I liked going to the beach to some extent when I was a kid. We went typically while on camping trips, so it was usually to lakes in state parks. We'd spend a few hours there, I would often get a sunburn, and there would be a lot of pigging out on snacks. Ideally, there would be a nap before dinner back at the camper. I wouldn't describe it as something I looked forward to, but it was still fun.
In adulthood, I've not really spent any time at the beach. I got married on one, but that doesn't really count. I also burn easily. Then we took our first cruise in early 2013, and I was introduced to Disney's version of the beach on their private island, Castaway Cay. On our third cruise, we shared the cost of a cabana on that island, and it was the best beach day ever. It was about that time that Simon came around to liking the beach as well, getting past some sensory issues where he wouldn't even walk in the sand without shoes.
In December, we were in Delray Beach for my BFF's wedding. To get some exercise and kill a little time, we walked the mile or so down to the water. While Simon had seen the ocean at Castaway, he had never seen waves. This was an extraordinary discovery for him, and he loved it. We started to wonder aloud, why don't we go to the beach more? We live in Florida! About a week and change later, the day after Christmas, we went to the beach again.
It's about an hour and 40 to the Canaveral National Seashore, an hour and 20 to Cocoa Beach, two hours to Clearwater the other way. We have options. I'm all about supporting the National Parks, so we shelled out $40 for the Canaveral pass. It's an enormous, long beach, and if the timing is right for a rocket launch, even better. We're now equipped with a proper umbrella and chairs. We haven't figured out how to get the sand out of Simon's pants while on the beach, but we'll get there.