This years trip to the beach was the best yet, except for the fact that we thought it would be a good idea to bring our dog with us. Ha! Other than the dog, the wildcard this year was of course, the two-year-old. On last years trip, he was completely obsessed with the water. As in, constantly crawling into the waves and laughing while getting hit in the face with salt water. He was fearless. It was really fun to watch but also a little exhausting.
Knowing that he has developed a healthy fear of things over the past year, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. The afternoon we arrived at the beach, a summer storm had just blown through and it was dreamy out. Slight cloud cover, dark clouds in the distance, cool air. Just dreamy. We took the kids down to the beach, fully clothed, for a bit just to get our fix in before hitting the beach first thing in the morning. The big kids were so excited. They love the beach love that we have a tradition of visiting the same place every year.
We unloaded from the car, put the baby in the sand, and all eyes were on him. What was he going to do??? He was very curious at first. He loved the sand and didn’t seem interested in exploring. He didn’t seem to notice the water at all. Finally, bored with his lack of reaction, the big kids ran toward the water and began to play and look for seashells. The baby looked on as they got closer and closer to the water. He followed. All the way to the waters edge. And then he wasn’t so sure.
You get the picture. He spent the next few days in love with the sand and unsure of the water. It really was kinda nice for my mama heart. I didn’t have to constantly worry about him running into the ocean and drowning. We were able to coax him into the water from time to time to cool off but he wasn’t thrilled with it. And someone had to be holding him. And he would only go into the most shallow area where water was barely touching him.
Until the last 30 minutes on the last day of our trip. And then, all of a sudden, it clicked. And he was walking into the water and sitting in it, playing so peacefully. You better believe I grabbed my camera so fast because it was a moment that I had been waiting for!
What about the big kids? Of course, they had a blast. Fighting was kept to a minimum. They played together nicely. And did well staying up late. My oldest spent a lot of time at the beach with her camera in hand. She is falling more and more in love with the art and I am hoping to get her a nice camera someday soon. It melts my heart that she loves something as much as I do. My middle spent a huge chunk of time looking for seashells. He loves science and nature and looking for shells really feeds that part of his soul. Plus it is a peaceful activity that I think he seeks out sometimes to get a little space from the chaos. I have always loved walking the beach to look for shells so this was a great thing for us to do together every day.
We stayed in a townhouse (thank you VRBO) that has a community pool. This was SUCH a great asset during the middle of the day when it is just too hot to be at the beach with little people. And bonus that the pool was literally right out our front door. Everyday our routine was basically the same, wake up early (because my children have yet to embrace “sleeping in”. ever. especially not on vacation) We would pack the cooler and head to the beach by 8am or so except for the one morning we were there at sunrise having donuts on the beach. Which was amazing. After about 2-3 hours on the beach we would pack up and head back to the condo for a mid-morning break. Kids would rest and watch cartoons while the adults fixed lunch. After lunch the baby would nap (in a closet. for real) and daddy would take the bigs swimming. When the baby woke up, we would meet them at the pool. After a couple hours of swimming we all came in to shower and get dressed. Every night we went out to dinner followed by a sunset walk on the beach. Every day looked the same but they were all a little different and so much fun.
We normally take our annual trip later in the summer but this year we went as soon as school got out. It was an awesome way to kick off summer break but now we are left feeling a little sad that the annual beach trip is already over. I am trying to work on my husband and see if I can sneak in a beach weekend later this fall:)
We have been doing this trip for several years now and there are a few things that I absolutely cannot live without at the beach. I thought I would share them in case anyone needed some suggestions. Without further delay, the things that I am loving right for the beach right now are:
Pacific Breeze Pop Up Tent: Y’all we have had a lot of beach tents over the years. This one is life changing. It opens and closes in seconds. SECONDS. There are no weird poles to work with and you don’t have to twist it in a weird way to get it to fold. You pull a cord. Simple as that. Pull a cord to open it. Pull a cord to fold it. It is glorious. Just ask my husband:)
Stansport Beach Chair: We love these chairs. They fold up small and are easy for both adults and kids to use.
Puddle Jumper: This quite literally saved us. Of course, we constantly keep an eye on our children but with three of them it gets a little crazy at times. We kept this on the baby and it gave us a little extra peace of mind. No, it won’t save your child’s life nor does it give you a free pass to let them out on their own. But it adds a little extra protection and that is always nice.
Dicapac: Wonder how I get DSLR big camera photos in the water? This bad boy is how. It doesn’t seem like much but it is amazing. I have had it for a couple years and have used it in the pool too and I love it.
Go Pro Hero: I have told so many people this but if you have never had a GoPro, they are a blast. Especially at the beach. I suggest renting one before committing to buying but they are a blast. I know they are typically used for video but I actually really love them for still photography in the water too. If you are interested in renting first, I love renting from BorrowLenses.com (this link gets you a code for $20 off your first rental!)
As a bonus, don’t forget to bring a good book. Of course, if you are going with kids you probably won’t get any time alone to read until after they are in bed but one can dream, right? I just finished this book and it is phenomenal. The Nightingale If you need a good beach read (or anywhere read for that matter), this is it.
Now, for the pictures. There are a ton. So sorry. Ok, not really:)
Ever look at pictures from a vacation and think, “I really wish we had a photographer here with us to capture the fun?”… Just a reminder that I do that! Shoot me an email with where you are going and when and I would love to tag along for a day to capture your family and all the magic and chaos that is travel with kids.