Seeking Jersey Shore family vacation advice

Old Dec 28th, 2004, 12:37 PM
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lls
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Seeking Jersey Shore family vacation advice

We'll be in Philly this summer and would like to take a short trip to the Jersey shore. I'm looking for recommendations on where to stay/what to see during a 3-night visit for a family of 5 (12, 10 & 8 year-old sons). Cape May looks nice but I'm not sure where to stay. Looking to spend about $150 per night. We prefer full-service hotels (preferably in a suite) over mom & pop motels. Looking to enjoy the beach and see the sights -- we're open to anything (mainly seeking to capture the flavor of the area). I personally love a good boardwalk. Is Atlantic City (in a non-gaming hotel) okay with kids or is it seedy? I've never been to the area, so I'll take any advice I can get! Thank you!
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Old Dec 28th, 2004, 12:49 PM
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I'll try.

First, neither Cape May nor AC may fit the bill, since you'll be bringing the kids. I wouldn't call either place kid-friendly, but for different reasons.

Other possibilities, if you want a boardwalk: Wildwood, which is congested and busy. Rehobeth in Delaware.

A suite in a full-service hotel in-season for $150? That may be difficult. I guess I'd just start searching the Web to see what's available.
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Old Dec 28th, 2004, 01:34 PM
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We were on the Shore this summer and stayed in Wildwood-it is Jersey shore at its most elemental level. Boardwalk, Italian guys playing bocce, fun but definately Jersey. We liked Cape May alot and went there on 2 nights with a 8 mo. old so I'm suprised that k said not to go there.
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Old Dec 28th, 2004, 02:59 PM
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I don't know if Seaside has gotten even seedier than it was a few years ago, but that's the biggest boardwalk. Wildwood is smaller but a little better for families. I can't remember where in Wildwood we stayed but it was in Wildwood Crest at the southern end of the boardwalk. Most of the hotels are pretty old.
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Old Dec 28th, 2004, 03:07 PM
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Wildwood Crest seems like a logical choice for your needs, although not sure what real "hotels" there are. mostly this area is all Motels. The boardwalk is large and has rides & activities for the kids. It's near enough to Cape May to drive over for a dinner or two. Cape May is more B&B's, less kid friendly IMO.

Seaside is further North, and it's been seedy for a long time now. Point Pleasant might be an option, although that's further north along the shore as well.

Have heard good things about Ocean City, NJ & Sea Isle City, but don't have any first hand experience with these.

Good luck with your trip!
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Old Dec 28th, 2004, 03:46 PM
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Ocean City NJ deserves a good look. Seems very family-oriented, great beach, and a huge boardwalk!

That latter is something to behold. There are five lanes. The two outside ones are for walkers--one in each direction. The next two to the inside are for bikes and wheeled things--same rules, one in each direction. And, as I recollect, the center is for joggers. Though we were there after Labor Day, I got the sense that the summer orientation of the town was toward families, in the traditional sense. Kinda what Rehoboth used to be before it yuppified and its beach went away...).

I don't have any lodging recommendations. We were staying in Brigantine Beach, and day-tripped south along the shore. I hadn't been to the Jersey shore since I was a kid. It turned out to be deja vu all over again....
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Old Dec 28th, 2004, 03:54 PM
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Thanks for all the great input. I'll definitely look into Ocean City!
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Old Dec 28th, 2004, 03:57 PM
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Your kids would be very bored in Cape May and AC is more of an adult atmosphere with the casinos. Wildwood has a good boardwalk, but Wildwood Crest is nicer (family orientated, quiet) but a drive from the boardwalk. Ocean City (a dry town) has a boardwalk but look to Ocean City, Maryland for nicer accommodations. We were not impressed by Rehobeth and Seaside is a teenage hangout. Seaside Heights is nicer and you can walk on the "not built up boardwalk" to the rides and attractions of Seaside's boardwalk. You will have some difficulty finding hotels in your price range, especially anything nice on the beach.
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Old Dec 29th, 2004, 05:10 AM
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swalter: if you think going on vacation w/an 8-mnth-old is the same as going with kids ages 12, 10, and 8, you have a lot to learn, my friend.
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Old Dec 29th, 2004, 05:21 AM
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I would recommend Point Pleasant Beach.

It has a very nice boardwalk...plenty of games and amusements, a nice aquarium and a sweet little downtown (with amazing antique stores). There are places nearby to rent jet skis, kayaks, bikes, etc.

Also, I always found Point Pleasant to be fun but with a touch of nostalgic civility. Not quite as raucous as Seaside or Wildwood. Nice family destination with a real beach feel.

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Old Dec 29th, 2004, 05:28 AM
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I happen to think that Stone Harbor & Avalon are the best for family. There is no boardwalk but that is so trashy usually. Lots of mini golf, shopping, movies, in a beautiful setting. Only 45-55 min. from Philly. The Windrift is on the beach & the most popular place to stay.
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Old Dec 29th, 2004, 06:25 AM
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Lighten up K I was just curious as to your reasoning since we saw tons of kids around and it didn't seem family "unfriendly" at all. We did stop in Ocean City one day and it seemed nice. My friend in Jersey swears by Long Beach Island and goes there every year (with her 2 girls) but it's a little closer to NYC than Phili.
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Old Dec 29th, 2004, 06:42 AM
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Interesting approach, swalter: You question my advice and reasoning, and it's OK. I question yours, and I should "lighten up." Hmmm.

