Things To Do At The Jersey Shore
Asbury Park offers year-round top-rated restaurants, theater, shopping, art, and a fabulous, lifeguard-protected beach.
Silver Ball Museum Arcade: “a living, breathing and blinking tribute to our pinball and video gaming past.” Silver Ball boasts over 600 games in a rotation with new and vintage machines. Pinball wizards, unit! (And if you’re not a wiz, this is the perfect place to become one.)
To feed your golf fix or cool off in a wonderful water land, Visit Ashbury Eighteen Mini Golf and Ashbury Splash Park.
For a fresh seafood experience you’ll never forget, visit AsburtFest (formally Ashbury Park Oyster Festival), music and culinary festival held over three days annually in September. Alcoholic beverages are available, and there are many vendors with crafts and more.
Belmar is known for having the cleanest beaches around, and it is perfect for children as it offers more playgrounds than any other beach on the Jersey Shore. You’ll also find boogie boarding, surfing, kayaking, and a surf camp for all ages. Strollers and wheelchairs breeze along the boardwalk, thanks to “Mobi-Mats,” which offers a sturdy ground for ease of mobility.
Jersey Shore Whale Watch guarantees you’ll see a whale or your next trip is free.
Belmar Parasail: “You can choose to be gently dipped a little or a lot in the ocean water and land on the back of the boat just as gently as you took off”—certified drug-free for safety.
Miss Belmar Princess is a spectacular yacht that offers deep sea fishing, sunset cruises, whale watching, and more.
Eye candy, anyone? With fabulous Victorian architecture, pristine beaches, and famous boardwalks, you’ll love what you’ll see as much as you’ll love whayoull explore. Many hotels are within walking distance from the boardwalks, and you’ll find restrooms close to the beaches.
-Emlen Physick Estate: When surrounded by beautiful Victorian architecture, what could be better than immersing yourself in Victorian times, culture, and decor? The Physick House Museum offers guided tours of the 1879 mansion, which many consider a Frank Furness, Stick Style, architectural masterpiece.
Even if you’ve visited the Physick House Museum, it’s always worth visiting again. Every year, the museum changes its tour theme to highlight different aspects of Victorian life and culture.
An optional trolley-museum package adds an immersive overview of Cape May’s Historic District. Or, opt for a Clueless-style murder mystery experience (choose who will be exonerated) or a children’s tour for 5-to-10-year-olds.
-The Cape May Lighthouse is an iconic must-do. And, if you’re into stair stepping, you’ll savor each of the 199 steps to the top of the 157-foot tall lighthouse with an expansive view.
The New Jersey Audubon Society oversees the Nature Center. They hold many natural history programs annually, and the surrounding outdoor habitats are available for educational programs.
Next, take your zoo trip to a higher level with a zip line or tree top adventure at the Tree-to-Tree Adventure Park. This attraction is a wow and not to be missed.
The zoo also has playgrounds and a fishing pond. Strollers, wheelchairs, and motorized scooters are available to rent.
-The Harriot Tubman Museum affords a rich historical and cultural experience as you learn about Tubman’s work in anti-slavery activism and the part Cape May played in guiding enslaved people toward freedom.
-The Washington Street Mall is much more than a “mall.” It is an outdoor, revitalized downtown that is for pedestrians only and puts you at the center of the coastal town vibe. The elegance and ambiance will charm you with ample shopping, restaurants, and The Museum of Fine Arts and Popular Culture. Plan plenty of time to explore every inch.
Morey’s Piers and Beachfront Waterparks give you the ultimate amusement park experience and boardwalk “feel,” with over 100 rides and several attractions. Amusement Today voted Morey’s one of the best seaside amusement parks in the world. Morey’s Piers boasts over 18 acres of amusement that also house two fabulous beachfront waterparks.
You can see the Manhattan skyline from the free Keansburg beaches, but if you really want to see the action, Keansburg is the place to go for the great amusement park and waterpark fun. [Note: I had an issue with pulling up the amusement park website – security warning]
“LBI not only boasts some of the East Coast’s finest beaches, but each area of LBI is unique in its way. From Barnegat Light, where the beaches are peaceful and wide, and the landscape is covered with scrubby pines, beach plum, and bayberry plants, to Holgate’s fluffy sandy beaches and inviting dunes. In between, you will find the day-tripper’s beaches of choice in Surf City, Ship Bottom, and Long Beach Township because of their ease of access from the bridge.” (Source: LBI Chamber of Commerce.)
