It’s not a trip to Jersey Labor Day weekend if it doesn’t include a trip to the shore. My sister and her boyfriend came down for one day and her boyfriend loves the water so we decided to go with my dad and the kiddos to Asbury Park. Asbury Park has a great boardwalk, a nice beach, plenty of close parking, and restrooms. The only thing missing was the playground, which had been washed away during Superstorm Sandy.
My son was so excited the whole trip down. He had been watching the “Dora Goes to the Beach” episode so he kept asking how we get to the beach. He said “Ask the map”. So we told him the map said “Drive on the highway, through the town, to the beach!” So he chanted “highway, town, beach!” for the whoooolllle 30 minute drive. Maybe not the best idea….
At the beach we dragged as we were coordinating 5 adults, 1 squirming toddler, 1 hyper preschooler, 5 beach chairs, 3 umbrellas, a cooler, sand toys, towels, and a stroller. As we drag all the stuff across the boardwalk and down to the sand, we stood and debate the best spot before dragging all the stuff across the sand. Suddenly my sister goes, “where’s your son?” My heart dropped out of my chest. Everyone started yelling his name and I started shaking. Where did he get off to? My am I so insistent to get him out of a stroller? So what if he is the poster child of the too big for strollers site? Can’t I have him strapped to me forever?
Suddenly we hear a small, faint “yes, mommy?”. I look and my son had ran all the way ahead into the crowded beach toward the water and was only making his way back because he heard our yelling. I started to breathe and but was still shaking. He saw the looks on our faces, stopped in his tracks and knew he was in trouble. It took some convincing, but he walked all the way back and we had a conversation about how he can not run off and had to stay next to us.
The rest of the visit was a blast. The kids had a great time at the beach. My daughter is a true water bug. She loved the water, got knocked over several times by waves and would laugh and get up for more. She got a little too brave and started running into he water brushing off anyone who wanted to hold her hand. She didn’t quite understand she didn’t know how to swim yet. My son was not as brave but did go in by himself without holding hands for the first time, and grandpa, mommy and my sister’s boyfriend (who also happens to have a scouts badge for being a lifeguard) taught him how to time and jump waves. It was also the first time he was brave enough to go far our (with mommy and grandpa of course)
In the sand my son was all about the building of sand castles. He went back and forth a good 500 times between our spot and the water collecting buckets of water and wet sand to build better cakes and castles. He was showing his sister how to fill the bucket, pat it down, and turn it over. My daughter loved the sand as well, sitting for hours putting it in toys and dumping it. At some points she whipped her face in it and rolled around in it. She was so muddy at the end no one wanted to touch her and we called her the sand monster. Again we stripped her naked and washed her under the showers, best we could!
We ended our outing was ice cream from the boardwalk, before putting the two kids in the car for the drive home. By the time we had the ice cream it was 3 hours past their nap time and they were exhausted. My son was crying when he finished his and there was no more and my daughter was rubbing her eyes. The two were asleep before we left the parking lot and easily transferred into the bed at home. That’s what I call a successful end to an awesome beach trip!
- Timings: Lifeguards work 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. holidays and weekends Memorial Day through Labor Day.
- Fees: $5 weekdays; $6 weekends and holidays; free for children 12 and younger accompanied by an adult, as well as disabled veterans and active-duty soldiers and their dependents. Season badges cost $70, or $20 for those 13 to 17 and 62 and over.
- Parking: There are pay stations for numbered spaces on the beachfront and cost about $1 an hour. There are also lots that charge $10 for all day parking, which is great if you plan to stay in the area to catch dinner or a show at the Stone Pony, famous for it’s connection with Bruce Springsteen, a Jersey legend.
* All photographs taken by Atma Photography