There aren’t many weeks of the year that can rival a summer vacation; except maybe a winter vacation, but hey, it’s summer so let’s stay in the here and now.

Vacations, no matter what time of year, are preferable to a regular, old non-vacation week. But in my opinion, summer beats winter any month of the year. Summer is warm weather, sunshine beaming off the lake, cool water and cold drinks, barbecue and corn on the cob, draping wet beach towels over the deck railing to dry and summer solstice.

Summer days are longer than winter days so you get more bang for your buck with a vacation during June, July or August. A stretched-out, lazy and carefree day makes time for late-morning brunches and late-night sunsets. Breakfast can morph into lunch and lunch into dinner. You are free to sleep in and stay up late without any guilt or tiredness. An afternoon nap sounds like a good idea because it is.

Summer vacations often involve one of my favorite places: the beach. In the best-case scenario, a beach is made up of sand, which can be used to build castles or sculptures or just run through your fingers or toes.

After sand, one of the best features of the beach is that it is nearly always in close proximity to recreational water. Not the kind of recreational water that you drink, although that also goes well with the beach on occasion. I mean recreational water as in a lake, the ocean, a river and even a large pond. You get the idea.

There are all sorts of ways to recreate on or in the water like swimming for the fit folks, skiing and tubing for the thrillseekers, fishing for the patient types, floating on a “floaty” for the floaters, surfing, sailing, splashing, skipping rocks, gathering shells, catching minnows, boating, kiteboarding, kayaking, canoeing, jumping off the dock, watching the tide roll out or in or both. You’re on vacation.

Summer vacations are filled with summer foods and drinks like watermelon and lemonade. I don’t remember ever eating watermelon in the winter. Its juicy sweetness is best saved for summer. The same goes for lemonade, except it’s more tart than sweet. Could there be a more savory summer meal than hot dogs, beans and potato salad?

Clothing needed during summer vacation is minimal. Packing is nearly effortless. The most important item, after sunscreen, is the swimsuit, which you are free to wear all day if you choose. Beach towels are a necessity. Shoes are optional, but flip-flops are fun. Throw in a pair or two of shorts and a couple T-shirts and you are set for the week.

By far the best thing about a summer vacation is that the word vacation is often preceded by the word family. A family vacation beats a summer vacation and a family summer vacation is the best vacation of all.

Spending quantity and quality time with family doing whatever you love doing together is just as awesome as sitting on the deck eating watermelon and watching the beach towels dry in the late-evening sunshine; maybe even more so.



Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. More columns are available at the Slices of Life page on Facebook.