Surflight Theatre is the only professional theater in Ocean County and a wonderful way to experience top-notch talent without paying Broadway prices. Surflight also offers The Show Place Ice Cream Parlour, where performers sing and dance while surrounding your hot fudge sundae with an upbeat, entertaining show.
The Museum of NJ Maritime History boasts the “most extensive collection of maritime history and artifacts in the entire state of New Jersey.”
The Barnegat Lighthouse State Park sits at the northern-most end of Long Beach Island and has a maritime forest. There are birdwatching and fishing opportunities in addition to visiting the lighthouse.
Tube slides, lazy river, body boarding, kid pool, toddler area, and the Rainbow Rapids water slide keep you cool at the Thundering Surf Waterpark. To make the day even more memorable, rent a three-hour cabana, all-day cabana, or a spectacular, all-day tree house cabana with a locker, water (one bottle per person), beach towels, and personal, wait staff service. You’ll feel like you’re on a cruise without ever having to leave the shore (pun intended).
But there’s more to the Thundering Surf Waterpark, including the Flow House. The park explains it best:
“What most people don’t know is though there are over 100 Flow Rider installations worldwide, we were the FIRST Flow House in the United States. What’s the difference? Well, it starts with the atmosphere. We surround our Flow Rider with the surf and board sports lifestyle. Music, parties, food, movies, contests, apparel, and merchandise are all components at our facility that make it truly unique.”
And there’s even more! When you’re ready to dry off, grab your golf gear and visit Adventure Golf, where you’ll have access to two 18-hole golf courses. Voted the “Best Gold Course in NJ by the Asbury Park Press, the Atlantic City Press, and NJ Monthly Magazine,” the courses feature caves and waterfalls along with fun and challenging natural obstacles.
Known for its upscale activities and atmosphere, Long Branch has been revered by locals, tourists, and US Presidents. Long Branch regained popularity in 2005 after opening Pier Village (see below).
Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park gets its name from the seven US Presidents who frequented Long Branch in the 1800s and early 1900s: Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Chester A. Arthur, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, and Woodrow Wilson. The 38-acre beach park has showers, sheltered picnic areas, lifeguards, and dedicated surfing areas.
Pier Village is “an award-winning mixed-use beachfront Victorian-inspired community, featuring over 30 esteemed restaurants, shops, events, music, and art. Luxury residences are available for rent should you fall in love with Pier Village.
New Jersey Repertory Company is a non-profit, professional theater dedicated to preserving and enhancing the American theater experience, including theatrical premieres. The prices are reasonable, and the productions receive excellent reviews.
Escape the Puzzle is New Jersey Shore’s escape room—a popular game that puts your thinking skills to the test as you and your guests enter a room (with themes such as pirates, animals, and carnival), solve puzzles, and, with a team effort, escape. You have one hour, so cooperation and interaction are a must—great for building confidence and relationships. Children are welcome; they play for free if they’re six years old or younger.
Long Branch Distillery is a perfect choice when you’re ready to unwind. From their website:
“Long Branch Distillery in NJ was founded in 2017. After 2+ years of planning, construction, decorating, crying, throwing things, and biting our lips, tongues, and nails – we are proud to present our distilled spirits using the latest technology in the distilling world – the iStill. Our square, stainless steel, electric stills allow us to produce the most consistent, taste-rich spirits from batch one to one million. We’re glad you’re here and hope you share the same passion we do for sipping fine craft spirits.”
Tours and mixology classes are available. Cheers!
A unit of the National Park Service and the Gateway National Recreation Area, Sandy Hook is a popular destination for beachgoers, hikers, bird watchers, campers, scuba divers, surfers, and more. Even though it is only a 45-minute ferry ride from Manhattan via the SeaStreak Ferry, it transports you to a serene and splendid paradise that feels like a world away.
Fort Hancock Nike Missile Base – Gateway National Recreation Area: The Nike guarded missile radar site was once classified as top secret, but today, you can visit and explore the history of New York’s defense during the cold war and the importance of the site during the American Revolution. Tours are available and highly recommended.
Sandy Hook Scooter Company is a worthwhile consideration if you’re 18 or over and want a fun and easy way to explore Sandy Hook for hours or days. An app is available for mapping that gives directions for low-speed roads. Higher-speed bikes are also available.