Fight of the boardwalks – which Jersey Shore seashore funplex reigns ultimate?

Spinning, roaring, stomach-churning rides. Fried, cheese-covered, frozen and sugar-coated treats. Sea air, sand and sunshine. Combine all of them in combination, and you’ve got the Jersey Shore boardwalk, a recipe for summer time a laugh that’s laborious to overcome.

Should you haven’t visited a boardwalk, image a state truthful. Now position it subsequent to a seaside and feature it open each and every.unmarried.day all the way through the summer time months. Yeah, it is lovely superior.

As a born-and-bred New Jersey resident, I grew up going “down the shore” (how any unique Jerseyian refers back to the seaside), spending days leaping the waves and evenings heading to the boardwalk.

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Because the years have rolled through, I’ve indulged in boardwalk a laugh all of the means down the 130-mile New Jersey coast. From the MTV-famous Seashore Heights within the north to the doo-wop historical past of Wildwood within the south, I’ve spent hours each as a child after which as a mother or father strolling the forums.

Someday every summer time, the similar debate has popped up as my family and friends benefit from the waves, treats and rides: Which Jersey Shore boardwalk is the most efficient?

This 12 months, as a substitute of simply considering that everlasting summer time query, I determined to place the places to the take a look at.

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Complete disclosure: After I started without equal boardwalk quest, I used to be going to hit each and every boardwalk within the state. However then I spotted that, with loads of miles of wood forums working alongside sandy stretches of seaside, checking out each and every one would develop into a full-time activity, so I rethought my method.

After a lot session with my Jersey friends, I went with 3 huge hitters:

  • Ocean Town: Regarded as probably the most family-friendly boardwalk.
  • Wildwood: Identified for having probably the most, and maximum exciting, rides.
  • Atlantic Town: The oldest boardwalk within the state.

For those huge 3, I when compared a number of classes: meals, best rides, distinctive points of interest and seaside get entry to. Then I ranked every on a scale of one to five megastar(fish).

5 members of the family got here alongside for the trip — ranging in age from 2 to 72 together with one 18-year-old we despatched at the greatest rides and whom we had consume the greasiest meals (he is advantageous, I promise).

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Within the call of study, maximum of our crew walked just about 5 miles on every boardwalk (the 2-year-old both ran complete pace or rode within the stroller), enduring a record-setting warmth wave after which epic rainstorms. Disenchanted stomachs had been a given, in addition to the cheap for Tums. There have been additionally some tears — however most commonly from the infant in our crew who did not wish to be parted from his favourite rides, which is consistently the signal of a a hit time out.

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So which boardwalk reigned ultimate? Right here had been my findings.

MELISSA KLURMAN/THE POINTS GUY

Ocean Town

A large number of locations name themselves “family-friendly,” however in Ocean Town, the moniker is genuinely-earned. Ocean Town is a dry the city, a carryover from an age of “blue regulations” that regulated alcohol gross sales and intake. In OC, that suggests you gained’t discover a beachside bar, a boardwalk nightclub, and even eating places serving alcohol. There’s additionally no playing (that suggests even skeeball video games don’t include prizes). What it does have: 2.5 miles of significant meals, unfastened leisure and kid-friendly rides.

Most sensible meals

Ocean Town excels at all-ages boardwalk eats. There’s the entirety right here from a espresso roaster spinning beans with a view of the seaside to artisanal gelato to contemporary crab muffins, plus pizza and no less than part a dozen very good fried potato choices. To not point out frozen custard, water ices, boba tea and fudge and sweet stores.

My crew ate an ocean’s price of fried and frozen treats right here. Two in point of fact stood out, regardless that.

MELISSA KLURMAN/THE POINTS GUY

Johnson’s Caramel Corn: That is the type of candy, salty crunchy satisfaction I persevered to take into accounts nicely after our large, family-sized bucket was once long past. Johnson’s makes contemporary batches of buttery, caramel-coated popcorn all day lengthy (each and every seven mins consistent with their indicators) in copper pots sufficiently big that you would assume you want to swim in them, then serves it up in a heat haze of burnt sugar for $7.50 for a small bucket and $11 for a big.

Tip one: Should you ask for it with out the lid, they will pile it to overflowing. Tip two: Be careful for diving seagulls in case you pass this path. With a lid on, the sticky corn may closing every week prior to dropping its snap — even though our bucket solely lasted two days prior to it was once totally wolfed. Everyone cherished this one.

Stars: 5.

