Thursday, May 28, 2015

Folly Beach Family Vacation

For Memorial Day weekend we planned a trip to one of our very favorite places, Folly Beach, SC. Lucky for Matt and I, we've been very fortunate to tag along on both of our families annual beach trips each year. However, this year we decided to take our own beach trip for the first (and last) time as a family of 3, plus Charlie. I really didn't know what to expect with a mini in tow, so I set my expectations really, really low. Overall, I was surprised at how much Matt and I were able to actually enjoy our time away. This trip was much different than any previous vacations we've ever had but we adapted and embraced it. We were up each morning with the sun, had to pack triple the amount of bags, snacks and toys for our time on the beach, ate dinner out at 4:30 pm each day and were asleep by 9 pm each night. So yes, very different but so great. There were so many amazing moments I wanted to bottle up while we were there. So back to the vacation recap...
We packed up our entire house, the baby, the dog and hit the road for a 4 hour drive to the beach. You've heard me complain about Caroline in the car before. She is a pretty terrible passenger and for the most part screams from the second you put her in the car seat until the second you pull her out. However, we tried something new for this trip. Since we couldn't check in until late in the afternoon on Thursday, we dropped Caroline off at daycare bright and early so Matt and I could squeeze in some work emails, finish laundry and pack the car. A few hours later we picked her up and she was nice and tired and actually fell asleep (very rare) for the first hour of the drive. Once she woke we thankfully had downloaded enough episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on the iPad and packed enough snacks to make the last 3 hours bearable. 
At last we arrived to the cozy, "Beautiful Sunrise" oceanfront condo for the next 5 days. It was the perfect amount of space for us and we were so happy to be right on the water and steps away from the pier and all of Folly's best restaurants.
 {view from our balcony}
{the view from the pier of our condo}
Since our condo was one bedroom we were up each morning around 6:30 am to Caroline standing in her pack & play babbling to us to get our bathing suits on. After a big breakfast we packed up and hit the beach. A few of you asked me about what to pack for a baby on the beach. Prior to our trip I asked lots of moms this same question and polled several mom facebook groups to see what the necessities were. Here is what worked for us based on the recommendations from dozens of moms...
Beach Packing List {with a mini}
10x10 pop up tent: I saw lots of families on the beach with crazier beach shades/tents but those looked super complicated and we already had this one from other events and it gave us lots of shaded room to play and spread out.
Tommy Bahama All Terrain Beach Cart: This was the #1 recommendation I received from moms. Each day it was a game for us to count how many families rolled into the beach with this exact cart.
Blue Lizard Sunscreen: Another highly recommended product from lots of mommies for babies with sensitive skin. This worked really well for Caroline and she didn't break out in any rashes from it.
JJ Cole Waterproof Outdoor Blanket: This blanket is huge, folds up easily and is waterproof. Saw many of these on the beach as well.
Inflatable Pool: We ended up not packing this but I wanted to include it because lots of moms recommended having a small pool for littles under the tent as a place to play, rinse off and cool down. Instead, we took a million trips down to the water to fill up buckets of water for Caroline to dump out.
Other: Beach Toys // Portable Speaker // Cooler full of drinks, snacks and lunch // Beach Chairs // JJ Cole Changing Clutch w/ Diapers & Wipes // Extra Swim Diapers // Baby Hats + Sunglasses // Towels // Change of clothes for baby
I love this side by side picture of Caroline wearing the same Lilly suit and Baby Aspen hat from last year's beach vacation (post here)...
 The biggest surprise of the trip? Caroline took about a two hour nap each day on the beach!!!!! This was unbelievably amazing. During that time Matt and I actually relaxed and talked uninterrupted! It was like a mini day date each day.
Caroline loved eating the sand and water too. It was so fun watching her play and help herself to snacks all afternoon.
I can't believe I'm posting this one here, especially because I outgrew my only one piece suit just a few days before our trip and felt incredibly self conscious about my rounder shape in a bikini, but I hope to encourage you mamas out there to put on your swim suit and embrace playing with your babies even when you feel like your offending everyone around you! I wanted Caroline to remember (even if just through pictures) having fun with both parents digging in the sand and splashing in the water during this trip, instead of memories of her mom hiding under the umbrella every day.
After a long day in the sun we retreated to the condo for showers, naps and were out the door for an early bird dinner by 4:30 pm each day. The silver lining, we beat the dinner crowds! 
For this trip we ate at Rita's, Black Magic Cafe (for breakfast), Surf Bar, Tokyo Crepe and of course, Taco Boy! I loved how close our condo was to everything and were able to walk to all of our destinations the entire trip.
And I can't forget about our several trips to Tokyo Crepe for the best desserts ever. Nutella, ice cream, bananas and peanut butter, all wrapped inside of a massive crepe and topped with whipped cream...satisfied customer right here...
As I mentioned, we brought Charlie with us (yay for pet friendly beach condos) and were able to take him out to the beach after 6 pm each evening to run around.
Our last day of the trip was Memorial Day so of course I had to snap a few pictures of Caroline in her patriotic best...
She thinks I'm hilarious...
It was a great 5 days away as a family!
Previous mini-less vacations to Folly Beach:
2013 Folly Beach Vacation
2012 Folly Beach Vacation




  1. Looks like a great time! She is a doll!

  2. Beautiful pictures!! I can't wait to take baby (and puppy!) to the beach. I live here and never knew about that dessert crepe at Tokyo crepes.. sounds like my 41-week pregnant self will be going there later today =)

  3. What a fun vacation!! Looks like y'all had a great time and Caroline loves the beach! She is just too adorable!

  4. what are you talking about, you look amazing!!! what a beautiful trip, so glad you guys had fun. i love these recaps! <3

  5. Great pics of what looks like an AWESOME beach trip! So fun that you got this in before baby! You look fantastic, and Caroline is too cute! (so jealous you got in a Folly trip too! my husband spent the long weekend at IOP for a bach party and I was green with envy!!)

