Both my husband and I grew up in sunny South Florida, so you would think we knew all about going to the beach.
Our son, Grayson, was 10 months old at the time, and while we “visited” the beach before, we were never there for more than 40 minutes on an overcast day. That morning, we spent a lot of time packing up the car, but we brought all the wrong things. We packed a picnic lunch, a waterproof blanket, sunscreen and some cold drinks. What we didn’t take into account was the sun, or conversely, the lack of shade.
Trekking out to the beach, carrying our provisions in the stroller and the baby in my arms, we soon became bogged down in the sand. We squinted at the vast beach full of people, devoid of even a spot of shade. Of course, people brought umbrellas, pop-up tents and sun shades, but we were completely lacking. We promptly turned around and ate our sad little lunch on a picnic table and then drove back home.
The next week, I spent a bit of time on Amazon shoring up our defenses against the sand and sun (Amazon Prime is my friend). There are no excuses for Miami natives to be so amateur at beach-going.
Note: I grew up spending zero time on the beach. That is where all the “tourists” are. Boats? I can do boats.
Our next outing was more of a success. We had a UV tent this time and an easier beach, on the sleepy west coast of Florida. Our trek from the car was only a few feet, and my husband was able to erect the tent after a minor struggle. Shaded from the sun, and sitting in some borrowed beach chairs, we watched as my son played in the sand, crawling back and forth like a little turtle.
Round two on Amazon and we are properly equipped for many years of future beach trips. Our third trip to the beach with the baby really tested us. After a long hike from the car with a heavy (now 13-month-old) baby and gear, we arrived at the beach of our original failure, on the tip of Key Biscayne.
We scooted our chairs back and zipped the little tent closed. A little rain leaked in, but we stayed dry. Grayson napped in my arms to the sound of the rain splashing on the tent roof. After about twenty minutes, the rain cleared and for a moment, we had the beach to ourselves. It was a good moment.