When the sun scorches, make the trip up to one of New Jersey's many beaches (and if you want to blend in like a local, refer to them collectively as "the shore"). These destinations are more than just sand and water — there are boardwalks and amusement parks, where families (or the kid in all of us) can stay entertained for hours. Whatever your reason for going, the Jersey Shore offers more to do and see than a single trip allows.
728 Boardwalk, Ocean City; 609-399-0483; ocwaterpark.com
When the kids get bored with the beach, head to the OC Waterpark, where there are thrills like a 35-foot climbing wall and the Serpentine Body Slide, along with fun ways to relax on the Lazy River or playing mini-golf. Arguably, the best part: The pool water is always set to 80 degrees. Open daily starting June 23.
3501 Boardwalk, Wildwood; 609-729-3700; moreyspiers.com
Celebrating its 50th season this summer, the amusement park on Wildwood's boardwalk will debut the Wild Whizzer, a "fun-sized," family-friendly coaster.
Wildwood bike paths
Path begins at Ocean Avenue and East Rambler Road, Wildwood Crest; 609-729-9000; wildwoodsnj.com
Cyclists of all ages can sightsee on a free bike route of the five-mile island, starting in Wildwood Crest and heading north onto the nearly two-mile boardwalk. Along North Wildwood, which is a part of the path, there's a "bikes only" lane so participants can go as fast or slow as they like.
Tropicana's Saturday Night Fireworks
2831 Boardwalk, Atlantic City; 800-843-8767; tropicana.net
After walking the Atlantic City boardwalk for games and shopping, end the night with a free 10-minute fireworks display, every Saturday night from May 26 to Sept. 8 at 10 p.m. For a good view, head toward the Tropicana casino and find a spot on the beach.
Cape May Lighthouse
215 Lighthouse Ave., Cape May Point; 609-884-5404; capemaymac.org
Climbing the steps — all 199 of them — to the top of this lighthouse leads to a wonderful view of the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay. Admission is $5 for kids and $8 for adults — a steal for the bird-watching views alone.
Mud Hen Brewing Co., 127 W. Rio Grande Ave., Wildwood; 609-846-7918; mudhenbrew.com. Wildwood's only brewery opened in April and has quickly attracted crowds with a casual atmosphere and craft beers like the 1883 IPA.
New Pickleball courts, 18th Street and Haven Avenue, Ocean City; 609-525-9307; ocnj.us; $5 day pass, $15 weekly pass, $50 season pass. Open through Labor Day for its first full season, these dozen new pickleball courts are a great place to learn this tennis-like game suited for all ages.
Smoking banned at Asbury Park beaches, Asbury Park; 732-502-8863; cityofasburypark.com. Some would say it's overdue, but Asbury Park's city council voted this year to ban smoking on the town's beaches.
U.S. Life-Saving Station 30, 801 4th St., Ocean City; 609-398-5553. The state's only remaining life-saving station has undergone recent renovations, turning the historic building into a living history museum.
Upgrades to the Ocean City Music Pier, 825 Boardwalk, Ocean City; 609-399-6111; ocnj.us. New video screens and upgraded equipment should enhance the concert-goer's experience. This summer's lineup includes singer Jackie Evancho and the band Under the Streetlamp.
Wildwoods International Kite Festival: Dubbed the largest kite festival in North America, the four-day event (May 25-28) features a kite sales tent, an illuminated kite fly and the World Indoor Kite Competition inside the Wildwoods Convention Center. Kicks off on the south side of the convention center, 4501 Boardwalk, Wildwood; wildwoodsnj.com.
WildFest Food Truck and Music Festival: Taking place at Fox Park, this free first-time event (July 21) will feature food trucks, craft beer and live music. 4500 Atlantic Ave., Wildwood; wildwoodsnj.com.
Night in Venice: In its 64th year, this popular boat parade and decorated bayfront home contest (July 28) in Ocean City allows participants to dress in character (this year's theme is "TV's Greatest Hits") while showing off their boats and homes. For suggestions where to watch, both free and ticketed, go to ocnj.us.
Jerry Seinfeld: The famous comedian returns to Atlantic City's Borgata for two nights (July 27-28; $99-$169). For music fans, notable performances coming to the casino also include Halsey ($89-$129) and Earth, Wind & Fire ($90-$120). 1 Borgata Way, Atlantic City; 609-317-1000; theborgata.com.
Thunder Over the Boardwalk: Also known as the Atlantic City Airshow (Aug. 22), this free, eye-popping display of planes performing aerial maneuvers appeals to the kid in all of us. Many watch from Atlantic City's beaches and boardwalk, but for suggestions on viewing locations, go to airshow.acchamber.com.
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