The first time we tried taking our baby to the beach was an embarrassing failure.
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.
There was still something missing, though (a few things). I forgot to bring swim diapers for the baby, and beach toys (a nice bucket and shovel). We didn't own any beach towels, or comfortable beach chairs, and we needed something to carry all this stuff when the beach was a long walk from the car.
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.
My husband set up the UV tent in eleven minutes. We had a cooler for the baby’s milk, snacks, chairs, sunscreen, a blanket, towels, some good music and shade! Then something we weren’t prepared for…a dark cloud loomed and it started to sprinkle. The beach slowly cleared as the rain came harder, and we decided to stick out the storm.
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.
The rest of the adventure was spent chasing my son as he explored everything around him. He loved the wet sand even more than the dry. We now feel confident on any beach adventure, thanks to our new beach gear. These are our favorites: