The Jersey Shore is one of the most popular beach destinations for New Yorkers and New Jersey residents alike, which is why it attracts hoards of eager beachgoers during the summer months. When the weather starts to warm up, Jersey Shore locals can count on the beach being jam-packed on the weekends, which is why they love the end of summer, which they have dubbed “local summer.” This period, when the tourists and city dwellers finally leave the Shore, lasts about a month and still offers great weather, and that’s exactly when I decided to plan my weekend getaway to the Jersey Shore.
After living in Manhattan for an entire hot, sticky summer, I knew I had to escape to the coast. However, I didn’t want to deal with crowded beaches and busy boardwalks, so I decided to wait until the end of the summer to check out the Jersey Shore, and I’m definitely glad I did. By visiting the Jersey Shore when the crowds died down, I was able to really get a beat on this coastal city. Since my beach getaway was so spur-of-the-moment, though, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to find a hotel in Jersey Shore. Fortunately, HotelTonight made it easy for me to book a great last-minute hotel in Jersey Shore from the convenience of my phone. So with a hotel room waiting for me on the coast, I headed out of the city and into New Jersey.
Seaside Heights is one of the most popular spots in Jersey Shore, which is why it’s so crowded during the summer months. Fortunately, I just missed the crowds, and I was able to stroll down the sidewalk and lounge on the beach without feeling overwhelmed by throngs of people. Seaside Heights offers great restaurants, a long stretch of beach and fantastic activities and entertainment, such as amusement park piers and even a water park. Seaside Heights looks exactly like you would picture when you think of the Jersey Shore, so it was definitely a great place to spend an afternoon.
After a long afternoon soaking in the sunshine, swimming in the water and exploring the boardwalk of Seaside Heights, I headed to Long Branch’s Pier Village for some good food and good shopping. This waterfront village is home to dozens of boutiques and restaurants, and it offers a certain charm that you don’t get on the Seaside Heights boardwalk. Pier Village embodies the classic feel of an East Coast beach town, as well as the energy and excitement of the Jersey Shore.
The next morning, I decided that I wanted to see one of the locals’ favorite spots, so I drove to Long Beach Island. As opposed to the popular beaches at Seaside Heights, the beaches on Long Beach Island feel calmer and more remote. The beach’s swatch of sand stretches for 18 miles, providing plenty of space for resting, relaxing and soaking in the beautiful ocean views. After spending months in the concrete jungle that is Manhattan, I definitely needed this time to decompress and breathe in the fresh ocean air.
Since I hadn’t gotten enough of New Jersey’s natural beauty just yet, I hopped back in the car and drove to Cape May. There are no loud nightclubs, cheesy t-shirt shops or tanning salons in Cape May. Rather, this charming seaside town feels like it has been preserved in a time capsule. The town is full of colorful Victorian buildings and peaceful streets, and the beaches are clean, quiet and beautiful. Cape May is not only known for its charming village center, though – it’s also known for its natural beauty. Cape May’s beaches offer long stretches of white sand and tidal pools, where you can catch glimpses of marine life like crabs and starfish. I spent the afternoon wandering the shores and the village streets of Cape May, and I felt as if I had been transported not just to another state, but also to a completely different time.
In hindsight, Jersey Shore wasn’t what I expected at all. Sure, there were touristy boardwalks, carnival games and nightclubs, but that’s just one side to this coastal community. The Jersey Shore has so many different areas to explore, and they each have their own culture and atmosphere. I realized that there’s a destination for every type of beach lover on the Jersey Shore, whether you’re looking to party the weekend away with friends or you’re trying to plan a fun family beach getaway. If you find yourself with a craving for the sun, the sand and a fun atmosphere, you should plan your impromptu beach vacation by booking your last-minute Jersey Shore hotel on HotelTonight. Thanks to HotelTonight, you can make spur-of-the-moment trips a reality, and sometimes those are the very best kinds of trips.