These are the days when summer lovers start to panic: The first few leaves have fallen, hoodies are being pulled out of closets, and, even though we’re still having humid days, they don’t torture as much as they did in July because the sun doesn’t burn as bright. Fall is coming, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
But not all is lost. We still have one week until Labor Day Weekend. If you’re looking to play hooky for a day and soak up as much summer as you can next week, here are five ways you can enjoy one more gasp of summer at the Jersey Shore.
1. Drink outside
On Wednesday, I split my beach day between Strathmere and Cape May. At 5 p.m., I went right from the beach to the bar, specifically the Rusty Nail, stopping only to toss a cover up over my bikini. Other favorite post-beach drink options: Ocean Reef Bar and Grill at the Steel Pier in Atlantic City, which is right over the ocean; the top deck of the Windrift in Avalon; or the rocking chairs that line Congress Hall in Cape May (you’ll buy your drink at the Brown Room inside). If you’re in town on Aug. 31, make sure to go to their Full Moon party, which is out by the pool.
2. Climb a lighthouse. Or an elephant.
This is a way to take in spectacular summer views. Your best options for lighthouses: the Absecon Lighthouse in Atlantic City, which is N.J.’s tallest lighthouse, and the Cape May Lighthouse in Cape May Point State Park (below). And of course there’s only one elephant: that would be Lucy in Margate. She’s not as tall as the lighthouse, but the lighthouses don’t have trunks.
Cape May Lighthouse. Photo | Jen A. Miller from The Jersey Shore: Atlantic City to Cape May
3. Shop outside.
Now is the best time to get deals at the Jersey Shore, especially if you’re looking for one more bathing suit or to replace a beach chair. This Saturday is the Stone Harbor Merchant’s sale, which takes place, for the most part, on 96th Street. But don’t forget to wander down to the Attic on Second Ave. They drop their prices as the season winds down, and unless you’re coming back on Labor Day Weekend where everything is typically $20, you’ll get your best deals here.
4. Ride a surrey.
Yeah yeah, you could hit the boards on your own bike, but you can ride your bike at home, so rent a surrey and pack on as many people as you can trundle down the Ocean City (below) or Wildwood Boardwalk. You can ride until 11 a.m. on the Wildwood boardwalk and until noon in Ocean City.
Ocean City boardwalk. Photo | Ocean City Chamber of Commerce
5. Sit on the beach (for free)
Step 1: put a chair in the sand.
Step 2: put your butt in the chair.
Step 3: Enjoy.
It really is that simple. Of course, swimming is an excellent option, too, and the water has been warm for the last two weeks. If you’re looking to avoid paying for beach tags, hit one of our free beaches: Atlantic City, Strathmere, North Wildwood, Wildwood, Wildwood Crest, and any beach along the Delaware Bay. Or go later in the day. I walked onto the Cape May Beach at 4 p.m., not a beach tag checker in sight.
Four-month-old Tonka in Strathmere, his first trip to the beach Wednesday. Photo | Jen A. Miller