Off the Beach

Millions of residents and visitors come to New Jersey's beaches every year, but there is also unlimited fun that can be found away from the sand.

New Jersey's 130 miles of ocean beaches attract millions of residents and visitors each season to enjoy the surf, sun and all the fun the Jersey Shore offers. But off the sand and boardwalks are an unlimited supply of shopping, entertainment, special events and eateries of all kinds.

Though it's not that far beyond the beach, Morey's Piers in Wildwood features three family-fun piers with rides and two water parks that are a great way to cool off, away from the sand. Don't miss the Ocean Oasis Waterpark and Beach Club and Raging Waters Water Park withslides, tube rides and tons ofattractions for the whole family. Locals and visitors flock to Duffer's for the food, but they stay for the huge, homemade ice cream sundaes and the mini-golf course alongside the restaurant. With its throwback Doo Wop architecture (even the area's convenience store Wawa has a retro vibe) Wildwood is a place where the wave of nostalgia crashes full force. Carnival games whiz and bang alongside amusement park favorites, food stalls and souvenir shops.

Belmar has one of the largest marinas in New Jersey. It's a launch point for deep-sea fishing for fluke, sea bass, tuna and bluefish. Boasting a menu of pub grub and live music on the weekends, the Boathouse Bar and Grill is a Belmar mainstay. For a more romantic evening spot, Ristorante Nicchio, in downtown Belmar, is rustic Tuscan cuisine at its finest. With multiple bars in a huge outdoor space, Bar Anticipatio (or Bar A, as most know it by), is the go-to spot for drinking, dancing and the kind of revelry that only happens when the weather gets warm.

A short drive to the south is Point Pleasant Beach, a family-friendly destination with a mile-long boardwalk that features games and amusements of all kinds. For entertainment and food there's Martell's and Jenkinson's Pavilion, both on the boardwalk. In town are a number of shops and restaurants like Frankie's Bar Grille, a casual restaurant with an old-time saloon atmosphere.

Cape May is home to a brand-new bald eagle habitat, plus the usual lions, tigers and bears (and more), the wild is a lot closer than you think at the Cape May County Zoo. This classic Victorian town is known for its wide array of dining options like the Zagat-rated Peter Shields Inn, which combines an ocean view with gourmet meals. It's elegant enough for a big night out, without being stuffy. For professional entertainment there's the East Lynne Theater Company, a professional Equity theater that runs a full summer season. The theatre company is dedicated to producing works by American playwrights as well as new shows.