BEACHES (not the Bette Midler "cry your face off" kind)

This is the first time in my life that I've lived so close to the beach!  We live a short trip down the highway to the Chesapeake Bay and I've found plenty of stops along the way to enjoy.  The more public beaches like Calvert Cliffs and Flag Ponds are always great, but sometimes can get a bit crowded for this introvert's taste.

 Flag Ponds Nature Park is by far the best beach experience near us.  The beach area is so huge it never really feels crowded.  The walk to the beach from the parking lot is short.  The facilities are well-maintained and conveniently located.  There is a little pond that's jellyfish free that the kids can still play in (little boys who enjoy mud and dirt especially love it).  We bring all our company out to this beach when they come to visit.  In June we've already brought my brother and his family and our friend Rudy, not to mention the few trips we've taken with the neighbors there as well... it's a fabulous place to go.

The 1.8 mile hike through the woods to the beach at Calvert Cliffs can be daunting if you've got "beachy" stuff in tow or it's Maryland summer, which means sweltering 100's with 500% humidity.  It's a long hike to make without knowing if the beach is crowded... and then finding out that it is can be a little disheartening, but the beachcombers are in a constant state of coming and going so be patient.   Also, remember to admire the woods because there is a lot going on in there.  The beavers have made quite an interesting walk.  Late summer to early fall is the magical time of year when the moon jellyfish come out to play with the kids :P  We learned these lessons the hard way after Brennan and Noah were both stung on the same day.  However, that long hike came in handy as we discussed the benefits of the jellyfish and how pretty it can be, how important it is to the Bay and keeping it clean.  By the time our hike was over the kids were super happy, no longer in pain, and ready to climb on the tire playground.  We all still love Calvert Cliffs!

Our exploration took us to a few less-populated areas (by jellyfish AND people) along the Bay.  I followed some signs to St. Clements Island (a park I still haven't checked off my list).  The boat tours weren't running that day, but we found a patch of sand under a tree and I recharged my batteries to the absolute maximum that day.  The clouds, the kids, the quiet, the water... omg I was in heaven.  Clouds are the most ultimately beautiful awesome things to me.  They inspire me in every way possible.  I never get sick of them! :)  As you can see, God was really showing off for me this day.

Yesterday I was headed to Flag Ponds again but suddenly decided to cross lanes and turn towards Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum instead.  Little known fact - there is beach access and a small parking lot near the exit of the park.  While swimming is not allowed, my kids don't swim anyway... they wade and dig.  There is one more spot you can access the beach, but the stairs are eroded away and covered in poison ivy.  Depending on the tide level the beach is either big or just a sliver of sand.  Either way there are plenty of spots with space for a blanket or towel and three tiny bodies to dig tunnels (you just have to get wet to get to them).  Some spots have shade!  We only saw 2 tiny moon jellyfish and NO PEOPLE.  On a day they were hosting a wedding and still, no people.  YAY!  We also found a neon blue-green luna moth wing floating in the water, which I brought home :)

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