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Did I say, “rock your beach vacation?” Haha, so funny. What I meant was how to “survive your beach vacation with 2 under 2.”
First things first: vacations with young kids are not vacations. They are challenging new experiences, but to say they are remotely relaxing would be a lie.
My family recently traveled to Orlando’s Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure and Disney World’s Magic Kingdom (reviews of the two parks coming soon on the blog) and after our theme park days, we traveled to Siesta Key Beach. Siesta Key Beach is consistently recognized as one of the best beaches in America.
Why Siesta is Special
The one thing that sets Siesta Key Beach apart from other beaches is its sand. It is comprised of a soft, white quartz, that never gets too hot. Perfect for kicking your sandals off and feeling the sand between your toes, and for inspiring the latest sandcastle creations.
Preparing for Your Beach Vacation with Young Kids
If you plan on bringing young kids to the beach, be prepared to bring more stuff than you could possibly imagine.
Since my family flew to our vacation destination, our first step was checking out the beach rentals in the area and reserving our rentals.
What We Rented
What We Brought
Bring one of those folding sport wagons you see at sports tournaments.
We were able to load down the stroller, and thankfully the sand was packed down enough to push the stroller on the beach. But having a cart would have made life easier. (I may or may not have cursed under my breath as I dragged our full cooler with tiny wheels across the beach.)
You’ve made it to the beach, now what?
Assemble your Beach Site (Shade is a Must!)
Once you make it to the beach, now is the time to assemble your beach spot. My 10-month old daughter and 21-month old son remained in the stroller under the sunshade while my husband began the process of assembling our Sport-Brella and beach umbrella. Getting our beach spot set up took about 20 minutes, and during that time I applied sunscreen to my 2 under 2 and my 9-year old stepdaughter.
I recommend changing the kiddos into their swimsuits and swim diapers before you go to the beach, but if you have to change them on the sheet under the Sport-Brella, it isn’t the end of the world. (Make sure and bring a plastic sack or baggy to put dirty diapers in on the beach.)
Once I got my 2 under 2 out of the stroller and sat them under the Sport-Brella, there was no containing them. The soft, white sand acted as a magnet and they immediately crawled /walked off the sheet and onto the sand. They also immediately took off their sun hats, so I was grateful that hubby had set up our beach umbrella for shade on the sand.
I dumped the sand toys out, and my son immediately started digging and playing in the sand. My 10-month-old daughter promptly began eating the sand. It quickly became apparent that keeping her from eating any sand was an impossible task, so instead I made sure that she did not eat handfuls of sand, but the occasional dusting of sand was ok.
My 2 under 2 were perfectly content to play in the sand all day and never venture to the water’s edge. Hubby and stepdaughter spent a lot of time in the water on their boogie boards and diving under the water looking for fish and other sea creatures.
Of course, no beach vacation is complete without taking the opportunity to dip your feet into the ocean, so eventually I took the little ones down to the water’s edge. My daughter continued her quest to eat the sand and shell mixture found at the water’s edge, while my son enjoyed filling and emptying his bucket with saltwater.
After our voyage to the water’s edge, we returned to our beach site and ate some snacks, and then all three kiddos played in the sand.
Note about Florida Weather
It is not uncommon for it to rain nearly everyday in Florida. Two of our beach days were cut short because of storms popping up on the beach. We stubbornly stayed despite the rain, until we saw thunder and lightning, and then we hurriedly packed up all our gear and headed out. Don’t take the risk! If you see lightning, take shelter.The storms tended to happen around 3 or 4 in the afternoon, so my best advice is to go to the beach around 10am and then by the afternoon when the storms start popping up, you will be ready to call it a day.
Beach vacations with 2 under 2 are not easy. Between loading and unloading tons of beach gear, keeping a constant eye on your kiddos to make sure they do not wander off, eat too much sand, or get sunburnt, it is anything but relaxing.
But despite everything, it is worth it. Seeing your son or daughter playing in the sand and dipping their feet into the ocean for the first time is magical.
Relaxing beach vacations are not a thing of the past, they are simply put on hold for a few years. Someday, you will be able to lay out and get lost in a good book again. But for now, build sandcastles with your babies.
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