Sheltered by Long Island, the stretch of beach along the Sound is perfect for kids. With its gentle waves, many sand bars, and various sea creatures dwelling between the tides, there is much to keep the kiddos curious and content for hours.
I personally like to go during the week, in the morning, getting there by 10am. Two or three hours is plenty of time for my young ones, and its easier for me to feed them lunch at home then it is to lug a cooler across the sand, along with all their toys, boogie boards, towels, chairs - you get the picture. If the morning doesn't work out, I will wait until the summer crowds have disbursed, grab a pizza from T.J's, and head to Town Beach to watch the sunset. Its still warm enough for swimming, and I don't have to worry about applying sticky sunscreen to three squirming bods.
I think all parents of young children have come to terms with the fact that the days of sun bathing face-down on a towel, reading a magazine until you choose to stop, and just slipping into the water effortlessly for a refreshing dip are long gone. Now, with children, going to the beach is slightly less relaxing. So me, I learn to find the humor in the situation. Take for instance the last time I headed out with the girls, arriving sometime in the late morning.
You know how there are beach people and non-beach people? Well Jaidyn, my 7 year old, is a Beach Bum. I think she's part fish, part sand crab. She will dig and swim, and bury and rinse - all day long. But Addy, my 3 year old has some different feelings about how everything at the beach - well, feels.
At Harvey's beach you need to walk across some gushy mucky stuff during low tide, to walk to the waters edge and distant sand bars. You will most likely step on a few crunchy snails along the way. Addy squeals and climbs up my leg, adding to my already burdensome load. When the wind blows her hair into her face she voices her frustration, ordering me to "pull it back." When she gets sand on her hands, she is upset that she can't wipe it off. So I show her how to rinse her hands in the water. But if a wave is slightly bigger then normal and splashes her in the eyes, she wails. And as soon as she makes it back to her towel with clean hands, she picks up a sand toy and her hands are "dirty" again. I ended up shaking out her towel, helping her rinse off, then carrying her to the center of her towel where I instructed her to sit "criss-cross applesauce" until it was time to go. She was happy as a clam, eating her snack, staying clean and dry, with just the occasional wind blowing a stray hair. I really had no choice but to laugh - either that or pack up and leave, but that wouldn't be any fun. I'm hoping that with more visits to the beach Addy will become less sensitive to it.
Oh darn, I guess I'll have to go to the beach again soon, for little Addy's sake!