The Jersey Shore—it’s not just a hit reality TV show, it’s also a great budget–friendly vacation spot for families, friends, and solo travelers. From busy boardwalks to serene escapes, there is something for everyone. Let this be your guide to the best places, activities, and hacks on the New Jersey coast to make the best of your summer.
With around 50 beaches to choose from, it’s hard to pick which one is the best for your trip. According to TripAdvisor and Travel Channel,
The top 3 family beaches in Jersey:
- Ocean City
- Asbury Park
- Wildwood Crest
The top 3 beaches for adults:
- Cape May
- Long Beach Island
- Ocean Grove (opens at 12pm on Sundays)
The top 3 free beaches:
- Atlantic City
- The Wildwoods
Hotels vs Rentals
Should you stay in a hotel, motel, or rental house? Let’s break it down.
If you’re planning on a short stay with a small group of people, a hotel/motel might be a better option. Renting a house is typically great for larger groups with a longer stay than a weekend. Overall, it is generally more budget-friendly to go through booking sites to look for the cheapest rooms available to meet your accommodations.
Shopaholics have no fear! Here’s a list of the best spots to hit while at the shore so you can get your fix of summer shopping. In addition to the boutiques and unique stores you’ll find everywhere, here are some good condensed shopping areas to try.
You might just want to stay planted in the sand all vacation, but if you’re seeking some other activities and fun there are a wide array of options. If you’re more low key, the classic competitive game of mini golf never goes out of style, alongside renting a surrey bike and hitting the town. For the more active thrill seekers, consider renting boats and tubes, taking a cruise, jet skiing, or trying your hand at parasailing. Can’t get enough of the water, but need a break from the salty Ocean? The top rated waterparks at the Jersey shores are Morey’s piers, Ocean City Waterpark, Casino Pier, and Asbury Splash Park. If you’re looking to get some educational fun into your trip try the museums and aquariums. Museums that are popular include the Paranormal Museum, Ripley’s Believe it or Not, The Doo Wop Preservation Museum, Silverball Pinball Museum, and the Cape May Lighthouse. Aquariums to try varying on your location are Jenkinson’s, Atlantic City, and Seaport.
The best part about vacation for some people is the endless dining options. Most beach goers agree that these are the best foods to eat while vacationing at the Jersey shore:
- Fudge Kitchen (don’t pass on the samples)
- Chickie’s and Pete’s crab fries
- Kohr Brothers Frozen Custard
- Manco & Manco’s Pizza
- Salt Water Taffy
- Pork Roll, Egg & Cheese at Johnny’s Pork Roll Truck
- Waffles and Ice Cream
- Maui’s Dog House hot dogs
What’s the best time to go?
Some of the worst times to go to the Jersey shore are Memorial Day weekend and fourth of July, but there are times that are way less crowded and prices are lower. Try going the weekend before or after a holiday, because prices tend to drop dramatically.
With all the great activities to do, you’ll want to check out brochures and flyers in the hotel/rental you’re staying at for coupons. There are also a multitude of websites to use to find discounted offers and vacation packages. Especially students, bring your ID, because student discounts are common.