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Old 04-30-2013, 12:15 PM   #16
LisaInNc
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We go to Va Beach just about every weekend in the sumer. There is a LOT to do. I only live an hour away but I try to do a few weekend stays a season just to feel like I am on vacation.

They have fireworks on Saturday nights, one night a week there is a movie shown on the beach and activities relating to that movie on the boardwalk. There are street performers on every block. There are live bands every weekend. We usually pack a picnic and chairs and have a great night.

The restaurants on the boardwalk are not great for that I would get in your car a 5 or 10 minute drive would give you a lot of options and you would not have to wait 2 hours .

The Hilton is the nicest hotel on the beach with a rooftop pool but it can be pricy. There are not a lot of hotels with great pools since the beach is right there.

Around 31st street umbrellas and really nice lounge chairs are set up, they also have cabanas. You pick the one you like, plop yourself down and someone comes to collect the money I think it was something in the neighborhood of 30 for an umbrella and 2 chairs. These are huge umbrellas. Then sometimes people come around with free popsicles, cold facecloths or offer to spritz you. It's got a nice resort feel when they do that.

There is usually an area where they put out lots and lots of pails and shovels and kids seem to gravitate and dig together. There are 2 or 3 playgrounds on the beach.

Utilize restaurant.com they offer a lot of certificates for the boardwalk hotel restaurants and this is a good way to save on breakfast I used one just for dessert one night, the kids LOVED it. Read the restrictions some are for dinner only but if they don't say that....get creative! A mid afternoon snack might be fun!

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Old 04-30-2013, 12:59 PM   #17
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The restaurants on the boardwalk are not great for that I would get in your car a 5 or 10 minute drive would give you a lot of options and you would not have to wait 2 hours .
Except you have to hit The Pocahontas for breakfast. It's an experience! But, that's on Atlantic Avenue.
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Old 04-30-2013, 01:08 PM   #18
CherylA
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For you fans of Ocean City, NJ a lot of the reviews of the motels/hotels talk about if they give you beach tags or not. What are those, do they charge you to go the beach if you dont have them?
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Old 04-30-2013, 02:02 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by CherylA
For you fans of Ocean City, NJ a lot of the reviews of the motels/hotels talk about if they give you beach tags or not. What are those, do they charge you to go the beach if you dont have them?
Yes, there is a per-day charge per person if you don't have beach tags. I'm not sure how much it is but I believe it's on the Ocean City website - I looked it up when we were thinking of going there and we had no idea what beach tags were! Ocean City is gorgeous.
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Old 04-30-2013, 02:11 PM   #20
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Ocean City is beautiful and nice for a day trip if you stay in Wildwood, NJ. Wildwood's beaches are all free and just as lovely, and they have a better boardwalk (In my own opinion only). I am a bit biased as I spent all of my childhood summers there because that's where my grandparents lived. As someone else pointed out, you're also within easy driving distance to Cape May.

You can find a nice hotel on the beach in Wildwood and be within walking distance to the boardwalk.

http://www.wildwoodsnj.com/
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Old 04-30-2013, 06:37 PM   #21
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For you fans of Ocean City, NJ a lot of the reviews of the motels/hotels talk about if they give you beach tags or not. What are those, do they charge you to go the beach if you dont have them?
You can buy a daily beach tag or a weekly beach tag. The weekly tag is cheaper than buying a new one everyday. The tags are different colors or shapes for different weeks. Also, children 12 and under do not need beach tags. They can be bought at several stations on the boardwalk, at some beach access points, or by the ever-looming beach tag checkers that roam the beach. Often times, owners of rentals provide seasonal tags for their guests as they can be left for the next group.
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Old 04-30-2013, 06:45 PM   #22
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I second the vote for OC, NJ. Then again, I'm a little partial as it's my beach- I live 10 minutes off the island. OC, NJ has always been known for its family friendly atmosphere. It has a beautiful beach with just the right mix of entertainment and relaxation. Good luck with your choice!

