It’s the season of giving thanks, and here at the Jersey Shore, we have a lot to be thankful for. While we do recognize the importance in family, friends, health, shelter, and all the usual things we give thanks for, we tend to leave out something important: the Jersey Shore! Because even when you’re sitting in standstill traffic on your way to the beach on a sunny July weekend, wishing the out-of-staters would just go back to where they came from, at least you’re lucky enough to be on your way to the beach.
1. The Beach
The Shore’s greatest attraction. Our home serves as a vacation destination to thousands of people every year, and it’s all because of our beautiful beaches. From Sandy Hook to Wildwood, and of course Jenkinson’s, Casino Pier, and Steel Pier in between, we’ve got 130 miles of warm sand and blue ocean to be thankful for. And for three short weeks in September, we even get it all to ourselves, thanks to local summer.
2. Live Music
We’ve got Convention Hall and the Stone Pony, an iconic Jersey Shore concert venue. Then there’s the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, the newly opened House of Independents, the Borgata in AC, and so many more venues scattered across the Shore. Entertainment is never hard to find here.
3. Bruce Sightings
Everyone has a story to tell of when and where they ran into Bruce Springsteen. Whether your kids went to school together, or you’ve used the elliptical next to his at the gym, it’s always fun to brag about that time you saw the Jersey Shore’s favorite celebrity somewhere other than onstage.
4. The Restaurant Scene
We’ve got some of the best Italian food on this side of the Atlantic, from fine Italian restaurants to small local pizza joints. The seafood is always fresh, whether you head to a local fish market or a seafood restaurant. And we have a huge selection of iconic restaurants as well as new contenders, whether you’re in Red Bank, Asbury Park, Atlantic City, Cape May, or anywhere in between.
5. The History
Not only is the Jersey Shore important to us now, but it’s had a significant place in history. George Washington led an attack on the British army in the Battle of Monmouth, while Molly Pitcher loaded cannons. And then there’s Seven Presidents Park, which is named for the presidents – Grant, Hayes, Garfield, Arthur, Harrison, McKinley, and Wilson – who vacationed here. Yeah, you can thank them for all the tourists. There’s so much other rich history in the area, but we’ll leave it to our outstanding school systems to teach you about those.
6. Local Breweries and Wineries
New Jersey may not be known for their vineyards, but the winery industry is truly taking off here – just ask the Garden State Wine Growers Association. As for breweries, there are a ton of great places making craft beer all up and down the Shore, like Carton, Cape May & Kane. You can essentially enjoy local craft beer whenever you want it.
7. Location, location, location
New Jersey in general is in one of the best locations in the country. We’re in close proximity to two major cities, New York and Philadelphia, and are close enough to know how best to avoid the tourist traps (Times Square: been there, done that). Then there are multiple nearby airports, plus we’re within driving distance of much of the East Coast. Easy access, no matter where you’re going.
8. Impromptu Atlantic City Trips
Whether it’s guys weekend at the casinos, or a split-second decision to hit up AC after all the local bars have closed, we’ve got great nightlife right at our fingertips.
9. Weekends in Cape May
Even if you live on the Shore, but further north, it’s always fun to indulge in a weekend getaway to Cape May. With the bed and breakfasts and charming restaurants, it feels like a different world down there. And while we’re there, a visit to Cape May Brewery is always in order.
10. Beautiful Scenery in All Four Seasons
No, we don’t mean Franki Valli and the Four Seasons (although we’re thankful for that Jersey Boy as well). We’re thankful for the beautiful summer sunsets, colorful fall foliage, the first snowfall of the winter, and the flourishing gardens in the spring. From the farms of Colts Neck, to the quaint streets of Cape May, and of course the unforgettable beaches of LBI, we’ve always got a great view.
The Shore might get crowded sometimes. Disasters like Sandy might hit. They might raise the prices on beach badges. And whenever you go out of state, you can’t seem to shake that Jersey Shore stereotype that MTV so lovingly bestowed upon us. But the Jersey Shore is our home, and we’ll always be thankful for that!