Never underestimate the power of Doing Nothing. Spread out your blanket, spread on a protective layer of sunscreen, and wallow in the warm sunshine and fresh air.
Some Jersey shore towns offer early morning yoga and aerobics on the beach. A series of gentle stretches or some vigorous exercise will help melt stress (and pounds) away! Check the local paper or with the visitors center or chamber of commerce to see if your vacation spot is offering classes.
Read a magazine, catch up on local news, or get lost in a good book. Try to avoid work-related topics, though… you’re here to unwind. Nothing helps ease stress like getting your mind caught up in something you love, whether it’s celebrity gossip, sports, or a good romance novel.
Go for a walk! Walking is a great way to loosen up the muscles and increase the amount of air going into your lungs. Most folks tend to walk the boardwalk or on the beach early in the day, before the sun gets too hot and everything gets too crowded. Don’t forget to bring water with you! If you walk alone, don’t forget the iPod; if you’re walking with a friend, it’s a great time to catch up on what’s been going on.
Build a sand castle. Embrace your inner child and start digging! Don’t forget the moat. Creating can be very relaxing. Make it a family project for even more fun! You’ll have a whole town in no time.
Take in a free summer concert! Lots of towns plan a summer concert series, so let the music sweep your worries away. Dance with your sweetie or by yourself under the stars.
Watch a sunrise or a sunset. The colors in the sky may just inspire you to pick up a paintbrush or write poetry! The best sunset spots are Sunset Lake in Wildwood Crest or Cape May Point (where you can watch both sunrise AND sunset).
Take a dip in the ocean! You don’t have to go all the way in, but the cool water and the hot sun will make a delightful combination of sensations! Depending on what time of day it is, you may be able to wade out pretty far and not get all the way wet.
Several Atlantic City casinos have beach bars where you can enjoy a cool drink and watch the world go by.
Collect shells. Or, if you’re in Cape May, pick up Cape May Diamonds, too! You can bring your treasures home as souvenirs, or leave them on the beach for someone else to find.
Start (or join) a game of pick-up volleyball. Lots of beaches offer court space and nets, so all you have to do is make friends with someone who has a ball! It is good exercise and a good way to meet locals and other vacationers.
Fly a kite. Just be mindful of others on the beach. You may want to try this one after the lifeguards have gone for the day and the beach clears out. Nothing ruins your mellow mood quite like a kite crashing into your head!
Pick up trash. Not only are you improving your immediate vicinity, you’re doing something good for the environment. Be careful with what you’re gathering; don’t let your little ones pick up glass or metal objects. And be sure to wash your hands afterwards!
Watch for dolphins. Atlantic bottlenose dolphins tend to visit the waters just off Wildwood Crest, but you can see dolphins and whales all along the Jersey shore.
Give surfing or bodyboarding a try.
Take a guided dune walk or beach walk with the local chamber of commerce and environmental groups. Not only will you learn more about the natural habitat, but you’ll have a chance to get out and get moving!
Watch for birds. Sure, you’ll see lots of seagulls. But the Avalon and Stone Harbor beaches are frequented by some rarer birds. You may see rare birds nesting on the beaches in Avalon — be sure not to disturb their nests!
Kick back and watch the clouds. See if you and the family can find pictures in the sky. Don’t look directly at the sun; it could cause permanent damage to your vision.
Take lots of pictures. The ocean is always changing. People are always in motion. Don’t forget film and batteries for your camera!
Most beaches won’t allow a bonfire for roasting marshmallows and hot dogs, but there’s nothing wrong with a nighttime singalong on the beach! The ocean is the perfect background accompaniment if you don’t happen to know any actual musicians.