How to Recreate That Old-School Jersey Shore Vacation
Some of America’s most iconic tastes, sounds, and sights were created along the 127-mile New Jersey shoreline, from Sandy Hook to Cape May. From the thrilling strains of a carousel’s calliope to the sweet froth on an egg crème, the best of the past is still within reach on these boardwalks and in these seaside towns.
The Giant Wheel in Wildwood
Ferris wheels began to dot the Jersey Shore in the late 19th century and they endure as an iconic seaside landmark. The Giant Wheel on Mariner’s Pier is the largest Ferris wheel on the east coast, rising 156 feet from the sands below. For the strong-stomached, an elegant breakfast of dishes like spinach and fontina quiche or shrimp-and-lobster omelet is offered on white linens and real china. Just don’t look down.
The StarLux in Wildwood
In the 1950s, nothing conveyed American post-war jubilation like setting out onto the highway in a shiny silver Airstream. Guests at the retro-chic StarLux Hotel can choose to bunk in a 1957 Caravanner, just one block from the beach.
Circus Drive-In in Wall Township
Car hops have been delivering driver-side meals to motorists at the Circus Drive-In since 1954. Drive past the giant clown sign and park up under the red-and-white striped awnings for a classic shore order of fried clams on a roll or pork roll (aka Taylor ham) with cheese. Wash it down with a cold root beer float or frothy egg crème.
Fralinger’s Salt Water Taffy in Atlantic City
Joseph Fralinger opened his sweet shop on the boardwalk in 1885. A one-pound box of taffy fetched $0.35 in 1942. Today, it’s $8.99, but still worth every penny.
Jenkinson’s Boardwalk at Point Pleasant Beach
Jersey Shore joy necessitates an amusement park overlooking the Atlantic, and the thrill rides and arcade games at Jenkinson’s has enticed families for nearly a century. Ride the tilt-a-whirl or the carousel after a few rounds of mini golf or skee-ball. Then squeeze into a photo booth for a keepsake photo strip of black-and-white memories.
Wonder Bar in Asbury Park
Thanks to Bruce Springsteen, the Stone Pony in Asbury Park became an international icon. But the lesser-known music venue next door, the Wonder Bar, shouldn’t be overlooked. A giant mural of Tillie (amusement park owner George C. Tilyou, also found in Coney Island) grins across the building’s exterior wall, beckoning crowds to hear American music from legends like Gary U.S. Bonds to emerging indie bands—or the occasional surprise set by Springsteen himself.
Medleys Singing Ice Cream Parlour in Seaside Heights
These venues aren’t old, but what happens there is. At Medleys Singing Ice Cream Parlour in Seaside Heights, as well as its sister shop, the Music Man Singing Ice Cream Shoppe in Lavalette, crooners in striped vests serve up ice cream and Broadway classics.