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Love OC, NJ too! Won't go anywhere else! They have the rides and boardwalk, jetskiing, boating, beach, waterpark, tons of places to eat that are awesome!
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Old 04-30-2013, 07:32 PM   #23
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Another vote for Ocean City, NJ :- LOVE the boardwalk - beach, and family feeling. FYI, Ocean City is a 'dry town', so no alcohol is sold there, but is readily available very close by in all of towns surrounding OC.
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Old 04-30-2013, 08:50 PM   #24
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We love Rehoboth. This will be our fourth year going. I live in MD but have never actually been to OC. The first time we went to Rehoboth it was just DH and me, and we splurged on the Boardwalk Plaza hotel, right on the boardwalk. It has a pool, but is very pricey. It is next door to the Atlantic Sands which also looks nice, don't know prices. We rent a house now and tend to cook dinner mostly, but when we go out, the wait isn't even close to two hours. Most places we go to, like Grotto Pizza or the Purple Parrot, you can't/don't make reservations. DH and I went to The Back Porch Cafe, a little more upscale, and that we made reservations before we arrives.

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Old 04-30-2013, 09:57 PM   #25
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Another vote for Ocean City, NJ :- LOVE the boardwalk - beach, and family feeling. FYI, Ocean City is a 'dry town', so no alcohol is sold there, but is readily available very close by in all of towns surrounding OC.
True, which is why we BYO to wherever we are staying. You can't BYO to restaurants though. However, right across the bridge is Somers Point, NJ, which is NOT dry. Alcohol in all forms is served at restaurants/bars steps from the bridge! There is even a liquor store as you exit the bridge. Talk about a prime location!

Other shore towns are relatively close too - Avalon, Stone Harbor, Cape May, etc. All are not dry.

I grew up visiting Ocean City, NJ during the summers and throughout the year because we have family in Somers Point. What a great town!
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Old 04-30-2013, 11:33 PM   #26
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We always go to Ocean City Maryland for our beach vacation. We usually stay at either the Comfort Inn or Quality Inn on the Boardwalk. Both have outdoor beach front pools. The beach is free - no need for beach tags and there are lots of activities and restaurants to choose from.
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Old 04-30-2013, 11:35 PM   #27
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I have lived in NJ or Md most of my life and have vacationed in all the beaches mentioned here. Ocean City, NJ is by far, the best family beach town. The beaches are clean, the city is a dry town, the boardwalk is family friendly with rides, shops, mini golf, water parks, arcades, stores, etc...and there are excellent restaurants in Somer's Point. The shops in Asbury are quaint and the old homes give a throwback feel.

Getting Manco & Manco Pizza is reason enough to go to OCNJ


The problem is they mainly do weekly rental homes but they do have some hotel/motel that have a pool, near the boardwalk. Even the ones considered motels are safe though. I let my 12yr old go to the boardwalk with her cousins. Something I wouldn't even do in my own home town. THAT is how safe that town is.


Wildwood and OC, Md are NOT dry towns and their boardwalks are not family friendly in my opinion. Every store has nasty, degrading sex/drug shirts, there are drunks and smokers wandering. It just isn't that great but the rides are fun. The only hotel I wold recommend in OCMD is the Hyatt. It is beautiful beachfront with outdoor pools, patio, beach bar and family friendly. It is away from the boardwalk and it is a nice place to stay for a few days. We will stay there and get the Armbands during the afternoon to ride rides on boardwalk, eat dinner and then go back to hotel before the drunks come out.

I wouldn't recommend any in Wildwood. There may be some but I just don't know of any.

Rehobeth is nice but there are no rides for kids your age (only kiddie) and the boardwalk is small. Most hotels are really old and most don't have a resort feel. More of a timeshare feel.

