My 2-year-old has been to many beaches in his young life, but most of them have been rocky and cold, and he’s usually been decked head to toe in rain gear. Such is the life of a Seattle baby. But our recent move to Hong Kong has opened his baby blues to a whole new kind of beach: the warm, sugar-sanded kind, where children dare to splash in the waves, and his little piggies actually get some Vitamin D.
We headed out to Big Wave Beach this week to give him a proper introduction to the surfer dude lifestyle, and it did not disappoint. It’s a bit of a trek – just past Shek O on the east side of Hong Kong Island – and took us about half an hour by taxi from Repulse Bay. But the drive is gorgeous, and knowing cooler weather will come soon makes it all worthwhile.
Image sourced from Wikimedia Commons
After getting dropped at the top of the trail, it’s a short walk downhill to the shoreline. This walk is also known as “Gird Your Pocketbooks” as there’s an endless supply of goodies to enrapture your children (and your husband, ahem). Forgot your sun hat? Beach ball? Castle-building equipment? A surfboard built for Goliath? You can find it all on the walk to the beach, and for less than I’d have imagined.
Another perk is the handy umbrella and chair rentals towards the bottom of the hill. We found it easiest to pick out a spot on the sand, dump our armfuls of gear, and walk back to pick up the rentals. A ten o’clock arrival meant we beat most of the crowds and landed ocean front real estate with our beach blankets. We staked our claim and settled in for a fabulous day!
The sand at Big Wave is as soft (and clean!) as it gets and the water is perfect for little ones—it’s quite shallow for a long stretch out into the cove. Obviously it’s called Big Wave for a reason, but as we were all swimming together, we found our tyke was sturdy enough to enjoy it just the same. A few more splashes builds character, right?
Living up to one of America’s most infamous stereotypes, our family loves to eat, and snacking happens early and often when you’re playing this hard. But a day at the beach comes with some culinary challenges. First, our snacks can’t require refrigeration (at least for very long), and equally important, they must be easy to enjoy with your hands. I also think it’s most enjoyable to have a good balance of sweet and savoury options, plus some classic munchies to balance the high-end noshes.
Here’s what I packed:
- Stilton cheese with apricots (Know the rules to break them — we ate this before it had a chance to get warm!)
- Goldfish pretzels
- MadeGood Granola Minis in chocolate banana (I forgive the grammar foul in the name because these are so divine.)
- Citrus Honey Fruit Salad (recipe below)
- Plastic cups and forks for the fruit
- Water bottles for each beachgoer
- A lifetime reasonable/environmentally conscious supply of wet wipes
Of course, when the beach party next to yours is devouring hot pizza, it’s inevitable that you’ll also vote for pizza. So we ate our snacks all morning between dips, and then ordered some pie as our grand beach finale before heading home for naps — Mum and Dad included.
The verdict? Not too crowded, pristine views, decent food nearby (plus delicious food from home) and plenty of room to splash make Big Wave Beach our family’s new favourite weekend destination. Saturday can’t come soon enough!
Citrus Honey Fruit Salad
Inspired by this recipe from The Pioneer Woman
The beauty of this salad lies in its versatility. Red grapes can be swapped for green, and no one will notice if you only had two kiwis in your fridge. Add some pineapple or blueberries, yum! Scooped into cups, this salad refreshes even the toastiest of beach bums.
2 plums, cored and chopped
3 kiwis, peeled and chopped
1 apple (Granny Smith or another tart variety is best), cored and chopped
1 pint strawberries, hulled and chopped
1 cup red grapes
2 small limes
1 tablespoon honey (or more, depending on your taste)
1 tablespoon packed fresh mint leaves, chopped (optional)
Zest the peels of the lemon, lime and one of the oranges in a large mixing bowl. Halve the zested citrus fruits and squeeze the juice from each into the bowl. Whisk honey into the juice until well blended. Taste to make sure you have enough honey (every fruit is a tad different).
Peel and segment the remaining orange; then combine it with the rest of the chopped fruit in the mixing bowl, tossing gently. Sprinkle the chopped mint on top for a pretty finish. Pack in a sealed container for beach travel and prepare to thoroughly enjoy! Tip: It tastes best the same day.