I have been taking my son camping down at the Jersey Shore for four years in a row now. Our first trip my son was 11 years old and had only been to the shore once when he was 4. We live in Pennsylvania in the Pocono Mountains so the shore is a good distance away and we do not go for day trips.
I wasn’t ready to let him help me pack the car and, my husband watched as I tried to stuff everything we would need for a five day stay in a bare bones cabin, into my compact car. My husband was staying home to take care of our dog, three cats and one kitten, and to really have some peace and quiet of his own. I was going to enjoy some time with my son and get in some crabbing, and Jersey Shore beach time.
This first trip we stayed at Sea Pirate Campground, it was a great place with a mini golf course, large pool, a pond for fishing, crabbing right on site, a basketball court, baseball field, looking back it really seemed more like a camping “resort”. They even had an arcade, and motorized boat, or canoe rentals. You couldn’t ask for more things to do, they even had a day where the people who stay in their campers for the summer could decorate for Halloween and they would have a best decorated camper contest. All I wanted was to relax, go to the Jersey Shore, and maybe teach my son to crab.
The bare bones cabin did not have a bathroom or running water inside, but it did have air conditioning, a refrigerator, and cable TV. You know, the important things for a camping trip. It was the closest I will ever come to camping in a tent again.
Well, since when do vacations ever turn out how you dream they will? The weather was fine, except for one afternoon when it poured, that was Ok though. By then, my son had met a great group of friends and they spent the afternoon drying off in the somewhat cramped cabin. I on the other hand had many hours of alone time, something I was not expecting. I lounged at the pool, took walks to the creeks where you crab or rent boats, caught up with my thoughts, and missed my son.
I did get to spend some time with my son, we went down to the Jersey Shore to spend some time on the beach, that is when I found out that he hates the sand. I guess it is not so much fun for a boy to get sand stuck in his bathing suit for a few hours, because he was miserable. We cleaned off, changed, and headed to the Barnegat Lighthouse on Long Beach Island. We spent a great afternoon there, before we headed back to the cabin for a BBQ and making smores around the campfire.
The next day we decided to take one of the motor boats out through the creeks, what a trip that was. I never actually used a motor boat before and neither did my son, needless to say we spent more time stuck in the mud than we did moving through the water. We did get the hang of it though and when we reached the bay we both felt the boat seemed a bit too small for that huge expanse of water and we turned to make our way back.
After a few more days of driving to the Jersey Shore, which was really only a few minutes over the bridge, and catching some beautiful sunsets it was time to head home. All in all, we had such a great time we have been going back every year.