Imagine a place that locals and travelers visit over and over. It doesn’t matter how many years pass by or how old children grow – families return summer after summer. This special place is the Jersey Shore. For generations, families have found their way to the beaches and piers to soak up the sun and enjoy the entertainment. You can see the history in the rides and the shows and marked on every building. With beach towns spread along the coast, there is always a new beach, roller-coaster, show, or place to explore, and this is what makes visiting the Jersey Shore so special for families. Here is a simple guide on the best places to stay, eat, and play in this great family destination.
Where to Stay
Ocean City, NJ: This treasured city is designed for families. Seriously, this place is awesome! They do “family nights” once a week along with concert nights at the music pier. You are guaranteed to see fireworks and theatrical productions on the pier at least once while visiting. There are so many different activities for kids of all ages that you can visit no matter how old or young your children are. Beyond the entertainment, this place offers the dream beach for families. It is huge, long, clean, warm, and open. I always enjoy having my own space on the beach, and this eight-mile beach allows families to spread out and feel at home.
Point Pleasant Beach, NJ: Whether you live a couple of hours away or clear across the country, this beach town has “vacation” written in palm trees everywhere you look. Kids will love playing in the sand and splashing in the water, but there is an aquarium and a fun house right around the corner for extra entertainment. If the sun starts getting to you, then take a moment to order ice cream right on the beach for a cool treat.
- Seaside Heights, NJ: This town is a popular place for families to spend the weekend. The beaches are clean and cleared for swimming and surfing. Depending on when you go, you might get the chance to visit the beach while a movie is playing at night. Besides the beach, there is a large boardwalk filled with entertainment and tons of fun rides for kids.
Fun Things to Do
Fantasy Island Park: The Jersey Shore has many, many theme parks. Entertainment is the theme, and for families, this is exactly what they need on vacation. There are tons of fun attractions on the Jersey Shore, but Fantasy Island Park is one you can’t miss, with its mixture of shows, rides, food, and games. Make sure you find out what time the magic show is before going.
Popcorn Park Zoo: This zoo has every animal a family could ever want to see. While I love exotic animals, my siblings always enjoyed petting animals on the farm, and the Popcorn Park Zoo gets you exposed to a variety of animals so every kid is happy. The turtles, lions, and camels are adorable, but kids will also squeal with delight when they get a bag of free popcorn.
- Jersey Shore Pirates: Families love Jersey Shore Pirates for its unique style of entertainment. Kids get to pretend and experience what being a pirate is like. With a map, cannons for battle, and hidden treasure, your entire family will be thrilled.
Where to Eat
The Tick Tock Diner: Diners are the best restaurants for families to get delicious food in a comfortable environment. What families love most about The Tick Tock Diner is the large menu. We all know kids can be picky eaters, but you can find something for every child on this yummy menu, no matter how picky they are.
O Bagel: You might wonder why I would list a bagel place, but these bagels aren’t your normal grocery-market-squished-in-a-bag bagels – they are divine. The homemade flavor makes them incredibly addicting, so I recommend buying one for each member in the family and then running far, far away; after one bite, you will involuntarily order a dozen more.
- Sam’s Pizza Palace: You can’t go to the Jersey Shore without stuffing your face with a deep-dish pizza. Kids go crazy for pizza, and ordering a large one as a family while enjoying the ocean is all a part of the experience. No matter where you decide to eat, you can guarantee two things while visiting the Jersey Shore: good food and a terrific view.