People spend an obscene amount of money on family vacations. Flying the family around the world, cruise-shipping to exotic locals and countless other adventures, that while fun and entertaining, are just a huge suck of money. Few families can afford to put themselves in such a financial hole just to sip fruity drinks and hang out with an old, cartoon mouse.
God bless the New Jersey shore. It’s still a fantastic, inexpensive place to take the whole family for relatively cheap. Another great selling point is that it’s loaded with activities for the whole family. You’ve just got to think outside the typical salt water taffy box. You need someone “in the know.” That’s where Jen Miller comes in.
Jen is the author of The Jersey Shore: Atlantic City to Cape May: A Great Destination. Jen knows everything about the Jersey shore. She was kind enough to share her 5 must see places for families at the Jersey shore. Take it away Jen…
This is a concrete ship that sunk off the coast of Sunset Beach in Cape May. Sounds like a no brainer, right? Concrete ship sinks. But it was actually used as a boat during WW I, and made of concrete because of the steel shortages. The Atlantus was one of 38 such ships and weighed 3000 tons. She was towed to Cape May in 1926 and was supposed to be used as a footing for a bridge, but was knocked off her moorings and got stuck. Have you ever tried to move 3000 tons? So she’s still there, hanging out at Sunset Beach in Cape May. Go at sunset, which is a big to do on Sunset Beach. Obviously.
The Carousel at Gillian’s Wonderland Pier in Ocean City
This is one of the few places where you can reach out and grab the golden ring from a carousel. And this one’s a beauty, too, built in 1926 by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company. It’s been beautifully maintained, and a fun ride for anyone. Yes, I still ride the carousel, and yes I HAVE gotten the golden ring.
This place is amazing. It’s a pinball museum on the boardwalk, but where, for a flat fee, you can play all the machines. Forget trying to get kids out. It’s parents who want to stay beyond their allotted time.
Hot Dog Tommy’s in Cape May
It’s not so much a place you should see, but Tommy. He’s the guy behind this storefront restaurant who dishes up killer hot dogs while wearing a big hot dog hat. Chat with him – hewon’t mind, no matter how long the line is. Since you can’t sit in an actual restaurant, you can eat your hot dogs while sitting by the water. Just watch out for seagulls.
A blockbuster movie at the Strand 5 in Ocean City
This one’s more for the parents than the kids – it’s an old skool movie theater right on the boardwalk in Ocean City. The seats are small, the floors sticky, and the screen is small, but it’s a vintage thrill that you must share with your kids before these types of places aren’t around anymore. If the kids want to see what a movie theater is like without the actual movie house inside, take them to the Surf Mall further south down the boardwalk. It’s one such space.
Jen A. Miller, a writer/journalist who specializes in the Jersey Shore, has appeared on TV and radio and in print. Miller blogs at downtheshorewithjen.blogspot.com and her book The Jersey Shore: Atlantic City to Cape May: A Great Destination. is now available.