IT'S SOUTH OF Wilmington, N.C., with the long wide beaches of Myrtle Beach but the quiet of a family beach. We rent two cottages for 27 or so of us--four generations. One cottage is for my family, one for my brother's. For meals, everybody is on their own until supper, when only the family that signed up goes in to cook. We all go out for seafood one night at Calabash, on the N.C./S.C. line. The waitresses don't blink an eye at 27 people.

During the days, we can ride the waves in on mats. We can go up to the inlet when the tide is low and look for sand dollars. We all like to walk on the beach, while some like to run in the early morning. We watch for the baby sea turtles to go out to sea at night. My husband takes a jon boat and a canoe so we can fish and crab in the mud flats along the inland waterway. We have to keep an eye on the tide. If it is going out, we may have to portage. One year I left my long tongs for moving crabs, and I picked them up the next year.

It's a wonderful week with much to do at our leisure, but the best part is being with family and watching second cousins play together another year. My mother is now 96 and hasn't gone for the past couple years. She liked to sit out on the front deck or under the tarp watching her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren build castles in the sand.

DOROTHY W. HARTLEY

Bethesda

South Brunswick Islands Chamber of Commerce, 1-800-426-6644, www.sbichamber.com.