Down the Shore

3 Jersey Shore Day Trips Every Philadelphian Should Try

Ready to play hooky from work? Here’s how to spend a lovely day down the Shore.


jersey shore day trips

Atlantic City makes for a quick and easy Jersey Shore day trip you can take this summer. Photograph via Getty Images/Creative-Family

For ease and speed:

Atlantic City (one hour and five minutes away via the A.C. Expressway) is really your best bet. Get away from the casinos and score one of the many street spots on the south end of town near Bartram Avenue Beach, where you’ll find lots of sand and few crowds. There’s a well-maintained public restroom right on the boardwalk, and a farmers’ market just off Bartram. For lunch, hit the year-old Biergarten for burgers, brews and views. (Die-hard A.C. types will tell you that a trip to White House Subs is a must.) Before you go, shell out $10 to take a spin on the 227-foot-high Wheel at Steel Pier; you’ll be amazed at just how pretty A.C. looks from up there. Bonus: There’s a bar at the entrance; you can take your Sea Breeze up with you.

For tranquility:

It’s worth the extra time in the car to hit Cape May Point (one hour, 45 minutes via the A.C. Expressway and Garden State Parkway). The lack of commercial chains and tourists means more serenity here, plus you get the spectacular sunset above the waves, if you can stay that long. (Leave your car at the free beach-side lot right at the Point.) When you get hungry, seek out longtime favorite Rusty Nail for shrimp po’boys, clam strips and the like, all served in a rustic, beachy patio setting where your swimsuit coverup will do just fine. If you’re in the mood for an outing (slightly) more ambitious than lunch, take a stroll to the circa-1859 Cape May Lighthouse, where you can make the meditative 199-step climb to the top.

For a family outing:

If you’ve done A.C. or Brigantine or Ocean City a gazillion times, try Asbury Park (one hour, 30 minutes via the Jersey Turnpike and I-195), where there are ample family staples like showers, bathrooms and playgrounds. This beach isn’t free, but it’s cheap: A beach pass is $5 on weekdays and $7 on weekends. There’s free and metered street parking near Sunset Lake, and a $7-$20 lot next to the boardwalk. Do breakfast, brunch, lunch and/or root-beer floats at the popular (super-fam-friendly) Toast City Diner, or hit Talula’s Pizza for gourmet pies and crusty, hearty sandwiches. Finally, you should really stop at the Silverball Museum on the boardwalk for a few games of pinball on the 1930s-era machines.

Published as part of “The Shore” in the June 2019 issue of Philadelphia magazine.