MELISSA KLURMAN/THE POINTS GUY

Manco & Manco’s Pizza: As a result of I’m from the New York Town metropolitan house, I’ve a large number of ideas on pizza. This, I will frankly say, isn’t a New York or New Jersey pie. It is a Philly-style tomato pie, which means the sauce is on best of the cheese. I nonetheless assume it is implausible. The hand-tossed, rather amorphous, hub cap-sized pizza landed out of the oven and on our desk within the huge eating room — in what was once as soon as a film theater — whilst the mozzarella was once nonetheless effervescent.

The pizza eaters within the crew in point of fact preferred the cracker-thin crust and tangy sauce, which is piped onto the pie from a hose to create the unique rings.

Stars: 5.

Easiest trip

In OC, you’re no longer going to seek out large curler coasters or different adrenaline-pumping rides. Then again, the 2-year-old in my crew was once in infant nirvana. There have been a couple of rides he may spin round in on his personal and one — a suspended teach that rides a rail up and over the out of doors amusement house — that an grownup may trip on with him (on this case, our always-game youngster).

MELISSA KLURMAN/THE POINTS GUY

Any person over the age of 10 will almost definitely favor larger thrills. In case you are 2, regardless that, the hearth vans warrant 5 stars — our infant was once nonetheless speaking about it days later. Since that is a restricted target market, I’ll give it a 4 for pleasurable its core target market. (Experience tickets are $1 every, or 50 for $40; maximum little children’ rides price 3 tickets.)

Stars: 4.

Seaside

MELISSA KLURMAN/THE POINTS GUY

There are huge dunes protective the seaside right here, so you’ll be able to have the most efficient perspectives from up prime at the Ferris wheel. If you wish to really feel the sand between your feet, you’ll be able to want to purchase a seaside badge for sunlight hours get entry to between Memorial Day and Exertions Day ($5 according to day; many seashores in New Jersey additionally require a rate to go into). The remainder of the 12 months it is unfastened to talk over with at any time. It is a great seaside, however I am docking one megastar because of the badge charges.

Stars: 4.

Best right here

One of the vital issues that units Ocean Town except different boardwalks is its unfastened leisure programming. Prior to now, I have noticed the entirety from a Mummer’s Parade marching alongside the forums to an a cappella crew appearing in some of the coated pavilions. Then again, this is not one thing you’ll depend on each and every evening right through a talk over with, so I am docking a celeb for loss of predictability.

Stars: 4.

Wildwood

MELISSA KLURMAN/THE POINTS GUY

Whirling, twirling and exciting, this was once probably the most action-packed of the boardwalks I visited. Even on a wet day (and it rained in point of fact, in point of fact laborious whilst we had been right here), there have been other folks consuming, filling the arcades and ready in line to check out out the rides. The jam-packed boardwalk stretches for two.5 miles, with stores, arcades and points of interest on all sides of the walkway. Plus, there are two piers of rides and water park points of interest that reach around the seaside towards the sea.

Most sensible meals

Wildwood provides loads of retailers for getting and eating copious quantities of sweet, ice cream and fried meals. We attempted pieces from the rows on rows of fried meals emporiums serving the entirety from twirled potatoes deep fried on sticks to batter-dipped Oreos, Twinkies and Snickers. (We additionally sampled frozen custard from Kohr’s, which is certainly one of my favourite boardwalk treats, particularly the chocolate and mint twist dipped in chocolate — however since it is to be had on just about each and every New Jersey boardwalk, I selected to not put it in festival.)

There have been a couple of actual standouts within the meals class in this boardwalk — a contemporary and attractive lobster roll and a fried flounder sandwich that were given such prime marks from my husband that he wolfed it prior to I may both style or {photograph} it (thus striking it out of the meals prize working). Then again, one meals stood out above all others.

MELISSA KLURMAN/THE POINTS GUY

Curley’s fries: Freshly sliced potatoes fried in peanut oil and served in packing containers so massive you’ll’t in all probability believe somebody may consume all of them … after which they are long past. My entire crew remarked “by no means” greater than as soon as, after which — poof! — they had been eaten quicker than you’ll say “addictive fried meals.” It helped that everybody from the preschooler to the grandfather in our crew loves fries. Wash it down with a wonderfully balanced tart however candy lemonade and it is a combo made in boardwalk eating heaven.

Stars: 5.

Easiest trip

The curler coasters right here “really feel like Six Flags,” and no longer beachside amusement choices, consistent with my inspired youngster. Thankfully, it regarded adore it was once going to be definitely worth the effort to check out out the rides right here in spite of being in the course of a heavy rain hurricane. There was once one transparent winner at Morey’s Pier in our soggy trip revel in.

