One of my absolute FAVORITE places to be in all the world — by a beach. Yes, its my happiest spot. I will settle for anywhere on the Jersey shore, and am so in love with it, that it takes a lot for me to plan to go anywhere else for vacation, even though I admit this beautiful country deserves many round trips to see all there is…
Almost every Sunday in the summer, I manage to spend the day at the beach — I’m only 1.5 hours away. Seaside Heights, NJ is one of the closest beaches to me — Belmar, just a little north, is the fastest drive, but Seaside has a family history — we’ve been going there since we were kids. We’ve watched that Boardwalk grow, diminish, get torn apart by Hurricane Sandy, then burn down, then get rebuilt….but it always survives. Many of the shops on the southern part of the boardwalk have NOT survived and I’ll miss the places I visited for ice cream, fudge, rides (merry-go-round), games of chance and more.
Thankfully the Saw Mill is still there at the end — reinvented in fact! People in the know can distinguish Seaside Heights — the area where the boardwalk is, and where they filmed that awful reality show — from Seaside Park. Seaside Park is where the beautiful homes that line the area between the bay and the shore lead, all the way to Island Beach State Park.
Seaside Park beaches are residential and you won’t find many bathrooms there — they assume you will walk to your home or rental. But it does keep the beaches relatively spacious, as compared to the area I go to, which is where the day trippers (and baths) are. In any event, when I win the lottery, rest assured that I will most likely buy a shore home first — I swear it! WHERE I’ll buy that home at the shore is another question. Island Beach State Park is where we took our kids when they were small. I loved the Surf City Hotel, and the many ice cream shops along the way. Loved to travel to the Barnegat Light house, and see all the huge homes in Loveladies, or Harvey Cedars.
Then, of course, there is Ocean City and the most clean, wonderful boardwalk at the Jersey shore. Some of my favorite jewelry items, mugs, pictures, novelties, coffee shops, miniature golf, book stores, and SO much more exist in Ocean City NJ. So that’s another love place.
My brother discovered Sea Isle City, and the last few times we rented, I happily went there with my girls. What’s special about Sea Isle? It’s a family place — and a proud sponsor of all the Irish and Italian flags you’d want to see. Most of the people are from the Philly area and proudly display their university flags as well. Lots of great bars, and restaurants — and good luck getting a seat at ANY of them. But the wait is always worth it. These beaches have my heart, and Townsend’s Inlet is my fav area to rent. The Trolley will take you up and down the Island, so you don’t need to move your car! I feel like its a happy college town (with kids of all ages), and the rentals are always reasonable. The 4th of the July is crowded and at its best! One night watching fireworks on the beach, we could also see fireworks going off in Atlantic City, Ocean City, our own at Sea Isle, and Avalon & Stone Harbor’s! Does it get any better?
So, of course, I could go on and on…Avalon & Stone Harbor, very classy and expensive where some of the richest people go, Wildwood — used to be just that — wild, with probably the LARGEST boardwalk at the Jersey shore and all the rock and roll you could find in the clubs. Lastly, the stately, well-heeled, beautiful tip of the cape — Cape May, NJ. If you like dolphins, whales, ferry rides down to Lewes, Delaware, or LOTS of camping — head south to Cape May (or further to Delaware).
So as you can see — The Jersey shore is my passion!! I hope you’ve enjoyed the tour — I’ve only covered a few of the many places to go!