Making the Most of a Beach Vacation with Baby in Tow

I really do believe salt water is the best medicine: sweat, tears, and the sea help us feel better about many of life's problems right away. For that reason, spending relaxed days beachside is my idea of a perfect vacation. Luckily, earlier this month, my 9-month-old son and I took an impromptu flight to Florida to visit friends and family while dad took a last minute work trip, and it was oh-so-sweet.

By now we are quite used to traveling with our babe, and he is just the cutest travel buddy there is! If you follow us on Instagram you know he's a beach bum at heart, just like his mama and dada. But even though he's an easy-going little man, there are certain things we do/avoid to make our beach trip go as smooth as possible:

Go off the beaten path

Sunset and full moon bliss

This blog's name is no coincidence - exploring the undiscovered is one of my favorite travel themes. As far as Florida goes, there are many smaller, less crowded beaches that are just as gorgeous as the popular ones. This time around we spent our days in a sleepy beach town near St. Petersburg called North Redington Beach. Between the calm Gulf of Mexico waters and mostly empty sands, I really favor those versus Miami or Daytona Beach nowadays. Don't get me wrong, I actually lived in South Beach and had my fair share of Sunday Fundays (and loved every second of it). But drunken crowd shenans around my precious? Uh-huh honey.

Camp out 

Heading to the beach with a baby requires a bit more preparation than just grabbing a beach towel, some sunscreen and a book. We had two beach canopies set up side by side and that made all the difference (we were a group of 10 and just a regular beach umbrella wouldn't do). Under the canopies we had chairs, beach blankets, a buffet table, a waterproof radio, you name it. For the baby, we used this sunscreen, this rash guard, a lightweight ring sling, easy to clean toys, and had tons of fruit (watermelon, mango, blueberries, anything extra juicy to avoid dehydration) and fresh water. {affiliate links}.

Enlist help

Gotta love the shallow gulf waters

With so many family members around who we barely get to see, I had constant volunteers to help change, bathe, feed, watch, entertain and love my son, and it felt great. Having so many kind helpers took a huge load off my back, and I was able to relax and enjoy our time there without being overwhelmed.

Skip the hotel and go for a vacation rental 

Regarding accommodations, I can't think of a better option than a vacation rental. R's family rents a beach condo every summer for a week, and this year we were thrilled and grateful to be able to tag along. (Thanks again, guys!) It turns out July is National Vacation Rental Month - for good reason. Renting an entire apartment versus a hotel has so many advantages:

Wyndham Vacation Rentals survey findings

Extra space, less cost

The apartment was big enough to comfortably sleep all 10 of us! We had enough privacy, yet it was fun to have everyone staying together. We spent most of our days downstairs at the beach anyway, and only came upstair after the sunset for dinner, a shower, and bed.

A kitchen

Speaking of dinner, we prepared every meal ourselves. Home-cooked meals on vacation are a huge source of savings. Also, taking an older baby to a restaurant can be a bit challenging and stressful. Our little guy's mood goes downhill FAST at night, and the best place to be is at our home for the evening.

Flexibility

Some owners only rent for a week or longer, some allow only weekends; some accommodate larger parties and special requests such as highchairs, pack 'n' plays, etc. There is a lot more flexibility than at hotels, especially if you plan ahead and rent in the off-season.

As with any trips involving kids, having a plan, a good attitude, and family and friends around to help are some of the most important things you can do. These are great memories in the making, and there's no better place to create them than at the beach.

What are your favorite beaches to visit?

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13 comments:

  1. Absolutely spot on tips for travelling with a baby - on a beach holiday and elsewhere! We have been travelling with our little ones (not so little anymore) since they were 8 weeks old and now 10 years later, have such wonderful memories of all our adventures and travels :-) And we too love our beach time!

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    1. Wow that's a lot of traveling and memories! Creating beautiful memories is definitely our goal. Thank you so much for stopping by, we love your blog too!

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  2. Great tips! Those beach canopy's are lifesavers! The hubs and I both burn pretty easy, but still love the beach so we are constantly looking for shade!

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    1. Thanks Julie! I've got olive skin and don't really burn, and still would much rather be under some shade. Premature wrinkles, stay away! haha!

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  3. Yes, great tips!! Family and extra hands is the O N L Y way I survive my five ;)

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    1. Thanks, Amber! Family and friends are so important, and I only have one little one! Hahah you're a superstar!

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  4. I love reading your travelling with a baby tips!! I have no problem taking my daughter wherever we go, but my husband is a little nervous about traveling with her (we didn't have the best experiences her first year lol! ), so its nice being able to bring up some of your tips when we talk about vacations! Thanks for sharing!! :)

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    1. Aw I'm sorry to hear you didn't have a great experience. Every baby is so different! (I'm ever-so-slightly dreading the terrible twos with my little determined/strong willed-baby.) I'm glad I could help!

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  5. That photo of your baby in the water surrounded by adoring fans is so cute. I definitely prefer a vacation rental over a hotel room when I'm traveling with young kids. I agree that it truly makes things so much easier. Thanks for linking up with #WkendTravelInspiration

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    1. Haha thank you Michele, that picture was a very accurate depiction of the entire week :-)

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  6. Awe what a sweet picture of everyone in the water! I totally agree, when traveling with young kids, a rental trumps a hotel. I remember when Aiden was a baby and us being in hotels and freaking out when he would cry cause I was scared everyone in the hotel could hear him lol

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    1. Thanks Christine! Yup, I felt the same when we stayed in hotels when Baby was even younger! (and it was totally fine, of course) But nothing beats having a full kitchen and tons of room to sprawl out!

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  7. I am planning my first beach trip with my kids, being a single mother I was worried about the safety of my kids and how to stay in budget during the trip? I found your blog very helpful and informative. Thanks for sharing.

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About the Writer

I'm Louise, a Tampa Bay based Brazilian-American travel blogger. Join us as we learn and share the ins-and-outs of traveling with a toddler and our sweet rescue pup Oreo, while promoting local nonprofits and wellness along the way.