day trip east coast New Jersey North east travel

A Day at the Jersey Shore

Summer is in full swing and what is one of the best ways to spend a summer day? Down at the shore, of course. I’m lucky enough to live within an hour of the coast. 

While I don’t usually go to the closest beach. I do usually find myself visiting the shore a couple of times a year. However, I don’t usually go on a Saturday. The traffic driving down to the Jersey Shore on a Friday night or Saturday morning is horrible. 

We left early enough on Saturday morning to miss most of the traffic heading down. Of course, we still hit a little bit of NRT (No Reason Traffic) down in Philadelphia. I can’t be too surprised though. It seems like for the past 10 years they have been working on I-95. I don’t know if it will ever be done.

From my home to the Cape May County Park and Zoo is only an hour and a half drive in ideal conditions. We left around 8am and arrived at the zoo around 930am. The zoo didn’t open until 10 so we had a little time to kill. 

One of the things I really like about the Cape May zoo other than it being free (they take donations), is the huge playground they have. It is a county park afterall. If I was a kid I know I could spend hours running around this thing. 

There is just so much to do at the county park that we could have easily spent all day here. Just needed to pack a lunch and we would’ve been set. However, we had other plans for today.

The zoo opened at 10 and we went right in and headed straight towards the African Savanna. In the summer months this area can get pretty busy so we wanted to beat the crowds. Well we did end up beating the crowds.

Cape May Zoo, NJ, Giraffe,

However, most of the animals out in this area must have been in their huts. We only saw a couple of giraffe’s. I think they liked being the center of attention out there too. They were pretty close to the viewing area. 

Normally, I see them further back than they were today. I would usually see the zebras that close but not the giraffe’s. The zebras today were hiding or just trying to stay cool enough though it was barely 75 out. It wasn’t even really sunny either. Most of the day they were calling for overcast skies with a chance of rain. I’m just hoping the rain holds off but we will see. 

We ended up spending a little over an hour at the zoo. We checked out all the exhibits and the animals that the zoo had to offer. Today we were even able to go into the bird and reptile houses. The last time we were here they were closed due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. 

My daughter and I both love coming to the Cape May Zoo. It’s kinda funny when I think about it though. I wasn’t even aware of this place till I was about 32. I’ve been coming down to Wildwood and Cape May for years. Of course, back then I was a single guy without kids. So maybe that’s why I never paid too much attention to it. 

After our zoo visit we went to one of our favorite places down in south Jersey. The Lobster House in Cape May is one of my favorite places to go. My one friend doesn’t get why I will drive over an hour and a half to go to this place. Of course, she has never been here so she doesn’t get it. Plus she doesn’t think the idea of fried shrimp, fried scallops, and fried lobster tails are a good Idea. To me that is the best way to have them. 

Fried Lobster Dinner, Lobster House, Cape May, NJ, Good Food, epic eats,
Fried Lobster Dinner

The Lobster House has changed their set up from the last time I was down here. I must say I don’t like how they are doing things now. I came down last year during the middle of the pandemic and they still had you ordering from the inside. Now you order your food from the take out from the outside area. They ended up removing more tables so this could be done. It’s hard enough finding a table sometimes. Now it is even harder. 

The main reason I dislike the new set up is for the dessert area. It is still inside. However, you can’t order it from the take out section, you have to order it from the fish market. Now that is a big deal until you consider that the guy who is grabbing your dessert just helped someone with their fish order. I DON”T WANT MY CAKE SMELLING LIKE FISH.

I am really disappointed in that. So much so that we didn’t end up getting any dessert today. Which sucks because we both really like what they have. We probably won’t be getting dessert until they change the way they handle that. 

After lunch I give my daughter a couple different options to choose from. We could head over to the Washington Street Mall and she could get another Cape May lifeguard sweatshirt. We could go over to the Lighthouse and go to the top and walk along the beach and get our feet wet. Or we could head over to Wildwood and hit up the boardwalk. 

She ended up picking the boardwalk and I told her that she wouldn’t be able to find a Cape May Lifeguard sweatshirt but she could get a wildwood one. I don’t know what it is about that hoodie but she loves it. 

Now trying to find parking on a Saturday afternoon close to the boardwalk in Wildwood was a nightmare. It took me over a half hour till I finally found a spot. All the lots were full. Trying to find parking at a meter wasn’t easy either. I passed by a couple but they were on the other side of the street. By the time we were able to swing around and go the right way it was taken. 

Finally I was able to get a spot at a meter and it was only two blocks from Morey’s Pier. I’m glad I got a parking meter instead of a lot. They were charging $30 to park at the lot. I paid $12 at the meter for six hours and I could’ve added more time with the app if I needed to. Unless I find a lot for a cheap price. I think I will always be parking at a meter when I visit Wildwood in the future. 

I just love the Wildwood Boardwalk. I don’t know what it is about this place. Maybe it’s because this was the first place “far” away I visited without my parents when I was in High School. Or maybe it’s because my daughter just loves it. 

The two of us ended up checking out many of the shops and all of the arcades. She just loves the claw machines. I hate them so much. They are such a rip off and I hope she starts to see that. We ended up playing one and grabbed the stuffed animal all six times we played. The claw grabbed it and picked it up but then you watched as the claw slowly let go and the prize dropped back down. 

We walked the boardwalk from end to end. We watched out for the tram car more times than I could count. Maybe one day I will actually ride that thing. I doubt it but you never know. 

I wanted to get a slice of boardwalk pizza but I was still stuffed from lunch. All the walking still didn’t help me work up an appetite. I guess I will just have to go again. We need to anyway. 

We ended up “winning” close to 10,000 tickets. Of course, the money I spent and the prize we will end up getting would’ve been cheaper for me to buy out right. However, we both had a lot of fun playing skee ball and some of the other ticket machines. 

As we were deciding on what to do the sky was getting darker. We ended up checking out the different rides but didn’t go on any. I just don’t know if I trust them. I know they are safe but I’d rather hit the rides at Six Flags than at the Jersey Shore. 

It did end up starting to rain on us. Nothing heavy but enough. I enjoyed it because it helped cool me down. However, my daughter wasn’t having it. It made her colder. I knew then that our day at the shore was coming to a close. 

We ended up doing quite a bit of fun stuff. We had another amazing meal at the Lobster House. Saw the wonderful animals over at the Cape May Zoo. Played games, got candy, won tickets, and bought a Wildwood Lifeguard Hoodie. Now just to drive home and start preparing for our next adventure. 

Coming up in August we will be doing a two to three week road trip down to Florida. We will be spending a day at Universal, Disney, Discovery Cove, and SeaWorld. We plan on visiting Tampa Bay, Florida Keys, Orlando, and Fort Myers. Other than spending a little over a week in Orlando the rest of the trip is up in the air. 

Do we plan it all out? Do we just play it day by day? Check out our guide on How to Plan a Road Trip. Be sure to check back and follow us on our next adventure. 

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