Welcome to your travel guide to the Jersey Shore from a born and raised Jersey girl! I'm Tara from The Fashion House Mom blog sharing my ultimate guide to vacationing at one of my favorite spots.
Growing up spending my summers at the Jersey shore, I'm sharing with you my favorite spots as an adult. Full of beautiful ocean views, salty air, and iconic buildings, the Jersey shore can be as relaxing or as busy as you want it to be. While the Jersey shore includes almost the entire east coast of NJ, I am focusing on the more northern end from Long Branch down to Asbury Park (a 20 minute driving distance), which is quieter than some of the more southern destinations. Get your beach gear ready!
New Jersey summers are hot! The temperatures are easily in the 90s daily and the sun is shining bright. Comfortable beach wear is essential. You will need to pack a swimsuit or two, sunglasses, a hat, versatile clothing, and lots of sunscreen. Cabana Life, with their bold bright colors and broad spectrum UV protection, is my go-to brand for traveling to the Jersey shore. Since I want to ensure that my skin is always protected, choosing clothing fabrics that have sun protection is key.
My top pick to pack is a long sleeve dress such as the Nantucket Sound Cabana Shift Dress. This is essential for when you want to shield your arms from the sun or for those chilly nights when going out to dinner. Sometimes the breeze off the ocean can be a little cool at night. Next is the sleeveless shift dress, which does double duty as a perfect daytime dress for doing some in-town shopping or for night by adding some heels for a chic dinner look. I have both the Santorini and the Sunshine Shores patterns because they are that good! For a more flirty option, I love the Coral Geo Off-the-Shoulder Dress, which is perfect for grabbing a quick lunch on the boardwalk or a cocktail before dinner. Versatile clothing is a must. It prevents you from overpacking, which we are all guilty of. Cabana Life has you covered when it comes to packing for a beach vacation at the Jersey shore. And best of all-they are wrinkle resistant!
There are lots of options for staying at the Jersey shore. House rentals are always a great way to get that home away from home feel. Summer is prime time for house rentals, so you will want to book early! If you are looking for a more affordable stay, The Bungalow Hotel is a great spot when you want close proximity to the beach and to some shopping and dining. Located in Long Branch, NJ, it is a three minute walk to the beach and boardwalk. You wouldn't need a car here as there are may dining options available for lunch and dinner in walking distance.
The food options are endless! When you want to escape the heat and take a break from the beach, my go-to spot in Asbury Park is Playa Bowls. Founded by two Jersey shore natives, they have a refreshing selection of açai and pitaya bowls, which are not only delicious, but so cooling on a hot summer day! They also have an amazing juice and smoothie menu if you just want a quick drink. My personal favorite is the Mermaid Fuel, which is a blend of kale, pineapple, apple, and mint!
Another great place to dine that is steps from the beach is Pier Village in Long Branch, NJ. It's full of restaurants and shops, so it's a perfect rainy day place to spend some time, or to take a break from the heat of the beach. You will find full service dining experiences to quick grab and go. You can't leave without going into the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. They have anything and everything related to chocolate. Sink your teeth into a chocolate covered candied apple, chocolate covered marshmallows, chocolate covered Oreos, the list goes on. If you're not a chocolate lover, they also have iconic salt water taffy, which originated at the Jersey shore back in the 1880s. No beach vacation is complete without it!
Deciding what to do at the Jersey shore? Well, the beach of course! If you are vacationing with kids, I recommend Seven Presidents Beach in Long Branch. It is a lifeguarded beach (most, but not all are!), which eases my mind as a mom. They also have convenient restrooms and outdoors showers to clean off. If you need a break from the beach, there is an amazing playground just steps away. But there is more to the shore than just the beach. The Asbury Park boardwalk has a small splash park for the kids and a mini golf course. While you're there, take a walk through the historic Paramount Theatre and Convention Hall, which now houses a coffee shop and souvenirs. On the north side, you will find Asbury's famous wall murals done by local artists as part of a public art initiative. It brings art to the streets for everyone to enjoy. Staying in Asbury at night? Head to the famous for live music events. This is where NJ natives Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi got started. Since 1974, it's been a right of passage for many musical artists. Not to be missed if you love history and music!
Most importantly, be present. Set aside some self-care time and relax, make your memories, and do it in style with Cabana Life!
Tara Thorsen is a lifestyle and fashion blogger who splits her time between New Jersey and New York. She is a contributing editor for Shopstyle and you can find her on Instagram @thefashionhousemom or on her blog at thefashionhousemom.com.