Jill Pertler

Jill Pertler

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. Summer is sunshine beaming off the lake. Summer is cool water and cold drinks. Summer is barbecue and corn on the cob. Summer is draping wet beach towels over the deck railing to dry. Summer is 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 to 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.

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. Swimming for the fit folks. Skiing and tubing for the thrill-seekers. Fishing for the patient types. Floating on a floaty for the floaters. Surfing. Sailing. Splashing. Skipping rocks. Gathering shells. Catching minnows. Boating. Kite boarding. Kayaking. Canoeing. Jumping off the dock. Watching the tide roll out, or in, or why not 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. Hot dogs, beans and potato salad – could there be a sweeter (or more savory) summer meal?

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 of 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 them 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.

— Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.