A last minute decision to fly to Florida for a well-earned holiday finds Colleen Setchell relaxing on Daytona Beach – where the faces are happy and the ice cream is plenty.
The smell of coconut oil suntan lotion wakes me. I open my eyes, then squint as I realise my sunglasses are on my head. No point getting a sunglasses tan. I flip them down onto my face hoping my SPF50 has done its job while I snoozed.
I wasn’t even meant to be here, it was a last minute decision but one I haven’t regretted since I stepped off the plane, felt the warm air on my face and saw the rows of palm trees. Florida, the sunshine state, has lived up to its reputation. Sprawled out on Daytona Beach, I look down at my body and realise I’m the most tanned I’ve been in a very long time.
I’m here with friends for just three days and I’ve swum in the sea, learnt to boogie board, had a manicure and pedicure, seen a raccoon and a possum and even eaten alligator.
Our lazy days have consisted of sleeping late before heading down to the beach armed with towels, chairs, water, buckets, spades, suntan lotion and boogie boards. The beaches have been quiet enough for us to choose a good spot each time. We usually dump our stuff in the sand and then fight with the umbrella trying to make sure it is buried deep enough so as not to get caught in the strong Atlantic breeze.
Once settled, we head down to the water. Feeling our way across sandbanks and dodging the many seaweed clusters, we spend the next few hours bouncing, floating, diving, boogie boarding and body surfing. It’s been so relaxing even with the extra activities.
I wiggle my toes in the warm powder-white sand. As I look around, I notice that a few families have now set up camp around me – kids are building sand castles, parents are fighting with umbrellas. Couples are tanning and holding hands and there are a few more people burning some calories in the sea.
I hear tinkling music and look to my right. A brightly coloured ice cream van crawls its way slowly across the sand in front of me. The woman to my left flags him down – there are relaxed, happy faces everywhere. It’s a wonderful feeling.
After repeated sessions of suntanning and swimming, the day finally draws to a close and the sun starts its slow journey towards the horizon. Time to head back. With weary, tanned bodies, we pack up our things and start our own slow journey back to our holiday apartment. The only decision remaining is what to eat for dinner …
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Read more about Colleen’s travels on her blog.