MELISSA KLURMAN/THE POINTS GUY

Sea Serpent: In case you are in search of the joys issue on the Jersey Shore, that is it. There are two 120-foot climbs, 3 upside-down loops — and then you definitely do the entire thing once more, backward. My youngster equated the revel in to being in a pinball device, if you’ll image being pulled all of the long ago after which ricocheted thru tight turns, curves, and spins.

“Higher than House Mountain!” he raved. (For non-Disney fanatics, that is prime reward certainly.) Experience tickets for Morey’s Piers price $1.25 every (there are rebates for bulk purchases, beginning with 80 tickets for $92.50), and it is 10 tickets to trip the Sea Serpent.

Stars: 5.

Seaside

MELISSA KLURMAN/THE POINTS GUY

Wildwood’s seashores are 500 yards vast, making them the most important in New Jersey. And they are unfastened; no badges are required. You’ll additionally stroll proper onto the sand with no need to barter dunes (even though it is helping to have a seaside cart to traverse the five-football-field lengthy stretch of sand). As an advantage, there is a canine seaside proper on the center of the boardwalk the place Fido can play at the sand, a rarity for New Jersey.

Stars: 5.

Best right here

Wildwood’s Tram Automobile traverses the miles of wood walkways, making it imaginable to avoid wasting shoe leather-based whilst taking in all of the attractions, rides and tastes of Wildwood for simply $4. Then again, what you’ll be able to take into accout gone your keep is the monotonous intonation that accompanies the mini teach because it rolls alongside the forums “watch, wa wa wa watch, watch the tram automotive please.” It is the Jersey Shore’s identical of “It is a Small Global After All.”

Stars: 5.

Atlantic Town

MELISSA KLURMAN/THE POINTS GUY

It’s laborious to speak about Atlantic Town with out conjuring a imaginative and prescient of a few model of its previous. It’s the oldest boardwalk within the nation, opened in 1870, and it was once as soon as recognized around the U.S. for its diving horse enchantment, the Omit The us Competition, casinos and big-name leisure. Even the Monopoly board recreation is in response to Atlantic Town’s streets.

You can also’t speak about AC with out discussing the disparity between on line casino accommodations and spaces off the boardwalk, which traditionally have not had the get entry to to cash or enhancements given to the extra tourism-based enterprises. A historical past of bankrupt casinos and activity losses previously have additionally made the boardwalk appear slightly extra miserable than entertaining.

Then again, in the previous few years, growth has been made, and there is extra to do and spot than in many years previous. To be fair, the boardwalk isn’t the place the true motion is; that’s within the casinos. Like Las Vegas, the top eating places and entrainment all happen within the windowless confines of the towers the place you’ll by no means in point of fact inform what time it’s. Then again, for this showdown, I caught to the out of doors forums and clear of the slots.

On account of this, we most commonly excited about ancient Metal Pier, the 1,000-foot arm of the boardwalk stuffed with rides and meals that shoots out over the seaside and the Atlantic Ocean. The choices had been restricted, regardless that.

Most sensible meals

Within the casinos, you’ll to find eating places starting from Nobu to a number of outposts through Gordon Ramsay. Out on Metal Pier, you’re restricted to state fair-style funnel muffins, sausage and peppers, and a few vaguely Mexican choices. It’s advantageous, however no longer price a distinct commute. There have been some mediocre fries (“limp, pasty and chilly,” mentioned the disgruntled youngster) and in point of fact unhealthy lemonade (“principally simply sugar,” mentioned the vegan). I may no longer persuade even the infant to check out the “strolling nachos” (a type of Fritos pie made with Doritos and served in a metal comfort retailer bag).

MELISSA KLURMAN/THE POINTS GUY

Not anything regarded nice, to be fair, and we had bother committing to consuming any of it. I used to be inspired to enter the accommodations greater than as soon as through my members of the family, however that’s no longer what most of the people who walk the boardwalk or have youngsters with them do, so we made do with what was once to be had open air.

(And prior to you ask, famed White Area subs may be off the boardwalk, even though it has an outlet within the Laborious Rock On line casino and Lodge.)

That left two pieces we ate and quite loved: Salt water taffy and funnel cake. Neither of them will likely be successful any awards, however when you find yourself in Atlantic Town taking within the salt air, they will do the trick. So long as you’ll get a funnel cake sizzling from the fryer, coated with powdered sugar and eaten out within the sunshine, it is laborious to bitch.

