Nothing spoils time down the shore like kids, right? Kidding, of course.
But sometimes you need to get away — even on a family vacation. Jersey Shore towns might welcome families with open arms, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy some kid-free time. Here's a list of things to do and places to go where you're least likely to be surrounded by small children, summer camp day-trippers and tipsy teenagers:
1. Feel uncomfortably full after a delicious Italian dinner
Alfe’s, 3401 New Jersey Ave., Wildwood
Boardwalk food might be one of the main draws of Wildwood, but ya gotta class it up a bit for date night. There’s nothing about the intersection of Oak and New Jersey that says classy — not the bowling alley, not the 7-Eleven, and definitely not the warehouse-looking thing that is Alfe’s. But you were taught not to judge a book by its cover, right? The staff is friendly, the food is delicious, and the ambiance is just right. Bonus: palate-cleansing sorbet between courses.
2. Sip some drinks and take in the view
Anchorage Tavern Restaurant, 823 Bay Ave., Somers Point
Open since 1874, Anchorage is the oldest continuously operating business in Somers Point. More importantly, you can enjoy cold beers and legendary views from your seat on the porch.
3. Pretend you're starring in a romantic comedy
Sunset Beach, Sunset Blvd., Lower Township
The name says it all. Spend dusk at Sunset Beach watching the sun go down on yet another beautiful day down the shore. This is a destination for a lot of Cape May-ers because it’s near the Cape May Lighthouse and the World War I-era SS Atlantus. This one is tough for a day trip, because Cape May is way at the bottom of the Garden State Parkway.
4. See some wildlife other than seagulls
Island Beach State Park, Central and 24th aves., South Seaside Park
The occasional jellyfish that makes you swim for your life is not everyone's idea of wildlife. And it's certainly not date-worthy. So grab your nature-loving honey and head for Island Beach State Park, where you're more apt to see things like needlefish, sandpipers and even foxes. Three things to know: no alcohol, no camping, no feeding the animals.
5. Rent a bike
Various locations along the shore
Doesn’t matter where you go, the Jersey Shore is lousy with bike rentals, and this makes for the perfect late-morning/early-afternoon date. To avoid the crowds, rent your bikes early on a weekday and avoid the more populated areas of boardwalks and promenades. In fact, avoid them entirely and find a bike-friendly path instead.
Things that are not dates
Because kids. And crowds.
A ride on the Silver Bullet, anything involving mini golf, the Cape May Zoo, standing in line waiting for boardwalk rides, your favorite pizza place where you eat most of your meals, that Bungee thing on the Wildwood boardwalk, the water park hot tub, shopping at Cape May Wicker, any game where the prize is a beta fish.