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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}

10×10 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




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