goodncrazy Nissan Quest Trip with kidsWhere are your favorite beaches? Mine are hands-down New Jersey beaches! When heading to the beaches of New Joisey, if you want to sound like a local… you say: “We’re goin’ down the shore.” (…Or ‘shaw’ is more like it.) Now that you’re talking like a local, let’s go!
We hopped a flight from the West Coast to the East Coast. We picked up our Nissan Quest (2012) and Oh. My. Gosh… this thing had bells and whistles to spare. 16 cup holders (!), more cargo storage in the back than my newlywed apartment (!), a navigation screen, back up video, and possibly my most favorite part of all… a USB PORT! I cried a little.

Okay back to the beaches…

Where are the best New Jersey beaches?

brigantine beach new jersey shoreI’ve been telling my kids for 8 years that the best beaches in the WORLD are the New Jersey ‘down the shore’ beaches. (And we’ve been to Hawaii, people.) Why?

·         Because the water is warm (especially in August).

·         Because the breezes are cool (even in 90+ temps).

·         Because the waves are perfect for a family of 6 (not too big and not too wimpy).

I didn’t say the beaches aren’t crowded. THEY ARE. If you have toddlers I’d find a nice quiet beach in Maryland or Delaware (or my favorite Long Island Beach: Robert Moses State Park). But if you have big kids, plus tweens and teens, then find a nice postage stamp of beach site between 400 other umbrellas and watch your kids enjoy themselves!

Best New Jersey beaches ranked according to my GoodNCrazy standards:

1) Brigantine Beach – Insider tips: Parking is hard, but possible. Drive around about 2 blocks east of the beach entrances where there is free street parking. Park as near to 14th street as possible. (Bathrooms are at the beach entrance of 14th.) Purchase your beach tags on the beach. $8/day $16/week. If they don’t come by you get a free day. (I asked, that’s what they said!) If you are going for more than one day it’s worth getting the week pass. Children under 12 are free.

Ocean of umbrellas Ocean City Beach NJ2) Ocean City – Insider tips: Parking will cost you no matter what you do. There are 2 and 4 hour street parking meters and they will be packed. Near the 10th Street Pier entrance is a great parking spot for $10 during the day and $15 in the evening. When you get tired of circling the block, $10 will seem cheap! And it’s 25 cents per quarter hour at the meters. Park near 12th street for the bathrooms. Also purchase your beach tags on the beach, cheaper at Ocean City $5/day $10/week. Again kids are free.

3) Cape May/Wildwood – Insider tips: Parking is still metered, and while it will be crowded it won’t be AS crowded as the northern beaches mentioned above. Plus you get the bonus of the old Victorian homes in Cape May and the 50s era Art Deco of the Wildwood Boardwalk!

Other ways to make your Jersey beach trip fabulous include staying nearby the beach you want to frequent. Rent a home, or stay in a hotel. Warning: it WILL be expensive. Bring your own beach chairs and boogie boards—the shops around the beaches are there to charge premium prices. If you flew in like we did, find a Walmart or Costco to purchase beach gear (we donated our stuff to a local friend we knew there when we left).

And last tip. If you do nothing else. You must taste the Crabfries on the Ocean City Boardwalk. They come with this creamy cheese dipping sauce and cost WAY too much for a bucket of fries ($8).

But. Just do it. You’ll thank me.

DISCLAIMER: Nissan provided the Quest van for the GoodNCrazy family vacation to test drive and review. I was under no obligation to like it. But srsly? A USB PORT? 16 cup holders? Plus we looked like rock stars while we drove it. Believe me. GREAT VAN.

PS. The Rogers used to live in NJ, once upon a time. And we miss it. My kids aren’t speaking to us now that they know what we’re missing.