This summer our beach season is about delving into the unknown and experiencing all that the coast of New Jersey has to offer. After downloading the NJ Monthly Jersey Shore Guide app last year, the number of beaches listed, and the small number I had actually been to, shocked me.
The goal this summer is that if we’re heading to the beach, it’s to a different beach every single time. I don’t know about you, but for me, that takes planning.*
*And the beach isn’t supposed to be about planning!
I’m not like most beach goers. I can’t just pack up a cooler and head to any patch of sand in front of the ocean. Because…if I’m telling the truth…sometimes the beach bores me.
There, I said it….but let me explain.
I’m not the kind of person who drives to the beach, chooses the perfect spot to set up camp, and then stays in that same spot for the entire day. Even with a good book in hand, I grow restless within an hour or two. In planning a day at the beach, I need a guarantee that there will be either a boardwalk or some kind of shore themed shopping street, along with great eats, of course.
Enter our first new beach location: Stone Harbor.
The one and only time I set foot in Stone Harbor was ten years ago for Lance’s cousin’s wedding. All I remember about it was the time it took to get there: two hours.
Nowadays, a two-hour drive is nothing for us.
Upon entering the town, I knew we’d found a winner when we began driving down a street filled with bakeries, coffeehouses, clothing stores, restaurants, and other quaint shops.
After wandering around, we bought a few pastries at Maryann Pastry Shoppe*, and decided to give the ocean a visit.
*Yes, that’s Maryann, not Maryann’s. Maryann Pastry Shoppe.
Now here’s a question I have for my shore loving friends that our beach time in Stone Harbor brought about:
Lifeguards. Do you love em or hate em? Do you prefer a beach that has them or doesn’t?
Stone Harbor has them and we quickly learned* that though the whole ocean lay before us, only the water in the vicinity of the lifeguards chairs was allowed to be swam in.
*Or I should say, Hubby learned this as he began walking straight out and had the whistle blown at him.
I know they are there for our safety, but, at least in the observation of the two ‘lifeguards’ we were near, they spent more time talking to girls than watching the water.
This blew my mind. I suppose planes pulling advertisements isn’t enough anymore. Now we need boats with digital screens.
In spite of the odd lifeguard rules, Stone Harbor’s beach was worth visiting. The shore was well kept. The sand wasn’t of the kind that makes your skin crawl or your feet hurt, so I suppose their $6 beach tag price was worth it.*
*We had just paid somewhere around $11/ticket the night before to see Finding Dory with Jon. Even though paying to go on the beach makes me cringe when there are so many free beaches in Jersey, I figured we paid less per hour to enjoy the beach than to watch a movie we’ll be able to see in our living room in a few months.