As 2016 comes to a close, many people reminisce about the past year, from their highest highs to their lowest lows. At the same time, they create plans to make the next year their best yet. Whether they want to work harder, transform their bodies, grow their minds, or just have fun, people hope they can stick to the promises they make to themselves longer than the first few weeks of the new year. Here are some Jersey shore New Year’s resolutions to add to your vacation bucket list for 2017.
Hike the Appalachian Trail (Well, part of it…).
The A.T. runs from Maine to Georgia and is the longest hiking-only trail in the world at about 2,200 miles. It usually takes months to complete, so we wouldn’t suggest adding it to your bucket list unless you’re a frequent hiker, seriously committed, or have a LOT of free time on your hands.
If you still want to take a stab at it, though, you can start in New Jersey and walk up to 72 miles in the state with easy to moderate changes in elevation. Common access points can be found at the Delaware Water Gap (which has beautiful scenery), High Point State Park (aptly named as the highest point of elevation in the state), and Wawayanda State Park. Just make sure you do some research and training before attempting a really long hike and stay safe!
Ride the Cape May-Lewes Ferry.
If you’re spending a weekend soaking up the sun or viewing the beautiful Victorian homes in Cape May, you can hitch a ride on a ferry boat that will take you to Lewes, Delaware. Test your sea legs and make sure to stop at the lovely gift shop before you leave!
Go whale watching.
Cape May is also the perfect place to take a whale watching tour! While you might be able to spot them breaching from the shore, these boats will take you up close (but not too close to disturb them, of course) and teach you about these beautiful creatures along the way. Just try not to get sprayed by the water coming from their blowholes!
While you’re in Cape May, stop by Sunset Beach at the end of the day for an unobstructed view of the sun falling below the horizon. You can also spot the Cape May Lighthouse and the remains of the SS Atlantus, one of 12 concrete ships built during World War I by the Liberty Ship Building Company to transport American troops back home. From May to September, there is a flag-lowering ceremony every evening to honor veterans. Look for Cape May diamonds (actually just quartz crystals, but very pretty) in the sand or buy some from one of the gift shops, which have some of the prettiest shells and cutest beach decor around!
Get up close and personal with the creatures of the deep.
Adventure Aquarium on the Camden Waterfront boasts the biggest collection of sharks along the Atlantic Ocean, including a tunnel where sharks swim in tanks above your head! Kids will love the please-touch exhibits (if they dare to try it) featuring jellyfish, sting rays, and (harmless) sharks. Check out the seal, penguin, and shark shows or, if you’re truly a brave soul, swim with them! Also be sure to learn about sea turtle migration and visit the Amazon waterfall feature and Hippo Haven.
Ride North America’s tallest roller coaster.
Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson is the tallest (and fastest) coaster in North America at 456 feet. It accelerates from 0 to 128 miles per hour in a mere 3.5 seconds up a 90 degree slope and includes a 129-foot camel hump. You might not want to eat a big meal before this one.
Also be sure to stop by the Safari Off Road Adventure, which boasts the biggest drive-through safari (aside from Africa, of course) with 4.5 miles of trail. More than 1200 animals, some endangered, spanning six continents are dispersed in this 350 acre wildlife preserve. Take your own car or use the guided bus tour to save gas while learning more about wildlife conservation. Animals like giraffes, rhinos, monkeys, elephants, lions, kangaroos, emus, llamas, tigers, and more will come right up to your car to pay a visit. What fun!
(Pretend to) go to Princeton.
Okay, so maybe your SAT scores weren’t quite high enough back in high school, and the Admissions department wouldn’t take your $20 bribe. But you can always visit Princeton’s beautiful campus! Walk through the Art Museum and Chapel or learn about the American Revolutionary Battle of Princeton. Or maybe you might just be content with wandering around the different university halls and pretending you have the intellect for the Ivy League.
Let’s face it, our complete list of Jersey shore New Year’s resolutions is much too long for a blog post. There are so many places in New Jersey worth visiting, so here’s to doing that on your next vacation in 2017. Have a Happy New (Jersey Shore) Year!