Now that summer is officially here, it's time to think about how you will spend it. Here at the Jersey Shore there is never a shortage of fun things to do in the summer. From exploring local parks and beaches to outdoor concerts to county fairs, you can find something that everyone in the family will enjoy.
To get input from the whole family, my husband and I like to take our daughters out for ice cream and while we sit outside enjoying one of summer's best treats, each of us jots down 5 or 6 things that we'd like to do over the course of the summer. As a family, we agree on at least 10 and save 5 more items for a "would be nice to do" list.
Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
1. Enjoy a picnic dinner on the beach
There is nothing more relaxing than hitting the beach once the day crowd has long been gone. It's quiet and serene. Grab a big blanket and a picnic basket full of your favorite goodies and go!
2. Visit the Statue of Liberty
Every summer we schedule a day trip or long weekend to a place with historic significance. Last summer we visited Washington, D.C., but this summer we are sticking a little closer to home by visiting the Statue of Liberty. The ferry ride over to Ellis Island is an added bonus.
3. Have a Jersey Shore staycation
A fun-filled family vacation is just around the corner. There are plenty of ways to have a memorable summer vacation without hopping on an airplane or spending hours upon hours in a jam-packed car. Spend the day at a local beach, hit the boardwalk for some nightly fun, visit a national park, and more!
4. Friday night beach movies at Jenkinson's
Pop some popcorn, hit the dollar store for candy, and head to the beach. Jenkinson's has a full lineup of summer movies that are appropriate for all ages and are shown on a large inflatable screen.
5. Go on a breakfast eating tour of the Jersey Shore
Resort towns are known for their incredible breakfast and brunch offerings. Many restaurants here on the Jersey coast offer breakfast and brunch selections that are nothing short of spectacular. A few of my favorites include Toast in Asbury Park, Meemom's Kitchen in Wall, and The Buttered Biscuit Café in Bradley Beach.
6. Go to a baseball game
Whether you take in a minor league game or a pro baseball game, going to a baseball game is a summer rite of passage. Minor league games are more intimate and give you an up close and personal view of the game. Your children will have more of an opportunity to interact with the players before and after the game. We love going to Lakewood Blueclaws games. They are close, cost-effective, and always a good time. Don't forget the hot dogs and Cracker Jacks!
7. Go blueberry or peach picking
New Jersey isn't called the Garden State for nothing. There is no shortage of fresh, local fruits and vegetables in this state in the summer. Take advantage of it and visit a pick-your-own farm. There is something very satisfying about picking your own fruit and turning it into a delicious dessert to be enjoyed by the entire family.
8. Visit a New Jersey waterfall
When we think of New Jersey, most of us think of the beaches. But, surprisingly, New Jersey also boasts an abundance of beautiful waterfalls. Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the beach scene, and escape to a peaceful waterfall such as this one. While you are there, make time for a hike.
9. Spend an hour stargazing
When I was in college I took an astronomy class during a summer semester. On several occasions we met outside of class to stargaze. It was such an unforgettable experience but one I haven't done very often since that time. New Jersey offers plenty of locations both indoors and outdoors for remarkable stargazing opportunities.
10. Go on an extended bike ride
Some of my best childhood memories involve the endless hours I spent riding my bike. Make those same memories with your family by hopping on your bikes and getting in some exercise while taking in some beautiful scenery along the way. Check out this extensive list of bike trails and paths throughout the state.
What items are on your family's summer bucket list? Please share in the comments below!