Travel SF: Beach Time

There are many days when dirty dishes are piled up, beds need to be made, and there’s clutter in every space that meets the eye. My head is pounding and I’m about to lose it if I stay in the house one more second. Are you with me? It’s during these moments, that I take a deep breath, say a prayer for strength and tackle the dirty dishes. I start there and plug away at it one bit at a time because this stuff just needs to get done.

But then there are days, when I decide that dishes, laundry and all of it are just not going to happen…not today. I shout out to the kids, “Let’s head to the beach!” And everyone scrambles to get their swim suits, towels, sunscreen, snacks/water and the coveted baby powder. Yes, you heard that right, baby powder!  I’ll write more on that in a few.

My heart is always full after a day at the beach. It’s one of the best ways for my family and I to decompress and get away without going very far. The kids can play freely while I soak in the sights and sounds of the waves. It’s meditation at its best…well, I still need to make sure nobody is washed out into the ocean. So maybe it’s not full meditation. Nevertheless, I love it! And, guess what? It’s free – no entrance fee, no membership required! Now that’s great value when you are trying to find something to entertain 3 girls and a boy!

My two younger kids, Abigail and Daniel love the classic beach adventures. One of their favorite games is playing tag with the waves and then shrieking with delight when they are caught with a cold splash. The game of chase never gets old and I love the simplicity of it.

During our recent trip to Baker Beach, the littles found some big planks of wood that were perfect for fort-making.  The fun just never ends…well, until one starts bawling because they got side swiped by one of the planks. Oops, that happens and then the play continues.

However my older kids’ idea of play time is slightly different. When they were younger, they were happy to build sand mounds and run with the waves.

Fast forward to now and there isn’t much of that anymore. Time has changed their habits; it’s a little more subdued, a little more chillaxed and there’s a lot more of “just hanging out” which is all good for the soul. But I miss the more playfulness part of them. It’s times like these that makes me realize how quickly time has passed. And it makes me a little sad.

I’ve lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for about 15 years, so I have a few favorite beaches that I wanted to share with you. They are in no particular order, but they are all fun and different in their own way.

  1. Baker Beach, San Francisco: This beach is quintessential San Francisco. It can be shrouded in fog during the summer days which makes it much cooler than your typical Caribbean beach weather. But once the fog lifts, the views from this beach are truly stunning. Parking is free, but it does get busy especially during the weekends.   I like to come here in the late afternoon when everyone is heading home and then grab a quick dinner in the city before the drive back home. 
  2. Crissy Field Beach, San Francisco: This is also another beach with beautiful views of the Golden Gate Bridge. The waves are much calmer since it’s in the bay which makes it easier for the littles to play in the water. There is also a running trail and a cafe if you need more snacks. This whole area gets busy because it is in the heart of the Marina District. So try to get there earlier than later if you can.
  3. Pelican Point Beach, Half Moon Bay: This beach is surrounded by a bluff and sits just north of the Ritz Carlton, Half Moon Bay. Parking here is extremely limited, so you need to get there early for a parking spot or come for the late afternoon shift. But there is more parking available at the Ritz, it’s just a longer walk to the beach. There is so much for kids to do here; driftwood for fort making, a little creek for those who want calmer waters, and just a whole lot of mother nature to enjoy.
  4. Venice Beach, Half Moon Bay: This is one of the easiest beaches to go to because it has a huge parking lot so you don’t have to worry about getting there early nor late.  However, you do need to purchase a $10 parking ticket. One of the things that I love about Half Moon Bay beaches is that you can often find seals swimming in the ocean like they want to welcome you and say “hello”.
  5. Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, Half Moon Bay –  Now it’s not exactly a beach in the traditional sense with sand building, fort making and that sort of stuff. However, it’s pretty amazing! You will need to plan your visit so that you go there during low tide. And when the waters recede, it displays a massive open air marine museum. The tide pools are perfect for finding things like anemone, star fish, crab and more! This is one beach where you should not bring your flip flops. It’s much better to wear rubber boots or at least closed toe shoes. Your feet will thank you when you are walking through the tide pools, trust me! This is the perfect outing to keep guests and the kids busy for hours!

I’ve just scratched the surface with this list. There are many more gorgeous beaches to explore up and down the San Francisco Bay Area.

So let’s get back to the coveted baby powder that I mentioned earlier. It is one of the key things that I bring to the beach because it’s an easy and quick way to get rid of the excess sand before getting into the car. I know that my kids fare better when they are not caked in gritty sand during the ride back home. One does need to avoid as many meltdowns as possible, and a little bit of baby powder can help!

Well, I hope that you can escape from the everyday grind once in a while. I would love to know what are some of the things you do for a quick escape from your blessed chaos!

xo lanelle

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