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First Family Beach Vacation!

First Family Beach Vacation!

Ok…finally! The post many of y’all have been asking for since we promised it awhile back!

Where did we go on vacation?!! Well…

We had hoped to take a family vacation this year, but with covid we didn’t think it was gonna happen. However, as we got closer to Derick’s short break after his summer classes and job wrapped up and the start of his fall semester, we started looking at options and were able to book a place last minute through Airbnb! This was our very first family beach vacation!

Israel had seen the beach for the first time several years ago when we lived in El Salvador, but he was so little at the time that he didn’t really remember anything. This was Samuel’s first time to the beach and our first family beach vacation!

Six years ago, we honeymooned in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and thought about going back there, but with the driving time from Arkansas + the coronavirus complicating travel plans, we thought we’d better stick with somewhere we could get to in one day. We asked our Instagram followers for advice and many of y’all mentioned driving closer to Florida. We were able to find a great deal on a beach rental in Gulf Shores, AL, only a short drive to the Florida line, and it was still just one (long) day drive from home!

We had a wonderful time and are so thankful God allowed us the time away to regroup as a little family before school started back. Hope y’all enjoy these pictures and videos from our trip, and be sure and check out our YouTube channel for more videos, & subscribe to be the first to know!

Where was your first beach experience? Where is your favorite vacation spot? …beach, mountains, or elsewhere? Drop your answer in the comments below!

Fun facts: Dillard family first beach locations…Derick: Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Jill: Savannah, GA; Israel: Costa del Sol, El Salvador; Samuel: Gulf Shores, AL

The photos above are considered the property of the Dillard Family and may only be used with their written permission. Please request permission to use the photos.

39 Comments

  1. Sarah

    Aww y’all look like you like had fun!! GS is a very short drive for us. You should have set up a meet up with fans!

    Reply
    • Regina Shea

      It would have been a nice idea but I think it’s better that they concentrated on family time together instead of fans.

      Reply
  2. Marsha

    So glad you enjoyed some family time on our beautiful Alabama beaches! We vacation at Dauphin Island, AL almost every summer. It’s a nice family area in case you need an idea for next time.

    Reply
    • Winnie

      Your air bnb looks so cute! Once I tried Air bnb I’ll never go back to hotels!! So much cheaper, and provides a much more unique experience 🙂 Happy to see you being your authentic self, Jill!

      Reply
  3. Jessie

    Looks like so much fun! As an NC resident who grew up on the coast, as much as I hate to say it (because our economy needs the tourism revenue), you made a smart choice to not come here!

    Jill, your swimwear is darling! Do you have a link to where yoy purchased it? This mama will need a new swimsuit next spring!

    Reply
    • Derick & Jill

      Aww. Yeah, I know so many places are suffering right now with the pandemic and all.

      My swimwear is from the company ModLi. I think my link is expired now, sorry. :-/

      Reply
      • Tiffany

        I love the growth and individuality I have been seeing in you both over the years. Jill you have definitely changed and it has been for the better and I do believe your children will thank you for it. Giving them the opportunity to attend public school and experience all the things that memories are made of is amazing. God has definitely been using you both! I do pray that you and the rest of your family will mend what is broken and heal from the past. I love you with the love of the Lord.

        Reply
      • Tonya Porter

        Y’all were in our neck of the woods. I live in Theodore, AL and my son and daughter in law live in Elberta about 5 minutes from Gulf Shores. Glad y’all had a great time. Saw y’all went on the ferry. Lots of fun.

        Reply
  4. Jessica Brown

    I lived in Jacksonville Beach, FL til I was 5. Then we moved to Knoxville, TN. We are about 45 minutes from the Smokey Mtns. While I love the mountains, the ocean has my heart. We vacationed almost every year back to Jax Beach and would also visit St Augustine which was only 30 minutes away. My Great Grandmother GiGi had a house right across the street from the beach in Jax Beach. Since getting married 26 yrs ago my husband and I have travelled all over FL, except the Keys and Panhandle. He would say Fort Lauderdale or Isla Mirada in the Keys are his 2 fave beach spots. I’m partial to the Gulf side and the towns Treasure Island and Midera Beach. Thank you for sharing your family life and pictures with us. You have a beautiful family!

    Reply
  5. Roxann

    Looks like you all had a very fun time. Love the smiles.

    Reply
  6. Andrea

    Would love to visit Gulf Shores. It’s on my bucket list. As a child we went to Hampton Beach New Hampshire every year. Now we take our kids to Ocean City New Jersey or Wildwood New Jersey

    Reply
  7. Tabitha

    Looks like a great time! Makes me
    Miss the beaches of Alabama! We went on our first family vacation to Orange Beach Alabama and it was gorgeous!

    Reply
  8. Kathy

    Beaufort North Carolina has some beautiful areas to test the beaches, my favorite coastal town. Glad your family had a great vacation.

    Reply
    • Derick & Jill

      It was so fun!!

      Reply
  9. Lisa

    Lifelong NJ resident so we go to the beach quite often, but Gulf Shores was supposed to be our vacation this summer and Covid ruined our plans! Glad to see photos from there. Looks like you had a great time!

    Reply
    • Derick & Jill

      Aww. I know it’s been so hard for a lot of people. Sorry you didn’t get to go! I hope you get too soon!

      Reply
  10. Shelly

    Do you guys get recognized a lot when you go on vacation?

    Reply
    • Derick & Jill

      Yes, sometimes…more so when there’s a larger group of Duggar family together though.

