When people think of a Jersey shore vacation, they most generally picture two things: beaches and boardwalks. While those pictures stir excitement in some, others who have visited those attractions time and time again might feel, well, nothing at all. If you’re one of those people who says, “Been there, done that,” to the beaches, here are 28 Jersey shore activities for when you’re bored of the boardwalk.
Although Cape May sits on the southern tip of New Jersey, it seems to be the center of activity for wildlife.People from all over the world travel to Cape May for bird watching, especially near the lighthouse. Last year, TripAdvisor named the Cape May County Park & Zoo 5th best in the U.S. and 13th in the world. Cape May is also home to Bay Springs Alpaca Farm. Outside of Cape May, Insectropolis, the Bugseum of New Jersey, is located in Tom’s River. Of course, there is more wildlife to see in other parts of the Jersey shore – you just might have to look a little more carefully for it.
Enjoy the Garden State
If you’re more into flora than fauna, there are plenty of opportunities to appreciate the bounty the aptly named Garden State has to offer. Leaming’s Run Gardens in Cape May Courthouse displays 30 acres of beautiful flowers. There are several major wineries in Cape May County, including Willow Creek Winery & Farm, Jessie Creek Winery, and Turdo Vineyards & Winery. If you prefer a nice ale, you could visit the Cape May Brewing Company, Beach Haus Brewery in Belmar, or Pinelands Brewery Company in Little Egg Harbor Township. Beach Plum Farm in West Cape May grows all kinds of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices. Argos Farm in Forked River offers family-oriented seasonal activities like pumpkin picking, a corn maze, hay rides, and Christmas tree cutting, in addition to a well-stocked market with fresh produce. If you can’t make it out to any farms themselves, Brigantine and Downtown Wildwood have fantastic farmers’ markets. If you want a broader introduction to New Jersey plants, Allaire State Park spans 3,000 acres and includes plenty of recreation areas.
Visit museums and exhibits.
If you’re more of a passive, indoor type, perhaps Jersey shore museums and exhibitions are a better fit for you. New Jersey has a diverse set of museums, including the Naval Air Station and Aviation Museum and the Doo Wop Preservation League Museum in Wildwood, the Cape May Fire Department Museum, the Robert J. Novins Planetarium in Tom’s River, the Fort Hancock Nike Missile Base, and the art galleries in Stone Harbor. With such an eclectic mix, there’s sure to be something for everyone.
Take a ride.
On the other hand, if you’re itching for an adrenaline rush, riding Nitro, the Dark Knight, Bizzaro, SkyScreamer, El Toro, Kingda Ka, or the all-new Joker at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson might be more your speed. While the park has fun for all ages, younger kids might prefer Storybook Land in Egg Harbor Township. For the gentlest ride, stick with the Cape May Carriage Company. And if you’d rather just watch other people ride, visit a competition at the Monmouth Park Racetrack.
Another way to live vicariously through others is to visit historical sites and museums. The Victorian style Emlen Physick Estate in Cape May teaches guests about what life was like in the late 1800s. Going back a bit further, Cape May’s 22 acre Historic Cold Spring Village houses 25 restored buildings where actors transport visitors to the mid 19th century. The Navesink Twin Lights Lighthouse in Highlands shows tourists how lighthouses used to work. The George F. Boyer Historical Museum in Wildwood and the Atlantic City Historical Museum recount the history of those two major shore towns.
Clearly, there’s more to New Jersey than its beaches. Rather than cancel your trip altogether, be sure to check out these Jersey shore activities for when you’re bored of the boardwalk. Sign up for our newsletter below for more information that will make your next Jersey shore vacation your best!