Although we have made annual family visits to the Jersey Shore for the last 20 years, we still keep finding new things to do on our family vacations. This year we discovered a Ground Round Sports Grille and Bowling Alley in Bradley Beach, the Silver Ball Pinball Museum in Asbury Park and the 9th Avenue Pier waterfront outdoor restaurant and mini-golf in Belmar. Also discovered on the Asbury Park boardwalk, the Asbury Splash Park and Asbury Eighteen mini-golf which are perfect for families with younger kids. All these activities offer a nice break from the beach.
The 9th Avenue Pier opened last year at the Belmar Marina and has been an instant hit offering a beautiful waterfront outdoor setting with bands and a menu that features Mexican, burgers, salads and seafood. Food orders are made at the walk up window while waitstaff take drink orders and deliver the food when it is ready.
The water views of from the 9th Avenue Pier are beautiful and relaxing.
The newly opened mini-golf course offers an opportunity to work off the calories after dinner.
In nearby Bradley Beach, we found another great family option at the Ground Round Sports Grille and Bowling Alley. The Ground Round restaurant chain was very popular along the Shore before it went bankrupt several years ago. Recently, former franchise owners have bought the rights to the name and begun to re-open restaurants using the Ground Round Sports Grille brand. The food was fairly basic pub food, but the attached bowling alley made for a really fun night. We couldn’t remember the last time we had gone bowling as a family. For our New England teens who are used to candlepin, the full size bowling pins at the Jersey Shore were a new twist. This a a fun rainy day activity at the shore.
Another family favorite, particularly for the boys in our family, turned out to be the Silver Ball Museum in Asbury Park on the boardwalk. The majority of the museum’s 100+ vintage pinball machines survived Superstorm Sandy and the museum was one of the first businesses to reopen on the Asbury Park boardwalk. Our boys couldn’t get enough of those old time classics!
Also on the boardwalk in Asbury Park, the Asbury Splash Park and Asbury Eighteen mini-golf are open for business. These are low tech attractions that are probably best for families with younger kids. The $50 family fun pack is a great deal offering 4 passes to the Asbury Splash Park, 4 passes to Asbury Eighteen Mini-Golf, 4 beach badges and a daily parking pass for one car.
The Jersey Shore continues to be a great family friendly destination with the majority of classic attractions re-opening this year and new ones adding to the fun. Looking for more ideas – check out our Top Ten list of family friendly Jersey Shore activities.