When a hellish winter full of polar vortexes, stuffy noses and chapped lips ends, the best way to celebrate is by pulling on a tank top and spending as much time in the sun as possible (with protective sunscreen on, of course).
Up and down the New Jersey coast, there are so many outdoor events and attractions come shorts season that you’re almost certain to get your recommended dose of Vitamin D. Here are the nine (mostly) outdoor events and attractions you must see before the summer ends — doctor’s orders.
1. The Atlantic City Airshow, Atlantic City
The sky is the stage for Thunder over the Boardwalk, Atlantic City’s annual airshow. This year it will take place Aug. 21. Expect death defying areal tricks from some of the country’s best acrobatic pilots. The show can be seen from the beach and boardwalk; airshow.acchamber.com.
2. Willow Creek Winery’s Firepit Fridays, West Cape May
When the summer sun dips low and there’s a slight chill in the air, is there anything more inviting than a warm fire and a glass of wine? You can find both at Firepit Fridays, every Friday at 5:30 p.m. at Willow Creek Winery in West Cape May. Purchase a glass of Willow Creek’s award-winning wine at the bar, sidle up to the outdoor firepit and delight in the beautiful grape vines that surround you. 168 Stevens St., West Cape May; 609-770-8782, willowcreekwinerycapemay.com.
3. Hard Rock’s Beach Bar, Atlantic City
This is the first full summer that the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino will be open for business, which means there’s a new place to party on hazy summer nights. The Beach Bar at Hard Rock sits on the A.C. beach near the boardwalk. Order up at the full bar, dance to the ever-pumping music at the Hard Rock and soak in a few rays, or take advantage of the brand new cabanas just waiting to shade you. 1000 Boardwalk, Atlantic City; 609-449-1000, hardrockhotels.com.
4. Family night, Ocean City
Every Thursday night in Ocean City is family night — which sounds a little snooze-worthy, but is actually a blast. Starting at 7:30 p.m., family-friendly bands, magicians and performers line the boardwalk, bringing a jovial vibe for those walking between shops, restaurants and amusement rides. Ocean City fancies itself “America’s Favorite Family Resort” – in other words it’s a dry town. So, replace those cocktails with Kohr Brothers cones and hit the boards with the fam. Located on the Ocean City Boardwalk; oceancityvacation.com.
5. Camp under the stars, Sandy Hook
Sandy Hook opens 20 campsites on the inland of Horseshoe Cove during the summer. If sleeping in the great outdoors, close to the beach, appeals to you, the summer is the time to break out the tent. Each campsite comes with a picnic table, a grill and a fire ring. $30 a night. Directions to the sites can be found on the recreation.gov website; recreation.gov.
6. Namaste on the beach, Sea Isle City
When the weather is fine, Sea Isle City runs an ultra-popular beach yoga program, led by instructor Teri O’Connor. O’Connor will have you stretching, downward-dogging and shouting “I am amazing” to the ocean during her beach yoga flow. Bring a towel to exercise on and a bottle of water to hydrate. Check the Sea Isle City website for times and location; njbeachyoga.com.
7. The Observation Wheel, Atlantic City
The Observation Wheel at the Steel Pier in Atlantic City brings you 227 feet in the air in a temperature-controlled gondola for a stunning view of America’s Playground on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other. You can’t get that view anywhere else. Each ride takes about 15 minutes; Tickets are $9.99. 1000 Boardwalk, Atlantic City; 866-386-6659, steelpier.com.
8. Silverball Museum Arcade, Asbury Park
Stopping at Asbury Park’s Silverball Museum Arcade for a game (or 20 games) of pinball is a must during the summer. This nostalgic arcade has 600 old-school video games in rotation, such as Discs of Tron, Street Fighter II and Baseball Champ, so you’re sure to find some gems when you stop in. $12.50 one hour pass. $25 all day pass. 1000 Ocean Ave., Asbury Park; 732-774-4994, silverballmuseum.com.
9. Morey’s Piers, Wildwood
This year marks the 50th summer that Morey’s Piers have been open. That’s 50 years of carousel rides, roller-coaster screams and mouthfuls of cotton candy. Wish the Wildwood amusement park a very happy birthday with a visit to one of its three piers, jam-packed with rides, games and restaurants. 3501 Boardwalk, Wildwood; 609-729-3700, moreyspiers.com.