Vacations used to be relaxing. I would sleep until noon, read books, and sit still for more than five minutes at a time. Vacations with kids are not times to recoup and catch up on much needed sleep. If anything, they're all about living more intensely than you ever would in your every day life. Someone recently said that we need to take the word vacation out of the equation entirely and call them "Family Trips."
You can't sit on the beach and stare at the ocean for hours. You have to get up and build the fifteenth sandcastle of the day. You can't read a book because you need to scan the shoreline for sharks and to make sure your kids aren't drowning. After spending 12 hours baking in the sun all your body is screaming for is a good night sleep, but this isn't possible because the kids are out of their comfort zone and will go to bed late, wake up numerous times throughout the night crying, and wake up extra early. There's no such thing as tiring your kids out while on a family trip. They're an endless font of energy and enthusiasm.
For our family trip this year we went to the La Jolla Beach & Tennis club, which my mom brings us to for two days every summer. Despite the exhaustion, it's the best two days of summer. We don't wear shoes the entire time because we're bouncing from the beach to the pool and then back to the beach. We find shells on the beach, search for sea creatures, watch seagulls steal our food, and bury kids in the sand. There's no need to even leave the club and our car sits in the parking lot without moving the entire time.
Of any experience I have, it's probably the only time of the year that I'm actually fully immersed in the present. My email account is set to vacation mode. My kids are right in front of me, so I don't need to check my phone to see if there are any emergencies. I, for once, feel like a decent mom who might actually be a tiny bit fun for my kids to be around. But don't worry, I'm back in Los Angeles and back to my boring mom ways, sitting my kids in front of the TV so I can have five minutes to think.