  6. It looks like you guys had an amazing time and you look great! Good job rocking confidence, I love that you shared this!

  7. You look amazing Christina!

    Caroline is just too precious. I love her outfits. What a fun weekend.

    liz @ sundays with sophie

  8. Thanks for posting "taking a baby to the beach" suggestions! You look amazing and beautiful in that 2 peice! Don't be ashamed. Your trip looked like so much fun!

  9. I love that side-by-side! She has grown so much. I used to love napping on the beach too. It's so relaxing and I can totally see why she enjoyed it so much!

  10. I've heard great things about Folly! I've been to Sullivan's Island but will have to venture over to Folly
    The Lady Lawyer

  11. I thought you should know that my mom was on a little weekend vacation with some girl friends and told me about this adorable family she saw on the beach sitting in front of her and that the mom had a little girl and she was pregnant with her second and looked SO CUTE in a little bikini. Come to find out, that little family was yours!!! Small world! I sent her this post to confirm, and she said that you looked amazing out there in your swim suit and that definitely inspried me for the months ahead with my bump! I'm due in Septemeber with my first and I've decided to embrace the two piece and love the bump! :) and as always, Caroline is so stinkin' cute!!!


  12. Caroline looks adorable! And so do you in your bikini, Mama! Rock that bump:) So glad you guys had such a fabulous vacation!

  13. It sounds like the perfect little trip! I'm so glad you were all able to enjoy some time at the beach. How wonderful for you that Caroline actually napped on the beach! That's the dream... And you look too cute with your little bump on the beach!

  14. Did you find this condo on vrbo or another site? Looks like the perfect little getaway!

  15. I'm so jealous of the beach- napping! That is amazing. She is such a cutie, and you look amazing in that bikini, girl!

  16. You look great!!! And so glad you guys had the best time!!!

  17. Holy cow you look amazing! There is nothing more beautiful than a preggo mama! Looks like a great trip with so many fun memories!

  18. You look great in your bikinI--growing babies is a beautiful process. Can't wait to check out folly beach on my honeymoon to charleston this summer!!

  19. Looks like a perfect trip. We are thinking of taking our son to Oak Island in NC this summer. He is a terrible traveler and the ride is about 10 hours for us. We may try a beach more local but the beaches of NC are my favorite.

  20. Gorgeous photos and special memories my friend - I love that you have a Folly beach album for each year! You look amazing with that preggy belly... What a great trip! x

  21. You have a beautiful family. Enjoy this special time in your lives. And you rock that bikini :-)

  22. Looks and sounds like y'all had an amazing vacation! Now I can't wait to take our beach vacation this July :)
    happy Friday!

  23. first of all, you look INCREDIBLE in your bikini... big props to you mama!!!!!
    and secondly, i am loving all of miss caroline's sweet bathing suits... that is one mini fashionista!! so glad ya'll had a great family vacay before little mister comes!! OXOX

  24. She is too stinking cute. Kudos to you for rocking the bikini! Looks like an all-around amazing weekend.

  25. What a fun vacation! I love when babies nap on the beach. My girls both have that Lily jellyfish swimsuit. It is adorable!

  26. Looks like you guys had an absolute blast!! The side by side bathing suit pictures are hilarious... those teeny tiny little legs in that big ol' bathing suit last year! Precious.

    <3 Linds @

  27. She is just the cutest little thing!

  28. She is beautiful. I'm so glad you had a nice, relaxing family vacation before little Thomas comes! Thanks for the pointers as well - we will be taking our first family of 3 vacation in July to Myrtle Beach and these will definitely come in handy!

  29. C is SO precious. Could eat her up!!!
    THANK YOU for the beach packing list. Pinning that one for sure!
    You look AMAAAAAAZING in that bikini, girl! Better than me, and I'm not even pregnant!!!
    Glad y'all had so much fun.
    Jealous about Taco Boy....we are heading to Charleston this weekend...maybe I'll get some then!

  30. OMG Caroline laughing is the amazing! She is so stinking cute! And good for you for rocking the bikini and getting out there to play with Caroline. You look great!

  31. I just found your blog and I'm in love with Caroline's amazing southern style. I can't wait to see how you dress your little boy on the way! I love having a little boy - our son Shepard is 1 and it's been an absolute blessing! We're headed to Jacksonville for a beach vacation July 4 weekend and I hope to get great beach pics like you did here. Julie from Everyday Happiness blog :)

  32. What a lovely vacation! Beautiful family!

    ~Ashley @ A Cute Angle

  33. This looks and sounds like a perfect vacation! You look fabulous! Xo, Stephanie

  34. Caroline's a natural at this beach thing... and look at you, mama!!!! Rock that bikini!!! I have to admit - napping on a beach with the waves crashing around me sounds REALLY good today! Where do I sign up??

  35. yahh! we just moved to james island so folly beach is nearby. i love little caroline in that swimsuit (last year AND this year!) so fun. im glad you guys had a fun trip. xo jillian - cornflake dreams

  36. You look stunning and I love that Lilly suit on Caroline!

    Lauren Elizabeth
    Petite in Pearls


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