Every summer droves of New Yorkers, Pennsylvanians, and North Jerseyans (or Bennies as residents like to call them) flooded the highways for the first official weekend at “the shore”. As a local, the traffic can be a pain in the a**, but nothing angers us more than mention of the MTV “reality” show: “The Jersey Shore”

The show stopped airing 5 years ago, but its damage to the Shore’s reputation lives on. Some Americans seriously think that the Jersey Shore is the land of fake-tan wearing, fist pumpers who Gym, Tan, Laundry (GTL) and repeat. Little do they know that only 1 out of the 8 cast members were actually from New Jersey.

No, everyone does not wear “Snooki poofs” and Ed Hardy Tees, and no, Karma Nightclub is definitely not the spot. Believe it or not, The real Jersey Shore expands far beyond Seaside Heights and the abs of “The Situation”.

The real Jersey Shore is a stretch of 141 miles of lovely oceanfront towns along the Atlantic Ocean. Running from central to south Jersey, you’ll find a unique array of destinations with beaches and boardwalks for days. Whether you’re the “no shoes, no shirt, no problem” type, or more of a glass of prosecco at a boutique hotel kind of girl, the shore’s got the place for you.

See for yourself! Plan your next weekend getaway to one of these J-shore gems:

 

1. Jenkinson’s Boardwalk- Point Pleasant

Image via Pinterest Jenkinson’s Boardwalk at Point Pleasant gives you the classic boardwalk experience without the overwhelming crowd of Seaside Heights and Wildwood. It’s located right on the beach, so you can roll right off the sand onto the pavilion for Jenk’s Happy Hour! Then be sure to sample some of the boardwalk’s classics, pizza, crispy fries, ice cream, okay, and a funnel cake. Spend the rest of your night exploring the endless arcades, shops, rides, fun house, and of course, its beloved aquarium. Point Pleasant is a perfect spot for ages young and old, you simply cannot be bored here. Try, we dare you!

2. Spring Lake

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Full of cozy inns and beachfront mansions, Spring Lake is one of the most gorgeous beaches on the shore. Also, one of the cleanest- no food is allowed (most just leave their coolers on the boardwalk)! If you’re looking for some real relaxation and beautiful views, Spring Lake is your spot. When you’re not wasting the day away in the sun, rent or bring a bike and go for a ride. Third Avenue has some of the best restaurants and shops in town.

3. Belmar

If you’re looking to trade in the stately mansions and quiet of Spring Lake, for a lively and more casual atmosphere, look no further than Belmar. Walk your sandy self into any one of the pizza joints or surf shops found on every corner. Try a famous Playa Bowl filled with acai and nutella drizzled goodness. Surf, go parasailing, or take a charter fishing tour. Be greeted by friendly local owners and make new friends at the legendary Bar Anticipation “Bar A”, D’Jais, or The Boathouse! The annual seafood festival is a MUST. With tons of tiny bungalows or apartments available, this is is the perfect weekend rental for a group of friends.

4. Asbury Park

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Deemed “Brooklyn on the Beach” by the New York Times, Asbury Park offers a retro-cool experience. Its historical charm paired with hot modern nightlife makes it an exciting stay. Check out Convention Hall where famous artists such as Bruce Springsteen (a Jersey shore local), Frank Sinatra and The Rolling Stones have played. Go see an evening show at The Stone Pony summer stage, then choose from tons of award-winning cocktail lounges, tapas bars, and restaurants for a night out with the girls. During the day, meander the vast beach and boardwalk all the way to North Eats Food Truck Court to sample everything from Freezy Freeze’s nitro icecream to Johnny Porkroll’s porkroll sandwiches. Other hotspots include, Asbury Oyster Bar, Langosta Lounge, and Yappy Hour– A dog friendly bar. French Bulldogs + Rosé = Yes, please.

5. Long Beach Island

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Long Beach Island or LBI is an 18 mile stretch of quaint beach towns with nautical names like “Surf City” and “Ship Bottom”. If you find joy in simply rolling out of bed and onto the sand this is the place for you. LBI has a relaxed and homey vibe with some of the best sunsets on the Shore. Its beaches have great waves making it a hub for surfers. Take a trip to Barnegat Lighthouse State Park and climb up the lighthouse to see a breathtaking view of the island. There are plenty of restaurants, bars, bakeries, and delis to explore. Fantasy Island Amusement Park is a family favorite bustling with life on the south side of the island. Most will choose to rent a house over staying in a hotel.

6. Cape May 

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Cape May will warm your heart. Considered one of the most beautiful coastal towns in America, come here if you need a break from it all. The calm, serene beaches and historic charm offers a welcome change of pace from city life. You can ride your bike virtually anywhere you need to go and the activities are endless- dolphin and whale watching, hiking, art galleries, live concerts, and more. You can’t go wrong with a day that begins at Cape May Winery and ends with a special sunset and flag ceremony at Sunset Beach. Then, nestle back into your cozy suite at one of the many luxurious B&B’s. We recommend Akwaaba at Buttonwood Manor– their hospitality simply cannot be beat. Cape May is truly the crown jewel.