Summer is finally HERE, borobaby readers! Around these parts, that means it is time to hit da beach. Yep – we’ve made it twice so far. And, guess what? We’ve gone right here in Queens to Far Rock Rock Rock Rockaway Beach! Who knew?
Well, I kinda knew…. but it didn’t seem like such a hot idea – going to the beach in Queens when the Jersey Shore is right there, ya know?
Well well well dear reader – Rockaway Beach is a grand ol’ time indeed and is actually a great affordable baby-friendly activity! There will be La Mega, there will be women in thongs who shouldn’t be, and there will be kooks with metal detectors, but would you really have it any other way?
First of all, you can get there with your Metro Card. Admittedly, we have driven both times so far, but major MAJOR points for not having to pay for both the Triboro (yeah, RFK, I said it) and George Washington Bridges. Funny story: We consider ourselves to be rather savvy with directions, and have really screwed up the reverse directions coming home both times. The result of our first attempt was an all-Brooklyn tour by driving the entirety of Bedford Ave because we didn’t feel like getting back on the highway. Our stupidity should not deter you! I’m just telling you this so you can have a good laugh at our expense. 😉 If you’re driving, get there early to get decent parking.
Okay, secondly, it is a beach. A real one – with sand and a boardwalk and lifeguards. The water is absolutely perfect for swimming and playing in the waves. None of this Long Island Sound nonsense. If you grew up riding the waves, as I did, you will surely appreciate this. For kiddos older than Marley, the waves are gentle enough to not be frightening – great “starter” waves, if you will.
Ah, now for the real stuff: THE FOOD. Apparently it is a very cool hipster thing to do to come down to Rockaway Beach. This is fiiiiiiiiine with me, as there are now several mega-fabulous Brooklyn-y food outposts on or near the boardwalk from which to choose. Our inspiration to try out Rockaway in the first place was this article on Grub Street. If you go, you must print this out and take it with you as your ultimate guide. I particularly recommend the iced chicory coffee from Blue Bottle Coffee, and then anything at all from Rockaway Taco. A reasonable person can get lunch there for under $10, but if you are Nick and me you will spend thrice that because you are starving and you want it all. Some advice – avoid the lines and try to go at a slightly “off” time (ie, not noon) if you are there on the weekend. 🙂
Say whaaaaat? I want to go now, but how do I do this with my little baby?
- Especially if your baby is as young as Marley, you will need some kind of shade. This umbrella, the Sport-Brella, is the thing. Not only does it provide great shade, but because it ties down on one side, it protects from sand blowing into your baby’s eyes/mouth/diaper, etc. Of course, some sand is unavoidable, but this contraption really helps. It’s also UV-protective, etc etc. OH! And because it has a “back”, if Marley got annoyed/hot with the nursing cover, I could just turn around and nurse him in peace facing the back of the umbrella! It can also be configured as a regular style umbrella, as well – brilliant!
- Of course, you will want the appropriate protective gear for the little one to wear. Marley is not ready to be out swimming yet, so I haven’t got any great recommendations for swimwear. But – I’ve had amazing luck with this i play Sun Protection Hat and these Baby Banz Ultimate Polarized Sunglasses. The Baby Banz folks also appear to make nice UV-protective sun clothes. They are an Australian company, which makes me trust them regarding sun protection…they’ve been missing a chunk of the ozone layer over there for a while now so I reckon they know what they’re doing. Ah, also – those of you who’ve been hanging with Marley recently know that I dress him in white tube socks pulled up to his knees. This accomplishes 2 things: (1) Marley’s little exposed feet/calves are covered, and (2) We achieve that coveted “Florida resort community” look.
- So, ok – when I was thinking about how to take a baby to the beach, I got the greatest suggestion. Why not dig a hole that the baby can lie/sit in (presumably with a towel/sheet over the sand)!? This will protect baby from flying sand, provide a bit of shade/coolness, and allow baby to be quite comfortably upright as he plays with toys/books, etc. Alas, we have not tried this yet but we DEFINITELY are next time ’round! Marley is pretty much okay lying on his back towards the back of the Sport-Brella, but I think this is soon to change.
- A great lightweight & breathable blanket that can also be used as a nursing cover is the Aden and Anais Swaddle Blanket. Oh my gosh these things are awesome. They are just the right size for swaddling and they are muslin and thus very breathable – you don’t feel like you are suffocating your child in the warm weather. This is also a great blanket to keep in the stroller to provide extra shade when needed. I have the “Mod Turtle” set (red fish pattern in these pics) but be sure to browse all the adorable designs!We are a beach kind of family. I want Marley to grow up watching the world from the top of the waves – my happiest childhood memories were spent this way with my own mom. I want him to feel that incredibly calming back-to-center peacefulness when he arrives at the beach and catches that first glimpse of the ocean. I hope he’ll spend his summer days lying face down on the sand looking out as far as he can into the sea, hoping to find boats, dolphins, or even Europe (yeah, I did that). I’m so glad we’ve already started this tradition for him – we can’t wait to go again. 🙂
Get ready for our next post… our first “dear borobaby” Q&A!!!