Jersey Shore

IMG_3023Most of our stops we neighbor alongside a host family, experiencing their local view of their town and area. That is our preferred way of travel.

However, once in a while we either can’t find a host in a specific area or need some family  time alone. And so, we will search out a state park or RV park to rest in for a bit. State Parks would be our first choice as they tend to offer large sites with loads of outdoor opportunities including hiking, biking, swimming, etc. And, they are usually in our budget of $18-$25 a night. But occasionally the State parks are booked and we have to find an RV Park.

RV Parks can get expensive, up to $80 a night. Although most of them include a coin laundromat, pool/spa and workout facility, they tend to have small sites with only limited outdoor space. Most RV Parks have week and monthly rates, which cuts down on the cost but our typical stay of 2-5 nights usually doesn’t offer any discount. That is until we found through fellow travelers the Turtletells. We purchased the smallest membership for $50 that includes 15 nights camping at any Thousand Trails/Encore RV parks for $25 a night.  We originally purchased the membership for our recent jaunt down to Key West, where we stayed a week for $168 and have used it on a few stops along the east coast, including two nights at Lake and Shore Outdoor World in Ocean View, NJ.

IMG_3030After a month in the hills of Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania we were needing a little beach break and thought we’d explore the Jersey Shore. We arrived at the campground, took a look around and jumped in our van, driving down to Cape May with the anticipation of a wonderful day at the beach. What we found however, was a beach attendant guarding the shore, selling beach tags that cost $6 a person (that would have been $30 for our crew) to sit on the beach between 9-5pm. So, with pretty smiles and puppy dog eyes we convinced the beach attendant to at least allow us to have a quick gander at the beach and dip our feet in the water. He said OK, but only for a moment. We stayed long enough to take a selfie before heading back to the campground, baffled and a bit miffed by the protocol of the Jersey beaches. Once back at the campground we began to strategize for our next and final beach day, deciding that we would enjoy the amenities at the campground, which included a lovely lake beach, pool, water slide and spa, and then head down to the beach at 6pm for an evening swim, picnic and sunset.



We couldn’t have planned it any better! We enjoyed sleeping in, breakfast and lunch at our campsite and relaxing day poolside. I packed a light supper of veggies/hummus, fruit, bread, tuna, and chips and we meandered our way down to Cape May. Parking was a breeze and the beach was empty, giving us multiple choices for seating.

Sunsets have been a commodity on the east coast and we’ve only been able to catch them if we are inland. At the beach, the sun sets behind the buildings, so as you look out over the water, you don’t see the sunset, only the glow of the sun hitting the clouds on the horizon and painting a picture in the water. Sort of like a Monet. So, we’ve learned to enjoy the subtle colors of what we call the “backwards sunset” for what they are, beautiful pieces of art and a new perspective on life. Of course, sunrises are in abundance on the east coast, but we’re not really morning people. 🙂

IMG_3123At one point in the evening a large tractor began weaving up and down the beach interrupting our solace but we had fun with him and would dance and wave every time he passed our little area. Our hunch was that the six dollars/per person for a beach tag maybe went to pay the beach combing Zamboni guy, but we weren’t sure.

Then later in the evening we took a drive up to Ocean City and strolled with hundreds of others up and down the boardwalk, then drove a bit further north to Atlantic City to see the wonders of the Taj MaHal. All of which was a bit overwhelming but an insightful cultural experience none the less.

If we had to do it again, we would probably do it exactly the same way, as the memories we take with us from this little part of the world are priceless.