We just got back from a beach vacation in Cape May, at the Jersey Shore. Not the kind of Jersey Shore you saw on that awful (oh come on it was awesome) reality tv show, this was much calmer, more family-oriented and fun. A 3 1/2 hour drive from our home in Oceanside, it’s an easy trip even with 2 little ones in tow.
I packed up my entire house and timed our departure for my 9 month old son’s morning nap. He’s hell in the car, so the longer he sleeps, the better for all involved. We got to the house around 1pm and met up with our friends Devon and Mike and their adorable 3 month old baby girl, London. We toured the beach town of West Cape May and planned what we’d like to do for the next few days.
Mike found our rental home on http://www.vrbo.com and it was so much nicer than any rental home I had ever stayed in. New, clean, cable tv, back deck with an outdoor shower, big bathrooms and a nicer kitchen than the one I cook in at home, by far. Very happy with how that turned out.
We grilled outside that night for dinner and crossed our fingers that the kids would sleep. I put Sofia in the kids room, a bedroom with a set of bunk beds and a twin, with 2 rollaways in the corner. I brought a twin sized aerobed that I put on the floor, so if she rolled off she wouldn’t hurt herself. I anticipated a lot of crying, but luckily she was too tired to fight and went to sleep without issue. David slept in the pack n play in our room and was a complete nightmare. We ended up just putting him in our bed and that means mommy gets no sleep.
The next day we headed to the beach. We were a 10 minute walk, so we packed the kids in strollers and lugged our stuff. The owner of our house was gracious enough to offer us her beach box and chairs to use which was really convenient. The boxes are located on the sand and can store everything you need so all you have to bring with you are towels and snacks. There was even a snack bar right there that offered ice creams, snacks, sodas and water. So nice!
Mike and Devon brought a sun shelter tent thing for the babies, shielding them from the hot sun. Sofia was content to roll around and dig in the sand for hours but David overheats easily and our stay was short. We headed to the Rusty Nail for lunch and were so pleasantly surprised with great food and great service. We ended up there again looking for quick, good food by the beach.
Cape May caters to families, with almost every restaurant offering an early bird menu or discount. Not too much nightlife, and most restaurants we saw stopped seating around 8:30 or 9pm. We found one restaurant, Martini Beach, that was open late. Mike and Devon offered to watch the kids, so Dave and I set out for an adult-only meal. It was one of the best meals I’ve had in a long time. Highly recommend this place for a date night!
More fun activities include a Farmers Market from 3pm-sunset on Broadway, and Washington Street, a closed-off cobblestone street full of restaurants and shops. We had so much fun there and plan to return next summer, although I’m currently looking into a child-free vacation. I have never been so exhausted by a vacation in my life!
What recommendations do you have for fun family vacations?