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Trip Report Family Beach Vacation in Belmar at the Jersey Shore

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We visit the Jersey Shore every year, starting when our kids were young. Now that they are teens and tweens we find we enjoy it more than ever. This is a short trip report because my blog has lots more info but I really want to encourage anyone looking for a family beach vacation on the East Coast to seriously consider New Jersey. Our favorite base camp is Belmar, which is in the Northern part of the Shore in Monmouth County. We really like Monmouth County because there is lots to do beyond the beach.

Our typical visit involves renting a house within walking distance to the beach. This is key because parking can be crowded some days. Also, with older kids they can walk back, take showers, or a nap or whatever if they get tired of the beach before the rest of the group. We spend mornings at the beach boogie boarding. Belmar charges $7 a day for those over the age of 15 but it is totally worth it. The beaches are clean, there are plenty of lifeguards and good bathroom and food facilities. Select beaches are designated for boogies boarders, surfers and swimmers, and even kayaks so you can boogie board without worrying about running over little kids.

When we get tired of the beach, there is so much to do. We love the Monmouth and Ocean county parks like Allaire, Holmdel and the Manasquan Reservoir where you can hike, boat or learn some history. Sandy Hook offers not only a great beach but lots of history and nature, bike trails and wonderful views. Nearby, the Twin Lights of the Navesink overlook New York Harbor. We often take the Seastreak fast ferry to New York for a day trip to South Street Sea Port or Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. For rainy days there is the local Monmouth Mall or a trip down to Atlantic City where we enjoy the Quarter at the Tropicana. We particularly like the magic shows and IMAX there. Belmar also has a great marina where you can book onto a fishing charter, party boat or fireworks cruise. If you crave arcades and rides, the Point Pleasant boardwalk is less than 30 minutes away and makes a great day trip.

We've never run out of things to do at the Jersey Shore. If you want more details, and lots of pictures and links to things to do check out my blog posting about my Top 10 things to do at the Jersey Shore. Hope to see you there this summer: http://bit.ly/c5aLeM

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