This past weekend there was a lot of excitement at our house as the time is drawing near for our summer vacation. We are opting to take the girls back to my favorite childhood resort, Ocean City, New Jersey.
Ocean City, New Jersey likes to call itself “America’s Greatest Family Resort“. And with good reason. This barrier island is designed to be conducive to families and kids. They do this to the extent that no alcohol is sold on the island; not in stores, in restaurants, gas stations, nowhere. Coming from a restaurant background I have a feeling for what kinds of revenues this city sacrifices in order to keep it ‘family friendly’.
If you must have a beer or a cocktail there are plenty of stores on the other side of the bridge before you enter Ocean City. Or, if you are feeling lucky, Atlantic City is on the other side of the north bridge leaving Ocean City. But in town, this nostalgic ocean community, there is no booze. And the tourists that frequent this resort town are the type that appreciate this!
The Urban Dictionary has an entry that describes OCNJ simply like this: Dry town with Liqour stores 10 seconds over the bridge. Every guy in town either plays basketball or surfs, usually both and every girl lives in bikinis and their only job is to work on their tan. ~ Does that remind you of any highfaluting’ resort town? Ocean City is simple. Its laid back and it caters to kids and families. And it has all the fun a kid can ask for!
While their are plenty of the typical coastal amenities to do, the main focus of Ocean City is its 2.5 mile long boardwalk. Among the many attractions of this famed and nostalgic boardwalk are two amusement piers, with rides (mostly) designed for the younger kids, a music pier, all sorts of gift shops and beach stores as well as ANY sort of junk food imaginable!
This includes, fresh, warm, made to order donuts, hot caramel corn, the best soft ice cream custard, fudge shops and much, much more! The sweet smells of the boardwalk alone are worth the trip! It may not be zip lines and bungee dives. Its good, old fashioned fun tried and true over the ages.
I tried to introduce my family to Ocean City, New Jersey OCNJ) two years ago as I was eager for them to enjoy it like I had. The trouble was our girls were about 3.5 years old and 18 months. For the most part they were to small to get on the rides. Add to that our youngest got an ear infection the first few days we were there, that ended in a 102 fever. She was not a happy camper for most of the trip!
But that doesn’t dull the excitement of returning. We are looking forward to riding the rides, “hot, fresh, made to order Browns Donuts” on the boardwalk for breakfast and then riding bikes on the boards to wake up, the beach, did I mention the rides, the great junk food there along with all the smiles and laughter of kids that goes along with it.
This year, as the past time, we are renting a house where my whole family can stay (us, Mom, Dad, and the great Aunt Sue). That in itself was loads of fun last time. It was a block off the beach. We had our bikes. We had our beach gear rented in a wagon. Dylan even found a scooter that matched hers back home the owners of the house left for us. It was nice
And by the end of the week even lil ol’ Skylar could manage a smile…
Our kids (and Mom) got their first experience on the boardwalk. There were so many things to see and do, rides, eat, bike, eat, shop, eat. We caught a parade on the boardwalk as they seem to find a reason to have one most every week in the summer.
Its just a festive place. The local theater group even put on a kid sized play at the historic Music Pier on the boardwalk, ‘Schoolhouse Rock!’ and all
our the favorite hits from that old Saturday morning series. Can you remember ‘Conjunction Junction‘?
And, of course, their was the Atlantic Ocean amenity their too, with waves big enough to satisfy any Beach Bum!
beach bum body surfer found himself in heaven with the size of these waves!
Its all about picking the right wave!
Of course I was having some fun in the waves with my girls too!
And while Skylar was a bit too small for the surf (when she was feeling well) she did enjoy playing sand castles with Aunt Sue. She had a big wet beach, a sand castle to protect, her own moat, even her own pond to play in. It was her first sand castle to build and swim in and protect. She loved it!
There were dozens of other “firsts” for our girls on this past trip to Ocean City as well. But since I see I am running on here, again, I thought I would leave you with my Top Ten of favorite other ‘firsts ‘we experienced on this first trip to Ocean City.
While we may be heading back up to OCNJ again this summer we’ll never have these same ‘firsts’ with our growing girls.
TOP TEN FIRSTS AT OCEAN CITY:
10) First time our 18 month’er had soft ice cream…. on a warm summer evening
She was a wet mess!
9) First time one of my girls went down a Giant Slide
8) First time Ms. Fearless went down a Giant Slide with out a mat, her daddy, waiting for instructions, anything!
7) First time she beat daddy in a race.
6) First time our girls played miniature golf, simply known as ‘Golf Balls’ from that day forth.
There was more than one shark on that putt-putt course….
5) First time one of our girls was spun out of control in a whirlie-whirl kinda ride.
4) First time I gave my girls my debit card.
3) First time our girls got to experience all the sights and sounds and smells and excitement of exploring the boardwalk.
2) The first time our girls were too tired to walk all the way home after a night on the boardwalk.
#1) The first time our girls got to eat hot, fresh (made to order) donuts in front of the ocean before touring the length of the boardwalk on bicycles, just to start their day.
Bonus First: First time my 3 year old filmed me as I changed her pull-up!
PS: we’re hiring nannies right now. If you think you could kid-wrangle my crew get your resume in today!