The kids were with me last week for a vacation week, but with no money in the budget to really go anywhere, it was a staycation.
When I asked the kids what they wanted to do the most, they wanted to go to the beach, and they wanted to go to a waterpark.
A waterpark with five kids and me is WAY out of the budget. So that didn’t happen.
They wanted to go to a beach that had big waves but that’s about a two-hour drive whichever way you shake it, and that’s a long drive home after a long day at the beach.
I’ve done it many times before and I know I can do it, but I also know how badly it wears me out.
And sometimes I’m cranky on the way home and that ruins a good day at the beach.
So knowing my limitations and what I can handle, I decided on Jennings Beach in Fairfield, CT.
It’s a little under an hour to get there.
I lived just a couple miles from Jennings Beach about 25 years ago, and I used to run there all the time. I knew it was a great area for us to bike, and I knew there was a skatepark there (but didn’t know what shape it was in).
Another thing the kids wanted to do was “go to the beach and stay until it got dark” and that I could accomplish.
So we loaded the car up with chairs and shovels and coolers and scooters and bikes and we headed to the beach for the day.
We got there around noon.
It’s $50 to park at Jennings Beach on weekends. That’s the only negative. I know it’s a lot of money.
BUT with five kids, nothing ever really costs less than $50.
I mean even at McDonald’s or Chik-fil-a or Dunkin Donuts, if I take the kids there and let them order what they want it’s easily $50. Which is why we never do that.
And the movies costs WAY more than $50 for six of us, and that’s when I buy candy before we go and smuggle it in.
A water park would have cost at least $300 for the day, so this was a fraction of the cost.
I prayed the kids liked it.
All the beaches in Connecticut are on Long Island Sound which means there’s an island between the coast and the actual ocean, so we don’t get any waves.
And the beaches are also notoriously rocky and full of shells.
Low tide sand bars can be AMAZING at CT beaches but getting to them can be murder on your feet.
There isn’t a sole destroying stretch of sea floor to walk across at Jennings Beach.
Not for the majority of it, anyway.
If you forget your flip flops you aren’t completely screwed.
There’s a nice stretch of beach between two jetties. It’s probably at least 3/4 mile long.
The jetty at the north end is really nice.
There’s a nice walkway to it that looks over at the marina.
You can also bring your own kayaks and paddleboards and launch them at the north end of the beach.
The south end of the beach is really beautiful. That’s where the sand bar is at low tide.
I’m not gonna lie, we got off to a shaky start with different kids wanting to do different things and not being able to get it together.
But eventually we came around.
Before we did anything we ate some lunch.
Thene we swam for a little bit and after we dried off, we checked out the skatepark.
The skatepark at Jennings Beach is pretty nice.
Kasen and Marit scootered and skateboarded there for hours. They LOVED it.
(see them in action in the IG reel at the bottom of the post)
After skateboarding we went for a bike ride.
There are some gorgeous houses around the area, and the roads are flat and fairly quiet, and I knew the girls especially would love it.
Gretchen said, “MOM! This reminds me of North Carolina!”
Jennings Beach does have that feel to it.
We enjoyed the houses.
And the views.
It was about 7 pm when we got back to the beach after riding bikes (and getting them back on the car).
The kids had fun swimming and skimboarding.
We stayed until about 8 pm.
I didn’t get in a picture, but I did take one of myself.
We had such an awesome day.
The kids didn’t just like it.
THEY LOVED IT.
And we will definitely be back.
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