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Your Place or Mine…How Do You Handle Vacations After Marriage?

Until I was in my mid-twenties I’d never been north of Dallas, west of San Antonio, or left the country. Before I was born my parents found the perfect vacation spot in Destin, Florida, and that became the only place we went. One of my mom’s friends once told her “You’ve got to take that child to more places than Florida.” Without missing a beat, I quipped “You have to go through three states to get there,” thus ensuring the safety of the Destin tradition for a few more years.

Growing up, each year I watched from the balcony of our condo as extended families all dressed in white took photos by the ocean. I dreamed of the day I would gather my own children and grandchildren in Destin to repeat the beach rituals of my childhood. As friends’ families seemingly seamlessly integrated new spouses and children into their family vacations, I assumed the same would happen when I eventually got married.

Then I married someone who’s not crazy about the beach.

To put into perspective just how important Destin is to me, when I told a fellow Destin lover that my then-boyfriend didn’t particularly enjoy the beach, she turned to me and said “Well, that’s just not going to work.” Keep in mind we’d already been dating for almost two years at that point.

Luckily for Zack he made the short list of things I love more than Destin, so we made the relationship work. But he still hasn’t been to Destin, and the last few times I’ve gone, I’ve tried looking at it from his future perspective. Without the years of nostalgia coloring my vision, I’m forced to admit that the overcrowded roads and aging buildings probably won’t live up to the utopia I’ve tried to convince him that Destin is.

Enjoying Destin in 1996
Enjoying Destin in 1996

It’s not just that he’s not crazy about the beach. His family didn’t have a traditional vacation spot every year, so he doesn’t understand the sense of connection I feel to a place that’s hundreds of miles away from my actual home. Instead, he wants to go to exciting new places every year.

He has a point. One of my dad’s biggest regrets is not taking me to Disney World as a child. I wish we’d gone to New York City when I was obsessed with it as a teenager. There’s something to be said for seeing different places and experiencing new things. It’s just hard to do when you know that there is already a place you love as much as I love Destin.

We’ve reached a tentative compromise of vacationing in Destin every other year. (I say tentative because there’s still a chance he’ll love Destin as much as I do.) On off years, the plan is to try someplace new. Hopefully our compromise will satisfy both the tradition I cherish and the variety he craves.

Has anyone else encountered a similar situation? What are your thoughts on vacationing in one place each year versus a variety of places?

6 thoughts on “Your Place or Mine…How Do You Handle Vacations After Marriage?

  1. I really enjoy reading your blog entries. Anyway, my family enjoys the adventure of going new places. I think your compromise is super and holds to family tradition, while it also gives a chance for new adventures.

    1. Thanks so much! I’m glad you think our compromise sounds like it will work. Any suggestions for non-Destin years since your family likes going new places?

  2. Hi Ashley. I come from a long line of beach, particularly Destin, vacation goers, but I married into a fun family that likes to go lots of different places and have lots of activities. The key for their vacation happiness was having some activities to do while at the beach. The beach really lends itself to this – waterparks, fishing, golf, etc. I usually tried to encourage the busy family members to go for day or half day activities a couple of time during the week and I did what I wanted – nothing! It was great being at the beach with everyone – and lots of the activities I wouldn’t have done without them are my best memories ever! Good luck!

    1. Lol, my family likes doing nothing, too! Zack’s main concern is that he will get bored with the beach, so the last few years I’ve been trying to scope out some other activities for him to do in Destin. It’s great to hear that your family has been able to successfully make this work!

  3. Ashley, since you asked…Edwin and I love new places and new adventures. We love Destin, but a close second would be Myrtle Beach SC, the water is truly an emerald color, thus, it is known as the “Emerald City”. Perhaps our favorite destination was Niagara Falls. It is the most powerful waterfall in America. We rode the “Maid of the Mist” boat into the rapids below the falls. Words cannot explain the mighty power do the falls. Truly awesome. Another favorite was riding the 808 miles Highway 101 down the coast of California from Seattle to LA…through the Redwood Forest, San Francisco Bay Area, Chinatown, Carmel, Pepple Beach and Los Angeles…we spent a month doing this in our motor home. Also, don’t miss Mount Rushmore…be sure to see it at night…and Crazy Horse Memorial, which is larger than Mount Rushmore, these two are in South Dakota. Another fond memory is seeing Las Vegas…not so much for Pa, but he indulges me…cause I like people watching and gambling. When we traveled to Washington DC, we were not sure it would be memorable…but we were wrong…from the Capitol building to the White House to The Smithsonian to the Washington Monument to the Pentagon to Mount Vernon to the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, to the Vietnam Memorials and all the others…your days will not be long enough to see it all. Don’t miss New Orleans…there’s a reason it is called “the big easy”‘, California Central Valley…world’s must productive agriculture region, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Rocky Mointains, Montana, Wyoming, Memphis, Nashville, and Salt Lake City. Our favorite Texas destinations are San Antonio, South Padre Island, Big Ben National Park, and the Texas Hill Country. But remember, Ashley, sometimes it’s not the places one has been to that make you happy but who you are with on your journey. Also, sometimes it’s not always doing the things that make us happy, but doing the things that make our partner happy.

    1. Wow, I knew you enjoyed traveling, but I had no idea you’d had so many adventures! I can’t help but be inspired to see more places after reading about where you’ve been. I’m especially intrigued by Highway 101. Very true points at the end. I definitely need to keep them in mind.

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