Ok, feel like I have to put a disclaimer when I share blogs like this because I very much take a “done is better than perfect” approach to our personal photos when traveling. I bring the older camera so I don’t have to worry if something happens or a kiddo wants to be the photographer, I don’t sweat the editing–basically everything you normally see in my photos doesn’t happen here and if you’re new I feel you should know that ;P
We decided to take the boys to the beach for a last hurrah as a family of four. Neither of them have been to an actual beach, just the sandy shores of lakes, so we were pretty excited to set up camp and let me have fun in the waves and sand.
Now confession, I have never really been a beach person. Probably because when I visited the Texas coast as a kid, it involved navigating hordes of seaweed to find the water; plus I’m not huge on spending time in water that I can’t see through because I both know and don’t know what’s in there.
That changed a little when we went to the coast for a friend’s wedding. We rented a condo, set up a little canopy and spent the whole day outside, the whole shebang. Still not a fan of getting passed waist-deep in water though. But it all really clicked on this trip, because by most standards this was not desirable beach weather. It was cloudy, never got above the low 70s, super foggy, all that gloomy jazz. And as I walked about looking for shells with my cover-up blowing in the wind, I realized I like beaches for sweaters and coffee (shocker I know), not bikinis and bodysurfing.
The boys LOVED it. Rowan looked made for the beach before we had even gone, as he sipped is iced chai in the car, the windows down letting the wind blow back his surfer dude hair. He would run, and run, and run, until either we sent Ames to fetch him or Colton would go (I quickly learned that my growing bump and chasing a toddler down a beach did not go well together).
And in true “we have never taken kids to the beach fashion,” the appropriate amount of sunscreen was most definitely not applied and we all had that rosy sign of spending the whole day at the beach.
Day 2 was even gloomier and we whisked the boys off to the Texas State Aquarium, taking the Aransas pass route naturally so they could ride the ferry for a whopping two minutes (swear it was longer when I was a kid).
Colton and I met working at SeaWorld, so I feel like taking the boys to an aquarium or similar will always have a more special vibe than other activities, especially when they have dolphins or other marine mammals for our boys to see (cue the mushy “how mommy and daddy met feelings.” This was the first time Rowan has seen dolphins in real life (he frequently asks to see whales) and his face was priceless.
Ames has been on a major warships kick, so we thought his mind would be blown when seeing the USS Lexington docked near the aquarium (it was not, at all, blown dear reader, and the video I took of him spotting it could not have been more anticlimactic). After covering the entirety of the aquarium, including the dolphin show and lunch in roughly an hour and a half (the website says 4 hours if you want an idea of how fast my have-been-to-too-many-zoos my eldest child can go through animal exhibits because at this point he only finds like 10 actually interesting) we took the boys to the ship. Ames and Colton caught a movie and explored the top deck. Pretty sure I spent all our time on the ship finding things for Rowan to drive and buttons to push–his biggest complaint on our drives to the beach and to home.
We spent the evening dressed a bit nicer (I may be grabbing all the photo ops, but Colton is responsible for making us change into nicer clothes), eating out, and hunting for crabs on the beach. We wandered down the pier before the light disappeared and got to see a sea turtle swimming below us, soo cool (naturally I do not have a photo of it).
Day three brought more animal sightings–a 12 foot alligator! I knew he was a resident of the birding center we took the boys to but oh my goodness seeing him in person was crazy and yes, in good mom fashion, I insisted Colton had a hand on Ames the entire time they were standing on the boardwalk above him.
The day was pretty misty, so our day was a bit of a hodge podge of the birding center, another visit to “the giant shark” so Rowan could hear his yells echo inside in, a trip into the local candy store because it was across the street–and at that point we’re just trying to keep the boys occupied until maybe the weather cleared. There’s a ceramics store that maybe we’ll hit up next time when I feel like we aren’t bringing some mini bulls into a china shop. We finally ventured to the beach, where Colton started on a sandcastle and the boys decided having snacks in the car was more pleasant (same). The day wrapped up with movies at the hotel and hitting the hot tub. Rowan decided he needed to eat Sun Chips during his bubble bath, so kiddo was taking vacation mode seriously until the end.
We visited another coffee shop before we left the island (Ames kept asking if we were still in North America), all tired, covered in sand in some capacity, and a little bit sad to be leaving our temporary coastal home–a successful trip in my book.
Ok, now some tips and place recommendations!
-To keep the boys semi-occupied on the drive we had the usual–snacks, the ipad, some ispy books and other items that stay in the car for them to play with. We also got them a few small items they could play with as a surprise and wrapped them, only letting them open when we said they could. For Rowan, we had a tube of toys dinosaurs and Ames got a book a a guy who gets bit by animals (#boys).
-We take LOTS of breaks, whether it’s getting out at the coffee shop even if we could do a drive through, or looking ahead for playground options–even wandering Target–we fully plan to spend a few extra hours not driving for everyone’s sanity.
-Also for everyone’s sanity, buy a headphones splitter so you don’t have to listen to what the kids are watching.
-To save money we opted to not eat all our meals out. Most of our lunches were packed, we had plenty of snacks, and we picked up a few chef prepared meals at HEB so half our dinners were at the hotel and half were out. And grab extra stuff at the hotel breakfast!
-Look at what reward programs you’re already a part of and how to use them. Sure, a beachfront house would have been fabulous but we were able to save a ton by using hotel points Colton racks up at work to stay in a hotel suite. And just because renting a golf cart sounds fun, may not be the practical thing to do!
Now for place recommendations:
-First night in Port A we ate at the Port A Pizzeria, it was PACKED even on a Monday night in April, makes sense because its a great famil-friendly option and was delicious (very on par with a Cici’s) to this hungry and prego mama. Staff were super helpful and they had soft serve in addition to dessert pizza.
-We had our “fancy” dinner at Fin’s, it was busy as well so we weren’t able to sit by the docked pirate ship like I was hoping, but the food was good and fairly quick service.
-For Coffee, gotta mention the Coffee Mugg in Corpus Christi–it’s a very committed Harry Potter themed coffee shop (please note it’s tiny and so is parking); Colton got an Iced Hedwig and I got an Iced El Dobby, very similar drinks that we actually ended up switching but ultimately both enjoyed.
–Island Joe’s was our drink for the drive home and my favorite on the island by far (not I did not include any others). Has a drive through but also a good amount of space (including a balcony area) if you want to sit for a bit. Being made out of multi-colored shipping containers it’s hard to miss.