Not a fan of Virginia Beach. No rides on the boardwalk, lots of traffic. Overpriced hotels
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Old 05-01-2013, 06:46 AM   #28
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We have stayed in many of the beach towns mentioned thus far (in fact we stayed for many years in Ocean City, NJ).

Currently our fav beach vacation is VA Beach - we really love it. Beach access is not limited by certain hours (like NJ beaches) and the same is true of biking the "boardwalk."

As well, restaurants in OC are just terrible (and we have tried them all - repeatedly, all of the good ones have closed...ok pizza on the board, but that is all). VA beach has some absolutely fabulous restaurants. We are a big group (7), so we tend to dinner early (5-6) to avoid long waits. That has worked just fine for us both trips to VA in August.

Oh, another nice feature in VA beach our equipment rentals (umbrellas and chairs if you want them). Yes, there is a cost, but so nice not to have to lug them, chase them if they are blown over, etc.

Like you, we like a beach front hotel with pools (been there and done that with the house rentals, and for us vacation means housekeeping services). We have enjoyed immensely our stays at the Marriott Springhill Suites - 2 pools (in and out - both very nice), ocean views, a nice breakfast included, free parking, and a bit more space than a standard hotel room.
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Old 05-01-2013, 09:47 AM   #29
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Have to agree with most posters about everything that has been said about these shore towns.

Although I love OCNJ the most, true dining experiences there we just go for boardwalk fare - Kohr's ice cream/custard - a must have although we were just in Key West, FL and there was one there!, Johnson's popcorn (get the refillable bucket it for refills at a discounted price - it's addictive, and of course Mack and Manco's Pizza - although I believe there is was a change in name to Manco & Manco due to a business split . However, fine dining is non existent, and you really have to go to other towns for finer fare - even for seafood ! If you want names of places, I'll be happy to post some later, as we are foodies too!

Also, living in South Jersey, but not born and bred in this area - I know lots of people have loyal ties to a a particular town, depending where their friends and family vacationed every year that's where they will go. Honestly this is not something I personally fully feel the necessity to do - I do understand why, and as much begging as my friends ask me to 'come down to the shore' it doesn't 'do it' for me - Especially when entire families move down for the summer, husbands visit on weekends - and hang out with the same people that you're friendly with at 'home' and then they all come down to basically the same place and vacation together all summer. I do sometimes feel guilty, we have not kept up that tradition of having a 'shore home' for my kids, but they do go down on weekends to their friends' places - Brigantine, LBI, Margate, OC, etc... Personally, I prefer Disney in the summertime when we have family vacations (DVC members w/ AP's) more activities especially when it rains and seems it's cheaper for us @ WDW than a 1 week rental at the shore - even with airfare! ALSO, I want to get away from everything during my vacation, home, work, and friends , that's why WDW makes me happy !!
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Old 05-01-2013, 10:29 AM   #30
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We have visited all of these beaches so I will throw my two cents in. I grew up in MD so we went to OC MD most of the time. Now we live in DE so we go to Rehoboth or Bethany Beach. We have also gone to the NJ shore which is very big around here. Last summer we went to VA Beach.

There are two main differences you will find at these beaches - the type of crowd and the level of activity. To me there is not much difference in the beaches themselves. What I have found with the NJ shore is people either love it or hate it. I personally hate it but know many people that love it. Generally there is a lot more activity there which I don't find very relaxing. But there is a lot to do. And to be honest, you have to deal with the NJ/NYC crowd which I personally find annoying after a while. We didn't like VA beach much at all. We stayed right on the boardwalk. While there was nothing wrong with it, it was hopping with activity and the town itself seemed rather run down. I do like the northern part of OC MD, but the lower part is very congested. We now usually stick with Rehoboth or Bethany. We always take day trips to Rehoboth because it is convenient and the small boardwalk is nice. If I was going to spend very long, I would go to Bethany. There is a lot less activity there but it is beautiful.

So it comes down to what you are looking for.
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