Shore 2009: Boardwalk!

For exercisers, for gluttons, For observers of both

Ah, the Jersey Boardwalks, where the air is thick with the aromas of fries and funnel cakes, where the super-fit shed their shirts for a jog and where the super-freaks let it all hang out. The jocks and casual Sunday bikers ought to take their wheels, not to oft-touted O.C. (which, come midmorning, is wall-to-wall people; it’s like biking in SoHo), but to Sea Isle, where the walk is actually a cement promenade — it’s less crowded and easier on the heinie. Ocean City is, however, the best place to embrace your inner shoobie by belting the whole family into one of the rolling red monstrosities that are the O.C. surreys — they’re for rent all over the Boardwalk — and commencing to peddle, swerve and laugh. For wheel-less pleasures, head for the promenade at Cape May, where the bike and skateboard restrictions make for a walker’s haven.

Aside from the amusement parks on its kid-crammed, kitschy Boardwalk (see Fun & Games, page 83, for that), Wildwood’s most delightfully vaudevillian aspect is fireworks every Friday night at 10:30 at Pine Avenue (to be enjoyed with an ice-cream cone, of course). And if Wildwood’s walks are too déclassé but you still crave that Coney Island charm, trek to the slightly more genteel Seaside Heights a ways up north. Then again, even the tackiest Boardwalk of them all — Atlantic City’s — offers the occasional unexpected pleasure, like the open-air plaza across from Boardwalk Hall, with sporadic jazz ensembles that have been known to outplay the performer at the concert venue itself. (That means you, Jimmy Buffett.)