Before I lost my freedom to family life, I was a fairly adventuresome traveler. To me, a vacation was hiking the deserts and canyons of the Southwest for two weeks, or canoeing with the alligators in the Everglades. With a baby, you may be able to do an abridged version of the former, but I would recommend skipping the latter.
In any case, my son was born in October in Philadelphia, and we were blessed with sunny and seventy degree weather for the rest of that month. Just leaving the interior of our house and the three of us sitting in our little yard in the sun all afternoon, drifting in and out of sleep, felt like the greatest vacation I’d ever experienced.
There are many reasons a beach vacation is a good idea for your first family vacation. The first and perhaps most important one is that it don’t require a whole lottta research. The idea of packing up a car or how you’re going to carry everything through an airport is daunting enough—why cramp your brain with all the things you must do once you arrive, the worry of how to get around to do those things, and what kind of changing facilities the sacred sites will have? A beach is a beach: you swim, you sit back, you read, you drink a beer, you stare at the ocean, it’s all pretty ingrained. And if you have never been a beach person, this is the time to try it.
The whole point of a vacation is that you are no longer trapped in a room. This is why a beach is good—there are no walls. But on top of that, I recommend staying at a beach house, or a house near the beach, or best of all, a friend’s beach house and you get to stay for free—maybe they never gave you a wedding present. Hotels are hard to exit. Hotels end up being confining. Hotels have schedules. You want to avoid these things (unless it’s the type of hotel that specializes in huts on the beach). You need to come and go at will. Having a kitchen, having a living room, having a couch with seashell patterned cushions, having a deck with a good view, and having control of these things are very important.
Other benefits of the beach house vacation: you rarely, if ever, need a stroller, but make sure to bring an ergo, wrap, or whatever contraption to carry your child. If your baby is in the crawling or walking stage, the beach is one giant sandbox worth hours of amusement. A beach with extensive tidal pools often have warm, shallow pools of water at low tide that you can plop your baby in., and either great fun will ensue or tears.
It’s also nice to have other family or friends join you, particularly if they can spend some time looking after your baby. Make sure it’s family and friends you enjoy, however, nothing can spoil a vacation, no matter where it is, like bad company.