A couple weeks ago I took the family in the FJ to Jamaica Beach (west of Galveston Texas) for a day trip. At several locations, people were parking their trucks or cars on the beach and I noticed many with tarps, canopys, even large umbrellas attached to the vehicle which in effect turned their vehicle into a campsite. I wanted to try this with my FJ, knowing FJ's are excellent beach vehicles! But my wife would not relent and insisted we park in a grass lot on the other side of the berm and hike over the boardwalk, leaving the FJ sadly in the parking lot. Her reasoning was that 1. sand and salt would get all over the car and cause rust, 2. sand would get all up in the cabin and make a huge mess, 3. what if we got stuck, and 4. she wanted to be able to go somewhere (bathroom) if needed without breaking camp so to speak.
We had to carry all our stuff by hand up and over the wooden stairs and walkways from the parking lot over to the beach and then about 50 yards down to an open spot on the beach where we unfolded our beach chairs, spread out some towels and claimed our 15X15 square of public sand. We built sandcastles, played in the waves, and enjoyed the sunshine to our hearts' content. After about 4 hours, we had had our fill fun and packed up our gear, hiking back to the parking lot. Here now in the grass/sand parking lot we deposited our belongings on the ground around the FJ and began the process of cleaning off the sand from our selves and our stuff before hitting the road. Try as we may, we were mostly unsuccessful at keeping large quantities of sand out of the FJ. The ice cooler, the chairs, towels, all carried sand into the truck and it got everywhere, mostly in the floorboards and the cargo bed.
The process of removing sand from our bodies was a true adventure. We had brought a case of cheap water bottles and had them in the back of the FJ. Everyone wanted to change out of their wet bathing suits into dry clean clothes before driving two hours back home. But, we were in a crowded parking lot with people coming and going, near a busy road. Zero privacy. So I opened passenger doors, and with my wife's help, we held up our beach towels forming a very private enclosed space for the person to stand just outside the FJ between the open doors and stip-off their wet suits, (tossing them over the open doors) and using the water bottles to 'shower' themselves. They then used a clean towel to dry off and put on clean clothes. Then when finished, we swapped out positions until everyone had showered and changed.
It was a good idea which worked really well because it used the FJ door design to its maximum advantage as two privacy walls. The towels were basically a curtain between the doors.
We finished packing up and made it home without any issues.
Seeing that other people use their lesser vehicles as campsites on the beach, attaching poles, tarps and other items to the vehicle to provide privacy and shade; and knowing my FJ is excellent at beach driving; and finally showing that the design of the FJ is well suited for modifications like those mentioned above; I can't help but envision my FJ parked on the beach rigged with poles and canopys, ropes securing everything from the breeze, an old square of astro turf as a carpet, set up as the envy of every other beach goer, with stereo playing, all our gear readily available including a camp shower and all the comforts of a campsite right on the public beach.
I think I can make this happen for the next beach trip in a couple of weeks.
I was hoping others have already done this and can share suggestions, pictures and details on ways to convert the FJ into the perfect campsite for a day at the beach.