As the school year is coming to an end and the temperatures are rising, parents throughout the Florida Panhandle are cheering with excitement…am I right???
Yay!! It’s time to draw the blinds and sit through an endless loop of Caillou in the comfort of the air conditioned living room. Or is it??
While this option may sound exceptionally appealing (or like torture, depending on your feelings about Caillou), summertime survival in Pensacola, ESPECIALLY when you are pregnant or freshly postpartum, can be challenging. (I remember being 48 weeks pregnant in the third week of July 2007, and needing a commercial hoist to get myself out of the pool of my best friend’s apartment complex.) But, just because you are pregnant, or have a brand new baby, doesn’t mean that you can’t get out and enjoy the summer months. In fact, we recommend that our clients enjoy not only their pregnancy, but also their postpartum, as much as possible—which involves getting out of the house!
As a mom who is now a Pensacola native-by-proxy (the mother of all native Pensacolians), I have compiled an Insider’s Guide to activities to occupy the summer months. Long-time Pensacola residents—please forgive me. Some of this info may be redundant for you. This Insider’s Guide is looooong, so we are going to split it up into three parts--Water Play, Free Indoor Activities, and Low-Cost Activities.
This week we tackle Water Play. Living near the beach, with 1000% humidity, clearly lends itself to automatic, summer-long submersion. But there are some secrets about water play around these parts.
The Beach. The secret to beach-going at Pensacola area beaches in the middle of summer is location + timing. While Casino Beach (the part of the beach with the big beach ball tower) is beautiful, it is not as family-friendly in the way of resources (ahem, facilities, if you know what I mean, potties if you don’t) as some of the other beaches. These resources are absolutely imperative for pregnant, new, and not-so-new moms who are prone to peezing (peeing+sneezing), and their children who need to potty every five minutes. (Trust me on this--I’ve timed the frequency). I like my bathroom within line of sight of the water, since it’s likely I will spend most of my beach trip at the bathroom, heading to the bathroom, or heading back from the bathroom. Some great locations with pavilions, outdoor showers, and bathrooms CLOSE to the water are the Johnson Beach in Perdido, and the Ft. Pickens Beach past Pensacola Beach. Both require a paid pass, which is $15 for a week, or $30 for the year (just get the year pass), or FREE if you have a DoD ID card, and the pass is interchangeable for both beaches.
Now let’s talk about when to visit the beach. This may seem (once again) obvious, but it bears review. 10am-2pm is the peak of the sun’s ascent, and as a result, peak time for UV rays. ESPECIALLY if you are pregnant, or have an infant’s skin to protect, maintaining hydration, coolness and avoiding sunburn is imperative. Ending your beach visit before 10am or beginning your adventure after mid-afternoon is optimal. And of course, staying hydrated and shaded is very, very important, as is cutting it short if things start to get too hot. Those pearly white sand dunes reflect the rays and can greatly increase chances of being sunburned on the sly, so we usually don’t hang out more than a couple of hours.
Beach Going Tips:
Splash Pads: Splash pads are an awesome way to not feel guilty about only spending thirty or forty minutes playing outdoors--there is little required prep, no lugging gear across sand, and NO SAND (well, for the most part.) There are five splash pads within a forty minute drive of Pensacola.
Pools: We are super fortunate to have close family friends with a pool (and outdoor bathroom) who live close by and leave their back gate open for us (please don’t hate). But, if we didn’t have the option of a pool, my top three picks for “public” pools would be:
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