10 Amazing Attractions at the Real Jersey Shore
The New Jersey shore offers tons of fun for all ages and price levels. Those who are only familiar with the area from the MTV reality series “Jersey Shore” may be in for a bit of a surprise. Here are a few top attractions for those seeking a real experience “down the shore” far from Snooki and her gang in Seaside Heights.
A stay in Wildwood is a journey back to a time when families piled into station wagons for a trip to the beach. The beach is extra wide with powdery white sand. The hotels have a distinctly 60s retro feel and the family-oriented boardwalk stretches on for over 2 miles. Stay in neighboring Wildwood Crest for a more peaceful stay. The boardwalk, bars and restaurants are only a short drive away.
2. Six Flags in Jackson
Only a half hour drive inland, Six Flags’ Great Adventure and Hurricane Harbor Water Park boast of no less than 13 world class rollercoasters in a park-like setting. There are plenty of kiddie rides for the little ones, entertainment and the world’s largest wild animal safari outside of Africa.
3. Ocean Grove
Ocean Grove offers a glimpse into life in the Victorian era. There is no liquor for sale in town and until the 1970s, residents and visitors were not permitted to drive cars on Sundays. That particular tradition has not survived, but the Victorian architecture has. The entire town maintains the status of a national historical site. Porches festooned with flowering baskets, rocking chairs and American flags line the narrow streets leading to the beach. Ice cream store lines often wind around the corner on warm summer nights. If you’re looking for “quaint” and pure Americana, it doesn’t get any better than this.
4. Asbury Park
Ocean Grove’s next door neighbor town is currently enjoying a renaissance after many years of deterioration and decay. The revitalized boardwalk is booming and the beach is clean and populated. Upscale restaurants and shops on the boardwalk and downtown offer a great vantage point for people watching in this wildly diverse city by the sea. Music lovers come in droves to visit the legendary Stone Pony and other venues where Bruce Springsteen and many others began their musical odyssey.
5. Barnegat Lighthouse
“Old Barney” is one of 11 lighthouses in New Jersey open to the public. Visitors can climb 217 steps to the top for a spectacular view of Barnegat Bay. While there, take time to cruise 18 mile long Long Beach Island, a long, narrow barrier island with dozens of beaches, water sports and activities for the entire family.
6. Atlantic City
Atlantic City has had its ups and downs over the years and still remains a mecca for casino lovers. In recent years, several upscale casinos have opened, older establishments have undergone large renovations and there has been an overall push to attract a younger crowd. Several hotel/casinos have recently opened large outdoor bars and well-known national and international entertainers are found performing in town on most weekend nights. The Jersey Shore’s original and still longest boardwalk at 4 miles offers fun in the sun for non-gamblers.
7. Cape May
This Victorian gem of a town is home to dozens of large scale Victorian bed and breakfast inns and private homes. The picturesque “painted ladies” of Cape May beckon to visitors with wide relaxing porches and cool ocean breezes.
8. Point Pleasant Beach
Think of this beach town as a more wholesome and subdued alternative to the beach and boardwalk in Seaside Heights – “Seaside Lite”, if you will. All the same elements are there – wide beach, boardwalk, rides, games and bars, but the experience is altogether cleaner and more family-oriented. There’s even a small aquarium on the boardwalk with excellent exhibits and “hands on” educational demonstrations for the kids.
9. Sandy Hook
Sandy Hook is a 7 mile long barrier island that is part of the Gateway National Park. On a clear day, visitors have a jaw-dropping view of the Manhattan skyline across the water. In addition to the superb beaches, there is a lighthouse, bike and nature trails, a small museum, restaurant with a bar and even a nude beach.
10. Island Beach State Park
Only a short distance from the Seaside Heights boardwalk, this state park is a world away and a nature lover’s dream. This undeveloped island consists of preservation lands and attracts swimmers, bird watchers and surf fishermen. Driving 4 x 4 vehicles on the beach is allowed but you’ll need a special permit.
The Jersey Shore has 127 miles of beaches and offers fun and activity for all interests. Get in your car and head on “down the shore” for vacation fun or a quick weekend getaway. Chances are that you will have a wonderful time and never once run into Snooki or Pauly D!