The Jersey Shore is an inevitable summertime destination. Whether you’re from North Jersey, South Jersey, or the totally fictional Central Jersey, soaking up the East Coast sun is something we all look forward to. While trekking the famous boardwalks of the Jersey Shore is an obligatory right of passage for locals and visitors alike, the state’s most popular destinations are not only for the season of sweat and sunburn. So swap out that mankini for a sweater, and check out these Jersey Shore towns to visit during the winter.
Asbury Park is known for its live music, riveting nightlife and delectable dining; all of which ignore the seasons and can be enjoyed year-round. Visit the legendary Stone Pony to knock back a few drinks while watching up-and-coming or established bands perform.
Have a furry friend? Head over to Wonder Bar, home of the Yappy Hour, where four-legged family members can play while their humans wet their whistles.
Ohio isn’t the only place for lovers. Asbury Park’s annual Valentine’s Day bazaar is chock full of skilled artists and vendors displaying their handmade jewelry, home goods and delectable Valentine’s treats. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 restrictions, Asbury Convention Hall will not be able to house the event this year.
Luckily, Asbury Park Bazaar will be making its way to Long Branch to host the Long Branch Holiday Bazaar at Pier Village! This open-air market will contain all the necessary ingredients for festive family fun. Shopping, holiday workshops and all the holiday-inspired food and drinks you can handle.
Cape May is one of the ideal Jersey Shore towns to visit during winter for anyone that loves to relax with a nice adult beverage. This year-round destination’s Willow Creek Winery is a 50-acre vineyard and farm offering tastings, dining and seasonally festive weekly events.
If you’re more into craft beer and breweries, Cape May Brewing Company, located at the Cape May Airport, has won awards ranging from local, state and national recognition.
If you prefer pensiveness over pints, fret not— a Cape May winter may still have something to offer. This historic Jersey Shore town is home to the Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum and The Museum of Cape May County.
Festivities won’t be forgotten in Victorian Cape May, even in 2020. This Jersey Shore town is winterized into a Dickens village for all to enjoy from November 20 to New Years Day 2021. Just remember to wear a mask!
Point Pleasant is the perfect destination for family fun regardless of the season. Get your fish fix at Jenkinson’s Aquarium, which offers half-price admission during the weekdays in January.
Frolic through Jenkinson’s Pavilion to visit Point Pleasant’s famous arcades. You can play at Jenkinson’s South Arcade and Pavilion Arcade until your eyes redden and your fingers ache, regardless of the temperature outside.
If you are a history buff, make sure you stay at the historic Tower Cottage bed and breakfast, and follow it up with visiting the Vintage Automobile Museum of New Jersey. Since 2001, this Point Pleasant museum lets you drive through the decades in style by displaying some of history’s favorite vehicles.
Red Bank is full of shops and restaurants sure to satisfy a multitude of tastes and is primed for a Jersey Shore winter getaway. Start by reserving a room at Molly Pitcher Inn, Red Bank’s 19th-century style hotel overlooking the Navesink River.
Begin your day by heading to Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash, the ideal destination for comics, collectibles and movie memorabilia. If you’re feeling especially festive, try ice skating at the Red Bank Armory’s rink.
Hungry? Stroll down Broad Street, Monmouth Street or Front Street and pick from the seemingly endless supply of ambrosial restaurants. Don’t forget to stop at JBJ’s Soul Kitchen. Jon Bon Jovi’s donation-based restaurant with proceeds going to feed families in need. After a lovely dinner, make your way over to Red Tank Brewing Company for a nightcap. The Amazing Lilly Belgian Blonde is out of this world.
While the 28th annual Holiday Express concert will not be held this year due to safety regulations, Red Bank will still be bound with holiday cheer. On November 27, residents illuminate the downtown Red Bank with Christmas lights along with their official Christmas tree.
Asbury Park isn’t the only Jersey Shore town to visit that is fit for animal lovers. Stone Harbor is the proud home of The Wetlands Institute. Located on 6,000 acres of protected wetlands, The Wetlands Institute hosts educational tours that teach the importance of environmentalism. Their goal is to share their love for local wildlife and wetlands ecology by training the researchers and scientists of tomorrow.
After meeting the earth-bound animals of The Wetlands Institue, look to the sky to see how the other half live. The Stone Harbor Bird Sanctuary has three paths open year-round to observe our feathery avian friends.
If you work up an appetite while exploring the majesty of the animal kingdom, head over to Uncle Bill’s Pancake House. This breakfast giant is a famous destination well worth the visit.
Maybe you’re a glutton for punishment, but you still want to be charitable. Stone Harbor hosts the Stone Harbor Shiver, a near-freezing plunge into the Atlantic, with all proceeds being donated to charity.
Wildwood’s family favorite boardwalk is open year-round with fantastic winter festivities. If you’re feeling fit, opt for the Wildwood Turkey Trot or watch the famous Wildwood Boardwalk Basketball Classic.
If slow-paced is more your speed, taking a leisurely stroll along the North Wildwood Seawall is enchanting. You can also visit Hereford Inlet Lighthouse. A happy compromise would be Island Bowl in Wildwood, which has 32 lanes perfect for every level of bowler, from novice to nearly professional. And we can never forget Morey’s Pier! Gateway 26 Casino Arcade is still open even as the weather gets frightful.
Atlantic City is great for gambling away your holiday funds at the Borgata or splurging at the Tanger Outlets. But, New Jersey’s playground has much more to offer, and it’s all still available during the winter season.
Asbury Park Bazaar’s holiday spirit isn’t just stopping in Long Branch this year. The same bringers of joy hailing from Asbury Park are hosting the very first Atlantic City Holiday Bazaar this year!
Animal lovers will relish a visit to the Atlantic City Aquarium which is open every day through the year, except for Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Also, only minutes away is the Marine Mammal Center for rehabilitating sea life. This center specializes in rescuing marine animals and caring for them until they are capable of surviving on their own in the wild. Atlantic City is also home to Absecon Lighthouse, New Jersey’s tallest lighthouse.
Does your family have a holiday tradition that takes place at the Jersey Shore? If so, share your favorite Jersey Shore towns to visit during the winter below! Main Photo by Benjamin Basch