THE VACATION is the story of a middle-class family of five, who awaken early one morning to find that their suburban home is completely, and inexplicably, surrounded by the ocean.

TED HAYES is an overworked, burnt-out newspaper editor in his early-40's, who's about to take his family on their annual one week vacation to the Jersey shore. Ted, sick of his twenty-year editing job at a major newspaper, longs to escape the daily 9 to 5 grind he's come to detest. After he has "one of those days", even the prospect of a one-week vacation can't convince him that his life has become nothing more than a bowl of cold oatmeal.

His wife BETH, a high school math teacher home for the summer, is having some problems of her own lately, mainly in trying to come to grips with the fact that her family is changing. SAMANTHA HAYES, their oldest daughter, is about to go off to college in a few weeks, while AARON, their fifteen year-old son, seems destined to become a total bum with his lack of initiative and constant slacking-off. KYLE, their youngest, gives Beth all she can handle just by being his three year-old self. So when Sam and Aaron express reservations" about going on the annual vacation this year, Beth longs for the "good ol' days" when they were younger and did everything together as a family.

So what happens when they wake up and discover that their vacation has literally come to them? After their initial shock and panic, each begins to deal with the strange situation in his own unique way. At first, Ted's just happy to be away from the rat race and takes the time to just kick back and relax, while Beth sees it as a chance to finally have some quality family time together, a chance to sit down and actually have a meal with all of them present. Sam, on the other hand, is pissed. Her big opportunity to finally get out of the house and be on her own has literally just been washed away. She's stuck in the last place she wants to be - at home. Aaron surprisingly becomes involved in a "project", while Kyle continues to just be Kyle.

But while the family "adjusts" and tries to figure out just what to do to get out of their strange predicament, Nature has even more tricks in store for them. Mirages, sharks, a time warp... Strange seaweed, a tidal wave and hurricane... All conspire against them and eventual force them to make a life and death decision - to either stay and risk dying of starvation, lack of water, or some disease, or to take a chance in a small boat they've built and sail off into the enigmatic and potentially endless sea that has engulfed them and made them hostages in their own home.

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