On July 4th weekend, we knew Daddy would have time off from work, so we decided to have a big family adventure. We had heard such wonderful things about Marco Island over on the west coast of Florida and thought it would be fun to explore with daddy.
The drive to the west coast of Florida through "Alligator Alley" takes about 1.5 hrs. We were a bit nervous of the weather conditions as we were driving since it looked like this...
Nothing like huge dark clouds to make you weary of a big beach day!
Luckily, by the time we arrived at Marco Island the storms had passed. We decided to spend the day at Tigertail beach, a very unique beach known for it's natural shells. In front of Tigertail beach is a large estuary of brackish water that lowers and raises depending on the tides. There are two different ways to get to Tigertail, walking all the way around the estuary (close to a mile) or swim a few yards across the estuary to a path through the mangroves. We figured it'd be more adventurous to swim it, so we packed everything on our backs. We put anything we wanted to stay dry in Dallas's backpack, which he carried above his head. Everything else, including our beach chairs, we didn't mind if we got wet. I put Dax in his floaties and tied him to my beach chair. Then we slowly made our way across the estuary. The water was up to passed our waists, but we were able to wade across just fine. Daxton LOVED being pulled like a tugboat in the water and kicked happily behind us.
(These pics were all taken on my wet GoPro so they're a little blurry from water drops.)
When we reached the other side, we found the short path through the mangroves. The tide was at it's highest which filled in part of the path for awhile up to our knees. Dax thought it was so fun to walk through the mangroves. It was quite the adventure for sure!
When we finally reached the otherside of the mangroves, we were greeted by a stunning beach and beautiful ocean! The boys immediately made their way into the ocean as I set up our little camp.
The ocean was so calm and clear!
We had a lot of fun playing around with the GoPro trying to get some family pics. Daxton was not too cooperative in the attempts...
Dallas found all sorts of fun things on the ocean floor, but our favorite was this cool sea star. Dax loved feeling it's tiny suckers bend around his fingers in the ocean. It was so great to watch him be so careful and kind.
After we were exhausted from swimming, we relaxed on the beach while this little guy played to his heart's content. He collected all sorts of treasures and loved using his sand buckets and shovels in the process.
He was also super excited when he found some washed up coral. This boy is truly at home at the beach!
Getting all the snuggles we can from this cutie!
His happy place :)
Dallas found a really beautiful shell covered in several additional shells of all colors. It was our one treasure we brought home with us. (This is also the shell we took to his mother's grave this past summer in Arizona.) After all the swimming and play time, Daddy was exhausted and took a long nap while Dax and I played in the waves.
It was such a magical day with our little family. We love any chance we can get to have adventures with daddy, so it felt truly perfect! After packing up our camp, we made our way back through the mangrove trail and across the estuary. It was crazy to see the difference in water height now that the tide was lower. The mangrove trail was no longer filled with water and the trek across the estuary was below our waist line. What an adventure Tigertail Beach turned out to be!