Two weeks ago my husband and I along with our 5 year old son and my 14 year old niece enjoyed a great trip down in Ocean City, New Jersey. I know what your thinking, “she means Ocean City, Maryland”. Nope! Approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes away down the Garden State Parkway is a wonderful family beach town that has earned the nickname, “America’s Greatest Family Resort”. We planned the trip on a whim and were lucky to find a nice hotel 15 minutes away in Pleasantville, NJ. We stayed at the Days Inn which was also conveniently located 15 minutes south of Atlantic City, NJ. The Days Inn offered a nice pool and free breakfast (always a plus when traveling with kids).
Once in Ocean City, there are tons of activities and things to do. The beach is beautiful with big waves and clean sand. There is a $5 daily or $10 weekly fee (in the form of tags) for adults and teens to use the beach but it is well worth it. The two and a half mile boardwalk is filled with tons of shops and good eats. There are two amusement parks, Gillian’s Wonderland Pier and Playland’s Castaway Cove that offer rides and games for kids of all ages. There is also a small, but really fun water park on the boardwalk that offered great slides and a nice kiddie pirate land. There was a DJ playing music that kept an upbeat vibe going. On the boardwalk there were several miniature golf courses for some family friendly competition. You can rent bikes, parasail, take surfing lessons, go fishing or take a cruise. There was so much to do. And the best part is, everyone was so friendly! It was nice watching families from all over and all different ages come together for a good time.
The city itself offers plenty of restaurants and beautiful homes that are often rented for the summer season. This is an option we will consider for our next trip back to Ocean City. One important fact about O.C. is that it is a “Dry” city, which means they do not allow the sale of alcohol anywhere, including restaurants. I guess this is what makes it so family friendly and sets it apart from the other beach towns, no rowdy bars or young party-goers.
We did have a day and a half of rain so we headed to Atlantic City and visited their small aquarium. Back in OC we brought the kids to the indoor arcades and Boardwalk Bounce, an indoor bouncy slide place that offered charging stations for us adults so we can catch up with our iphones or ipads.
We look forward to returning next summer and have already started researching rentals. We loved our getaway in Ocean City!
Our restaurant pick: FIRE! On the Beach
Our sweet spots: Monkey Bread & Fudge Kitchen
Our favorite shop: Was not in Ocean City! It was a small shopping village we found on the way located in Smithville, NJ. Plenty of unique shops and cool finds. I found great hand made soaps at L.E.H Soaps.
* stop at the Ocean City welcome centers for coupon books that save you big $$