If ever there was a time to explore natural areas your city has to offer, it’s during a pandemic with a toddler. Today we ventured to Bob Wentz Park, about 30 minutes from our home in Central Austin. We seem to finally have all the gear for a successful “beach” day and leave most of it in the car for max efficiency with weekend exploring (links below). Between perfect weather, short travel time, having the right gear, and a well laid out park – we had such a wonderful day! We arrived around 10:30am, but I’d love to shoot for before 10am next time so we can get a parking spot closer to the Point.
As a native Floridian, Texas lakes and beaches can’t compare. But when it comes to kids, you don’t need the best of the best, any water and sand will do. We have to make the most of what we have! With that said, we really liked the “beach” at Bob Wentz Park. I thought about it all day and I actually think I like this lake spot better than Galveston. I loved the shallow pools on the rocks so that Ezra could play with water without being IN the water. And he loves rocks so much, having rocks, shells, and coarse sand were just as perfect for loading up his trash truck as they were for making pretend ice cream.
I had a mini fail with lunch packing. I stopped for sandwiches, but the water got through the plastic wrap the sandwiches came in and the sandwiches were soaked. But I had plenty of other snacks to fill us up until we got home. Harvest Snaps, Hippeas, grapes, blueberries, and some un-pictured hummus. We also brought a few Electric Jellyfish, which made up for the fail :).
Ez and I were super covered up in SPF gear. I’ve really been loving long sleeved and legging UPF gear for him. And I finally bit the bullet and ordered a long sleeved suit for myself after a recent pre-cancer freezing at the derm (!!!). When we’re both all covered up, it makes sunscreen application so much easier.
Here’s a list of all of our tried and true products for the beach. All of these items were purchased (none gifted or sponsored), but I am utilizing affiliate links for some of these items when possible.
- Pop Up Canopy – We’ve had this pop up beach tent since Ez was a baby and it’s held up super well for the past three summers. I love that it folds into a thin disc that we can keep in the trunk. It’s currently out of stock but here are a couple similar pop up tents: tent 1, tent 2.
- Beach Toys – We bought this beach toy set for our trip to Galveston. At such a low price point, my expectations were pretty low. But they’re a pretty thick plastic and provide everything baby needs to form, pour, spin, and roll.
- Beach Toy Bags – These bags remind me of going to the beach with my Gramma when I was little, which is initially what led me to purchase them. But they’re really great for beach toys because they hold everything together, they’re easy to stuff full, water and sand can be shaken out of the toys while they’re in the bag, and it’s easy to carry several of them.
- Ezra’s UPF Shirt – We have these shirts in several colors for both kids. We bought these in addition to rashguard type shirts we have from Target/Gap because they aren’t made for just water play so they don’t get as hot if we’re going to the park or playing in the yard without water.
- Ezra’s UPF Leggings – A few weeks ago, Ez’s legs got pink when we played in the yard with sprinklers. I bought these leggings for going to the park and playing in the yard, but they quickly turned into our fav bathing suit bottoms too.
- Ezra’s Hat – Ezra has been using this hat since last summer. It has an adjustable head strap as well as neck strap, so it grows with baby. I like that it stays on well and that it’s easy to toss in the wash while still keeping its form.
- Puddle Jumper – We kept Haven’s puddle jumper for Ezra, but Ez is really narrow and it would fall off easily. If your baby is on the tall/narrow/skinny side, this puddle jumper is where it’s at because the straps tighten more than others and it also has a vest that keeps the float in place.
- My Swimsuit – This suit… I wish I had it sooner. I love it partly because it’s so flattering and stylish, but mostly because it allows me not to have to reapply sunscreen. There are few things I enjoy less than putting sunscreen on a wet and sandy body.
- My Hat – I am not a hat person (or maybe I should say I wasn’t a hat person until this hat). When I bought this hat, I had expensive Anthro and Gap hats sitting in my closet. It was an impulse $9.99 buy during a trip to Costco last year and I ended up wearing it ALL THE TIME.
- Family Sunscreen – We started using ThinkBaby/ThinkSport mineral sunscreen for Ezra when he was old enough to wear sunscreen and then ended up using it for the entire fam. It ranks highly on EWG.com.
- My Face Sunscreen – I stopped wearing make-up early in quarantine. But I do wear this CC Cream when I go out in the sun as my face sunscreen. It’s ranked highly on EWG.com and provides the perfect amount of light coverage.
- Reusable Storage Bags – We’ve pretty much kicked our plastic bag habit thanks to these and glass storage containers.