval ships are docked. We figured Nathaniel would love looking at the boats and all the planes.  Turns out he had more fun running and splashing in the rain puddles on the carrier deck but it was a fun day regardless.

patriots point-fighter planes-charleston south carolina

patriots point-arthur ravenel jr. bridge-charleston south carolina-family picture

uss yorktown-patriots point-charleston south carolina-arthur ravenel jr. bridge

family picture-patriots point-charleston south carolina

The first day we were there, I looked over and noticed it looked like people were standing miles out into the ocean.  I pointed it out to Bryan who thought I was crazy and that it was just the way it looked from a distance.  I spent the next couple of days looking for it only to not find it. Finally after three of four days there, the tide must have pulled back enough and there was this amazing sandbar.  You could just walk out into the ocean for a mile and still be on the sand.  I have never seen anything like it, and the kids loved playing on it.

sandbar-ocean-isle of palms-south carolina-family beach vacation

Unfortunately our time got cut short that day because a storm rolled.  Look at these clouds though!

storm at isle of palms-south carolina-family beach vacation

This little girl had a blast.  She was totally in her element. She woke up everyday saying “Wanna go beach? Wanna walk around beach? Play in water?”  And after being home almost two weeks is still asking daily.

toddler splashing in the ocean at isle of palms, south carolina

The one downside of the trip was this poor little guy. He woke up sick at 6am the morning we were leaving.  I tell you, of all the times he has gotten sick, this was the most gut wrenching, prayer filled time. I mean, really, a hotel for the night and the condo were all booked so what do you do?? We ended up leaving as scheduled but it seemed to throw him off for a lot of the trip.  As you can see from the pictures, he had a ton of fun when we were out, but he was seriously homesick and would cry at some point everyday wanting to go home. He missed his bed, his room, his train table, the list went on and on.  And yep, I am totally that Mom who takes pictures of their kids throwing tantrums.  When you’re not in the moment, it’s kind of adorable.

toddler tantrum on the beach at isle of palms, south carolina

And one picture from our last night on the beach.  Because what’s a story about a family vacation without one family picture?

Outdoor Family Portrait at the Beach

And just a few more pictures from our vacation fun.

children photography beach photography charleston south carolina

children photography beach photography charleston south carolina

candid picture of father and daughter

family picture on the beach at isle of palms

toddlers on the beach at sunset

mother daughter picture on the beach at sunset

Outdoor toddler portrait on the beach with sun flare

Lifestyle picture of toddlers playing on the beach at sunset with sun haze

Lifestyle picture of toddler playing on the beach at sunset with sun haze

Lifestyle picture of toddler playing in the ocean at sunset