Childhood is such a fleeting time. As you watch your kids grow and mature with each passing day, this realization becomes all the more poignant.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise. As soon as you have children, friends and family come forward with the same advice: Enjoy every minute. Before you know it, they’ll be grown. Often though, despite our best intentions, we become so caught up in a whirlwind of responsibilities—work, school, organized activities—that time slips away from us second by second. But it doesn’t always have to be that way. When, almost magically, we can come together at a place as simple and relaxed as Bald Head Island, we finally have a chance to slow down and catch our breath.

The Best of Times

Because no bridge connects Bald Head Island to the mainland, you leave your car behind and travel here by passenger ferry or private boat. When you arrive, your pace slows to that of an electric cart, bicycle, or your own two feet. You’ll have the chance to fully appreciate the beauty of the surroundings—quiet beaches, lush maritime forest, winding tidal creeks, and idyllic streetscapes.

The Best of Times

In so many ways, time almost feels suspended on Bald Head Island. Vacations here are reminiscent of an earlier era, when families and friends spent lazy summer afternoons lingering by the shore. The island’s East, West and South Beaches stretch for more than a dozen uninterrupted miles, providing a limitless playground for kids of all ages. And simple pleasures, like sandcastle building, still rule the day.

There’s a powerful feeling of safety and security here, and older children in particular enjoy a rare opportunity to run and roam with abandon. With so many wild places to explore, there’s no time to be bored. New adventures await around every bend—paddleboarding, kayaking, fishing, hiking, sailing. The list is endless.

Yes, childhood is fleeting. But you can resolve to savor each small moment. To draw out the days a little more. And to connect with each other in a meaningful way in a place like Bald Head Island. Knowing, that one day in the not-too-distant future, you’ll look back and smile.

These are truly the best of times.

This article originally appeared in Haven 2016.