Seaside Heights, the shore town that was made infamous by MTV's series "Jersey Shore," offers something for everyone. It's easy to get to - just take Exit 82 East off the Garden State Parkway, and continue along Route 37. Once you're over the bridge, follow the signs into town. There is beach access from the boardwalk at the end of almost every street. Plan on arriving early to claim your spot in the sand, as the narrow beaches tend to get crowded with visitors from northern New Jersey and New York, especially on weekends and holidays.
Daily beach badges cost $5, and seasonal passes are available for $40 at the Hiering Avenue Beach Control Headquarters. Children under 12 are allowed on the beach for free. Lifeguards are on duty during beach hours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and swimming is forbidden after-hours.
Bring plenty of quarters for parking, as the majority of the on-street parking in town is metered. There are also several private paid parking lots available, with varying daily rates that can be upwards of $10. There is a large free parking lot right near the entrance to town, but be prepared for a walk to the shore
If you forget to bring your sunscreen or need an extra beach towel, there are many shops on the boardwalk offering beach necessities and souveneirs. When you need a break from the sun and sand, there are free public restrooms at Webster, Hiering, and Kearny avenues. For $3, hot showers, lockers and changing facilities are available on the boardwalk at the Hiering Avenue Beach Control Station.
After you freshen up, try your luck at winning a prize at one of the game stands or air-conditioned arcades. Cruise over the beach on the sky ride at the north end of the boardwalk. Casino Pier and Funtown Pier feature other rides and amusements for all ages, ranging from tame kiddie rides to the loop rollercoaster and Tower of Fear for the brave. For a nostalgic experience, ride the antique carousel in the Casino Pier arcade, which is turning 100 years old this year.
There are plenty of spots to grab a drink or a bite on the boardwalk. There are pizza, sausage, and ice cream stands all along the boards, as well as several sit-down restaurants offering a variety of fare from Mexican to seafood. As seen on MTV, some of the bars do attract a rowdier crowd at night, but there are many local cops on-duty in the summer strictly enforcing the boardwalk's code of conduct.
-By Bailey Clark