Whether you’re a young person yourself, or even just a young-at-heart parent, going to the beach can mean tons of fun adventures to be had. It’s not just about walking along the beach, or endlessly searching for seashells though you could certainly still do both! The beach in Wilderness, South Africa offers such a serene and calming atmosphere that you can fill in the blanks and make it any kind of fun day you like!
Since some of us have kids and some of us do not, this will be separated into things to do with the children and things you can do solo or with one other adult. Some of us don’t have nearly enough fun or adventure in our lives, and hopefully this list will be just what is needed to propel you into that adventurous spirit after a beautifully relaxing night at On the Beach Wilderness.
Things for children to do:
The easiest suggestion and your list for what to bring along: Bucket, shovel, any other digging or scooping implement, umbrella, sunscreen, water bottles (preferably in a small cooler) and towels. Other things on the list can be brought as called for.
- Scavenger hunt: Wing it while at the beach, and ask your kids to bring you rocks, seaweed, shells, sea glass and separate these things further by adding which colour! You can either bring along a plastic jar, or just use a plastic baggie so they can save what they’ve collected. Just be sure to check local beach ordinances to find out if you’re allowed to remove anything from the beach permanently. The game is still fun even if they must put it back before they go, and it can turn into a great learning experience – explaining why the Eco-system needs those little treasures.
- Cooking with sand: Yes, it sounds really strange but to a child it’s probably completely normal. Imagination knows no bounds and they would just love it if their parents got down and dirty with them and pretended to eat that sand pie they baked in a sandy oven. Be creative!
- Teaching opportunities: You can either purchase locally or bring along a book about the beach and the things found there to teach your children about the creatures, the ocean, and everything in between. Because beaches and the ocean near the beach is such a fine Eco-system there’s a lot of learning potential there, not to mention human elements you don’t find too many other places like sailboats, snorkelers, kite-surfers, parasailers and so much more!
- Rocks = Safety: Have you ever watched your children play the game “Hot Lava” ? Maybe you played it yourself as a child? Look for rocks on the beach that you can stand on or get to without too much of a safety hazard with jumping. Alternately, you can use beach towels to accomplish the same thing. Using built up sand mounds doesn’t work because we found the kids get upset when their safe spot melts into the “lava”. Rocks, or the towels we pretend are rocks are the safe spot, and the rest of the sand or the water is hot lava. The only way to get to safety is to jump!
- Sand castles, moats and sand art: This activity is so much fun, doing it with kids or even by yourself as a grown person it’s relaxing and entertaining. Make the biggest and most amazing sand castle you can, or get creative and make a sand tortoise or porpoise! You can get fancy and dredge a deep trench around your sculpture, or a moat around your castle, and let the water creep in. Just be sure to fill any deep holes before you leave the beach to avoid anyone else twisting an ankle or getting hurt otherwise.
- Make friends: Wilderness beach is one of the best places to meet people from all over the world, and you might just find other families there who you’ll be instant friends with forever, and give your kids some pen-pals to keep in touch with. (Though today it’s more like email pals). You’ll find that even if the adults don’t find much to discuss while enjoying the sunshine and surf, kids have no language barrier and don’t care that they can’t understand each other. Fun is a universal language.
- Sculpting meets writing: Building things in the sand isn’t all you can do though, you can make sand art with just a stick or the handle of a beach shovel. There’s some truly amazing line-art to be had using beach sand, and you can make it as big as you like! Consider using other body parts to make even more amazing artwork like sand-angels.
- Kites: Need I say more? Though kite-surfing is the rage in South Africa, flying a normal kite as a child, or even as an adult can be so much fun. There’s plenty of windy days at the beach, so the only issue with the kite is making sure it doesn’t fly away!
- Bird chasing: It doesn’t hurt the birds, and is endless hours of entertainment for the kids. Especially if you’re going to picnic at the beach, you’ll find some feathered friends pitching up hoping you’ll drop some for them. Kids are the perfect answer to that annoying gull or crow, and are always happy to chase them away.
- Body burying: Be sure your kids are okay with this as some can get upset at the feeling of the pressure of the sand over them, but burying in the sand up to the neck can be loads of fun, especially when it comes time to wash it all off.
- Crab-racing: Not real crabs mind you, they don’t tend to listen very well or follow a great path, but you and the kids can certainly emulate the crabs and have a crab-walking race. The winner gets to pick what kind of ice-cream everyone enjoys after!
- Whale watching: This can be done year-round though there are specific times to watch for certain kinds of whales. South Africa’s coast is prime for whale watching.
- Frisbee: Who doesn’t love a good game of Frisbee? It’s something you can only do if you have at least two of you but there’s just something truly rejuvenating about a rousing game of Frisbee at the beach.
- Hiking: Beach going doesn’t mean you have to walk the beach, you can also go hiking along it, leaving the sandy areas for the more wild and unexplored areas. You may find a hidden trail from the beach and discover so much more than the ocean and sand to your liking.
- Picnic at the beach: If you’re planning to be away for any great length of time at the beach, you will probably want to bring along a picnic lunch, it’ll help beat the heat and can be packed easily with help from friends potluck style.
- Read: Books are best, but Kindles or magazines work just as well. On particularly windy days, magazines may not be a beach-lover’s best friend, but any paperback or e-book works just fine and having a beach setting to read in means immersing yourself in a perfectly zen experience and getting lost within the pages. Just be sure not to get sunburnt!
- Write: You may find that perfect motivation at the beach for poetry or short-stories, and even if they aren’t meant for anyone’s eyes but your own, it’s a great activity to engage in at the beach.
- Paint/Draw/Sketch: Though this one means bringing along the tools required, and possibly an easel, painting or drawing while at the beach is an experience that must be done to be understood properly. You don’t have to paint the beach itself, or the rolling hills, or the ocean… but you may find yourself struck by the inspiration to paint whatever has popped into your head, and there will be many things like that while you’re there.
- Photo opportunities: Take your camera, or the camera on your phone, even an amateur photographer can get a world-class shot in this location.
- Sunrise/Sunset: Depending on what time you’re at the beach, sunrises and sunsets (particularly sunsets) are gorgeous at the beach, it’s the perfect time to sit with a cool drink under an umbrella and watch as it dips below the horizon.
You can also take some of the things from the children’s list to do on your own or with another adult, because often the only thing that limits us is our own ideas about what is socially acceptable, but watching someone have fun regardless of their age, is something that brings everyone pleasure.