      Reply
  11. Keri

    On my first beach trip, I was less than a week old! 😉 I live in Rhode Island and beaches are not a rarity here! Newport’s Sachuest beach is beautiful!

    Reply
  12. Emily Ann Meyer

    My first beach experience was in Galveston, TX. I was probably about 6 at the time, and I can’t even remember why, but I was just SAD, in the way that only a young child can be. I’d crept out into the backyard and around the side of the house where I could be alone to wallow in my sadness, but my father found me anyway. He asked what was wrong, and I told him that I was just SAD (to this day, I can’t remember why). He accepted my feelings for what they were, and left.

    A few minutes later he came back and told me to get in the car. We drove for what seemed like forever (it was probably 30-45 minutes as we lived in the south side of Houston) and wound up in Galveston. He pointed out all the amazing gingerbread style victorian houses, and then we walked along the ocean and I collected shells. On the way back we stopped for ice cream.

    There was no judgment, no trying to talk me out of what I was feeling, and such acceptance of me as a human and it really made me secure in my father’s love for me that it’s one of my strongest memories as a young child. Later did I come to learn about the concept of agape and how much my father demonstrated what God’s love means.

    And it also cemented my love of the beach. I went to college in Virginia Beach and regularly also visit the Chesapeake Shores as well as the Outer Banks now that I’m an adult

    Reply
  13. Kathy

    Love your bathing suits Jill! Are they all ModLi? Or other brands also? You look SO cute!

    Reply
    • Derick & Jill

      They’re all ModLi. 🙂

      Reply
      • Regina Shea

        I just checked out their site and oh I love all the modest suits they have. I plan being a future customer! Thanks for the unplanned endorsement. ☺

        Reply
  14. Lyndsay

    Looks like you had a blast. I love Gulf Shores, my family has property in Fairhope AL so we grew up going to Gulf Shores. Also Wildwood NJ is another go to spot

    Reply
  15. Gloria

    Great pics, with awesome memories!

    Reply
  16. CArla

    Grew up in Alabama and visited Gulf Shores at least once a year. I now live about 45 minutes from there in Florida with my husband and son. The Gulf Coast has the most beautiful beaches in the US, IMO! I think when you live here you take it for granted, or at least we do! Glad you all had a great family vacation! And enjoyed our beautiful Gulf Coast!

    Reply
  17. Linda

    Looks like y’all had a great time! Don’t you just love the Gulf and all the white sand! Did you come across Dauphin Island to Gulf Shores?

    As a kid we always went to Destin, Ft Walton or Panamá City FL. Of course GS was a sleepy little village, and my parents preferred the deep sea fishing trips or P.C. with the fun kid rides etc. but they are more for older kids-teens, college kids now. They’ve really changed with all the small pricier towns popping up along the coast… a lot of them are still struggling to come back after hurricane of last couple of years.

    One thing you should do is get up early and walk the beach at sunrise… my mom always woke us up to do that and take pails to carry in your shells etc. I miss those days.

    Hope you made memories as wonderful as mine are.

    Reply
  18. FElicia

    We LOVE Gulf Shores! We got married there during COVID and plan to visit again for New Years.
    Our favorite restaurant there is Voyagers.

    Reply
  19. Hollie

    Looks like y’all had a great time! My favorite beach spot is Emerald Isle, NC!

    Reply
  20. Kimberly Hrubesch

    Looks like fun. I like your swimwear!!!

    Reply
  21. Sharon

    We live in Australia and I’ve always lived minutes from the beach so my kids have grown up going to the beach regularly. I always enjoy seeing peoples first time at the beach.

    Reply
  22. DORI

    Thankyou so much for sharing the heartwarming photos of your family vacation to the beach…I was really touched at what a loving family you are ☺️ It was so refreshing to see you all relaxed and enjoying yourselves I especially love the photo of you and Derrick on the beach sharing a beautiful, heartfelt moment with each other All the best for a great rest of 2020 Blessings from Aus

    Reply
  23. Antwonette

    We live in Florida (born and raised) so the beach is the norm here ‍♀️. Looks like you all had so much fun!

    Reply
  24. Brenda

    All I can say is you’ve come a long, good way from having to have your knees blurred out on TV and having to wear swim dresses with leggings. Doesn’t it feel good to be more normal and not hung up about modesty? Keep it up. There’s nothing wrong with anything you wore at the beach.

    Reply
    • Regina Shea

      Being concerned about modesty doesn’t mean a person is not normal.

      Reply
  25. BethAnne

    How did the boys do in the car for that long? Have either of them inherited the Duggar motion sickness tendency? 3/4 of my kids travel well. I think the youngest will travel better once we turn her seat around, but she just turned 2.

    Reply
    • Derick & Jill

      They actually did surprisingly well! Covid and potty stops complicated things, but we were prepared with fun car activities and audio dramas too like “paws and tales,” “Bedtime History” and “patch the pirate.”

      Reply
  26. Lois Shockey

    I live near Lake Michigan in Michigan. Just like the Gulf of Mexico but no salt no sharks or jelly fish. Take your. next vacation in the Water Wonderland of Michigan. We have so much here all year long. Check it out when this Covid thing goes away. Lived here my whole life and still find new things to do all the time.

    Reply
  27. Dawn

    Looks like a great time! I just finished your youtube vlog 5/5 of your vacation. Glad you are able to make those memories as a family. We, unfortunately, didn’t get a vacation this year but that’s ok, maybe next year.

    Reply

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