We were going to go back to Sand Key Park in Clearwater, where we have gone twice already and loved. But Zane wanted to try something new, so we scanned the map of the gulf coast and chose this park.
It was only a little over an hour to drive there from Brandon, which is basically the same time it takes to get to any beach from Brandon.
It costs $5.00 for the day. I like beaches that cost a little something, because the bath houses are usually better maintained, and the parks are usually a little less crowded, because many people don't want to pay to go to the beach.
We set up camp under the shade of a palm tree (didn't have to set up our umbrella), and Zane and Daisy explored the small island while I ate snacks and played with Amy.
Soon Amy and I joined Zane and Daisy to see some of the cool spots they found. There was almost no one on the north side of the beach on the other side of a little walkway. It was a beautiful little secluded part of the island that reminded me of parts of Maui that felt very secluded.
The water was also very clear and shallow, and we enjoyed walking around the rocks. However, we all came out with scrapes and cuts on our feet from the shells and rocks. If you choose to wade through this part of the beach, I recommend water shoes.
One problem we've had with our six month old and beach trips is that she doesn't like to sleep on the blanket. I saw a couple other families bring their carseats onto the beach (I don't know why I didn't think of that). When it was time for her to nap, we tried the carseat, and she fell asleep almost immediately.
While Amy napped, Zane and Daisy explored and played in the water some more. I lay down with Amy and rested. It was so relaxing under the shade of the palm with the sounds of the ocean and this beautiful view:
We had arrived around 10:00 AM, and by noon there were lots of people and a full parking lot. We decided to head out around 12:30 PM and get lunch on the way home. Someday, when our kids don't need naps everyday, we'll enjoy longer beach days, but for now, a morning is sufficient fun.
Another successful beach day!