Saltwater taffy: This chewy confection was once in fact first bought, no less than consistent with legend, in Atlantic Town. We attempted two other manufacturers, either one of which was once independently operated however now are owned through the similar corporate and bought in the similar retail outlets: Fralinger’s and James (the previous is lengthy and historically tube-shaped, the latter is sq., “reduce to suit the mouth”). This can be a affordable thrill: You’ll pattern a couple of items, bought through the pound, for round $1.

The 2 taffy fanatics within the crew proclaimed the molasses and bitter cherry flavors the most efficient of the bunch, however no longer each and every piece tasted contemporary.

Stars: 3.

Easiest trip

There is a hodgepodge of rides on be offering on Metal Pier, with a couple of huge spinning choices such because the mixer, which loops time and again, and some other that flings you prefer a human slingshot. Neither regarded interesting sufficient to chance dropping lunch or limb. I could not get somebody to check out them out. Then again, we did have one crew favourite.

MELISSA KLURMAN/THE POINTS GUY

Carousel: We cherished the antique feeling horses and hurdy-gurdy soundtrack that straight away conjured a sense of the ancient amusements that after crammed this stretch of the wood thoroughfare. It is laborious to argue with this sort of nostalgia. Tickets for fundamental rides (aside from the Slingshot) are $1.75 apiece, with offers corresponding to 50 tickets for $60. The carousel prices 4 tickets.

Stars: 4.

Seaside

MELISSA KLURMAN/THE POINTS GUY

The sand here’s vast and alluring, and it is unfastened to move to the seaside. It’s some of the causes other folks have come to AC for greater than a century and a part. Then again, whilst there are lifeguards, there are only a few easy-to-reach snacks or products and services, so convey your personal must haves.

Stars: 4.

Best right here

Helicopter rides: On the finish of Metal Pier, there’s a actually distinctive providing for the most often low-key Jersey Shore: a helicopter release pad. Even supposing it is now a part of the amusements at Metal Pier, it was once initially constructed for some of the now-demolished Trump casinos that went bankrupt within the early aughts. As of late it provides sightseeing journeys down the sea coast and round Atlantic Town (costs from $75 according to particular person), giving guests a one-of-a-kind glimpse of New Jersey’s golden shores. This can be a a laugh possibility, however no longer interesting to my crew of six other folks since it will have price me a number of hundred bucks past my boardwalk funds. Then again, if I ever hit it huge on the slots, I am going helicopter all of the means.

Stars: 4.

The winners

The 3 seashores we visited had been lovely identical, since they are all within the southern part of the New Jersey Shore. Then again, Ocean Town is the one one requiring a pay-to-play seaside tag, and Atlantic Town lacks easy-to-reach facilities, so Wildwood took the lead there with its massive, unfastened, sandy shore.

To be fair, Ocean Town is the place my center is in terms of this contest. I cherished all of the meals choices, and it did win in that class with two 5-star choices for pizza and caramel corn. I additionally benefit from the mellow vibes and the family-friendly environment. Then again, there aren’t any nice rides right here. For that, Wildwood takes the prize, even on a wet day.

Upload within the only-there tram automotive, and it turned into transparent what was once going to be named our winner. Here is the breakdown.

Meals

Wildwood had Curley’s Fries, however Ocean Town had two 5-star winners — Manco & Mancos for pizza and Johnson’s Caramel Corn — so I am calling the “very best meals” class for the OC.

Rides

It revs up a 120-foot slope, it reels over 3 separate 360-degree turns after which it is going backwards and does all of it once more. With its theme park-worthy thrills, the Sea Serpent coaster provides Wildwood the win for “very best trip” — no festival right here.

Seaside

Wildwood’s unfastened, vast and dog-friendly shore and surf provides it some other win for “very best seaside.”

Best right here studies

Chances are you’ll no longer love the ever present Wildwood tram automotive’s ear computer virus jingle, however it is an unmissable (and handy) a part of a talk over with to the boardwalk, and the winner for the “solely right here revel in.”

OVERALL WINNER

Wildwood, with its mixture of pulse-pounding rides, unfastened seaside and iconic tram automotive, gave it a trifecta of wins.

That mentioned, there have been meals, a laugh and thrills massive and small available in any respect 3 of our stops.

Truthfully, my entire crew was once the winner of the boardwalk showdown since we were given to consume and play to our center’s content material whilst doing the essential “paintings” required to dig deep into the Jersey Shore’s noted forums.

Making plans on a talk over with to the New Jersey house? Do not pass over this distinctive slice of iconic sea coast.

Oh, and another piece of recommendation: Imagine going at the rides prior to you get started sampling the entire tasty boardwalk treats (you’ll be able to thank me later).