So, you’re heading to the beach this weekend. The Jersey Shore has so many different vibes to offer; from Cape May Victorian to Asbury Park hipster to Wildwood retro, whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find it there. But before you head out, check out this comprehensive guide to parking and fees at dozens of Jersey beaches, and enjoy our picks for things to do when you get there. Not to be the bearer of bad news, but there’s rain in the forecast for Sunday at least, so we’ve got some indoor activities for you too.
Unlocking the Ocean Ceremony and Wildwoods International Kite Festival
- May 25 – May 28, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
- Wildwoods Convention Center and Rio Grande Avenue Beach, 4501 Boardwalk, Wildwood, NJ 08260
If the idea of city officials using an oversized key to “unlock” the ocean strikes you as a delightfully corny way to kick off the summer, start your weekend in Wildwood. The unlocking ceremony takes place at noon, and then you can stick around for the Wildwoods International Kite Festival, also free. Illuminated kites will be lighting up the beach after dark on Friday. All weekend long there will be demonstrations of sport and inflatable kites, plus games for families and kite sales and auctions. Monday is the World Indoor Kite competition.Yes, indoor kites. It’s as intriguing as it is hard to imagine. Wildwoods’ beaches don’t require tags, so the beach is free, and lifeguards will be on duty starting Saturday.
If the weather keeps you off the beach, enjoy Wildwood’s Doo Wop Preservation League Museum, a tacky tribute to the midcentury architecture, pop culture, and design of Wildwood’s heyday, complete with neon signs and soda counters. If you’re up north instead, Asbury Park’s Silverball Pinball Museum has over 600 vintage and modern arcade games in rotation. Passes range from $10 for a half-hour of play to $25 for all day access.
Atlantic Brass Band at the Cape May Music Festival
- May 27, 7 p.m.
- Cape May Rotary Park Bandstand, 400 Lafayette St., Cape May, NJ 08204
- Rain site: Cape May Convention Hall, 714 Beach Ave, Cape May, NJ 08204
Kicking off the Cape May Music Festival this year is the Atlantic Brass Band, led by conductor Salvatore Scarpa. In honor of the holiday, the band will be playing classic Americana. The festival continues throughout the summer, with acts including the New York Chamber Ensemble, folk band Bailen, a capella group Blue Jupiter, and more. Make a classy day of it by touring one of Cape May’s many wineries first, where you can pick up a bottle to enjoy at the show.
Need something kid friendly? Cape May is also home to the Jersey Shore Alpacas, fluffy cousins to the llama that you can feed and pet free of charge (donations are encouraged).
Monmouth Park Jersey Shore Food Truck Festival
- May 26 – May 28, 11:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. (opens at 11:30 a.m. on May 28)
- Monmouth Park Race Course, 175 Oceanport Ave, Oceanport, NJ 07757
- Tickets $5 for the festival, $5 for the grandstand, children under 12 are free
If you’re looking to multitask this vacation, you can check out live music and over 40 food trucks at the Monmouth Park Race Course, where, of course, you can also place a bet on your favored steed. The Jersey Shore Food Truck Festival is one of the shore’s biggest summer gatherings, and features all your favorite beach eats, from lobster rolls to funnel cake to good ol’ fashioned water ice.
If you’re looking for something a little healthier, the Asbury Park Farmer’s Market is on Sunday, starting at 10 am, with over 50 local farmers, artists, and vendors — even cooking demos, and animals for rescue.
This article is part of a new effort recommending things to do in the Philly region. Tell us what you think.