Top 10 Places to Explore on the Jersey Shore
Ten Gems in New Jersey’s Crown
By Heather Concannon, Syracuse University
For the past couple of years, the Jersey Shore has gotten a less than stellar reputation for fist pumping, muscular “juice-heads” and most of all, Snooki. Despite the media’s efforts to tarnish the image of the Jersey Shore, I am here to tell you that the absurd and obnoxious portrayal is false. Although the horrorific effects of Hurricane Sandy have destroyed many of the shore’s landmarks, the efforts to restore and rebuild the infamous Jersey Shore has created a refreshing and exciting environment, proving that the Jersey Shore is “stronger than the storm”. There is no better time than now to come down to the shore!
Don’t know where to start exploring? Well here are my top 10 places to check out while planning your visit:
1. Cape May: This gorgeous city located at the southern tip of New Jersey is an icon of the golden age as well as the nation’s oldest seaside resort. This quaint city is scattered with beautiful Victorian-styled houses, transporting you back in time. The best way to engulf yourself in the rich history and lifestyle Cape May has to offer is to take an opportunity to stay at one of their many bed and breakfasts. Cape May also offers many unique shopping experiences and boutiques, as well as fantastic places to eat such as the Mad Batter and Washington Inn. Don’t forget to check out the Cape May County Park and Zoo or the Cap May lighthouse.
2. Atlantic City: The Las Vegas of the East, the nation’s first boardwalk, the setting for HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and the inspiration for the board game, Monopoly. It is clear that Atlantic City is one of America’s “favorite playgrounds.” Atlantic City (AC) offers endless excitement and fun for all ages with its thirteen electrifying casinos, various shopping centers, beautiful beaches and their brand-new 3D light spectacular, Boardwalk Beat.
3. Wildwood: Famous for their two mile long boardwalk which includes three exciting piers, Wildwood features an amusement park surrounding, full of fun for everyone. Whether you’re a thrill seeker, a water park lover or just a fan of the classic carnival rides, Wildwood offers visitors a chance to be a kid again. For something a little different, get your photo taken at Antique Images where you can have a unique photo session with numerous costumes, backgrounds and props.
4. Point Pleasant: Ranked as one of the top family-friendly beaches, Point Pleasant is home of the famous Jekinson’s boardwalk and aquarium. Jekinson’s aquarium houses all sorts of sea critters from Atlantic sharks to adorable penguins. Point Pleasant is also home to two of my favorite things from the shore: Hoffman’s ice cream parlor and a picturesque view of the sunrise.
5. Ocean City: Known as America’s family resort, Ocean City’s seashore community is famous for their bustling boardwalk and nine miles of clean and beautiful beaches. Ocean City offers many recreational activities including surfing, biking, kayaking, boating, and golfing. Ocean City is also home to some great seafood options and ice cream parlors.
6. Long Beach Island: Better known as LBI, this island consisting of several towns is the ultimate escape from the beach-crazed visitors who typically flee to Seaside Heights and Wildwood. Relax on the beach, parasail, Jet Ski, play mini golf or walk the shoreline. LBI offers a little something for everyone who just wants to get away from the busy city life.
7. Seaside Heights: Notoriously known from MTV’s Jersey Shore, Seaside Heights has survived more than just Snooki. Hurricane Sandy took a beating on Seaside, but it has survived and prevailed. Seaside is a great place to soak up the sun, play some mini-golf, walk the boardwalk and maybe even ask Danny to make you a tee-shirt at the Shore Store. Seaside Heights is also home to a great nightlife scene (Karma, Bamboo and Aztec as seen in Jersey Shore) and my favorite place to grab lunch after a long day of tanning at the beach, Midway Steakhouse. Make sure you try the lemonade!
8. Asbury Park: Bruce Springsteen fan? Well come visit the birthplace of “The Boss’s” career. Asbury Park is well known for its close ties with musicians and bands. Check out the latest talents at the world famous, Stone Pony. If music isn’t your thing, take a try at antique shopping on Cookman Avenue or indulge in one of the many tasty eateries such as Porto. For a fun retro time out, spend and hour or two at the Silver Ball Pinball Museum playing all the old video arcade games and pinball machines. For those interested in the paranormal, visit the ‘Paranormal Books and Curiosities & Paranormal Museum‘.
9. Belmar: Belmar has become a popular vacation hotspot for the college crowds. With its vast beaches ideal for sunbathing and surfing to its hopping nightlife scene at clubs such as Paradise and The Saint, Belmar has become an ideal summer hang out.
10. Sandy Hook: The ultimate haven for a beach bum. From families, to couples, to those who want clothing to be optional, Sandy Hook is truly a mile of a beach lover’s paradise. But there’s more to Sandy Hook than the beach. Visitors can bike along the dedicated bike trails, camp over night, visit the old fort (Fort Hancock) or hike through some of the best birding areas in the Jersey Shore.