After growing up in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, Her Campus Towson’s very own Stephanie Hertl gives her insider tips on what to do and what NOT to when visiting the famous beach of the Jersey Shore!
Come early if you want parking!
Take it from a girl who’s lived by the ocean most of her life, if you want to go to Seaside Heights, there are a few things you must first know. Since I was young, the place has magically transformed by the season. The boardwalk is frozen over and empty every winter. But the heat pulls in a crowd of locals and tourists alike. When the beach is packed tight, so are the roads. If you think you are going to find metered parking close to the boardwalk, you’ll drive in circles for half an hour before giving up. You don’t want to pay 15 to 20 bucks to park in a lot for the day either. To avoid these troubles completely, plan to come in the morning or the afternoon. The Seaside police love to ticket drivers. Always be extra courteous and aware of the swarms of pedestrians. Plan a trip with these tips in mind and you will hopefully have spectacular summer memories at the shore.
Head south of Seaside for less crowds
You probably don’t want to be sandwiched between two piers, overabundant numbers of people, and questionable marine life. Give yourself some breathing room and keep driving until you hit the south side of Seaside Heights: Island Beach State Park. Here, you will be able to find an enjoyable spot with your friends.
Nightlife is where is where it’s at, at Seaside
Seaside beaches will always be one catastrophe shy of a third degree sunburn. Want me to keep it real? The seagulls will eat both you and your precious french-fry alive. That is, until evening comes around. The beaches clear out and the night life begins. After dinner, the boardwalk is where you want to be. The Seaside Heights beach is all yours and the atmosphere shifts to the boardwalk.
Not into clubbing? Check out the rides, waterpark, or terrific restaurants
My grandfather treats his grandchildren with ticket booklets to Casino Pier every summer. And this is the ultimate prize for all ages. The rides at the pier pull everyone in. Each ticket booklet has 100 tickets. You can buy the booklets on Easter for half price, so get them early this season! Each ride ranges from 5 to 8 tickets. You cannot leave Casino Pier without going on Centrifuge, Enterprise, Rock N’ Roll, and the Star Jet. In the back of each booklet are coupons for Dippin’ Dots, ice cream, pretzels, cotton candy, the Sky Ride, and much more. If you are on a schedule I wouldn’t recommend taking the Sky Ride. Not unless you like watching people walk faster than you are moving. This may be better to do with a significant other. You also get a clear view of the “Jersey Shore” house on this ride.
It is definitely worth it to take a walk down to Fun House Pier and ride the Tower of Fear. Take one of the seats facing Seaside at night. In seconds, it will shoot you 200 feet in the air. Bring a camera so you can capture the moment at the very top. You will have a view of every light in Seaside; including Barnegat Bay and Seaside Heights Bridge.
Assuming you haven’t come to Seaside Heights for the Casino Pier Arcade, there are some great places to get food. My favorites are The Pier Grille Restaurant and Three Brothers.
Breakwater Beach Waterpark is a great way to escape the heat, especially if you are not in the mood for a day of salt and sand. The waterpark’s Lazy River and hot tub may leave your head in a permanent happy place. Movies projected at the beach and fireworks are weekly events in the summer.
Don’t look for the star’s of “Jersey Shore”
Don’t go looking for a “someone” you just might find on the boardwalk. You know what I mean. If you do so, you will be just like everybody else: a possessed minion looking for a crazy reality star. You will look desperate. You also might find who you are looking for and be disappointed. For instance, if there is a mob scene in front of the Shore Store, you know the cast of “The Jersey Shore” is working. However, you better have your money ready to buy merchandise, because that’s all they want from you. You can just forget about pictures. Walking into the Shore Store doesn’t guarantee you will meet a cast member. The manager’s main priority is to get customers in and out.
Don’t act like a tourist or a wannabe
Be yourself In parting tips, it’s best not to wear your hometown on your shoulder…or your shirt. This is asking for trouble. There are those who present themselves as wannabes, but don’t take it to the extreme. Never act like you own Seaside and never act like you’re a tourist. Act like you want to have fun and simply be yourself. A small history of success stories have flourished in much of Ocean County.
This mini-Hollywood is getting ready for warm weather. So practice your beach walk for the shore and let’s all hit the boardwalk this summer.