Anyway, see Dee3's post about kids and boredom in AC and Cape May, and you'll get the point -- which is that a 12-year-old is not going to be happy in either place.

BTW, Long Beach Island is convenient to Philly, but doesn't have the boardwalk that the original poster wanted.
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Old Dec 29th, 2004, 06:52 AM
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K, you said I have a lot to learn but you still haven't enlightened me as to why you think Cape May is a bad choice for kids. I really am curious as my cousins went every year as kids and we would like to go back but not to Wildwood Crest again as it was a bit "cheesy" to do a second time.
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Old Dec 29th, 2004, 07:13 AM
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OK, swalter, you've worn me down. Never in the history of Cape May have any children ever been bored there, despite my and others' observations. The place is an absolute heaven for 12-year-olds. Exciting. Enchanting. And of course, if your cousins recommend it, I'm certain the place is an early-adolescents' delight.

Where in the world did the Wildwood Crest comment come from?
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Old Dec 29th, 2004, 07:32 AM
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K, If you read above, you would see that we sayed in Wildwood Crest but visited Cape May several times, hence my question since we didn't stay there I thought you might have some specific insight, apparently not.
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Old Dec 29th, 2004, 07:47 AM
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Enough! Do you two realize you are actually arguing about the Jersey Shore? Is it really worth it? It seems a bit silly to me.

Cape May is ok for families and I'm sure many have had a good time there...but it's not the best option IMO for kids. It's more B&B & fine dining oriented than other areas of the shore.

LBI is mostly weekly house rentals. Accessible from Philly, it's the mainstay vacation haven for many. Houses probably need to be booked by Jan or Feb or else slim pickings. Not the best option for what OP describes.

Seaside & Seaside Heights are seedy unless you like the Jersey Guido set. Would not recommend to anyone.

Point Pleasant Beach is very nice and has boardwalk, rides, etc. But there are similar places further south that fit the bill too. Also, mostly seasonal house rentals, few hotels or motels.

Wildwood & Wildwood Crest (Crest being a little nicer) are a good option as I originally suggested, but are mostly motels. Has boardwalk, rides, etc.

Ocean City I've heard is very nice and family oriented. Something worth checking out.

Atlantic City, as others have mentioned is more adult oriented and mostly for casino visitors. Beach isn't that great.

I have friends who love Stone Harbor, so that's also a good suggestion for family atmosphere.

Good luck with your search IIs!
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Old Dec 29th, 2004, 07:56 AM
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Another vote for Ocean City, NJ. A few suggestions for all-suite accomodations are www.watsonsregency.com, www.biscaynesuites.com and www.the flandershotel.com. All are well over $150.00 per night. There are many other non-suite suggestions I can offer, if interested.
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Old Dec 29th, 2004, 08:27 AM
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I think I heard the theme from "Twilight Zone" playing while I read swalter's last post.
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Old Jan 4th, 2005, 10:45 AM
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I read thru all the posts and found that I disagree with many comments made. Coming from a family mith many children, with a range of ages from 2 on up to 17, Cape May has always held every single one of their interests. It is someplace that is safe for your 12, 10 & 8 year old to even walk the outdoor mall by themselves at night. There are many miniature golf places, arcades, bike rentals, boat rentals, etc. There are many motels/hotels that are kid friendly, the B&Bs are tougher to find. If your looking for full service and top notch, though, $150.00 is going to be hard. I'd say $179 is more likely, gets you at the Jetty Motel at the end of Beach Drive, right across from the beach/ocean, has a pool and is family oriented. Now if you prefer the mall area, the Victorian Motel might be priced around 150 and is directly across from the mall, both the Jetty & Victorian are family/mom&pop motels though, or for $210 and up you could stay at the Marquis D'Lafeyette which is also across from the beach, centrally located, walking distance to the mall, the boardwalk shops, the beach drive stores, etc. All throughout Cape May there are different dining experiences to be had, it is definetly not a fine dining town, options from family dining to candlelit, to pizza. Go to Brad's Cafe for the best crab cakes you'll ever have and go casual! There's the Ugly Mug in the mall that serves good shrimp salad sandwhiches and great burgers or you can go to Godmothers for great italian food for a nicer dining night out. Also, you can drive 15 minutes over to Wildwood to the Lobster House or to the Ravioli House for dinner and then head to the boardwalk, which, too is seedy late at night, so if you are going to go there, go right after dinner and stay only a couple of hours. I agree that Wildwood Crest is nicer than Wildwood, however, the beach is extremely long to get to the water, something to take into consideration if you are carrying things. Secondly, Seaside PARK, is lovely. You are in a family neighborhood and I would recommend Island Beach State Park for beach access, as it is just beautiful and 2 minutes from Seaside Park. Seaside Heights is the same as Wildwood, seedy after hours, so go earlier between 6 and 9 p.m. for your kids viewing discretion. Also, they have made a lot of changes to Seaside including a New Orleans type renovation currently going on, with excellent restaurants and they have the huge water park there. Pt. Pleasant is all around nice, and you probably cannot go wrong there either. My recommendation would be to stay at a moderately priced motel in Cape May, like the Jetty and visit Wildwood one evening for the big amusement rides and boardwalk. You will find so much to do in Cape May, the time will fly by and you will wonder where it went. Good luck. P.S. BOOK NOW, for Cape May because they sell out at the family motels quickly.
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