This post is part of our Vacation Inspiration Series, sharing local families’ favorite places to get away, all within driving distance of Cumberland County.
When I was a young child, my family vacationed in Ocean City, NJ, along with a gaggle of extended family. We somehow stuffed ourselves into a three-bedroom apartment – I don’t think we had air conditioning, a television, or an indoor shower but I can hardly recall.
What do I remember? I remember that from the deck I could see the Ferris wheel and that within just a minute we could be on the boardwalk. I remember walking up and down the boardwalk and picking out penny candy and riding the carousel, trying to snag the brass ring for a free ride.
We stopped going in the 1980s. I decided to visit again last year, in part because I wanted to introduce my 8-year-old to the wonders of Ocean City, NJ. It didn’t disappoint! Here is why we both loved it:
The Boardwalk at night: We stayed just about as close to the Boardwalk as you can. Through the eyes of my 8-year-old, this is equivalent to say, living INSIDE Hersheypark all day and all night. Miniature golf, amusement rides, trinket stores, endless and interesting treats – my daughter loved it all. And to be honest, I couldn’t refuse trying a spiral potato on a stick.
The Boardwalk in the morning: Bikes are allowed on the boardwalk until noon, so each morning we rolled out of bed and enjoyed riding bikes up and down the boardwalk. Since we just went for the weekend we had room to bring our own bikes, although at my daughter’s request we did rent the popular Surrey bike (sort of like a golf cart-type bike) and my daughter took the wheel.
Of course, there are reasons besides the Boardwalk that we loved Ocean City, NJ. Some of those include:
Safety: The beaches are closely managed with plenty of lifeguards focused on doing their job.
Family-friendly: Ocean City, NJ, is dry – as in, you cannot buy alcohol in the town. Depending on your vacation habits, this could be a real disappointment. The upside is that, unlike other East Coast beaches, I was very comfortable taking my daughter onto the boardwalk at night – no unruly crowds or risk that you accidentally planned your vacation during Senior Week.
Nostalgia: Most people go to Ocean City because they went there as a child, and their parents and grandparents went there too. Even if Ocean City, NJ, isn’t part of your family’s history – once you are there, you might find it becomes part of it for years to come.
Less than a 200 mile drive from Carlisle, we plan to make more frequent weekend visits to Ocean City, NJ, in the coming years.
About Lindsay: Lindsay and her husband grew up in Carlisle and returned around the time they became parents. Lindsay’s career as a consultant means she can live anywhere she wants … and so they picked Carlisle of course! Lindsay and her husband enjoy exploring Central Pennsylvania with their two young children, ages 4 and 9.
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