Tuesday, May 27, 2014

On the Way to Cape May...

Staycation Day Trips in Southern New Jersey

We live in southern New Jersey, just outside of Philadelphia.  Most people think of Philadelphia and the western countryside when planning day trips in the area.  There are lots of things to do in the surrounding Philadelphia metro area (check out our list here), but there are plenty of things to do without leaving the state.  Here are some great day trip ideas, all of them east of the Delaware River.

Inland Adventures

Adventure Aquarium - Camden NJ
Sure, there's lots of fish to see, but what makes this Aquarium special is wandering over to the West African River Experience.  Meet Genny and Button, two enormous (3000 pound) Nile Hippos! Adventure Aquarium is the only aquarium with a hippo exhibit.  Other favorites are Stingray Beach Club (pet one of four different stingray species!) and Penguin Island.

Fort Mott State Park - Pennsville, NJ
Fort Mott is one of three post-Civil War forts built to protect the Delaware River.  Construction began in 1872 and was suspended in 1876.  Though never completed as planned, the fort was used by the US military until 1922, when Fort Saulsbury was built.  (Ok, if you're feeling adventurous you can go a little bit west - from Ft. Mott, you can access the other sentinels, Fort Delaware and Delaware City, Delaware, by ferry in the spring and summer.  But it's passengers only, so your car never leaves the state!)

The Garden State Discovery Museum - Cherry Hill, NJ
This hands-on learning experience is for children ages infant through ten years old.  A special zone for the under-3 set allows them to crawl, toddle, and explore without being pushed around by bigger kids.  Learn about construction, broadcast TV, the Jersey shore ecosystem, and more through play.

In addition to these, there are plenty of state parks in the Delaware River, Greater Atlantic City, and Southern Shore zones.  Pick Your Own farms abound, as well as roadside markets boasting fresh Jersey Produce and baked goods made with local produce.  If you'd prefer to go fishing, catch one of 300+ charter boats and head out onto the rivers or the ocean.  

 The Jersey Shore

Unlike what you may have seen on television, what a Philly girl considers "down the shore" are the resorts from Ocean City and south.  If you'd like a quick musical tour of what I call the "Jersey Shore," check out this video.  It features the song, "On the Way to Cape May" made famous by Philadelphia's own Al Alberts and the Four Aces.

Ocean City - Ocean City, New Jersey
Called "America's Greatest Family Resort,"  this shore town features a boardwalk and Gillian's Wonderland Pier, with amusement rides for the young and young at heart.  It's also the home of the Miss New Jersey Pageant - the winner then represents New Jersey at the world-renowned Miss America Pageant just up the Parkway in Atlantic City, NJ.  

Sea Isle City - Sea Isle, NJ
Lazy days on the beach in Sea Isle are some of my most treasured memories.  This quiet town features a Promenade instead of a boardwalk, featuring quaint shops and beachcomber tours. 

Avalon - Avalon, NJ
Avalon is a great place to set sail from for a day of deep sea fishing.  With a number of dayboat opportunities, you're bound to find lots of chances to catch your supper.

Stone Harbor - Stone Harbor, NJ 
A Tuesday excursion to Stone Harbor this summer (2014) provides a special treat. Spend the day on the beach, eat dinner at one of the cafes on the main throughfare, and then listen in to The Jersey Shore Pops concert series.

The New Jersey Wildwoods - North Wildwood, Wildwood, and Wildwood Crest, NJ
These three towns, along with Diamond Beach, make up the Wildwood barrier island at the southern end of the Jersey shore.  Wide sandy beaches (nearly a mile at some points!) provide lots of space for building sand castles and relaxing with a summer novel on a summer afternoon, or bring your surfboard and catch some waves at Rambler Beach.  After the sun sets, head up to the famous Wildwood Boardwalk.  Three piers of neon-lit amusements provide mild attractions for the little ones and wild rides for the more daring.  Bobby Rydell sang it best:  "Every day's a holiday, and every night is Saturday night!"

Cape May County Park and Zoo - Cape May Court House, NJ
This combination is a year-round favorite of ours!  Open daily starting at 10 am (closing depends on season), and located near the Jersey Shore, this FREE activity is a local favorite as well.  An 85 acre zoo adjoins a park complete with two huge playgrounds (one for big kids and one for tots),  picnic grounds, wooded walking paths, and open green space.  A small lunch stand offers quick meals, or pack a lunch and spread out at a table or on a blanket beneath a tree.  Check out some of the animals we saw on one of our previous visits.

I'm excited for summer to start, because many of these are on our "day trips to take" list!  Bonus:  No bridge toll!  If you're from New Jersey, there's plenty to entertain you on your Summer Staycation!

The Crew is sharing their favorite staycation ideas. This button goes live on Wednesday May 28. Favorite Curriculum Choices

http://benandme.com/2014/05/e-education.htmlThoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop http://hsbapost.com/2014/06/20/june-2014-homeschool-blog-tell-hsbat-staycations/

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  1. some of those places look familiar! ;-) We lived in OC and a couple other places in south Jersey and visited Cape May County Park and Zoo many times. Also Corson's Inlet and Cape May Point.

  2. You have so many exciting options close to home. The shore would be near the top of my list.

  3. Thanks for the great list of things to do there. You are making me homesick. I grew up spending vacation at Ocean City and my family still goes there.

  4. I grew up spending summers in OC, Maryland and made many trips to Cape May - a wonderful place to visit! Thanks for sharing at the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop!

  5. Great list! Thanks for sharing it at The Homeschool Post Blog & Tell.


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